Overview

Food grown on an organic farm is just as safe and healthy as food grown on non-organic farms. Organic farms do some things differently and need special certification that allow them to sell their products as organic.

An organic farmer uses organic fertilizers and pesticides, but not man-made products. The livestock are not given any growth hormones. If an animal on an organic farm gets sick, the farmers do give them medications. However, if an animal receives medication the farmer is not allowed to sell it as organic.

An illustrated organic farm is shown, with a big section of the gardens under a big white tent. There’s an employee working in the garden and a farmer holding a basket of vegetables including carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions.

Organic farmers can use pesticides, but only if they are naturally occurring ones.

Farming Practices

Farmers are able to use natural, organic fertilizers for their crops, such as manure and compost. To reduce weed problems, the farmers carefully clean equipment to avoid carrying any weed seeds from one field to another. They try to get the crop growing as quickly as possible so that weeds do not have much room to grow.

A farmer wearing overalls is rinsing the tractor’s tires with water and a spray hose in the field.

This farmer is washing farm equipment to help prevent weeds from being transported between fields.

During the summer, farmers use natural pest controls. Some of these include light fabric that lets in the light, but blocks insects. Sprays made from soap or oil are also used as a pesticide.

A train is stopped in a small town next to a train station and two elevators.

This is a floating row cover, which lets the light in, but blocks insects from the plants.

Organic farmers do treat their animals with antibiotics if they are sick but sometimes that means they can’t sell them with an organic label in the grocery stores.

An illustrated farmer wearing green overalls is kneeling down to get ready to give a cow a vaccination with the needle he is holding. Many other cows are lined up in the pen, waiting for a vaccine.

Organic farms can use antibiotics if a cow is sick.

Lady in front of a farmers market booth.

Many organic vegetable and fruit farmers sell their goods to grocery stores or at farmers’ markets.