Why Organic Production is Increasing

The USDA recently announced that the area of US farmland devoted to organic production increased by 11% in 2016. Why is this?

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The Benefits of Organic Production

Organic production is increasing for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include the health benefits of organic food, the environmental benefits of organic farming, and the potential economic benefits of organic agriculture. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.

Improved soil health

Organic farmers have long understood the importance of healthy soils for both crop production and the environment. Organic farmers use a variety of soil management practices, such as crop rotation, cover crops, and compost, to improve soil health. These practices increase soil organic matter, which improves soil structure, reduces erosion, and fosters beneficial soil microbial activity.

Reduced chemical use

Organic production offers a number of benefits over conventional production, including improved soil and water quality, reduced chemical use, and increased biodiversity.

Of these benefits, reduced chemical use is perhaps the most significant. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides can have harmful effects on the environment, and organic farmers avoid these products altogether.

In addition, organic farmers often rely on more environmentally-friendly methods of pest control, such as crop rotation and using beneficial insects. These practices not only reduce chemical use, but also help to improve soil health and protect water resources.

Enhanced biodiversity

Organic production enhances biodiversity at all levels of ecological organization, from genes to ecosystems. This is achieved via the organic farmers’ and growers’ avoidance of synthetic crop protection products and their use of practices that maintain soil health and minimize soil disturbance. Synthetic crop protection products are broad-spectrum, so they tend to kill all the species they come into contact with, including beneficial species. Soil disturbance can also reduce biodiversity by destroying or damaging habitats.

Organic agriculture has been shown to have higher levels of genetic diversity than conventional systems. A study in the UK found that organic wheat fields contained, on average, twice as many different plant species as conventional fields (Marvier et al., 2007). Another study, looking at a range of crops in Europe, found that organic agriculture maintains greater on-farm genetic diversity than non-organic agriculture (Klein et al., 2005). The UK study also found that organic wheat fields had higher levels of variation within wheat varieties (i.e. more genetically diverse) than conventional fields.

The Drawbacks of Organic Production

Organic production is often lauded for its sustainability and health benefits, but it is not without its drawbacks. Organic production is more labor intensive, which can drive up costs. Pests and diseases can also be more difficult to control in organic systems, and yield can sometimes be lower. Let’s take a closer look at the some of the drawbacks of organic production.

Poor yields

Organic farmers often have to contend with lower yields than their conventional counterparts. This is because they are not able to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can give crops a boost. In addition, organic farmers may have to deal with more pests and diseases, as natural predators are killed off by pesticides.

This means that organic farmers have to work harder to produce the same amount of food as conventional farmers. This can lead to higher costs, which are often passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

High production costs

Organic foods are typically more expensive than their conventional counterparts. The high cost of organic production has several causes. First, organic farmers have higher labor costs because they often have smaller farms and hand-weed or manually control pests instead of using mechanized equipment or synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Second, organic farmers use organic fertilizers, which are often more expensive than conventional chemical fertilizers. Finally, organic foods often travel farther to reach consumers, further adding to their cost.

Limited availability of organic inputs

Organic production often relies on purchased inputs, such as certified organic seed, that may not be available in all areas or in sufficient quantity. Other organic inputs, such as compost, manure, and cover crops, may be available locally but their use may be limited by lack of knowledge among farmers and ranchers or by concern about violating organic standards. The increased demand for these products has driven up prices in some areas. For example, the price of certified organic soybean seed has more than tripled since 2002.

The Future of Organic Production

Currently, the organic farming industry is worth about $40 billion. The industry is expected to grow at a rate of about 5.5% annually, which means that it will be worth about $60 billion by 2025. The increase in demand for organic products is due to a number of factors, such as the increasing awareness of the health benefits of organic food and the environmental benefits of organic farming.

Increasing demand

Organic agriculture is a rapidly growing industry. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that sales of organic products have increased from $1 billion in 1990 to $39.1 billion in 2016. This growth shows no signs of slowing, as demands for organic products continue to rise.

Reasons for this demand are numerous, but they can be broadly divided into two categories: health concerns and environmental concerns. Consumers who are concerned about their health want to avoid exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which are commonly used in conventional agriculture. Consumers who are concerned about the environment want to avoid supporting farming practices that can degrade soil and water quality.

The USDA has responded to this demand by increasing its support for organic agriculture. In 2010, the agency launched the National Organic Program (NOP), which sets standards for the production and labeling of organic products. The NOP has helped to make organic products more accessible to consumers and has also spurred businesses to invest in organic production.

As the demand for organic products continues to grow, we can expect to see more businesses investing in organic production. This will help to create a more sustainable food system that is better for our health and our environment.

Improving technology

Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system which originated early in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. Organic agriculture continues to be developed by various organic agriculture organizations today. It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged.

In general, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. For instance, naturally occurring pesticides such as pyrethrin and rotenone are permitted, while synthetic pesticides such as DDT and methamidophos are generally prohibited. Synthetic fertilizers, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms are also generally prohibited under organic standards. Prohibitions necessarily mean that not all natural substances are allowed either – e.g., arsenic is a natural substance but is not allowed under organic standards because it is poisonous.

The fundamental concept of organic agriculture is to create synergies between different species of plants and animals in order to achieve a more efficient use of available resources than through monoculture – i.e., growing only one type of crop in an area or grazing only one type of animal on an area of land. Another way of stating this concept is that organic farmers build rather than deplete soil fertility.

Government support

Organic foods are produced using farming practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity. chemicals. Tilth America, a nonprofit dedicated to educating farmers and consumers about organic agriculture, defines organic production this way:

“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows:

“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.”

The USDA organic seal indicates that a product has been certified as meeting the standards set forth in the NOP. To earn certification, farmers must prove to a third-party certifier that they have been following organic practices for at least three years. Once certified, farmers must continue to follow the standards or they will lose their certification. The USDA website has a list of certifying agencies that have been accredited by the NOP.

The organic movement began in the early 1900s in response to the industrialization of agriculture. The term “organic” was first coined by Lord Northbourne in his book Look to the Land (1940), in which he advocated for “a system of husbandry based on living constitutional principles�� as an alternative to what he saw as the damaging effects of chemical-based farming practices. The book was influential in shaping Randolph Hugh’s idea of an organic farm at Willingbrook Farm in England.. In 1942, JI Rodale founded Organic Farming and Gardening magazine, which popularized the term “organic” in North America

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