Organic Inspection

Completed our first organic inspection!
I have to admit, although we had all our paperwork, I was a bit nervous before the inspector arrived. Even though we have spent a lot of time thinking and planning our farm, it is always unnerving to have someone come and “judge” you. Luckily we had a wonderful inspector named John who was very personable but also professional and walked us through the entire process.

We did a field walk so he could look at the soil and plants to give him an indication on the overall health of our land. Of course, this was in the dry period and after the first cutting of hay, so the fields were a little stunted looking…if only he could have seen the glorious stand we had in June/July!!! We also had to show him the buffer areas between us and neighbors, and the protected riparian area down by Blue Creek. Then we had to go through all the necessary paperwork to show we hadn’t used any prohibited substances since buying the land in May 2010; and that we were following our Organic System Plan we filed with our application to the WSDA (our certifying agency).

Since we had only added seeds, the main concern was the seed tags and any inoculants. Thankfully I kept all the tags, and our alfalfa inoculant was OMRI listed. We searched for organic seeds, but grass and legumes aren’t that often available organically. So we settled on Rainier Seeds (Davenport, WA) that only handles non-GMO seeds and have had a good relationship with them.

A secondary concern was how the hay was harvested and stored. Although our plan is to add animals and have an organic dairy farm, for the next few years our crop is hay that is harvested by a neighbor. Thus, we had to verify how it was harvested (the machines were cleaned between his farm and ours) and that it was stored separately in his barns.

After the field walk, the paperwork, and showing John our hay at our neighbors, John said he had to file a report with the WSDA and we would here from them. He did, however, say he was recommending us for Organic certification and that we had excellent records.

So…now just waiting for something to come in the mail from Olympia, WA!