What is Organic?
Organic by definition means from living organisms, like organic matter, but when it comes to food production this means a whole lot more.  Any land that produces the "organic food" must free from synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc for at least the past three years.  The products must involve only the use of fertilizers and pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin.  From USDA standards, a complete series of rules and guidelines must be adhered to in order to maintain "organic standards." 
At Dearing Country Farms we also make every effort to utilize earth friendly as well as good conservation practices.  We utilize crop rotation, soil conservation, wildlife preservation, organic land and plant buffering, nature conservancy, prairie and habitat restoration and an overall ethical respect for nature in general.  We employ biological diversity to ensure soil fertility and natural pest and weed control.

Why Buy Organic?
The bottom line is "IT'S HEALTHIER"!  Not only will you be eating better quality food (food without the toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, steroids, vaccines, and altered/modified genetics), but from Dearing Country Farms, it will be fresh, locally produced and better for you and your family.  The hens that lay our eggs are humanely treated, cage free, free range, allowed to pasture and grown organically - so nothing synthetic going into the hens, thus only naturally produced, healthier and better tasting eggs for you.

Why Does it Cost More?
It really boils down to the time factor.  It is very time consuming to produce organic produce.  The individualized care for each plant takes time, production levels are lower due to allowing nature to control the growth instead of man.  We only help nature do what it does naturally instead of doing the work for nature like conventional farming practices.  We pick products by hand and reduce dependency on machinery.  We are unable to go out and purchase synthetic chemical to use as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, which are typically mass produced and relatively cheap, then apply them with sprayers and spreader equipment.  Commercially grown produce is mass produced.  The sole purpose of conventional farming is to make money.  This equates to producing the most crops on the least amount of land and lower expenses.  They do this by genetically altering plants to be more productive, manufacturing synthetic chemicals and applying them to reduce disease, kill pests and competing plants, and increase the growing potential of the soils.  

Sources of Information and Links

Farm Direct



Image containing national organic program banner, farm scene, and two people holding a basket of food with the USDA Organic seal on the basket.










environemental directory of green products, for an eco-friendly lifestyle





Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association (BDA)




OrganicAgInfo Search 






O’Mama Report

Quality Assurance International (QAI)





List of organizations and programs involved in small farm work

Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA)
Description: IIRA is designed to improve the quality of life in rural areas by developing public-private partnerships with local agencies on community development projects in rural areas. The Institute works on projects including rural economic and community development (including value-added agriculture), rural health care, rural education, rural public transportation, public management policies, housing, and technology.
Dr. Norman Walzer, Director · Stipes 520 · Macomb, IL 61455 · (309) 298-1031 · e-mail: N-Walzer@wiu.edu · website: www.iira.org/index.asp

Illinois Small Farm Task Force
Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Chair · University of Illinois · PO Box 410 · Greenview, IL 62642 · (217) 968-5512 · e-mail: cvnghgrn@uiuc.edu · website: www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/smallfarm/

Illinois Stewardship Alliance
Description: ISA is a citizen's organization that promotes a safe and nutritious food system, family farming, and healthy communities by advocating diverse, humane, and socially just and ecologically sustainable production and marketing practices.
Mark Beorkrem, Executive Director · ISA · PO Box 648 · Rochester, IL 62563 · (217) 498-9707 · e-mail: isa@illinoisstewardshipalliance.org · website: www.illinoisstewardshipalliance.org/

Initiative for the Development of Entrepreneurs in Agriculture
Description: IDEA is a statewide initiative created by the Univ of IL that conducts research, develops educational products, and provides services that encourage farmers to incorporate entrepreneurial strategies which direct their marketing efforts to meeting consumer demand.
Kim Tack · University of Illinois · 4550 Kennedy Drive · East Moline, IL 61244 · (309) 796-0512 · e-mail: kimtack@uiuc.edu · website: web.extension.uiuc.edu/iidea/index.html

Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society
Description: A farmer organization with 7 regional chapters in Illinois. Promoting sustainable and organic farming both on-farm and through policy initiatives.
Shannon Allen, President · Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District · 985 West Pershing Rd, Suite E4 · Decatur, IL 62526 · (217) 877-5670

