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Organic Farming

USDA has long been at the forefront of organic farming. To obtain USDA organic certification, a field must go through a 3-year transition during which only organic amendments are added.

Here at ARS, our scientists help organic farmers overcome the challenges they face related to productivity, environmental stewardship, and energy efficiency. We research the biological and physical processes innate to plants, soils, invertebrates, and microbes that naturally regulate pest problems and soil fertility, providing farmers with natural alternatives to using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to keep their crops healthy and plentiful.


In This Section
Can Grass Be Used to Eradicate Pests?

ARS researchers found an effective, organic treatment against nematodes and other pests that uses orchard grass.

Biodegradable Spray Keeps the Toxins Away

ARS researchers developed a new bioplastic-based spray to fight aflatoxins using natural ingredients.

Insect Fight Club: Stink Bug vs. Samurai Wasp

A tiny parasitic wasp known as the samurai wasp, may be the solution to the major economic damage to crops perpetrated by the stink bug.

Organic Manure - Better Fertilizer

Dairy cows that produce organic milk also produce manure capable of replenishing nutrients in soil while slowing nutrient-runoff to nearby water sources.

Shining a Light on Saving Strawberries

ARS scientists have developed a special ultraviolet-C irradiation technique that may keep strawberries mold-free without chemical fungicides.

Composting: Nature's Way of Recycling Organic Materials

Learn the benefits of this natural recycling method and how to get started with composting.

Fighting Pests the Organic Way

ARS researchers may have found an organic pesticide that could help farmers protect their crops from hungry pests.

Can Alfalfa Really Help Save the Planet?

ARS scientists recently found an environmental benefit to growing alfalfa: carbon reduction in the atmosphere.

Precision Sprayer Cuts Down Pesticide Use

ARS scientists have created a state-of-the-art machine that can reduce pesticide use between 30 and 85 percent!

Controlling Disease

Researchers identified several options for controlling potato crop diseases, including spreading their plants with oregano.

Cover Cropping

Scientists have shown that cover cropping can improve organic weed management.

Weed Control Methods

Farmers can reduce weeds while increasing yields by instituting complex crop rotations.

Check Out Our Cool Map

Use our interactive map to find out what revolutionary research is being conducted in your state.