Organic Vegetable Farming in USA: How to Start, and Top Production States

It is an agricultural method that adheres to the principles of sustainable development. It is an agricultural production management method that does not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial synthetic products, or genetically modified organisms. The main purpose of producing organic vegetables is to improve the health and productivity of interdependent soil, plants, animals, and communities. 

Organic Vegetable Farming in USA
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Facts about organic vegetable farming in USA

California, Maine, and New York came after the largest share of the organic area – in each, certified organic acres accounted for 4% of the total farmland. About 1.1 million acres of organic farms in California represent 21% of all American-certified organic land. Wisconsin (1,276 farms) and New York (1,059) are the second and third-largest farm states. It was the only state other than California with more than 1,000 certified organic farms.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s definition, certified organic food should be prepared without using conventional pesticides, petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers, herbal remedies, genetic engineering, antibiotics, growth hormones, or irradiation. Certified organic farms must also adhere to specific standards for health and well-being, not treat the soil with any contaminants for at least three years before harvest, and for the total annual organic sales. In the United States, regulations have been developed around organic farming.

There are some national standards. There are also state standards that make the process quite organic for aspiring farmers. In Ohio, for example, the soil must be chemical-free for at least four years, while in California, it must be chemical-free for only one year. In some states, the requirement may be up to 10 years. Every organic farmer has their reasons for choosing an organic farm. Most choose organic farms for environmental, personal, and financial reasons.

Organic farmers are taking advantage of more visibility in the consumer space and are in a position to become powerful advocates for large-scale agriculture. Indeed, organic farming generally yields less than conventional. However, long-term returns exceed production. Overall, organic farms have better soil quality and reduced soil erosion than their traditional counterparts. 

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Spinach Farming
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Organic farming generally produces less soil and water pollution and lower emissions of greenhouse gases. It is more energy-saving. In this way, the land becomes more productive over a longer period. Any solid business model focuses on long-term results. Many problems like social, health, and environmental arise in the wake of the conventional system. As a result, many labels, trends, and marketing schemes promise undefined and unconfirmed benefits in these areas.

Certified organic label products are more marketable for specific target groups. This marketing comes from the fact that organic food has reduced the use of toxins. Many people think that they are even more nutritious. Higher profit margins are directly related to better health outcomes for humans and the environment. 

Objectives of organic farming in vegetable crops

  • The purpose of organic farming in vegetable crops is to produce adequate amounts of high-quality food. 
  • Utilizing renewable resources in locally managed production systems. 
  • To maintain and enhance the long-term fertility of soil and biodiversity. 
  • To avoid all types of contamination that may result from agricultural techniques. 
  • Working closely with the system regarding organic matter and nutrients. 
  • Microorganisms, soil, and plants stimulate biological cycles within the farming system. 

Organic crop production states that;

No prohibited substances will be applied to the soil for at least three years before harvesting the organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through farming and cultivation methods, crop rotation, and crop cover, and crop waste materials and synthetic materials are permitted.

Preference will be given to stock of organic seeds and other plants. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled through management methods, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are insufficient, approved biological, botanical, or synthetic substances exist.

Organic vegetable production systems and methods

  • Fertilizing the soil, maximizing biological activity, and maintaining core crop health, green manure, animal manure, and crop rotation to maintain long-term soil health. 
  • Use crop rotation and other techniques to manage herbs, pests, and diseases. 
  • Emphasis on the biodiversity of agricultural systems and the surrounding environment. 
  • Reduction of outdoor and off-farm inputs and elimination of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and other substances such as hormones and antibiotics. 
  • Renewable resources, soil and water conservation, and environmental Focus on management practices that restore maintain, and enhance balance. 
  • Organic producers implement many strategies to promote and maintain biodiversity and replenish soil fertility. 

Organic vegetables in the USA

Organic vegetable farming is a technique that involves naturally cultivating vegetable plants. This process involves using biological materials and avoiding artificial substances to maintain soil fertility and ecological balance, which can reduce pollution and waste. Organic refers to how agricultural products are grown and processed.

Although regulations vary from country to country, in the United States, organic crops must be grown without synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or bioengineered genes (GMOs). The most cultivated vegetables in the USA are Onions, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Asparagus, Sweet potatoes, Spinach, Carrots, Broccoli, Potatoes, Lettuce, and Tomatoes.

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Tomato Farming
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Top 5 States in the United States for Organic Vegetable Production 

Organic food and farming are the green industry and the future of food and farming in California. The state is already leading the world. Organic means healthy food, no dangerous toxic pesticides, clean air and water, healthy soil, safe working conditions, and economic opportunities. 

Top 5 States in Number of Organic Farms 

The top 5 account for 47% of all American organic farms. They are California (633), Wisconsin (311), Washington (208), New York (196), Pennsylvania (188) 

Top 5 States in Acres Harvested Organic Vegetables

The top 5 vegetables account for 79% of American organic acreage. They are California (135,114), Washington (15,136), Arizona (9,851), Oregon (9,231), Wisconsin (6,657) 

Top 5 states in organic sales

The top 5 make up 83% of all American organic vegetable sales. They are California ($1.4 billion), Arizona ($ 129 million), Oregon ($118 million), Washington ($ 80 million), Florida ($34 million)

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Potato Farming
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Organic vegetable production importance in the USA 

There are many reasons for growing organic vegetables. It is a system that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming activities. Furthermore, although the cost of Certification and the time and effort involved in system management are high, profits are likely to be higher where markets are well-established for organic products. 

