A 45-Page, Handwritten, Illustrated Essay From an Amish Organic Farmer

A 45-Page, Handwritten, Illustrated Essay From an Amish Organic Farmer

 

The Modern Farmer team got a treat via parcel post last month. It was a 45-page ode to organic farming, hand-penned by Amish farmer Joni Miller. In its distinctive, mostly legible script, supplemented by diagrams and photocopied pictures, the essay reviews farm technique, history, and philosophy. It’s an ambitious piece, and it came with an offer: if we gave Miller a two-year subscription to the magazine, he’d give us all publication rights. We could not refuse.

Scroll down to read a complete transcription.

More and more people are realizing the huge benefits of going organic, both as growers and producers and as retailers and consumers. It does not take much calculation for the farmer to realize that he can make more profit producing organic crops, vegetables, milk, meat, and such products compared to conventional production. Actually, since farmers are underpaid workers in the food chain, we should state this as “receive a little better wage producing organically”.

Monetary benefits aside, what other vast benefits are appreciated because of the organic farmer? Stretch your mind to think of all the chemical fertilizer, pre-emergence weed sprays, weed killers, brush killer sprays, fungus sprays, insect sprays, and all the poisons applied to each conventional crop. Even seeds are treated and can carry a threat to the end consumer, not to mention all the damage that can not even be repaired when the seeds are genetically modified. The soil microbes and good bacteria die; it becomes lifeless. Water streams become polluted; fish die. Birds, bees, beneficial insects and predators succomb [sic] in the chain of poisons. Not only is the farmer’s own health and life dramatically endangered by applying these chemicals, but also the air for his family, friends, and community, especially when these sprayer airplanes dip and dive, trying to operate their sprayer valves to target the fields they get paid for. In our community it has been determined that the drift of these sprays wreaks havoc with women’s reproductive systems. Our neighbor’s natural aids’ sales to women of that category sharply increase at that time to try to counterbalance this damage.

Water filters down to our wells and can do damage to the health of the people and the animals drinking it.

Farmers routinely using drugs and antibiotics in multi stacked [sic], over crowded [sic] animal production breathing in ammonia-laden, stale air affect their health, both the farmers, the animals, and consumers of the animal products. Disease becomes rampant. Growth hormones transmit to the end consumer.

Even the supposedly-safe colorings, flavorings, preservatives, anti-caking agents, highly refining, irradiation, ultra-pasteurization, and homogenization of non-organic foods harm people’s health.

No doubt your mind can wander on and on how organic production benefits the whole world.

 

Organic Seeds

In organic production all seeds and annual seedlings and plantting stock must be from organic sources if possible. This includes seeds for cover crops and green manures. If seed or planting stock is not commercially available, it is allowed to use untreated and non-GMO seed. The farmer must document that he searched a number of places and it was organically unavailable. Verification forms of untreated and non-GMO origin must be filled out. All seed tags or labels, both organic and non-organic must be maintained and submitted. If organic, the certification of it is submitted. Your own seed you raise is reported to verify that you raised it.

Seed inoculants are available and used if they pass organic standards. A label of their non-chemical ingredients including non-GMO verification must be maintained and submitted. In some odd cases such as strawberry bare root plants being organically unavailable, it is often allowed to grow commercial bare roots in your soil for 12 months before marketing organic strawberries. Of course, all documentation must be kept including when you planted them and when your first organic strawberry sale was made. Bare roots can go into your soil in April and then won’t bear until May of the following year.

We have found soybeans and corn to be readily available organically. Many farmers of our community save back their own soybean seed which helps that variety to somewhat adapt to your farm’s soil type. But for many vegetable seeds in the variety necessary to raise what the markets desire, organic seed is unavailable. Many open-pollinated varieties do not have resistance against a host of diseases and insects so prevalent. You can save yourself some hassle by not certifying your own garden for your own use and planting what you need for your family without certification.

Organic seed sales provide a great way to generate income. Think of the many cover crops that farmers need and use. Organic strawberry plants, onion plants, sweet potato slips, etc. provide some choices, too.

 

Soil and Crop Fertility

What will the poor farmer do if his soil is run-down and in bad shape? The fertilizer company might recommend a host of amendments. Biological or organic fertilizer consultants often have an answer for you. Incorporating a number of green manure crops really helps. Monitoring with soil tests tells if you need any minerals mined naturally somewhere and applied to your soil. Certain synthetic micronutrients are allowed with proof of the soil test showing its deficiency.

