University of Minnesota
Organic Risk Management, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.

Organic Risk Management.

Tools for Managing Pest and Environmental Risks to Organic Crops in the Upper Midwest

Organic agriculture is an ecologically-based management system with the primary objective of optimizing the health of soil, animals, and people.

Why is it important to address risk management in organic farming?

Risk is involved whenever producers make decisions where the outcome is uncertain. Part of risk management is choosing to use resources to effectively achieve your objectives and to avoid loss, while still maximizing opportunities.

photo of alfalfa plants in bloom

In this publication, we focus on production risks for crops that include cultural practices, variety selection, and management of pests and diseases.

photo of oats interplanted with alfalfa

This publication will help growers who are contemplating adopting organic production practices understand the risks that are associated with organic production and make choices that will minimize those risks. Additionally, this guide will also be beneficial to all organic producers, regardless of their level of experience.

How to use this manual

We have provided two alternate versions of this manual. The first is in a PDF format with color graphics. These can be read with Adobe Reader, available at We also have made available the same materials in plain text.

At the end of each chapter are quizzes to gauge your risk in a given topic. Electronic versions of the quizzes at the end of the chapters are also available at:

For more information about this publication, please contact:

Kristine Moncada
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
411 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108

Development of this manual and research that supported it were funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Acknowledgements

wordmark for Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station

logo for Risk Management Agency (RMA)

logo for National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

wordmark for Southwest Research and Outreach Center at Lamberton, MN

wordmark for College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota



Interactive Quiz Design

Paul Brady

Publication Design

Arlene West Communications

Website Production

Jane Grimsbo Jewett