Growing organic vegetables will require working closely with a detailed record-keeping and certification agency. You can use the example of keeping the records of the certifying agency or make your example if your agency accepts it. Before using any product, ensure that your certifying agency is suitable for organic farming (if it is not on the certifying agency’s list). In organic farming, consumer demand is high, and production has recently increased. There are approximately 13,000 certified organic farms in the USA with a sales value of over $3.1 billion. 

In the northeastern USA, more than 3,200 farms are certified organic and have over $ 300 million in sales. If you are considering producing organic vegetables, however, you should carefully consider the regional demand for organic products in the market and then decide which marketing channels will best meet the needs of your consumers. Marketing organic vegetables involves significant transportation and labor costs because most potential customers are in high-income urban and suburban regions, which can be a long way from your farm. 

To become certified organic, a farmer uses production and handling methods by the National Organic Program (NOP) and becomes certified by a USDA-certified certifying agency. Farmers whose gross income from organic produce is $ 5,000 or less are exempt from this rule. In this case, production and handling methods are still used according to the NOP, and other restrictions regarding labeling and blending with other organic products apply.

It takes at least three years to transition from inorganic to certified organic produce. During this period, the product cannot be labeled as organic, and generally cannot order higher prices associated with organic products. In addition, organic growing requires more management and planning time than detailed record-keeping and other production systems.

Organic certification process

It is a process where a third party approved by the USDA ensures or verifies that the vegetables were grown following the production and handling procedures required for NOP. 

Steps to get organic certification 

  • Choose a recognized certification agency and apply for an application packet. 
  • Develop an Organic Systems Plan (OSP) for the areas where organic vegetables will be grown and implement the plan each year for a three-year transition period. 
  • Submit the application to the Certification Agency in the third year of transfer. 
  • Schedule a field inspection where Certification is requested. 
  • Wait for the certification staff to review the inspection record. Receive an Organic Certification Notice or find out why the Certification was denied. Certification lasts for one year, after which you must be re-certified. The paperwork usually decreases after the first year because OSP is already ready and needs updating. 

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Cucumber Farming
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Organic vegetable production practices in the USA

Plant selection

Using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in certified organic produce is prohibited. Seeds, transplants, and other planting supplies must be prepared. Exceptions may be made when organic seed or “equivalent variety” of planting stock is not commercially available in organic form for a particular crop. Before these options or exceptions can be applied, you must prove that at least three seed sources were checked for organic matter. 

Soil fertility

The purpose of soil fertility management is to maintain or improve soil conditions and reduce soil erosion. It is done through proper crop rotation, green manure and cover crops, plant and animal substances, and modifications to fertilizers or soil that are permitted according to the national list. Soil testing must determine pH levels and phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels.

Soil test kits are available from local extension offices or agricultural analysis services laboratories. Soil test kits can be obtained from other soil testing laboratories. The nutrient level in the soil will indicate the optimal growth of the vegetable crop and the number of additional nutrients required for growth. 

When planting your vegetables, make sure your soil is in good condition. All you can do is shake your soil using a rototiller or small tiller before applying any fertilizer, which will help spread the soil in your garden. You can also add compost and earthworms to your soil. When choosing a fertilizer, it is best to choose something organic.

Fertilizers and soil amendments

Fertilizers and soil modifications complement other fertility methods. In addition, low-soluble mining materials can be used to supply nutrients. Plant or animal ashes can be used to improve soil fertility unless they are mixed or treated with a prohibited substance and are themselves a prohibited substance. Be aware that some fertilizer and soil modifications in organic production may not be allowed to be labeled as “natural” or “organic.” Check with the certifying agency before applying any materials to your fields. 

One of the limitations of using organic fertilizers is that it is sometimes difficult to find licensed fertilizers commercially, although it is improving as the industry grows. In addition, the cost of permitted fertilizers is usually much higher than synthetic fertilizers. Furthermore, they lack the nutrients they provide and therefore may need to be applied in large quantities, which can be difficult to manage. Finally, mixing organic fertilizers can be difficult. Therefore, using them to supplement other fertilization methods, such as fertilizer, cover crops, and animal manure, is best. 

Use organic fertilizers

Adding fertilizer to your vegetables will help them grow faster and produce bigger crops. Types of organic fertilizers include well-decomposed fertilizers from plant-eating critters (rabbits, horses, sheep, chickens) and pre-packaged organic fertilizers purchased online or at your local rebel center. Also, you can find an organic fertilizer variety at garden centers and home improvement stores. 


Depending on the vegetable you are planting, the watering technique may change. Some vegetables need to be moist, while others need just enough water. When watering your vegetables, water the roots, not the leaves, as wet leaves can attract insects. Always remember that planting vegetables is no different from planting other plants. All you have to do is follow some tips to ensure the vegetables are perfectly healthy.

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Carrot Farming
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Pest management

Instead of pesticides to kill pests, they should be managed using various management strategies. Pest management options include cultural techniques, physical barriers, and biological control. It is helpful to identify common pests of specific vegetable crops before planting. Cultural techniques, physical barriers, and biological controls can then be chosen to manage potential pests. 

Cultural techniques include good location and crop selection, proper moisture and nutrient management, hygiene, vector management, manipulation of harvesting schedules, crop rotation, use of covering crops and green fertilizers, mechanical cultivation, manual weeding, trap crops, promotion of beneficial insects, and mulching. When using plastic mulches, they should be removed at the end of the growing or harvesting season. Crop residues are prohibited except for disease management or promoting seed germination.


If you plan to grow crops organically in the United States, this information may help you to set up an organic vegetable farm.


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