Raw manures are an excellent source since many microbes are combined naturally in the animals’ stomachs and digestive systems. But remember that bad bacteria, E. Coli, Salmonella, etc. can transmit to vegetables if not properly managed. By allowing 120 days to pass after application the sun and air naturally prevents disease transmission. Minerals passing through animals seem to be more readily available to plants. But if the animals are injected with all kinds of antibiotics, drugs, etc., and deodorizers and fly sprays applied to the manure this all can end up in your soil. Hence, some verification is needed, including what bedding is used. Application must be considered. Suppose you would apply a thick coat of liquid manure on top of a [sic] snow. If the snow would suddenly melt, what would keep the whole coat from washing down the hillside into the water streams? What about applying before a heavy rain? Can you keep the manure from eroding?

Manure from other farms must be documented to be free from heavy contamination of prohibited chemicals.

Composting raw manures with proper procedures is an art that involves the proper heat, moisture, and air to break down injurious properties in the manure. Then the compost can be applied directly to the vegetables.

Since some farmers were merely stirring manure, or applying a coat of manure to the soil and calling it “sheet composting”, some guidelines came into view what actually can be called compost. Hence, compost makers document their operations for proof of the “pudding”. Their ingredients are listed including what activators or microbes were added. The temperatures are recorded and how many times the pile turned in how many days’ time.

Remember the story in history about Squanto, the Indian? This helpful, friendly Indian taught the struggling, pioneering Pilgrims to catch fish and “plant” a fish in each hill of corn, beans, and squash. Notice how the beans can provide nitrogen nodules to help the corn and squash. Think how the deep sea fish can bring in ocean minerals and enhance the health of the plants and the resulting crop.

The organic farmer watches the conservation practices of his farm such as maintaining waterways, preventing erosions by wind or heavy rains, and the biological variety of cover crops, manures, and microbe life in the soil. This is something our great-grandparents did without realizing it. With a variety animals [sic] grazing in the pastures, birds scratching the manure into the sod and catching insects, and with horsepower turning or cultivating high humus soils, never compacting subsoils with heavy equipment, and keeping soils microbially alive, erosion was not problem [sic]. Fencerows and tree lines gave protection from wind, rain, and cold.

Speaking of water on an organic farm, the source is considered. Would it be safe to irrigate vegetables from a pond or stream that the neighbor’s chemical-laden fields are constantly filling? What about a hog confinement lagoon or gutter overflowing into the water supply? In washing vegetables through the produce washes, your water needs to be verified in the safe levels of coliform (bacteria) and nitrates. Organic livestock drinking is not as heavily regulated.

Part Two

Reading Your Plants

As you continue to carefully watch and monitor your growing plants, you can learn many symptoms that spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e. First, did every seed sprout or were some in too dry, too muddy soil, or too cool soil? In cool wet conditions I’ve seen young corn plants turn yellowed. This means that the wet coolness keeps the metabolism from fully happening. A spurt-feeding of a nitrogen source gives them the shot they need. That is why some nitrogen helps the spring pastures boost up a bit. Did you know that young plants, especially corn plants, “decide” how long they’ll make out at only the 7th-9th leaf stage? How many rows of kernels are decided while in the 3rd leaf stage.

Make yourself a little chart to remember the details of color. In tomato and eggplant plants soon after they’re bearing fruit if the lower leaves turn yellow, they are drawing potassium out of those leaves and transporting it up to the fruit. Hence, be prepared to feed them potassium. Read your tomato fruits, too. If the tomato has a black, rotting spot on the bottom they lacked a calcium uptake. A greenish core on the inside spells lack of potassium. Yellowish circular rings around the stem on the shoulders give telltale signs of needing potassium.

A young growing plant has a greater need of nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. When the plants turn to the fruiting mode, they’ll need higher amounts of potassium with their calcium, etc. esp. in the tomato family. Your different categories of plants such as grasses and corn, legumes, cucurbits, the tomato family, the brassicas, and so on, vary slightly in their needs as they “turn on” their fruiting mode. Magnesium and manganese deficiencies are whispered to you by the veins of the leaves. One shows it by yellow veins and being green between the veins and other is the opposite–green veins and yellow between the veins.

In young plants if bottom leaves from tip to the leaf steam are yellow, you need more nitrogen Purplish-brown leaves can signify low calcium. Mottled leaves, grayish, or the leaf edges yellowish-brown and curled show low potassium. A really healthy plant has shiny leaves with a waxy look. Bugs or disease generally do not attack these at all, esp. if their pH is 6.4.

