Organic Agriculture: Future of Production

The market for organically produced foods is growing to sastify a larger demand, but its advancements in sustainability mean that organic farming becomes the new means of production. Research has shown that the techniques used by organic farmers are inherently beneficially for surrounding ecology and may still compete with conventional yields. Starting in the soil, organic farmers need a nutrient rich soil to compete with conventional methods they achieve this by rotating crops, planting symbiotic and cover crops to minimize tillage and using composted fertilizers. Having a larger top soil level has implications in  sustainability, top soil retains water very well less water is needed because less seeps  through. This fact should be increasingly noted as water in the future may become more scarce. A healthy top soil layer also helps crops through drought, water shortage and means less erosion. The nutrients in top soil or organic farms give similar yields to conventional farms which replace the need for topsoil with fertilizers. “Side-by-side match-ups of the yield on organic and conventional plots showed no difference whatsoever in overall corn, soy or wheat production per acre. Indeed, in years of drought conditions, yields in organic plots were 30% higher than those in conventional plots.” – Joe Satran for Huffington Post.  Further, organic farming techniques do not include the use of pesticides or nitrogen based fertilizers meaning surrounding wildlife lives in an environment less affected with foreign chemicals,  groundwater and runoffs also receive the benefit from less pollutants. The nitrogen based fertilizers are produced using fossil fuels while microbes in the soil of organic farms participate in the fixation of carbon, not only making the soil more productive but carbon is taken out out the air. The ability of organic farms to be productive and sustainable in the long term means that organic farming should be continued and expanded I believe we are at a cultural shift from, conventional agriculture which saps the nutrients from the soil, contributes to erosion, pollution, and drought, to more organic methods which can be continued for years without as many negative consequences. “If we’re looking to feed the world for the next 50 years, conventional can do it. But if we’re looking at feeding the world for the next 1500 years, we must switch over to organic.” – Mark Smallwood, executive director of the Rodale Institute