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There are few producers who can meet the requirements of organic farming. In particular, it initially yields less yield than industrial agriculture, but the quality of products and prices, as well as the ability to market and export well offset this seemingly large shortcoming. But before all that, let’s check out in this article what is organic farming, and we will cover a lot more than just the definition.
The definition of organic farming (organic agriculture) is a special system of sustainable management in agriculture and forestry, which includes the cultivation of plants and animals, the production of food, raw materials, natural fibers, and the processing of primary products. It includes all ecological, agricultural and socially justified production and technological methods, interventions and maintenance, the best use of soil fertility and available water, the natural properties of plants, animals, and landscapes, increasing the yield and resistance of plants with the use of natural forces and laws, with prescribing the use of fertilizers, plant protection products, and animals.
Less investment in production and higher product sales value make organic farming competitive and income-friendly.
Organic farming fits in with the concept of sustainable development, as a whole series of measures covering total management aims at environmentally friendly, economically viable, ethically acceptable and socially fair agricultural production, and enables the formation of a significant new area in the agricultural economy with the prospect of reorientation of existing economies in ecological and profitable terms, especially suitable for specialized family farms, opening a special market for environmentally produced products of special quality and supplying the domestic market with those products. It also creates opportunities for foreign sales through tourism and exports, increased employment in agriculture, processing and sales and better utilization of agricultural land.
Organic products are made from natural raw materials without artificial foreign matter. Demand for eco-friendly products is far greater than supply because quality and taste are far beyond the offered industrial products, and the end consumer is willing to pay a significantly higher price.
An actual organic product is labeled as an “organic”, which is a unique prescribed designation of products that have been produced in accordance with the Act and the regulations made thereunder. The main purpose of organic production is to protect the health and life of humans, to protect nature and the environment, and to protect consumers. The constant understanding of natural processes seeks to preserve nature, especially from chemical preparations, heavy metals, and genetically modified organisms and according to other principles described in laws and regulations, all for the sake of preserving natural resources and balance.
What is Organic Farming? The meaning and origin of the term
In 1939, Lord Northbourne coined the term “organic farming” in his book “A Look at the Land” (1940), based on his concept of considering a farm as an organism, to describe a holistic, environmentally balanced approach to agricultural production, in contrast, what he called “chemical agriculture” (referring to artificial fertility and not an organic entity). This is different from the scientific use of the term “organic”, which refers to the type of carbon-containing molecules.
Types of Organic Farming
Processed organic foods usually contain only organic ingredients. Where non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the total plant or animal ingredients must be organic (eg 95% in the US, Canada, and Australia). Non-organic ingredients present must meet the relevant requirements. Foods considered organic must not contain artificial nutritional additives and are often produced with as few artificial procedures and conditions as possible (eg radiation, genetic modification). Pesticides are allowed, unless artificial.
The first consumers interested in organic food sought non-pesticide foods, fresh and minimally processed foods. As organic food requirements increased, big organic food deliveries replaced direct procurements from growers. Today, there is no limit to the size of the farm where organic food is grown, so many large farms have departments where they grow organic food. It is difficult to distinguish such foods on the market, so product labeling has been introduced as a “certified organic” product.
But we can divide types of organic farming into:
- Pure Organic Farming – only using organic means, like biopesticides and organic manures. It completely avoids using any chemicals or inorganic pesticides. It is definitely much harder because of those things, but it is pure, and if you are selling it, food is much more expensive.
- Integrated Organic Farming Systems – pure organic farmers don’t want to use much or any technology in their work. This is different from integrated organic farming systems, which use all technology they can get to make their life easier and to make more food. But, they still don’t include some big amounts of chemicals or pesticides or something like that. Still inside organic rules.
- Integrated Organic Farming – it uses integrated pest and nutrients management, but you still grow your crops from natural resources. That way you can get more crops and have a much easier job, and still eat or sell real, organic food.
Importance of Organic Farming
Unfortunately, in the World, currently, there is only about 1% of organic farming. That is, as you probably guessed, an extremely small number. That is a big problem, we all need to try and solve. If not only for better quality food, then to save our land and our planet.
Organic farming has many benefits, like bringing such vital benefits as preserving the organic composition of the soil. In addition, there is the constant destruction of Ozone by pesticides, leakage emissions from various tractors, industry and more, which organic farming mostly avoids.
Organic farmers use the following practices:
- They maintain and improve soil fertility and structure, as well as biodiversity and erosion reduction. They do this by making their own, organic fertilizer, through dead plants and other organic waste.
