Many reasons to convert to organic

There’s been a lot of excitement lately about the increased prices that are available to conventional field crops.
What a difference a year or two can make!
Over the last six months, organic crops also have been in short supply and those prices have gone up, too.
Prices for organic crops are up because demand for organic products continues to grow, the organic livestock industry is booming in North America and that is using organic grains for feed, and China is expanding their organic livestock production and so are importing instead of exporting their grains.
The following is some information on organic crops from Hugh Martin, organic crop production program Lead at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs:
Two years ago, there were some conventional producers frustrated with low grain prices and they were looking to organic to “save them” financially.
That financial need is not as great now, but there are many other reasons to convert to organic. Surveys among organic growers usually list economic benefits as being fairly low among the reasons they switch to organic.
The leading reasons to be organic, as stated by organic farmers, are concerns about the environment, soil health and the safety of the farm family, and a higher level of personal satisfaction.
The transition to organic takes two-three crop seasons when you have to use organic production methods but are unable to get an organic price for your crop.
Organic and transition yields often are slightly lower than conventional, and the lower price and lower yield is a hardship during transition.
One strategy is to transition the farm gradually.
Some argue that now is a good time to transition to organic since current conventional prices are excellent for this transition period.
Organic prices have gone up 25-50 percent for most crops during the past six months—and these prices are expected to remain high for some time.
As well, the volume of retail organic sales is growing 20-25 percent per year. The livestock industry is the fastest-growing, with some sectors growing at more than 50 percent per year.
Organic livestock must be fed 100-percent organic feeds.
< *c>Dates to remember
•May 15—Public info session for non-emergency on-farm slaughter, Stratton Millennium Hall, 7 p.m. (call 1-888-466-2372 ext. 65382 to register).

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