Burley tobacco farmers in the southern Appalachians are losing their tobacco markets and need alternative crops to produce income. This producer and his cooperators are taking advantage of the growing consumer demand for organic and identity-preserved (e.g. Appalachian Grown) vegetable products by initially focusing on biologically based integrated pest management (BIPM) for organic broccoli production.
Production of high-dollar vegetables is a viable way to help tobacco farmers transition away from tobacco. The national standardization of organic certification under the USDA National Organic Standard will help to drive this system and aid in the transition.
The BIMP program combined the use of timed sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis , farmscaped border areas with plants that provide a habitat for beneficial insects, pest and natural enemy population monitoring and release of natural enemies.
We had no problem selling our spring and fall crops. A significant amount of cooler space was required to hold product for proper delivery times and to handle the ebbs and flows of a normal crop production.
Through several years’ work, a market has been developed for our certified organic product. We found it difficult initially to sell to a market until you actually have a certain level of product that can be delivered consistently. But without a defined market you won’t have producers who are interested in growing the product, a classic Catch-22 situation. But we persisted.