Just saw this short blurb pop across my social media stream..
“Organic prevents you from using some of the techniques that do the best job of preserving the environment. Because organic yields are lower, you have to use more land to get the same amount of food, and that takes land away from the environment – you have to cut more trees, or plow up more land, or disturb more wildlife habitat. Second, if you’re an organic grower, it’s much more difficult for you to adopt no-till farming practices. No-till farming is the best method of protecting the soil, of conserving soil moisture, sequestering carbon and avoiding soil erosion” Here is the full article.
What disturbs me the most is this: That blurb was pulled directly out of a question supposedly asking for the PROS and cons of organic farming. Since there weren’t any pros listed, I thought I’d try to help out a bit.
Organic farming means more acres of food production. Global demand is asking for more food, we’re struggling to find ways to provide it. How does organic help that? Consider this: Esp. near large metropolitan areas, land is at a premium price, opportunities for many farmers in those regions to grow their operations is small, therefore if they are going to maintain what is often a family farming operation, they need to specialize, and organic is a very good opportunity to do this. What’s important to realize is there are many cases where a small conventional farm is no longer financially viable, and the alternative is to either turn the farm into a housing development or some specialized agriculture production. So, having organic and other specialty options actually increases the amount of food we can grow.
Farming is all about learning, trying different things, improving. The very different nature of organic production means there is a lot of ideas and things being tried that sometimes find their way into conventional production. Some recent examples I’ve seen include things like diverse crop rotations, integrated crop/cattle production systems. I’ve watched conventional farmers become interested in adopting these techniques, which are something most organic producers have gained a lot of experience at.
There’s probably many things I could list, but this one may be the most important. If your in production agriculture, your well aware of the massive concern that exists in the general population regarding modern food production. That concern will not change overnight, but one of the significant opportunities we have to help manage that concern is to provide a diverse set of food choices to those who desire/ask for them. If you think the complaints/protests against a technology like GMO’s are high now, imagine if the folks most concerned about these things did not have another option, the push to regulate/ban/control would quite likely be much, much higher.
The effort I see at times to dis-credit organic production by others in agriculture has always been a bit of a mystery. I farm conventionally, I’m a very strong believer in sound science, and the ability of new technologies to provide more food and do so more sustainability. But I’m also a realist, and a businessman – Should the opportunity to be an organic producer present itself, one that would be financially beneficial to my operation, and fit with my other goals, why would I not want to consider it?