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Partners in Practice

May 5, 2017

Standard Process Farm Footprint Expands With Added Land

By: Christine Mason, farm operations manager

The Standard Process Farm

Very soon I will have the joy of experiencing my 17th spring on the Standard Process farm. By the time you read this, the greenhouse will be full of transplants and we will be anxious to get back outside working the land. The Standard Process farm is constantly evolving and growing. We are pressing roughly five times more gallons of juice through the press and drying about four times more pounds of pulp on the dryer than my first season here. What a blessing! It is so much fun to sit here in the winter and have team meetings to figure out how to maximize our harvest and grow more pounds for production.

It is a Standard Process commitment to grow every vegetable ingredient here on the farm whenever possible. Because of this, we now have fields of crops that are new to us, like flat-leaf parsley, red clover, and celery. But this commitment to constant growth and development creates the challenge of having enough land to reach our harvest goals.

You all know that I am passionate about the health of this soil, so I will not repeat myself. But this land has been managed organically and sustainably for over 20 years, and the reward for this care is about 300 percent growth in productivity and pounds of harvest per acre.

I love a lot of things more than math, but even someone with my limited computational skills is smart enough to realize that if you increase output by 500 percent and can only grow land productivity by 300 percent (as amazing as that is), eventually you will run out of land. So, drumroll please, I am thrilled to announce that Standard Process has acquired three new fields that will add over 50 percent more land to this organic farm. Getting more land anywhere is wonderful, but this purchase is particularly special because all three fields border the existing farm.

It takes three full years of managing a field organically before the harvest can be considered certified organic. This means that for three years of transition there is zero tolerance for genetic modification or any synthetic input. Maps must be turned in to the chosen organic-certification agency, and the new fields must be part of the annual organic inspection for all three transitional years. A grower must also supply sales receipts to prove that during this transition period, all crops sold from the transitioning land were marketed and sold as conventional produce, an important step in ensuring organic integrity.

All management records for the newly acquired land are reviewed, and the three-year transition period begins on the date of the last prohibited input. For instance, on what dates were conventional crops planted, and when was the last synthetic fertilizer or pesticide applied? Most of the time, a side-dress of nitrogen or a late application of herbicide or insecticide will be the last conventional input for the year. For instance, if a grower sprayed for leafhoppers in an alfalfa field August 3, 2016, then the crops harvested after August 3, 2019, can be considered for organic certification if that field has followed all organic parameters for the three-year transitional period.

I have even more good news. In anticipation of this sale going through, the previous landowner allowed Standard Process to manage the land organically in 2016. This means that one full crop year before it was officially ours, we were able to get a jump-start on the first year of transition. The farm team looks forward to having crops from this new property in the Standard Process production system in fall of 2018.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.