cows in field

Get Step-by-Step Organic Farm Plan Help in New Workbook

From Ohio Ag Connection - 12/18/2008

Added January 31, 2009. Transitioning to organic farming? Already switched, but needing to update your farm plan? Get step-by-step help in the Organic Whole Farm Planning Workbook (8.5 by 11 in., 108 pp., coil-bound), just released by Ohio State University’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) Program.

The new book serves as a companion volume to OFFER’s A Transition Guide to Certified Organic Crop Management (8.5 by 11 in., 74 pp., paperback), which came out earlier this year.

Deb Stinner, an OFFER scientist and the program’s administrative coordinator, said the workbook further supports the transition process by guiding the user through developing a holistic transition plan and producing a completed organic farm plan as required by certifying agencies.

“Evaluating Your Current Farm Operation” (history, mapping, climate, soil), “Defining Your Goal” (based on Alan Savory’s “Holistic Management” approach), “Writing Your Transition Plan” and “Pulling It All Together” (the importance of integration, monitoring and record-keeping) are the book’s four chapters.

There are questions to answer, conditions to describe, factors to rate and records to start keeping -- all with plenty of space provided to do it -- plus sample certification forms, neighbor notification letters and more.

The author is Margaret Frericks Huelsman, who also wrote the Transition Guide. She formerly was program manager of Ohio State’s Integrated Pest Management Program and holds a doctorate in environmental science from Ohio State.

“The workbook is designed to be user-friendly,” Stinner said. “It’s coil-bound so it’s easy to write in. There’s an extensive list of resources at the end.

“(The workbook is) targeted at transitional farmers,” she noted. “But it can also be a valuable tool for existing organic farmers who are considering adding a new enterprise to their operation or who need to submit an updated farm plan.”

Order Organic Whole Farm Planning Workbook, $20, and Transition Guide to Certified Organic Crop Management, $15, from OFFER, 201 Thorne Hall, OSU/OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691. Make checks payable to OSU/OFFER

For more information, call (330) 202-3528.