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Record keeping workshop for organic


December 21, 2011
By Canadian Organic Growers

Topics

December
19, 2011, Ottawa, Ont – Canadian Organic Growers chapters in Eastern Ontario
and West Quebec (COG Ottawa), and Perth-Waterloo-Wellington (COG PWW) are
teaming up to offer new and existing farmers training opportunities related to
organic production and certification.

December
19, 2011, Ottawa, Ont – Canadian Organic Growers chapters in Eastern Ontario
and West Quebec (COG Ottawa), and Perth-Waterloo-Wellington (COG PWW) are
teaming up to offer new and existing farmers training opportunities related to
organic production and certification.

The
workshops will be offered over the winter in both Eastern Ontario and Western
Ontario, thanks in part to the support of the Agricultural Management Institute
(AMI)
.

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The Record
Keeping for Organic Farming workshop is based on the COG handbook Record Keeping for Organic
Growers

(published 2010). The workshop identifies which types of records are necessary
for organic certification and helps farmers avoid keeping records that are not
necessary. Workshop participants will learn different options for setting up a
record keeping system for both computer savvy farmers and those that prefer to
use pen and paper. There will be reviews of how to employ record keeping tools
from calendars to spreadsheets, and from pocket books to smartphones.

“I
repeatedly hear from farmers that one of the main barriers to transitioning to
organic production is the mountains of records they need to keep,” notes Colin
Lundy, farmer outreach coordinator with COG Ottawa.

Lundy
admits that some existing organic farmers also identify record keeping as a
significant farm management headache.

“There
does not need to be mountains of records, and records can be a useful tool
without taking up all of a farmer’s time,” he said.

Organic
records prove the organic integrity of farm products throughout the production
process. According to Lundy, organic farmers with a record keeping system in
place can also use these records as important management tools to increase the
efficiency, sustainability and profitability of their farms, as well as for
other types of inspections such as animal welfare and food safety.

The Record
Keeping for Organic Farming workshop is appropriate for all farmers potentially interested in
organic certification, whether they are conventional farmers considering a
transition to organic production or are already certified organic and looking
for a way to improve this aspect of farm management. Likewise the workshop
provides specific information for crop, livestock and fruit/vegetable
producers.

The
workshop is developed and delivered by Maureen Bostock, co-owner of Sweet
Meadow Farm, a certified organic fruit and vegetable farm in Lanark County.
Bostock is a trained workshop facilitator, an organic inspector, and an
inspection evaluator. She also sits on the Permitted Substance List Working
Group
for the Canadian Organic Standards and has been appointed to the
Standards Interpretation Committee by the Organic Federation of Canada. All
this makes her an extremely valuable resource for farmers interested in organic
agriculture.

“No one
enjoys record-keeping except bookkeepers,” said Bostock. “The value in this
recordkeeping course is learning to make the records work to help you farm
better while at the same time satisfying the requirements of organic
certification.”

The
one-day Recording Keeping for Organic Farming workshops will be delivered in
Ottawa on January 21, 2012 and in Western Ontario on March 10, 2012.
Registration includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the COG publication, Record
Keeping for Organic Growers
. Discounts available for additional registrants from single farm
businesses.

For more
information, updates, or to register visit the Canadian Organic Growers website
www.cog.ca/shop
and click “Events” or contact COG Ottawa’s or COG PWW’s respective farmer outreach coordinators: Colin Lundy, colin@cog.ca, 613-493-0020 and Tegan Renner, outreach@cogwaterloo.ca,
226-251-3012.


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