Organic Farming

Organic farmers are different from conventional farmers because they choose not to use any chemicals on their farm. This means that they never spray their fields with pesticides or spread any kind of chemical fertilizers. This also means that they never give their animals any non-organic feed or give their animals any drug past a certain age. For a farmer to be able to sell his product as certified organic in Ohio, the soil must have been chemical-free for at least four years. However, it varies from state to state. While in California your soil only has to be chemical-free for one year in some states it may have to be chemical-free for ten! Each organic farmer has his own reasons for choosing to farm organic. Some farmers do it because they feel that it is cheaper to farm organic. They don't have to pay for the chemicals, they get higher prices for their products and they can use a crop rotation to produce the same kind of crop yields. Other farmers do it because they feel that they are producing a healthier product. Most farmers choose to farm organic for a combination of those reasons and others. soy bean field
Soybeans are grown organically on some farms.
Photo from Farm Journal, Feb. 1994

A better way for you to understand organic farming is to hear from the farmers themselves. Here are some quotations from farmers in the Knox County Ohio area:

"Why is it that when somebody gets deathly sick with cancer or something, a doctor recommends that they go on an organic diet? I think that all these people know that there is a difference."

"If you get on a chemical system , the only way you can keep going is to keep adding more and more powerful chemicals, if you get on an organic system it will perpetuate itself. You don't need to keep adding more and more fertilizer because it is a natural system."

"If you want to be certified organic you have to demonstrate and have a plan on how you're going to farm and how your going to produce these crops without using all these chemicals."

"The nice part about organic is that it's economically viable, and the reason is that you don't have to spend a lot of money, because the good lord designed the cycles of nature in order to do it itself."

"You can get instant results from chemicals and there is no doubt they will work. They are short term solutions, but they don't solve any long term problems."

corn plants
Corn is grown organically
on some farms.

straw What do you think are the positive and the negative aspects of going organic?
straw What environmental issues does this discussion on organic farming bring up?
straw Do you think it is important for farmers to be aware of these issues? Why?
straw Do you think that organic farming is a more sustainable method of farming?

Eco Info
300,000 farmworkers a year suffer from pesticide related illness
in the United States according to the United Farmworkers of America.

Click HERE for a profile on organic farmers! Nature

home glossary