Published: April 4, 2023

Category: Organic News

With the continuing demand for organic food, a three-year study done at University of Georgia hopes to refine best practices for farmers interested in transitioning to organic. The research began with a focus on land previously pastured or currently unmanaged “derelict” farmland.

Kate Cassity-Duffey is lead researcher for the USDA-funded study, “Breaking New Ground: Reducing Perennial Weeds and Improving Soil Fertility for Southern Farmers Transitioning to Organic Production.” Cassity-Duffey is joined by Timothy Coolong, the UGA co-coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) Southern Region.

“What really prompted us to apply for this grant is the Working Farms Fund from The Conservation Fund, which helps successful, small-scale organic farmers expand to much larger farms and transition land over to certified organic production,” Cassity-Duffey said.

Much of the land is in the Piedmont region, close to metro areas such as Atlanta with plentiful organic markets. “This type of land can be transitioned quickly because it often hasn’t been worked recently. It may have received little management, but it is what is available and affordable to producers,” Coolong said.

Organic & Non-GMO Insights April 2023