More farmers looking at organic potential

Potatoes A healthy harvest of potatoes underway at Poplar Grove Farm near Winkler. Photo: Cam Dueck

By Lorraine Stevenson
OrganicBiz staff

High prices and the prospect of fewer input costs are attracting more farmers to organic farming in Manitoba.

At least 30 farmers began a transition in 2015, convinced they can become more profitable using a farming system that also costs less to operate, says provincial organic specialist Laura Telford.

They are conventional farmers who’ve crunched the numbers and are seeing a business case for to convert, she said.

A lot of people are looking at our cost of production with interest and the fact you can be quite profitable in oganic agriculture. — Laura Telford, MAFRD organic specialist

Judging by the crowd at an Ag Days seminar devoted to organic production, it appears there’s more thinking about it.

“A lot of people are looking at our cost of production with interest and the fact you can be quite profitable in organic agriculture,” said Telford.

It’s a marked contrast to years gone by when a couple dozen farmers already organically farming attended.

About 140 were at last month’s meeting listening to presentations about the transition process, other farmers management practices, and how farming this way can be good for the bottom line.

Manitoba Agriculture crop production budget expert Roy Arnott told the seminar that based on expected costs and returns for crops this year, organic producers could see net profit levels range from $100 to $300 per acre.

That compares with conventionally produced crops, whose net profits range between $10 to $50 per acre, he said.

Those numbers may not be coming as a surprise, said Telford. “People have been hearing about this for awhile,” she said.

To read the full article on the Manitoba Co-operator, click here.