As you know, extreme growing or weather conditions can stress plants that they lose their shiny leaf sheen. Being ready to foliar feed can really boost the plants in their time of need. But what will you do if the pests beat you to the plants before you noticed the plants’ plight? There are plant-derived repellants to shoo them away. Unless you’re positive, you’ll need to check with your certifier, or look into their Allowed Materials List, or mail in a label to affirm if it passes.

For garden pests check the charts in this article. For field crops, if the pest matches the family listed on the insect chart, try the control for alfalfa weevils, note the Pyganic and Neem products work great in the orchards. The neem tree in INdia produces nuts. Extracted from these nuts, the 100% Neem oil available in the United States from Orange Avenue Organic Produce is much, much less expensive than other controls. By importing it by the barrelful and putting it in gallon jugs, the price, to date, is around $45 to $50 @ gallon. (Simply mail order request to: Orange Avenue Organic Produce/1030 Orange Ave./Kalona, IA 52247-9791)

Always consider the life cycle of your target pest. Many people don’t know the secret of how squash bugs lay eggs and that those hatch into nymphs which are soft-bodied, spider-resembling critters. As these grow they shed their “skin”, having a new one underneath; each time getting harder. About the 6th time, they are hard enough that only a few organic sprays can get them. Here’s the trick: If you can’t smother the eggs with an “oil”, target for those young spiderlings while they’re easier prey.

Some are in the beetle family that have the cycle of laying eggs in the soil near the host plants’ roots. When the eggs hatch, the larvae, maggots, and/or grubs feed on the roots. Then the adult feeds on the plant’s foliage. Many lay eggs on the underside of leaves, and the larval stages feed on the leaves.

I have seen excellent results from foliar feeding plants to raise the BRIX level in their sap. Jubilantly I watched potato beetles roll over; some just disappeared, probably to an unlucky neighbor’s garden with imbalanced pH. Since insects’ stomach systems can’t handle complete “sugars”, they just rolled over on their backs, feebly waving their legs in the last minutes battle to burn up those disagreeable “sugars”. Others just packed up and left.

Cedar Gard, made from cedar trees, disorients the pheromone-driven insects from mating and disrupts their reproduction. This works as a repellent. It is also labeled that it drives snakes away. It’s available from Agri-Energy Resources, Princeton, IL ph. 815-872-1190.

Many people are scared of making the jump of change to 100% organic farming because picture-perfect, 100% weed control appears unattainable. The following celever management tool has been employed right after planting in Iowa row crops to prevent weeds [sic] seeds from germinating. It takes 60 heat units to germinate weed seeds. Recording the high and the low of your temperature each day. Average them. (Important Note: If the temperature goes above 90°, just count it as 90°. If the temperature drops below 50°, just count it as 50°.) Subtract 50 from your average. Run the rotary hoe or spike harrow over the field before 60 heat units are reached.

Also if a rain is in the forecast and you see that the wet fields will keep you out too long after the 60 heat units are up, quickly rotary hoe or cultivate and get your number back down to 0 before the rain.

Of course, with slightly delayed planting compared to conventional neighbors, the soil is warmer. Thus, the planted seeds pop up faster than the weeds and you can more easily stay ahead.

With timely spring fieldwork, you can raise several crops of just-germinated weeds and easily destroy them fast with a single pass of a drag harrow. After several flushes of weeds, the next weeds are slower than competition.

Did you know that balanced soil does not germinate weeds as easily? There are weeds that sprout better in tight, high magnesium soils, viz. foxtail and grassy weeds, etc. After heavy applications of turkey manure, we could always expect tremendous pressure of lambsquarter, broad-leaf weeds, etc. Buttonweeds (Velvet leaf) sprout in rich soils. Canadian thistles fade out in loose cultivated soils. Pastures do not grow lush where dandelion abound and produce a yellow carpet of yellow flowers. Reading soils by their weeds is an art!

For the organic produce farmer combatting weeds, it is allowed to use plastic mulch if it is taken up. Mechanical plastic lifters are available. A new kind came out to hitch a team of horses up and roll it up as it is lifted. The Stolzfus brothers raising produce for the Chicago Whole Foods Market have one and they reported that the horses can trot down the row. The dealer selling these lifters is John U. Fisher, 5191 ESR 236, Rockville, IN 47872 (phone # 765-597-2608 8:00-9:00 AM EST).