Illinois Value-Added Rural Development Center
Description: IVARDC seeks to improve the incomes of Agricultural producers and small business owners and expand employment opportunities in rural Illinois by capturing more value-added dollars in their operations.
Mary Holmes, Manager · Illinois Value-Added Rural Development Center · Seal Hall 203, 1 University Circle · Macomb, IL 61455 · (309) 298-2674 · e-mail: ML-Holmes@wiu.edu · website: www.value-added.org/

Rural Enterprise and Economic Development Initiative
Description: READI works to expand income and job opportunities in rural alternative agricultural enterprises through a program of applied research and technical assistance. The program supports agricultural/rural enterprise development in three targeted areas: aquaculture, nontraditional and value-added alternative grain products, and grape and wine enterprises.
Dr. Sue Kohler · Southern Illinois University Carbondale · Office of Economic and Regional Development · Mailcode: 6891 · Carbondale, IL 62901 · (618) 536-4451 · e-mail: skohler@siu.edu · website: www.siu.edu/~readi

University of Illinois Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program
Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant and Dan Anderson, Co-Coordinators · University of Illinois · W-503 Turner Hall · 102 S. Goodwin · Urbana, IL 61801 · (217) 968-5512 or (217) 333-1588 · e-mail: cvnghgrn@uiuc.edu, aslan@uiuc.edu · website: www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/

Funding Sources

Illinois Council on Food and Agriculture Research
Description: The mission of C-FAR is to secure additional resources to adequately fund relevant and high-quality research and related outreach programs that lead to profitable, consumer-sensitive, and environmentally sound food and agricultural systems in Illinois and the nation.
Kraig A. Wagenecht, Executive Administrator · Illinois Council on Food & Agricultural Research (C-FAR) · 1101 W. Peabody Dr · Urbana, IL 61801 · (217) 244-4232 · e-mail: wagenech@uiuc.edu · website: www.ilcfar.org/

Illinois Department of Agriculture C-2000 Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program
Description: A statewide grant program that provides grants in the areas of (1) On-Farm Research and Demonstration; (2) Outreach and Education; and (3) University Research
Mike Rahe, Coordinator · Illinois Department of Agriculture · PO Box 19281 · Springfield, IL 62794-9281 · (217) 785-5594 · e-mail: mrahe@agr.state.il.us · website: www.agr.state.il.us/


Illinois Agritourism - agritourism.uiuc.edu/

Illinois Center for Soy Foods - soyfoodsillinois.uiuc.edu/

Illinois Department of Agriculture - www.agr.state.il.us/

Illinois Fresh - www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/fresh/

Illinois Small Business Office - www.illinoisbiz.biz/bus/sba.html

Illinois Specialty Farm Products - web.aces.uiuc.edu/value/

Illinois State Water Survey, Alternative Crops Project - www.sws.uiuc.edu/data/altcrops/

Illinois Stewardship Alliance - www.illinoisstewardshipalliance.org/

Illinois Virtual Forest - ilvirtualforest.nres.uiuc.edu/

Lake Land College - webclass.lakeland.cc.il.us/susag/index.cfm

Rural Enterprise and Alternative Agriculture Development Initiative - www.siu.edu/~readi

Rural Partners - www.ruralpartners.org/

Rural Route 2 - www.extension.uiuc.edu/ruralroute/

USDA Farm Service Agency - www.fsa.usda.gov/il/

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/

USDA Rural Development - www.rurdev.usda.gov/il/index.html

University of Illinois Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program - www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/


A Different Field - www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/resources/diffield.html

Farm Direct Guide - www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/resources/farmdirect/

The Illinois Guide to Direct Farm Sales

Current Publications by the University of Illinois Extension and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences - www.extension.uiuc.edu/pubs.html

Current Publications by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) - www.iira.org/pubsnew/index.asp


Agroecology News and Perspectives - www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/news/newspersp.html

Agroecology Sustainable Agriculture Program Update - www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/topics/newsletter.html

