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HomeMoney MattersTransition to Organic - A SARE Business Manual

Transition to Organic – A SARE Business Manual

Transition to Organic Cover
Click to download a free copy of the business planner.

Organic food is a booming business. The profit potential— along with other rewards— has farmers, ranchers and food business owners across the country considering the switch to organic production. But successfully managing your business through the multi-year transition process requires careful planning.

If you are interested in transitioning, the new SARE publication Organic Transition: A Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs can help. While not a comprehensive guide to meeting certification requirements, the Organic Transition Plannerwill help you explore organic transition strategies and decide whether going organic makes sense for your farm or business. With it you can explore critical questions such as:

  • What are your long-term business goals?
  • What organic market opportunities are you in a position to exploit?
  • How will you acquire the resources you need to make the transition?
  • How will you anticipate and deal with challenges as they arise?

The Organic Transition Planner contains explanations of key concepts, real-life examples from transitioning farmers and detailed worksheets covering farm operations, marketing, human resources and finances. For ease of use, electronic spreadsheets, fillable PDF worksheets and AgPlan, a business planning software program, are all available online with the Organic Transition Planner. Print copies are available for $16 plus shipping and handling, with discounts available for bulk purchases.

The Organic Transition Planner was developed as part of the Tools for Transition Project, a four-year research program on the economics of organic transition funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, with support from the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. It was written by University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics Research Fellow Gigi DiGiacomo, University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics Professor Robert P. King and Center for Farm Financial Management Associate Director Dale Nordquist. It is published by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

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Rachel Gilker
Rachel Gilker
Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.

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