Organic Consulting - TeamAg Inc
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Free Individualized Technical Guidance for Producers and Processors Who Want to Become Organic


Understand Organic Production Principles

Gain the knowledge to grow your crops in accordance with organic guidelines.


Evaluate Market & Transition Financials

Explore whether demand exists for your organic products and analyze cost and return of an organic transition.


Develop Organic Transition Plan

Develop a comprehensive plan for transitioning to organic production practice, and receive support to prepare and apply for your third-party independent organic certification.


Support Through Transition Period

Recieve feedback for your ideas and questions as your operation evolves through the transition to organic.

Meat Processors

  • Baseline Financial Health Assessment of Existing Business
  • Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) Analysis
  • Existing Throughput Assessment
  • Financial Model of the Impact of Transition
  • High-Level Market Assessment/Customer Analysis
  • Transition Feasibility & Action Plan Report
  • Certification Assistance

Crop Producers

  • Understand the Basic Principles of Organic Production
  • Evaluate your Market
  • Support Organic Certification
  • High-Level Budgeting/Cost Analysis of Transitioning to Organic Methods
  • Develop your Organic Farm System Plan
  • Organic Application Assistance
  • Ongoing Support Through the Three-Year Transition Period

Crop Producers

Program FAQs:

How much does this program cost?

Organic Transition services are free, although participants will be responsible to pay their own certification fees. Team Ag and Kitchen Table Consultants (KTC) will provide technical assistance services to all participants free of charge.

What kind of farmers and processors apply for this program?

Eligible producer types for this program: 

  • Meat processors (USDA Inspected) 
  • Grain producers 
  • Specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, diversified) 
  • Livestock producers (beef, pork, poultry, lamb/goat, etc.) 
  • Dairy producers 
  • Don’t fit one of these categories? Contact us to see if we can work with you. 
Am I ready to join this program?

We are looking for agricultural producers and meat processors that are interested in or are considering transitioning to Organic in the next 3 years. Some producers and processors will be more prepared for this transition than others, depending on how many organic practices you might already be implementing on your farm or in your processing facility. We encourage all producers and processors who have a genuine interest in transitioning to Organic to apply, regardless of how prepared you feel. 

How will this program actually help me?

Transitioning to Organic can offer a variety of benefits for producers and processors, but the journey through transition can have barriers and challenges to plan for. TeamAg is prepared to help you plan for this transition across agronomic, operational, financial, and certification considerations. This will include: 

  • Site visits and consultation to discuss and analyze your existing operation and production methods, and develop a detailed plan on the nuts and bolts of your transition. 
  • Support on actually preparing and applying for Organic certification 
  • Analysis on current and future financial performance during and after the transition to Organic. 
When I finish this program, will I be Certified Organic?

Possibly. For those that meet certain Organic requirements, they may be able to be ‘fast tracked’ to become certified Organic, and at the end of the program you would have the ability to apply for certification. Others may have longer timelines (3 years) to ultimately become eligible for Organic certification. And still others may go through this program and determine that becoming Organic is not the right decision for them. Regardless, if you engage thoughtfully with this program, you will become fully prepared to make the transition to Organic if you choose to.

How long is this program?

We expect this program to take one year for participating farmers and meat processors to complete, although the Organic transition process can take three years or longer before certification for farmers. Meat processors may transition much quicker than this. 

Organic FAQs:

Why does Certified Organic matter? What are the benefits?

Organic food products are increasing in the marketplace, and consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits. Environmental concerns have caused consumers to appreciate sustainable and organic agriculture. Consumers and growers are considering their health and the health of their families and workers. Soil is every farmer’s most important asset, and there is no doubt that crops grow better in well-cared-for organic soil so the health of the environment is improved

What does “Organic Certification” mean and how does the process work?

The United States Department of Agriculture requires anyone who produces, processes or handles organic agricultural products must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier in order to sell, label or represent their products as “organic: and use the USDA organic seal.” To become certified, an organic producer, processor or handler must develop, implement, and maintain an organic system plan. 

Once an organic system plan is approved, a qualified organic inspector will perform an on-site evaluation of the organic operation. Then, based on review of the organic system plan, inspection report and related documents, your certifying organization will determine whether the operation meets the requirements of organic certification. A certified operation must update its organic system plan, pay fees and be inspected annually. 

Organic certification is not a guarantee of quality or purity of the product. Rather, it is evidence of the operation’s adherence to a prescribed system of agriculture and food production that involves the building and enhancing of the soil naturally, protection of the environment, and avoidance of toxic synthetic substances. 

Is there a lot of paperwork for Organic certification?

USDA requires that producers submit an “Organic System Plan”. TeamAg will provide an application to help you meet those requirements and our staff can assist you with completing the application. Record-keeping is required and varies according to the type of operation.

What if my whole operation doesn’t qualify?

You can place a portion of your farm or handling operation under organic management (with an approved organic system plan) and certify other areas as they become eligible. If you intend to manage part of your operation non-organically, proper separation and record-keeping must be maintained between organic and non-organic production.

How difficult is it to become Certified Organic?

The honest answer here is: It depends. Some farmers and meat processors will be better positioned than others to make the transition to USDA Certified Organic. For instance, a farmer that is already utilizing organic practices, is receiving premium pricing, and just hasn’t formalized their Organic certification will have a much easier time with the transition and could likely execute this quickly. On the other hand, if the farm or meat processor is utilizing conventional practices regularly, is in the commodity market, and is surrounded by other conventional producers, this could pose more challenges.  

We believe that most producers and processors – with thoughtful planning, consideration, and expert support – can make the transition to become certified Organic.  

What are some other resources on Organic that I can check out?

Our Team:

2022 Peggy Portrait

Peggy Fogarty, M.S.

Agricultural Business Consultant

Peggy assists farmers in evaluating the financial impact of transitioning to organic production and implementing strategic marketing and business strategies that lead to success. As one of the early founders of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, Peggy co-owned and operated a certified organic farm in Ephrata from 1999-2012. She helped establish Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. Her services include writing business plans, conducting feasibility studies, and developing budgets and pricing strategies to increase profitability


Sue Ellen Johnson, PhD

Organic Farm Systems Specialist

Sue Ellen advises farmers on planning and implementing production-based agroecosystem solutions to transition to regenerative and organic systems. Sue Ellen has been a regenerative farm systems advisor with TeamAg since 2021. She is the author of Crop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual through the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES). Her services include crop-livestock integration, pasture enterprises, and animal well-being.


Leslie Zuck, Esq.

Organic Certification Specialist

Leslie guides farmers and processors on the certification process, and record-keeping standards. Leslie co-founded Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) and served as its Executive Director for 21 years. She is the owner-operator of Common Ground Organic Farm for over 35 years. She has performed quality and certification audits for the USDA National Organic Program, and edited content for the Organic Integrity Learning Center. Her services include developing a transition plan, a record-keeping system, support with the certification application, and conducting a pre-inspection audit.

Organic Transition in the News:


Want to learn more?


If you have questions, or are interested to consider a potential transition to organic, we’d love to talk!


Feel free to call the TeamAg office or fill out the contact form below:


TeamAg, Inc.

120 Lake Street

Ephrata, PA 17520


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