A Listing of Current Newsletters by University of Illinois Extension and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences - www.extension.uiuc.edu/pubs.html

Regular Events

Grant Writing Workshops (January-February)
Sustainable Agriculture Tours (May-October)

Other Small Farm Resources

Clarkson Grain Company
Description: Purchaser of organic corn, soybeans, wheat, and millet
PO Box 80, 320 E. South St · Cerro Gordo, IL 61818-0080 · (800) 252-1638 · website: www.clarksongrain.com

CSA Learning Center at Angelic Organics
Description: Agro-ecology education, food security, and farmer training programs.
1547 Rockton Rd · Caledonia, IL 61011 · (815) 389-8455 · e-mail: learn@CSALearningCenter.org · website: www.CSALearningCenter.org

Goodness Greenness
Description: Distributor of certified organic produce and dairy. Primary markets are Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit. Certified as an organic handler and repack operation by Guaranteed Organic.
5959 South Lowe · Chicago, IL 60621 · (773) 224-4411 · e-mail: sales@goodnessgreeness.com · website: www.goodnessgreeness.com

Illinois Department of Agriculture, Ag News, Education and Services Toll-Free Hot Line
Description: provides information about the department's programs and services.
1-800-273-4763 (voice and TDD) · PO Box 19281 · State Fairgrounds · Springfield, IL 62794-9281 · website: www.agr.state.il.us/programs/index.htm
eggs: www.agr.state.il.us/programs/consumer/egg/egglaw.html
meat and poultry: www.agr.state.il.us/AnimalHW/Meat&Pol.html
Livestock Management Facilities Act: www.agr.state.il.us/Environment/LMFA/index.html
Organic contact: Kent McFarland, Bureau of Marketing · (217) 782-6297 or (217) 782-6675.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Description: Small business information available. First Stop Business Information Center is the "first stop"to state services and assistance with starting a business and answers to your questions about state business requirements.
Call toll free:1-800-252-2923 · e-mail: firststop@illinoisbiz.biz · website: www.illinoisbiz.biz/bus/sba.html

Illinois Department of Insurance, Consumer Information
Description: Consumer Market Division is responsible for consumer protection and education programs and non-financial regulatory functions. Assists producers identify insurance needs and insurance companies.
320 W. Washington Street · Springfield, IL 62767 · (217) 782-4515 · website: www.ins.state.il.us/Main/consumer_info.htm

Illinois Department of Revenue
Description: Small farm businesses need to obtain a tax ID number and submit sales taxes.
Willard Ice Building · 101 W Jefferson St · Springfield, IL 62702 · General Information: 1-800-732-8866 · website: www.revenue.state.il.us/Businesses/Faq/busreg.html

Illinois Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) Chapter #1
Description: Chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), an international organic certifying agency.
Jon Klingenberg · 13138 Witt Ave · Butler, IL 62015 · (217) 594-7356 · e-mail: klingenberg@consolidated.net

Illinois State Treasurer's Office
Description: Agriculture and Alternative/Value Added Agriculture Link Deposit Loan Program is one of the largest link-deposit loan programs in the nation and is available to farmers statewide through over 1000 financial institutions, and has helped more than 10,000 farmers across Illinois.
Mindey Varley, Coordinator, Agriculture Programs · 1 West Old State Capital Plaza, Suite 814 · Springfield, IL 62701 · (217) 558-6215 · e-mail: mvarley@treasurer.state.il.us · website: www.state.il.us/treas/Programs/agriculture.htm

Indiana Certified Organic (ICO)
Description: Certifying in Indiana and surrounding states.
Cissy Bowman, Organizational Director · 83645 SR 39 · Clayton, IN 46118 · (317) 539-4317 · e-mail: cvof@iquest.net

Midwest Organic Farmers Cooperative
Description: A farmer-owned, farmer-driven cooperative whose members raise and market organic grains, oilseeds, forage and livestock feed. The cooperative is an affiliate member of the Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM).
Kevin Brussell, Marketing Director · 572 Co. Rd 2100E · Casey, IL 62420 · (217) 923-2702 · website: www.midwestorganic.com