A certified organic production system is a farming system managed in accordance with The Organic Foods Production Act and the National Organic Standards of 2002. The production system is to be designed and managed to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Further, it is a system of agriculture that encourages healthy soil and crops through such practices as nutrient and organic matter recycling, crop rotations, proper tillage, and the strict avoidance of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for at least three years prior to certification.
Certified organic farming operations are required to develop and submit an “organic system plan” to their certifying agency detailing how an operation will achieve, document, and sustain compliance with all applicable provisions in the OFPA/NOP. The certifying agent must concur that the organic system plan and ongoing management practices fulfill the NOP requirements.
A concise overview of the materials commonly used in certified organic farming systems to improve and maintain soil fertility. Addresses the role of soil organic matter in farming systems and how to evaluate organic materials for on-farm use. Briefly profiles each of the types of organic amendments and fertilizers commonly available. Clark, Andy (ed.). 2007.
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd edition. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, Handbook Series Book 9. Explores how and why cover crops work, and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation.
Includes information on the characteristics, costs, seeding rates, and management of different cover crop species. Available from www.sare.org as hard copy and free download. Colemann, Eliot. 1995. The New Organic Grower: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, 2nd edition. White