Mulching with straw suppresses weeds. Greenhouse tomato growers are using rich alfalfa hay. Weeds are prevented, but the main benefit is that the decomposing alfalfa feeds the vegetables with high quality nutrients.

Row crop farmers on the Midwest Plains are using propane flame weeders as an alternative if weeds happen to get out of hand. With 6 row burners the weeds wilt over, creating a “fried” green manure mulch mat to suppress weeds.

For disease prevention, create a healthy, balanced soil and you’ll enjoy other side benefits as well. But, suppose you haven’t reached that optimum balance yet. Then what?? Folar feeding to boost plant health before they get sick helps. Check my chart for disease suppressants that pass organic certification since they’re derived from natural or organic ingredients. Remember that some varieties greatly resist disease while others just succomb [sic] in a pitiful heap. For example, Blue River Hybrids crossed maize with corn. The grand result was that this Puramaize variety will naturally not allow conventional neighboring GMO cornfields’ pollen to fertilize this variety. The farmer is safe from GMO’s.

Crop rotation helps that over-wintering disease does not enter your new crop. Many insects overwinter and are ready to spread disease in the new season, so sanitation of crop residue is important. Work in your crop residue right after harvest so the soil can digest the old residue. Seeds can carry disease into new fields so watch for that, too.

In the greenhouse water your plants in the forenoon rather than at evening. Many times the sun is shining and you can open the greenhouse vents. Allowing air flow prevents plants from staying damp for extended periods. Many fungus-related disease[s] explode in stale damp environments. In some crops walking, wading, or working through thick vegetation can spread disease, too. To re-cap, healthy soils, healthy environments, healthy plants, healthy, wealthy managers/you…

In organic production it is not allowed to use wood treated with arsenate or other prohibited substances coming in contact with soil, crops, or livestock. Instead of treated posts in permanent fences, use hedge posts or black locust wood. Osage Organge (hedge) outlasts treated lumber anyhow. For tomato stakes, locust stakes are available. Try plastic, vinyl, or fiberglass for organic high tunnel side boards.

All fields bordering a chemically-farmed field must maintain a buffer. Usually this is 25 foot strip. If organic grazing is involved you must fence this off and graze non-organic animals or make hay from it for your horses or to sell conventionally. In row crops the rows in this buffer must be harvested separate by and kept in another bin or wagon. When going from buffer strip to organic crop the combine or harvester must be flushed and that put to the buffer crop, too. I like to harvest that last, if possible, saving the flush hassle.

If you have a neighbor that doesn’t use chemical, you can have him sign a sheet verifying that he doesn’t use chemicals. Then you can harvest right up to his fence. Along road ditches post PLEASE DO NOT SPRAY signs to keep maintenance crews from spraying within 25′ of your crop. A thick tree line often works as a buffer, too.

If a farmer tries to farm several fields organic and several conventional, careful logging is necessary. Much cleaning is necessary if chemically-treated seed corn is in his planter and he wants to plant organic seed. Sprayers must be washed out. This all must be documented. Buffers must be kept  and documentation is needed that the crops are not put in the same storage location. Monitering [sic] is necessary to prove nothing co-mingles. Of course, if he has 2 farms and things are more separate, there is less danger of co-mingling. While transitioning, of course, there might be some hassle, but otherwise it’s easier doing everything organically than some of each.

Having the same kind of livestock and some on organic status and raising others conventionally also takes much documentation. Proof must be kept that nothing mixes. Or that the farmer doesn’t medicate stock or use prohibited substances.

To raise organic meat, slaughter stock must be from certified organic sources or from breeding stock that has been under organic management from the last third of gestation. Outdoor access and ample room is usually in the protocol.

Organic milk comes from animals under continuous organic management and fed 100% organic feed for at least 1 year. There is a grazing protocol where a certain per cent of the ration must be from grazing.

For fly control Pyganic is being used here in our community. Neem oil needs much attention as an insect repellent, too. Some have tried essential oils, i.e. oil from herbs leaves.

D.E., short for diatomaceous earth, sometimes called fossil flour, works to mix into organic feed to worm animals and poultry.

Speaking of organic poultry, grassfed chicken supplemented with ground organic grains seems to have a better place in the market place compared to large buildings filled with organically fed chicken. Doing your own slaughter and direct marketing it are your main secrets to build a successful trade. Inspection on small scale slaughter facilities varies from state to state.

