Interested in transitioning to organic? Unsure about how to handle weeds, fertility, and pests? Need help navigating the certification process, finding specialized equipment or locating new markets? Looking for an experienced mentor?
Let Rodale Institute help simplify the process and set you up for success with our Organic Farm Consulting Services.
Opportunities for Farmer-led Research Collaboration
Our organic crop consulting experts have experience with different crops, soils, and climates throughout the U.S. With hubs in Pennsylvania, California, Iowa, and Georgia, our experts are here to work for you wherever you’re located.
Benefits of Transitioning to Organic
Low conventional commodity prices and an increasing cost of production have put farmers in a difficult position that relies primarily on cost-cutting and unsustainable scaling to generate profit. Organic commodities can fetch two to three times the price of their conventional counterparts, and sales of organic products have grown steadily over the past decade. The price premium for organic products allows farmers to make a greater return on their investment, be more self-sufficient, and rely on a stabilizing market and buyer relationships rather than competition with imports and outsized corporate producers.
By definition, organic crop production does not rely on chemical inputs for soil fertility or pest and disease control. Instead, organic farmers use cover crops, compost, animal inputs, and crop rotation to build the soil and produce strong, resilient farms. Healthy soil is key to managing extreme weather events like drought and flooding.
Organic agriculture allows farmers to reduce their dependence on companies that aim only to sell them products and don’t necessarily have their best interests in mind. Organic production works because it’s based on the natural cycling of nutrients and cash crops rather than the continued purchase and application of chemical products and genetically engineered seed.
Getting farmland certified organic can increase the value of the land and give farmers a valuable asset for future generations.
Organic certification of your farm products tells consumers that you meet rigorous standards and that they can buy with confidence.
The Journey to Organic
Explore these resources for a firsthand look into what it's like to transition to organic:
For a limited time, Rodale Institute’s Consulting Services are FREE to farmers in Pennsylvania and certain Midwest states who are interested in transitioning to an organic or regenerative organic production system. This support is provided by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and additional private partners.
Pricing for all other out-of-state clients is available upon request.
Rodale Institute has a number of partners that help to provide a streamlined process for farmers through the transition period, including obtaining certification and selling their organic products. There’s no better time to diversify and improve your operation.
Organic Crop Consultants
Director, Organic Crop Consultancy
Sam provides on-site technical assistance to farmers, landowners, and businesses that are interested in transitioning land to certified organic and regenerative production systems. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from Cornell University and has over 12 years of practical farming experience in Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. Sam is a Certified Crop Adviser and is IOIA Certified in Crops and Livestock.
Emily Newman Gantz
Organic Crop Consulting Program Manager
Emily joined the consulting team in January 2020 and helps farmers navigate organic compliance as they transition to certified organic. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management, focusing in Soil Science, from Pennsylvania State University and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. in Food and Agribusiness from Delaware Valley University. Prior to joining the team at Rodale Institute, she worked in regulatory compliance of organics for a certification agency and a materials review organization. She is IOIA trained, a Certified Crop Advisor and serves as a board member for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).
California Organic Crop Consultant
Nathanael Gonzales-Siemens is returning to his roots and the spirit of discovery that first brought him back into farming after a decade of teaching in inner-city Los Angeles and in China and working for criminal justice reform on the West Coast. Nathanael spent his undergrad years studying Plant Genetics and Biology at UCLA and has a teaching credential for CSU Los Angeles. He grew up on a small farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley and founded two businesses there with his family. The first, now run by his brother, is focused on food justice and sovereignty and the second, operated by his wife, strives to implement regenerative farming practices and to equip and empower traditionally underrepresented groups.
Midwest Organic Crop Consultant
Nic is a lifelong organic farmer, having grown up and farmed with his family on their certified organic farm in southeast North Dakota, raising small grains and vegetable seed. Prior to working at Rodale Institute, he worked in Extension for the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University. He also served several years on the NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant Review Committee. Nic is IOIA certified in crops and holds a Master’s in Agricultural & Extension Education from North Carolina State University. He is located in north-central Minnesota.
Midwest Organic Crop Consultant
Joining the team in January 2021, Léa is thrilled to work with a renowned organization and connect with new farmers as an Organic Crop Consultant based in Madison, WI. After growing up on a grain farm in Northeastern France, Léa earned an M.S. in Agronomy and Agroecology. For four years, she was a Research Specialist with Dr. Erin Silva at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, overseeing diverse research projects—including cover crop-based reduced tillage systems, organic row crops, small grains, cover crops, industrial hemp, and more. Léa has always been fascinated by sustainable agronomic crop production and values maintaining close relationships with farmers to motivate and inform her work.
Small Farms & Diversified Vegetable Consultant
Kegan was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, before moving to Philadelphia to complete his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Temple University. After joining a CSA in the city, he was hooked on the production of fresh, local, seasonal food. It has led him from Sales manager of a 5th-generation dairy farm, to managing a diversified, organic farm, to the Rodale Institute Farmer Training Program, and finally to the facilities and landscape team at the Founder’s Farm Campus. Kegan also owns and operates a small organic farm in Emmaus, PA.
Midwest Organic Crop Consultant
Joining the team in August 2021, Rachel is helping farmers in the Midwest navigate the process of transitioning from a conventional to an organic production system. Growing up in East-Central Illinois, Rachel stayed close to home and earned her B.S. in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and then found herself ‘across the pond’ at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland where she is currently pursuing her M.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. She has a research background in soybeans, corn, small grains and entomology. Rachel is based out of Champaign, Illinois.
Organic Livestock & Dairy Consultant
Ryan joined the team in August 2021 where he assists livestock and dairy farmers in their transition from conventional to organic meat and dairy production. He holds a B.S. in Supply Chain Management from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Ryan shifted his career from supply chain management to organic and regenerative agriculture to pursue his passion for improving the global regenerative food supply. Prior to joining the team at Rodale Institute, Ryan worked in farm operations at multiple livestock farms in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Ryan is located at the Rodale Institute Headquarters in Kutztown, PA.
Southeast Organic Crop Consultant
Zach joined the Rodale Consultancy Team in August 2021 and is based at the Southeast Organic Center in Georgia. Zach grew up in Georgia but has had the opportunity to work on diverse agricultural systems in various other locations around the world. Zach holds a M.S. in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems and is passionate to share his knowledge of sustainability and organic practices. Prior to joining the Rodale Institute, he worked at an organic certifier and has an in depth understanding of the organic regulations and hopes to share his knowledge with farmers who would like to succeed in converting to organic management practices.
Thank you for your interest in our Farm Consulting services! Please fill out this form and one of our Organic Crop Consultants will get back to you as soon as possible.
Organic Farm Search Tool
Looking to connect with other farms in your area? Use our searchable map to find any certified organic operation in the United States.