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Oklahoma has few organic farms, but a USDA program could aid in changing that

Jerri Parker (left), the owner operator of G and J Farm in Seminole County, plants watermelons. The farm also produces cucumbers, tomatoes, and beef.
Oklahoma State University Agricultural Communications Services
Jerri Parker (left), the owner operator of G and J Farm in Seminole County, plants watermelons. The farm also produces cucumbers, tomatoes, and beef.

Demand for organic produce and meat has been on the rise in Oklahoma. From 2016 through 2019 organic product sales doubled.

But as of 2021, there were onlysix certified organic operations in the state.

The USDA is hoping to change that by assisting producers — here and across the country — through the Organic Transition Initiative.

Earlier this year, the USDA strengthened regulation by making theStrengthening Organic Enforcement Rule. Cracking down on fraudulent organic operations,strengthening certification and enforcement throughout the supply chain.

From managing land without usingprohibited pesticides, to logistical challenges, farmers face a multitude of struggles during the first few years of certification. The National Resources Conservation Service will dedicate financial and technical assistance to help.

Farmers, ranchers, and other producers beginning or in the process of transitioning to organic certification are eligible to apply.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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