Organic Food Production and Marketing - Tours and Resource Guide

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1996: $17,050.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1999
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $13,104.00
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Leslie Zenz
Washington State Dept. of Ag.

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, animal protection and health, feed additives, feed formulation, feed rations, free-range, herbal medicines, homeopathy, manure management, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, probiotics, grazing - rotational, vaccines, winter forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, market study, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: hedgerows
  • Pest Management: biological control, biorational pesticides, botanical pesticides, chemical control, competition, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, flame, genetic resistance, integrated pest management, mating disruption, physical control, prevention, row covers (for pests), trap crops, mulching - vegetative
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis


    The project's purpose is to provide information regarding organic soil management, pest control, material use (i.e. insecticide, soil amendments, etc.), marketing information, and organic certification standards for production, processing, handling, and labeling of organic food. Many Cooperative Extension and NRCS personnel in the targeted states are unfamiliar with organic standards and organic production methods. A greater understanding of the production and marketing options available in the organic food industry will enable extension and NRCS personnel to provide information and opportunities to their constituents regarding potential market and production strategies.

    The organic tours were held in the summer of 1997 and provided useful information about cultural practices and materials used in organic food production. It also provided information about potential markets and market strategies for organic food production, processing, and handling.

    Work on the Organic Resource Manual was initially delayed. The release of proposed standards for USDA's National Organic Program (1998) required a dramatic reworking of a main component of the Manual. As of October 1999, the National Standards are still incomplete and the Manual, containing information regarding current standards, has been published (December 17th) and disseminated to Cooperative Extension offices and NRCS offices in the target states (WA, OR, MO, WY, ID, UT.)

    The Organic Resource Manual is in the process of being formatting for use on the WSDA website (project of SARE grant EW 98 008). The WSDA Organic Food Program (OFP) has recently developed a website which currently contains information on materials approved for use in organic production and the registration process for these materials; certification information and applications; and program information. Other information to be include will be links to other sites with organic interest, updates on National Standards, and the Organic Resource Manual. The website address for the WSDA OFP is: h

    Project objectives:

    1. To provide information regarding organic food production to Cooperative Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) personnel.

    2. To offer Cooperative Extension and NRCS personnel an opportunity to observe organic crop production and discuss organic marketing opportunities with organic growers and processors.

    3. To have thirty Cooperative Extension and NRCS personnel attend organic farm tours.

    4. To publish an Organic Resource Manual.

    5. To disseminate 500 "Manuals" to Cooperative Extension and NRCS offices in the states of Idaho, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, and Montana.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.