- They reduce the risk of human, animal and ecological exposure to toxic effects through pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.
- They tailor their farming ways to meet local conditions and market demands
Advantages and benefits of Organic Farming
There is much to be written about the comparisons between organic and conventional agriculture. There are certainly many books and articles on this subject. However, what is most interesting to growers and consumers is the safe and abundant production of food to feed their families and themselves.
Is there a way to make food production productive but at the same time environmentally friendly? This is a question we must ask ourselves if we are to be profitable agricultural growers who care about the environment. Undoubtedly, conventional agricultural production in the 20th century ensured the production of large quantities of food as growers began to use motorized equipment, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides to produce large quantities of food that the world had never seen before. However, wanting to produce copious amounts of food, we did not realize that there was a price we had to pay for our works, which was a decrease in soil quality.
There are several reasons why investing in an organic farm is primarily about human health, but also greater nutritional value and a better taste of foods, but also environmental protection. People today consume products that are processed to such an extent that they do not provide the body with the necessary nutritional, energy and health standards that ensure its health. We ourselves are aware of the fact that food processing is today the biggest cause of the increase in the incidence of various diseases, and we do not even know how many harmful particles we bring into the body. The only way to avoid the intake of these substances is to encourage an increasing investment in eco-food production in every country in the world.
So, without further ado, we are bringing you the biggest advantages of organic farming.
- Organic products promote soil health – Organic agriculture, on the other hand, places soil quality first, because only healthy soil can produce highly nutritious fruits and vegetables for human consumption. One way growers can maintain soil health is by using natural or as natural as possible ingredients. For example, in ancient times farmers put small fish in the soil to provide fertilizer for the seed.
This interesting way that our ancestors used to grow corn and cereals is not very practical for modern agricultural production.
Instead, we can use hydrolyzed fish fertilizer today. Liquid fish fertilizer is ideal for both soil application and foliar applications and is applicable to all types of crops to provide nutrients that are indispensable to plants. Humic and fulvic acids are natural ingredients of organic matter in any healthy soil. These two ingredients, with other organic acids, are extremely important for the tissue of the plant. Rich soils with enough humus are living soil with trillions of microorganisms and other organisms. They help maintain soil quality and maintain the natural cycle of soil microbial change.
- Useful, accessible and easy to use – Today’s agricultural soils are saturated with constant soil and the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The amount of organic matter in the soil was disturbed, the natural populations of the micro-organisms were damaged, all of which resulted in a decrease in the content of humic substances in the soil. Humic and fulvic acids can be safely extracted from sub-bituminous coal and applied to the soil or foliar to replace the amount of humic substance in the soil. These products are useful, affordable and easy to use.
- Known but sophisticated methods – Farmers have been using seaweed for centuries to supply their crops with 60 nutrients, natural growth hormones and increase resistance to stress changes in the plant. Farmers had to remove the seaweed from the ocean, compost it and put it in the ground, which is a very complicated process.
Today, seaweed has become readily available to those who want to improve their agricultural production. Seaweed can be applied to the soil or foliar. They improve germ health and increase root growth. Today, it is very difficult to deal with organic production alone, which is why many growers use organic products with conventional methods.
- Great for conventional production as well – Conventional growers are often pleasantly surprised when they start applying hydrolyzed fish fertilizer, humic and fulvic acids, seaweed and other organic products and realize that their plants are healthier, with higher yields than usual.
Regardless of whether it is strictly organic or conventional production, there are significant shifts in the production of healthy crops and soil health when organic products are involved in fruit and vegetable production.
It is people who bring about positive change, those who have taken matters into their own hands without waiting for changes in global politics. These are, as we have mentioned, organic farmers, permaculturists, seed workers and keepers of traditional varieties and breeds of livestock, various associations of producers and consumers engaged in lobbying and advocating for better agricultural policy. Let us be the change we want to see in the world because organic farming is the future.
You can also take a look at this great video about Organic farming
Pros and Cons of Organic Farming
Today, the way of production in agriculture involves various activities such as variety selection, tillage, planting, fertilization, maintenance, and harvesting. Each of these procedures has its advantages, but also some disadvantages. The way of organic production is still under development and expansion.
The main purpose of organic production is to protect the health and life of humans, as well as to protect nature and consumers. It is a special system of sustainable management in the fields of agriculture, which includes the cultivation of plants, the production of food, raw materials, natural fibers and the processing of products.
So let’s see what are all those pros and cons of organic farming really about.
