Organic farming is different from conventional farming in several ways. Organic farmers cannot use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. They cannot use genetically modified organisms. Their animals have to be fed organic feed and must be allowed to go outside. Any animal that has been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones cannot go into the organic food supply.
If the farmer makes more than $5,000 per year from organic farming, he or she needs to have the farm certified by an agency approved by the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA). These agencies will visit a farm and make sure that all of the procedures there follow the USDA guidelines for organic food production.
In order to be efficient in their production without using antibiotics or growth hormones, a farmer needs to make sure his animals are fed well and are under as little stress as possible, as poor nutrition and stress can cause disease.
Because they cannot use most synthetic fertilizers, the organic farmer must come up with other ways to ensure that his crop does well. He can rotate crops between fields to allow the soil to rest between harvests. He can also use compost to increase the nutrient content of the soil. If pests are a problem, he can release other insects that will eat the pests, but not harm his crop.
If the farmer is still having problems, he can consult the National List of Allowed Synthetic and Prohibited Non-Synthetic Substances, which lists the fertilizers and pesticides he can use, if necessary.