OTA clarifies pesticide use on organic farms

In Hannah Wallace’s recent article in Civil Eats on the value of certification, OTA Senior Crops and Livestock Specialist Nate Lewis provides a picture of the complicated framework regulating pesticides used by certified organic operations. Organic farmers must implement a preventive pest management plan and can only use natural substances and a limited number of synthetics to combat pest issues when their preventative plan fails. The commentary evaluates the value of organic certification when shopping at farmers’ markets, and concludes that certification provides the most straightforward vehicle to assure consumers of organic production practices. Wallace also highlights USDA’s cost-share program, which reimburses organic producers up to 75 percent of their certification costs, and the ‘sound and sensible’ certification initiative, which works with farmers to remove barriers to certification.

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