Organic farming pros
Organic food is one that is grown naturally, ie free of artificial additives such as artificial pesticides, chemical fertilizers and one that does not contain GMOs. Organic food must reach consumers without adding anything like additives and must not be irradiated. In human history, only organic food was grown until the 20th century, when the first artificial pesticides and fertilizers came.
The organic food movement, popularly called the “green revolution,” was first mentioned in the 1940s.
Organic food production is strictly regulated and organic food comes on the market with certification. Certification requirements vary from country to country.
Also, it has a much lower level of pesticide in itself, which stands out as its main health benefit. Research supports this but it also shows that artificial pesticides are generally not harmful to humans.
Organic producers invest a lot in making their food not only organic but also safe and of superior quality. Fruits and vegetables are organically grown, generally, smell better and taste better than treated ones that support rapid growth but without paying attention to nutritional or any other values that involve taste.
Similarly, organically farmed animals fed a variety of organic foods have a natural meat taste. This meat, again, gives far more nutritional value than that obtained from animals that were fed with food full of additives and intended to gain weight as soon as possible.
For example, milk from organically fed cows has 3 times more omega 3 than conventional milk.
Several studies have suggested that organic milk has significantly more vitamins, trace minerals, and micronutrients than conventional foods. full nutrition nutrients. This is especially important for mothers with babies and young children. In developed countries, the baby and toddler sales sector is generally full of organic products.
Does Organic Food Have Higher Nutritional Value?
Although it does not have scientific support, it is argued that organic foods contain more nutrients such as vitamins. Massively grown vegetables and fruits are grown from GMO seeds and so that the final product is obtained as quickly and at a minimal cost.
Organic foods, on the other hand, are grown “naturally,” following the cycle of the plants being grown. Eg. organic tomatoes will grow on the stem longer than GMO tomatoes.
Does organic food taste better?
Organic food certainly tastes better than food grown in a greenhouse or GMO food. However, it should be borne in mind that any local food is finer than the “greenhouse” industrial.
Numerous interventions constantly threaten and pollute the soil with various waste and poisonous substances such as pesticides and fertilizers. These agents destroy living organisms in the soil which are responsible for the degree of soil fertility. Life on Earth depends on the soil. If there is no soil, there is no life as we know it, so more attention should be paid to sustainable and organic food production.
Organic agriculture puts soil quality first because only on good quality soils rich in organic matter can we produce high-quality fruits and vegetables. One of the ways to preserve soil fertility is to use natural or as natural as possible ingredients.
The advantage of organic fertilizer is that it encourages making sugar in the plant, the fruits are better quality, they have better color and taste. Today’s agricultural soil is saturated with crops, they are often misused and filled with pesticide residues and mineral fertilizers. Organic matter is disturbed in the soil, damage to the natural populations of the micro-organisms was done, all of which resulted in a reduction in the humus content substances in the soil. Soil humus is not a stable component. Any change in the environment will also result in a change in humus components in the soil. Today, the importance of maintenance is recognized in humic components in the soil to preserve soil fertility. Faced with many environmental problems, such as problems of air pollution, the presence of harmful chemicals in grain and animal feed, consumption of organic soil components, growers began to change their relationship to the soil.
Caring for animals
Organic livestock production is based on the utilization of pasture, that is, arable and concentrated nutrients produced in an organic way. The holding system is free, which contributes to better animal health and also allows for the manifestation of the animal’s natural behavior.
When it comes to the organic system of livestock production, it is clear that all products are produced without the use of synthetic and artificial substances. Growth stimulants, artificial colors, urea, microorganisms, synthetic amino acids, and other substances are not used to feed the livestock. All animal nutrition needs, at different stages of development, must be met.
Organic farming takes more care of animals than any other breeding system.
No antibiotics are used
The use of chemically synthesized allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics for preventive treatment is prohibited, unless the animals become ill or injured and must be treated promptly and the phytotherapeutic products are not effective in the treatment of diseases or injuries, and if necessary to avoid the suffering or pain of the animal, then chemically synthesized allopathic veterinary drugs or antibiotics can then be used under the supervision of the veterinarian.
The use of growth enhancers (including antibiotics, coccidiostats, and other artificial growth enhancers) and the use of hormones or similar substances to control reproduction or other uses (eg estrus induction or synchronization) are prohibited.
The standards are high
Unlike conventional foods, the source of organic products is always checked. Organic farms are inspected at least once a year, so we can be sure that the products, which are labeled organic, do indeed comply with the rules of organic production.
