By Sue Ellen Johnson and Eric Toensmeier

Crop rotation is central to the success of organic farms. So how do successful farmers plan and execute crop rotations?

We asked twelve expert organic farmers this question when they gathered at a farmhouse in upstate New York for three snowy days in 2002. Between homemade organic meals, they detailed how they plan and execute crop rotations on their farms. The expert farmers, who together have over 200 years of experience, shared many concepts and insights about crop rotation management. Twenty other organic growers have since reviewed and added to the panel farmers’ conclusions. Their cumulative knowledge and common practice are summarized in this chapter. Their specific actions and decisions related to crop rotation are outlined in the chart “Managing a Crop Rotation System.” The chart delineates the key “responsibilities” and the necessary “tasks” that need to be executed to fulfill each key responsibility.