This article brings together ethnographic fieldwork with archival research to show that debates about human agency are central to the contemporary meaning of organic agriculture in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. Through a study of an initiative taken by the Uttarakhand state government to promote certified organic agriculture among the region’s smallholder farmers, the article demonstrates that debates about human agency in relation to soil, manure, and compost are bound up with historical as well as ongoing processes of state formation in the Uttarakhand region. After examining how state officials recognize certain forms of agricultural practice as agentive,but not others, the article concludes with an exploration of how farmers navigate newfound agrarian identities.