GMO means a genetically modified organism (plants, animals, microorganisms) with transplanted genes from other organisms. GM foods are resistant to pests, herbicides, fungi, and viruses.
This is very likely one of the main arguments of organically produced food. Organic production does not allow the use or production of genetically modified organisms.
By consuming eco-products, you can be sure that you do not ingest genetically modified foods. One of the basic assumptions of organic farming is the belief in natural methods, so GMOs are legally banned in organic farming.
Caring for pollinators
We know that bees are the main pollinators (bees carry pollen to the top of the hail, and then from a fertilized flower or hail fruit is produced) without which we would not have food. Insecticides indiscriminately kill all insects because they do not have an insect recognition program and therefore destroy our bees. We are witnessing today that due to the enormous use of insecticides, the number of bees has fallen dangerously, which is very worrying because there is no food without bees.
Preserves the environment
Organic production should contribute to maintaining and increasing fertility, stability, and biodiversity of the soil, but also to preventing soil compaction and erosion, as well as better recycling of ecological materials and the use of renewable energy sources.
The issue of climate change is complex. It is caused mainly by the emission of gases in the atmosphere, to a much greater extent than is the case in natural processes. This means that the levels of these gases are increasing, all in line with rising solar activity. Agriculture is one of the factors behind global warming for many reasons.
The main gas thought to affect heating is carbon dioxide. It is obtained by burning fossil fuels. In general, organic farming rarely uses fossil fuels, while conventional agriculture uses much more energy to produce and transport synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, while organic farming relies on natural nitrogen fixation and minimizes pesticide use.
Future organic farming is leading to increasing carbon dioxide fixation and making sure that it is well linked to the soil. This is obtained through greater use of compost and teas that help bind carbon dioxide that would otherwise just go into the atmosphere.
But, as you will see in organic farming cons, organic farms usually have to be bigger to make the same amount of food, so you need to clear forest for it. Also, they need a lot of transportations, mainly food for the animals, if you want to feed them with organic food, which emits co2 into the atmosphere more then in traditional farming.
Organic farming is considered to be more environmentally friendly than most modern food production technologies.
It results in increased employment
In the world, the number of areas under organic production has a continuous upward trend, as is the demand for such products.
Reasons that motivate producers to engage in organic farming:
- health reasons (healthy food)
- financial reasons (bigger government incentives)
- environment protection
- environmental awareness
Modern, future thinking
It takes a long time to see yields and more labor than in traditional production. But organic farming is becoming the future.
The fact is that consumer demand for organic products is increasing, and so production has a brighter and brighter future.
Organic production does not destroy the land and natural resources, thus its thinking about future generations.
Smartly run farms could become a long-term future.
Organic farming pros
More work is involved
Usually, organic production requires more manual workaround weeds than other techniques. However, the use of eco-friendly production methods, such as permaculture or bio-intensive farming, over time effectively and drastically reduces the work required.
Great results can be achieved by copying natural processes, and this requires only a basic knowledge of these farming techniques and the will to experiment with what works best in particular areas and climates.
More money is invested
The demand for certified organic products in North America is much higher than the domestic supply, especially when it comes to meat and dairy products. Organic food accounts for almost 5% of U.S. food sales, while organic farms cover only 0.6% of the total U.S. farm area.
This leads to the conclusion that most of the organic meat is imported from other countries. Vegetables not contaminated with pesticides, locally grown, are easily found on shelves, but in the meat department, eco stamps are not often found. However, it is much easier to find meat labeled “grown without the use of hormones and antibiotics”, which does not require strict organic farming.
When you ask any organic livestock farmer, his number one problem is always the same. Finding a reliable source of organic fodder that usually has to be transported from afar, which greatly increases its cost, but also raises the scale of pollution.
So yes, that astronomical price you see on the organically grown chicken is not that weird. It is merely a reflection of the high cost borne by farmers to import organic cereals for their animals.
The big global conglomerates that own most organic brands in retail chains are also addressing this problem by offering farmers financial incentives to increase the local production of the ingredients they need or even to buy big conventional farms with that money and turn them into organic ones.
There are also smaller regional manufacturers in the US who take a different approach to this problem. They claim, however, that the bigger problem than growing eco grains is the lack of certified eco mills to process them, which is an infrastructure problem. The mills must be certified and approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and conventional mills often refuse to grind eco cereals to keep them from contaminating them.
Thus, the cost of bringing the final product only increases. Some have opened their own mills, so there are about ten of them in the US today, and the first is open in Texas. At Coyote Creek Farm, producer Cameron Molberg first started selling his produce in small local markets, but his supply grew over time as demand grew. Today, they are a regional producer for Whole Foods Markets.
