Understanding Transition Risks
Risk is part of farming. If you can handle it on a conventional scale, you can handle it on an organic scale.”
• Field crop growers, NB
Making the change to certified organic farming isn’t easy, but still very possible.
There are many known challenges, but also effective management
strategies and tactics that can be used. Agronomic challenges include
finding a way to control weeds without herbicides and control internal
parasites in livestock without relying on dewormers. Marketing
challenges including finding an organic market for a small amount of
product; this is particularly an issue in Atlantic Canada where the
population is relatively small and quite spread out. There can also be
personal challenges, such as taking more time away from your family to
learn how to farm organically or resistance from family members as you
change the family farm. Transition period financial challenges include
potential for short term drop in yields and the requirement to purchase
certified organic inputs without having the opportunity for certified
organic sales premiums.
ACORN’s The Organic Path can help you understand, identify
and manage the risks of transition. The following sections will
illustrate common challenges faced by Maritime farmers and management
strategies that can be employed.