For farmers thinking of making the switch, I’d recommend a FAQ from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with answers to common questions about the National Organic Program. Also of value is the North East Organic Farming Association of New York’s guide to figuring out if you should be certified organic or not.
If you decide this is the right path for your farm, I encourage you to take full advantage of the organic label to help brand your products. But keep in mind that if going organic doesn't fit into your farm plans, simply educating your customers about organic farming is a great alternative.
Having raised animals for several years myself, I've dealt with the ever-changing organic market and have learned a few things. When most people hear that “organic is better” on the news or from friends, they believe it – no questions asked. But often this doesn't apply to small farmers that raise animals for their community. I raise animals without any additive growth hormones, using feeds that are as natural as possible. But I also provide vaccinations and antibiotics as needed to maintain good health and well-being – which isn't, by definition, organic. Many people fail to understand that these treatments prevent harmful diseases and are used to ensure that the animals stay healthy and productive. Knowing this, my customers frequently prefer my “natural” methods over other strictly organic practices.
In the end, going organic can be beneficial to many farmers. But I encourage you to weigh the pros and cons of doing so to decide if it’s right for your farm. You may also find that providing a little explanation to your methods, as I do, is equally important to your customers.