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Rick Worthington Dairy Farmer Transition to Organic
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: November 17, 2017

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Harvest season is winding down, and sustainable-farming advocates say it's a great time for growers and producers to learn more about what it takes to go organic.

In some cases it's a matter of making the personal professional.

Renee and Alan Winner are dairy farmers and have been selling into the conventional milk market for years, but now are transitioning the four dairies they and their children operate.

Renee Winner said switching to organic was important for them because their farming practices didn't mesh with their personal lifestyle.

"For the last 30 years, we have eaten organic," she said. "To be able to marry the way that we live and how we make our living is really something that we've talked about and planned about for years, but just didn't think we'd be able to get it done."

In order to stay viable, Renee Winner said, they felt they needed to "get big or get out," and made the decision to go organic.

"Being a smaller, organic dairy is still viable," she said, "where in the conventional market, everything is trending to larger, so you lose the ability to be yourself and to farm as a family."

She encouraged those curious about transitioning to organic to speak with other organic farmers. They just finished their third year of transition and recently had their official organic inspection.

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