Last week Oregon Tilth notified us that we successfully converted 783 acres of our Oregon farmland to Certified Organic farmland — an increase of 110 acres from 2012 (our first year). In addition, another 107 acres are Certified Transitional Organic at Wattenpaugh Farm — a status conferred to land that is about one year away from being eligible as Organic.
At the same time a pastured laying hen business was Certified Organic at A2R Farm. Congratulations to Karen and Neal Wells for reaching this milestone. Oregon Tilth also approved our plan for handling the Organic livestock of others. Vitality Farms Livestock Manager Mac Stewart is now caring for Organic dairy calves for an Organic Valley Coop farm at our Fern Rd location.
Our approved Organic System Plans enables us to produce and sell as Organic various crops, including small grains and forage seeds, hay, and certain classes of livestock and livestock products. The inspection process was very thorough, and I can attest that Oregon Tilth is rigorous and thoughtful in carrying out their duty to verify compliance with the National Organic Program law. I also recommend COG Pro as an on-line tool for organizing and storing records needed for the certification process. This allowed me to quickly pull up records that directly responded to the inspector’s questions. Apparently this enabled him to go into more detail with me than is typically possible!
Having a strong, independent certification system is important for maintaining the integrity of a healthy, sustainable food system, and becoming Certified Organic is one way we can support a system of values and practices we believe in.