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The Future of Farming

The Future of Farming feat

THE FUTURE OF FARMING

Timothy Gertson comes from a lineage of farmers. His grandfather, father, and three uncles currently own Gertson Farms Partnership in Lissie. Gertson and his cousin co-own their own business, G5 Farms, and have land in Fort Bend, Colorado, and Wharton counties. Agriculture is in his blood. Yet even for a man with years of experience under his belt, the shift from conventional to organic agriculture was a veritable obstacle course. And he’s only growing one crop. When Timothy Gertson finally finished downloading nearly eighty pages of forms from the Texas Department of Agriculture, filling them out the old-fashioned way—by hand—and submitting them, he was one step closer to obtaining a shiny badge of agricultural prestige: a certification for producing organic field corn. “I’m not going to lie,” Gertson says. “It’s pretty intense.”

Organic farming in the United States is an entirely different aspect, one that comes with natural barriers and processes in order to achieve certification. Along with the paperwork, there are fees, which can range from a few hundreds of dollars to a few thousand. The submission seeks detailed catalog of all substances used on the land during a three-year period. Further a written Organic System Plan describing the practices and substances to be used is also required in the application process. These measures must be fulfilled before the first seed hits the soil. And from there the real work begins. The National Organic Program, the regulatory entity within the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that the transition period for farmers switching to certified organic produce takes 36 months, and it’s only after that period that they can market their produce as organic so long as the crop can survive through the complicated process of replenishing nutrients in the soil.

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