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Organic Farming

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Organic farming is an ecologically-based system that relies on preventative practices for weed, insect and disease problems, uses nontoxic methods to manage problems if they arise, and improves the natural resources of the land, including soil and water quality.

Organic producers, or producers transitioning to organic, can receive conservation technical assistance and can apply for all NRCS programs.

Organic farmers Cameron Green and Eric Wittenbach are using a seasonal high tunnel and conservationSuccess Stories: Learn more about NRCS’ Work with organic producers


Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet:Transitioning to Organic Fact Sheet: Assistance for Certified Organic Producers
Fact Sheet:Transitioning to Organic (PDF; 2MB) Fact Sheet: Assistance for Certified Organic Producers (PDF; 2MB)

National Organic Program

Managed by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, the National Organic Program develops, implements, and administers national organic production, handling, and labeling standards. If you’re wondering whether organic is a good option for your operation, visit the USDA’s Organic Literacy Initiative resources to learn more.

Organic Conservation Planning Resources

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NEW: Organic Farming Handbook (eDirectives)






New! Guide for Using RUSLE2 in Organic Systems

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Due to the complex nature of many organic cropping systems, NRCS planners and TSPs may have difficulty using RUSLE2 to calculate soil loss. This new document provides guidance on:

  • How soil loss should be calculated by selecting appropriate tillage operations.
  • Planning in fields with a diversity of crops.
  • Considerations for high tunnels, low tunnels and mulches.
  • Incorporating cover crops in the rotation.
  • Incorporating manure, compost and other soil amendments.

This guide may also be useful in working with non-certified organic clients such as those with diverse or specialty crop operations. For any suggestions on the guide, contact Ben Bowell at

Learn more about RUSLE2 in Organic Systems and read the new guide.

With funding from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), the following guides were created by Oregon Tilth for use by NRCS staff:

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has a number of resources related to pollinator habitat assessment and design on organic farms.

The NRCS Organic Initiative Practice List and National Organic Program Rules Matrix (PDF; 52KB) correlates the organic system plan and organic certification requirements with NRCS conservation practices. (Not all practices are appropriate in all areas.)

Information for Technical Service Providers is available at TechReg.

NRCS Organic Agriculture Webinars

Webinars are typically scheduled the first Tuesday of even-numbered months and start at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST. They are free and participants may earn and continuing education credits and/or training certificates. Live webinars are recorded for later viewing. These webinars are presented in partnership with Oregon Tilth.

Other Webinars

Recipients of an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, The National Center for Appropriate Technology   (NCAT) offers webinars on the conservation benefits of crop rotations, pest management and other topics designed to better integrate sustainable and organic agriculture production systems into NRCS planning and programs.

eOrganic, the online eXtension community focused on organic agriculture, offers additional online training videos.

NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative 

NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Organic Initiative helps producers with conservation on their land and can support National Organic Program standards. Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, or activities like conservation planning, that address natural resource concerns. Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented.

NRCS Organic Contacts

  • Ben Bowell, Organic Specialist, West National Technology Support Center
  • Sarah Brown, Organic Specialist, West National Technology Support Center
  • Lindsay Haines, EQIP Organic Program Specialist, National Headquarters