What It Really Means To Be Organic

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the word organic? Perhaps you picture an image of two old farmers wearing ripped overalls, with their hair a ratty mess and blacked out teeth, standing in a green field holding a pitch fork. Or maybe you think of a group of protesters walking around screaming about the “evil corporations” with spray paint on their bodies reading “Say No To GMO’s”. There is also the image of the “hippie” types, you know… the long hair, looks like it has been to long since their last shower, smoking pot, and listening to psychedelic music. How about this one…maybe you think of “those people!” You know those food snob types who walk around with their noses in the air looking down on anybody who eats that conventional food. I have to say though my favorite is probably the dancing leprechaun type…come on now, I know that last one made you laugh!
There are a lot of different opinions and mindsets out there about Organic farming; some are funny, others are more on the disturbing side. I personally would like the image that comes to mind to be of people like us:

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I don’t know if I’m just being cocky here but I don’t think that we fit into any of those categories. At least I hope that we don’t! 🙂
Serious question here… Which mindset do you have? Are you someone who associates these types of goofy images with the organic world? Maybe you don’t know what to believe because there are so many different opinions out there? Are you open and receptive to what organic is and stands for? Perhaps you are so passionate about organic that you refuse to buy anything but? No matter where you are amidst these different view points, this article might be able to shed some light on this very controversial topic.
Today I want to tell you about our personal experiences with Organic certification and farming. Not for arguments sake or as a response to anybody in particular, but rather to share the “what” and “why” behind our love for organic farming!

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Lets start by talking about what make land qualify for organic production.
In order to certify land as organic it needs to be free from any chemical fertilizers and sprays for at least a three year period. This period acts as a buffer to guarantee residual sprays have left the soil on land that is being transitioned to organic. It takes thorough documentation, of how the land is being managed, to prove that it is within the organic regulations. There are also inspectors that do farm visits and have extensive checklists to make sure that all the rules are being followed. If for any reason a commercial fertilizer is used on organic land, (even if it’s a one time application) that land goes back into the transition process. That land can no longer be certified organic until that three year period has elapsed.
When it comes to livestock they must be fed all certified organic feed (which includes the bedding being certified) and thorough documentation must be kept of the feed stuff and the ration that’s given. There are different regulations on what types of rations can be fed depending on the type of animal. Since I’m a cattle girl that’s what I’ll talk about today. Whether we are talking about dairy or beef cattle this rule applies to all cattle, they must have 30% of their dry matter intake come from pasture forage during the growing season. The pasture and the other feed sources must be certified organic and any time there would be a change in the ration it needs to be documented and will be evaluated by the certifying officer.
There are a lot more little things that go along with organic certification but this gives you an idea of what it takes to be called organic. Its a lot of hoops to jump through and a lot of rules to follow, all as a way so that the word organic keeps its value.

You might be wondering at this point why someone would want to go through this extra work. Now I can’t answer this question for all organic farmers but I can give you my two cents. Organic is important to my family and I because we believe in the system that God has put in place!
We believe that the health of our world starts in its soil! A society is only as healthy as what it eats, and what we eat is only as healthy as where it’s grown.
Thanks for reading!

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