ARRRGH!!! How am I to be a farmer and write down everything that’s in my head about it too? I have been spending my late nights filling out the PA Certified Oraganic application, which is very thorough, indeed.
Save my seed packets for three years…really? Well, I hope receipts will do, for now, and I need to clear a space for the packets in years to come….Later in question105 I am asked how long I keep my records, followed by their own answer “minimum five years.” So should I still answer it?
How do I measure the carbon to nitrogen ratio in my compost? And is that before it decomposes or after?
Does it really make a difference how I dispose of my garden hoses? (I usually just keep patching them until they become tree ties!)
I am serious about the certification, serious enough to purchase the application for $75.00 and serious enough to send another $700.00 after I’ve filled it out. The point is, it is 66 pages, not counting the attachments I am to add which may run into hundreds of pages. I can see why people aren’t jumping in line to go through with it.
I am confident enough in our farm’s management practices to go through with it. We have been working hard to do the right things concerning stewardship of the land. It is a lot harder to manage land without the use of “prohibited materials.” And we have been working hard to stay within the confines of restricted materials too, manure included. Since we have been doing the right things, I believe we have earned the title organic. The process is daunting and expensive, though. And I’m not sure if I’m willing to spend the additional $660.00 for my five dairy goats and another yet additional $660.00 for our four pigs and 130 chickens, oh and those figures are annual contributions. That just doesn’t make sense, so again the small family farm can be outnumbered literally. I’m not even sure I can get certified without spending all of the application fees for each “division” of the farm. I’m still going to try. It’s going to be another long night.