For large scale organic egg production, the eggs need to go through a grading, candling system before entering large stores. The Kalona, Iowa, community is blessed with 2 such buyers. Take note of the designs developed by these farmers in building their hen facilities, egg nests, granary, feeding systems, etc.

Two sources to obtain styrofoam to build ice houses, such as suggested on the chicken house design sheet, are: (diagrams)

 

These two sources sell white styrofoam blocks, 16′ long, 4′ wide, and 20″ thick. See the diagram showing how you can build an ice house with 12 such chunks. Interior dimensions are 8′ high, 12’8″ long, and 8’8″ wide. No door is shown here. Build it against your egg cooler and save a block. Or split a 20″ thick block to 10″ for that wall. Of course, you’ll want a door to stow away your ice. Think carefully before you cut. You’ll end up with two chunks 7ft. 4inches for the end not pictures. Some people sandwich 10″ thick styrofoam between 2 pieces of 4′x8′ plywood. For that, simply split a 4 foot long chunk into two 10″ pieces.

To begin building, prepare a bed of small gravel for drainage and to keep varmints from digging tunnels underneath the styrofoam. On a calm day lay the 3 bottom pieces side by side onto this bed. For the side walls set two blocks on edge one on top of the other. Like you have pre-planned, fill in your cut pieces in the ends. Then lay your last three full pieces on top. Strap everything together before a a wind shifts your building blocks.

How will you seal these blocks? This is crucial…Before setting the wall and roof blocks together, take a chainsaw or handsaw and shave a 2″ wedge (at a 45° angle) from each joining edge. Once built you can hire a foam insulation company to fill those V’s with polyurethane foam. Thus all cracks are sealed and your blocks are firmly joined.

Ask the companies at the addresses listed if you want a prefabricated door, etc. Pour a layer of cement over the bottom for a hard surface, leaving adequate drainage holes. Lastly, paint a white, rubberized coat of protectant to help preserve the outside from the elements.

Cost? The price per block was at 216 apiece, but there’s trucking on top plus gravel, paint, the foam joints, etc. Thirty blocks fill 1 tractor-trailer. Buying with several other families would save on that. Also, just using this ice house for your household cooling and ice cream making, this size of iceberg is enough for 3 or 4 families. Sharing this way would dice the cost plus give a chance to get together in the winter to fill the ice house.

Again, building an ice house right into your cooler allows you cool your eggs or even vegetables without further moving any ice. The solid bank of ice just melts right there to remove the heat of your commodity to your desired temperature. Some larger scale operations use a tarp tunnel and a fan to circulate the cool air.

My uncle built his ice house right up against the house. He fixed a refrigerator right into the house wall with the entire refrigerator cut off, of course. Now they can merely open the refrigerator door, reach in for food, and always have an ample supply of ice right there.

Organic hogs did not flourish in our community. At 13 to 17 @ bushel for corn the farmers made a better living at just selling their grain. Again, to pass certification all feed must be certified organic. This includes some, if not all, of the breeding stock. Also, consumers that are health-conscious generally do not place pork, that Old Testament unclean animal, very high on their list of healthy meats. Therefore, they can not pay the high price to have it properly, organically raised. Like organic beef, it would require an organically inspected slaughter facilities.

Vegetables, eggs, or whatever in boxes or packages need labels. There’s a whole row of ways they want them put up. There are sticker companies that make round, oval, square, and rectangular stickers. For produce going on the grocery store shelf, some companies want us to sticker each vegetable. Most times we lay the correct number of stickers on a strip in the top of a produce box. Care has to be taken that this strip does not shake down and fall through the crack at the bottom.

Nowadays most people want to see a USDA organic seal or a Candian [sic] Organic seal, etc. It is also allowed to have the seal of the certification company you’re certified with on the sticker, too. To save money keep your stickers as small as decently possible. It is now very important that your phrase such as “Certified Organic by Global Organic Alliance” is directly udner the information identifying who you are. See some of these examples: (See design)

All ID numbers for organic produce start with 9. The conventional produce numbers are same minus the 9. There are big lists on all the fruits and vegetables nationwide so all the stores and sticker companies use the same ID number per kind.

The Elements of the Organic Audit Trail

The audit trail tracks the organic integrity of a product from its origin through to the final consumer whether it is a raw agricultural product or a processed agricultural product. It builds consumer confidence in the market place and can assist in making informed management decisions that affect the bottom line of your operation.