“When we opened the mill, the production of organic eggs, dairy and chickens exploded in Texas. This means that the lack of processing capacity was a major brake on the expansion of eco production,” he tells the modernfarmer.
Thus, Molberg says, with cost reductions, producers will also be able to reduce the price of their organic products, which will become available to everyone, not just wealthy citizens. The entire production cycle must take place locally to be possible.
Another hidden economic risk for organic livestock comes from rules in US law that force farmers to provide exclusive livestock feed for their animals at all times. The rule is designed to screen farmers who mix eco-produced foods with conventional foods, reduce their costs and thus circumvent the law.
The unintended consequence of this rule is that farmers are sometimes forced to use conventional food because the other is simply not available. If the herd runs out of organic nutrients, the farmer loses in price, which means he goes into the minus. The closer to a food source, the less likely it is to go bankrupt. So switching to organic farming methods is more acceptable and safe.
So what does it take to build a mill? Which arm, leg, three years and $ 2.1 million, Molberg says. So, as you see, those are some pretty big risks to take, even do, in the long run, probably worth it.
As you can see in the cons before, there are big risks in organic farming. Also, without the use of pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics, etc. your farm is more exposed to all sorts of losses.
It should also be said, it is not so easy to get organic certification, and any wrong move can get you to lose it. So, if you are an organic farmer, or are interested in becoming, you should always follow the rules.
Needs a larger amount of land
We use a larger land area for the same amount of food, contributing indirectly to increasing deforestation. That also often means more transportation and with it more co2 emissions.
The new study was conducted by an international team of scientists from the US, Sweden, France, and Germany, published in the respected scientific journal Nature.
In short, the study concludes that yields in organic production are significantly lower per unit of agricultural area than conventional (this is also one of the reasons why it is more expensive), resulting in greater deforestation and ultimately higher greenhouse gas emissions, a key cause for climate change.
Use of untested organic pesticides and fungicides
Some organic farmers will continue to use pesticides and fungicides approved for organic farming.
While these supplements are made from natural sources, they are still potentially dangerous to our health and ecosystem because they are applied in relatively small areas at higher concentrations than would normally be found in nature. Because natural pesticides are not as effective as synthetic ones, farmers often have to repeat the process, which means that some of the ingredients may outgrow the permitted amounts of concentration in the environment.
Another problem with organic pesticides and other supplements is that they have recently started to be used, so many have not been sufficiently tested nor is their impact on human health and the environment when applied over a longer time.
Also, farmers often switch from conventional farming to organic farming and cultivate it on the same land. This soil is often full of various chemicals that have gone through conventional farming for decades. After that, apparently organic food is no longer so organic, but full of various toxic things. In some countries, there isn’t a good legalization process, so this is exactly what often happens.
Often vague regulations
One of the most significant problems that organic producers face is the often vague regulations that make it difficult to start organic farming.
Then, when you start, you have to look out not to break any of those regulations, because, if authorities find out, you will immediately be stripped of a certificate.
Lack of accurate, meaningful information
Although organic farming is becoming more widespread and popular, the knowledge required for it is not always available or it is difficult to access.
Our advice is, before embarking on this new way of work and life, study as much information as you can about it, and if possible consult with someone who has already worked or is working in organic production.
Requires greater knowledge
Organic farmers need to know a lot about ecology and how to work with the soil because organic production is highly dependent on healthy soil and natural systems.
In addition, organic production, as a technology associated with it, is evolving day by day, so we constantly need to monitor changes, do and learn new things.
Although pieces of information are coming in more and more, it is still sometimes not enough, so before you go, research everything you can about organic production and, if you have the opportunity, talk to someone who already deals with it and find out what you need to watch out for and pay attention.
While traditional farmers generally have a well-defined market for their products, organic farmers will encounter various obstacles and will often have to market their products in their own way.
This often leads to the development of farmers’ associations and collaborations, such as the U.S. FARMERS & RANCHERS ALLIANCE, which is a network of food producers.
They include scientists, directors, executives, and agribusinesses with those who are responsible for food production: U.S. farmers and ranchers. These influential farmer innovators go from the ground up, working with food makers on what needs to happen and how to actively implement it. Here, solutions are jointly created for food production, environmental impact, climate change, food and waste culture, and economic sustainability.
Even if it is not easy, at least not in the start, organic farming is the future and now it is a great time to get in that business.