Organic Production Handbook

This handbook includes invaluable information about organic practices, NOP regulations, EQIP conservation practices that support organic operations, organic nutrient management, ecological weed management, and a list of key resources.

Organic Production Handbook

Table of Contents


A Brief History and Philosophy of Organic Farming
What is organic farming? How does it relate to conservation?
Mark Schonbeck


Organic Practice Guide
Brian Baker
A clear and comprehensive overview of the requirements for organic crop and livestock production. Includes information on soil fertility, crop rotation, pest management, and livestock production.


National Organic Program Regulations
Karen RM McSwain
A summary of the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations to provide a better understanding of the guiding principles of certified organic production.


Guidance for Selection of Conservation Practices to Support Organic Operations


Environmental Quality Incentives Program-Organic Initiatives
Karen RM McSwain
Conservation practices that compliment organic production practices


The Organic Certification Process
Karen RM McSwain
The six steps in the organic certification process, including certification agencies that work in the Carolinas.


Practical Nutrient Management for Organic Vegetable Crops
Mark Schonbeck
How to apply conventional soil fertility concepts to organic vegetable systems.


Ecological Weed Management for Organic Farms
Mark Schonbeck
Effective weed management strategies including observation and planning tactics, preventive (cultural) practices, and various control methods.


Key Resources for Organic Production
Karen RM McSwain
Basic overview and contact information for various organizations that provide information pertaining to organic production.




This project received support from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. CFSA would like to thank Mark Schonbeck and Brian Baker, Ph.D. for contributing documents to this handbook. Permission is granted to freely copy or reprint this document or use it electronically, with proper attribution.


Questions? Email Karen McSwain, CFSA’s Organic Initiative Coordinator or Eric Soderholm, CFSA’s Organic Transition Coordinator.


Other Production Resources

General sustainable production information:
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)
Organic Farming Research Foundation
USDA Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE)
Growing Small Farms Sustainable Agriculture
NC Specialty Crops Program 
USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
NC State Organic Resource Guide
The Rodale Institute
Guide for Beginning Farmers 

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