All certified operations must start up an effective audit trail; from the farm operation to the broker/trader/store to the processor/manufacturer/consumer of organic products. The farms document the history of each field and its management from seed to harvest, the storage, crop transportation, and its sale. Livestock operations document the management of the breeding stock and market animals from the last of gestation/purchase through sale of the live animal or edible livestock product. This includes all feeds and supplements and husbandry practices. Livestock operations must also document field history of pastures used. Then the brokers/traders document movement of product from supplier to buyer. Processors/handlers document the flow of organic products unto the sale of end products.

Lot numbers are a vital part of the audit trail. These numbers must effectively track a product or animal back to its origin. To develop your system use the “KISS” approach (Keep It Simple S*&*^-).

Examples of lot numbers: BaSB8E13

Ba is farm ID, SD is the crop (soybeans), 8 is the field number, E is the bin ID where the crop is stored, and 13 is the year grown. DGZ2807 means D = farm ID, GZ = green zucchini, 2 = field ID, 807 = Aug. 7 was packing date.

In the National Organic Program, per rule 205.103, the audit trail must:

1. Be adapted to the particular business that the certified operation is conducting;

2. Fully disclose all activities and transactions of the certified operation in sufficient detail as to be readily understood and audited;

3. Be maintained for not less than five years beyond their creation.

4. Be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with all applicable certification programs the operation is seeking certification of; and

5. Be available for inspection and copying by authorized representatives.

When the inspector comes you will feel more comfortable if everything is documented and facts and figures are consistently maintained and in order. Much time is actually saved if the audit trail stays up-to-date.

For a farm producing organic crops for sale, the following records must be kept:

- Maps showing field locations, field ID and acreage, production beds, greenhouse units, adjoining land use, buffers, storage locations, water source, etc. (Tip: make your own map and photocopy so have several on hand)

- Field histories for the previous 3 years providing crops, material applications, and the last application date of prohibited materials for each field (Tip: the green sheet for easier record-keeping)

- If you acquired new land, whether bought or rented, fill out a sheet that no chemicals were used.

- Records proving your seeds, seedlings, or planting are organic. Save your seed tags. If not available in organic, records to show where you looked to get organic of that variety.

- Non-GMO statement for purchased inputs on your field.

- Field activity logs for your panting, tillage, harvest, etc.

- Receipts for field inputs and ingredient labels for purchased soil ammendments [sic], seeds, manure/compost, pest/disease control products, etc. Ingredients must be on labels or else approved by certification company.

- Monitoring records such as if you took soil tests to apply soil ammendments [sic], or water test if wash [sic] produce, or if you made compost how you did it, etc.

- Records to show what you did with your buffer crop. (Tip: see Buffer Log enclosed)

- Clean down logs if equipment that was not organic was cleaned or flushed before harvesting, shipping, or storing organic grain.

- Harvest records that till harvesting dates, amounts, field and storage location.

- Using lot numbers in sales records and transporting documents.

- Issuing organic certificates of sales to buyer by reporting sales to your certification company.

For an organic operation producing livestock, the following records must be kept:

- Pasture or other outdoor access maps showing locations, pasture ID and acreage, livestock housing placement, adjoining land use, buffers, feed storage locations, water sources, etc.

- Histories on the pasture/outdoor access for the previous 3 years, recording any input applications and last date of prohibited materials applied.

- Records that purchased animals are organic

- If re-seeding pastures, records or documentation to obtain organic seed.

- Monitoring records if any soil, manure, or health testing is done.

- Records on pasture activity

-Progeny, birth, weaning, and hard health records. Any medical interventions (allowed and prohibited), including castration, dehorning, beak-tipping, etc. must be kept.

- Clean down logs if anything is used for organic and non organic production.

- Feed records with verication [sic] of organic certification

- Feed rations providing ingredients.

- Feed storage records.

- Receipts and ingredient labels for all purchased inputs for feed supplements, medications, vaccines, cleansers,  sanitizers, seeds, organic fertilizers, etc.

- Daily product records if eggs, milk, etc. are produce.

- Slaughter, and processing logs.

- Animal or flock identification program

- Sales records.

Many certification agencies provide all the logs and sheets a farmer needs to keep records. There are many, many certification agencies with as many varying fees. Depending on how and what you are producing some are considerably less expensive. Each agency usually will send a free packet of information on their fees, rules and regulations, etc. upon your request.

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