How much do you really know about organic farming?

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What is the primary difference between organic and conventional farming?

Organic farming prohibits synthetic substances while conventional farming allows them

What substances are prohibited in organic farming?

Genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry

What is the economic impact of organic farming compared to conventional farming?

Organic farming has been shown to be 2.7 to 3.8 times more profitable for farmers in the US and 22-35% more profitable globally than conventional farming due to the price premium for organic products

What is the primary disadvantage of organic farming?

Lower yields require additional agricultural land elsewhere in the world, which can cause loss of biodiversity and negative climate effects that outweigh the local environmental gains achieved

What is the primary benefit of organic farming?

It can contribute to ecological sustainability and poverty reduction in poorer countries, and it can also increase yields and be an important part of increased food security

What is the impact of organic farming on biodiversity?

Practicing organic farming can have benefits for biodiversity and environmental protection at a local level

What is the primary difference between organic and conventional weed management?

Organic weed management promotes weed suppression, rather than weed elimination, by enhancing crop competition and phytotoxic effects on weeds

What is the primary benefit of direct sales at farmers' markets for organic farmers?

Direct sales at farmers' markets are most profitable for farmers

What is the primary disadvantage of organic livestock farming?

Organic livestock must be treated with medicine when sick but cannot be given drugs to promote growth

Study Notes

Organic farming is an environmentally friendly agricultural system that uses fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure and green manure. It originated in the 20th century in reaction to rapidly changing farming practices. Certified organic agriculture covers 70 million hectares globally, with over half of that total in Australia. Organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. Genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry are prohibited. Organic farming accounts for $63 billion in sales worldwide. Organic farming methods combine scientific knowledge of ecology and some modern technology with traditional farming practices based on naturally occurring biological processes. Organic farming methods are studied in the field of agroecology. Organic farming encourages crop diversity and relies more heavily on the natural breakdown of organic matter than the average conventional farm. Organic weed management promotes weed suppression, rather than weed elimination, by enhancing crop competition and phytotoxic effects on weeds. Organic standards require rotation of annual crops. Practicing organic farming can have benefits for biodiversity and environmental protection at a local level, but the lower yields require additional agricultural land elsewhere in the world, which can cause loss of biodiversity and negative climate effects that outweigh the local environmental gains achieved.Overview of Organic Farming

  • Only 5.3% of California vegetable growers use rotenone while 1.7% use pyrethrum as organic pesticides.

  • Organic pesticides are naturally derived but can still cause harm and controversy.

  • Naturally derived fungicides include Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilus, and Trichoderma harzianum.

  • Organic livestock must be treated with medicine when sick but cannot be given drugs to promote growth, their feed must be organic, and they must be pastured.

  • Organic farming excludes genetically engineered plants and animals.

  • Organic farming uses traditional farm tools and may use agricultural machinery.

  • Standards regulate organic farming, and agencies accredit certification groups rather than individual farms.

  • Manure must be sterilized through high-temperature thermophilic composting for use as fertilizer.

  • Organic farming has different economic and environmental impacts than conventional farming, making comparisons difficult.

  • Organic farming is strongest in North America and Europe, with Australasia having the most organic farmland.

  • Organic farming has grown rapidly over the past two decades and produced over 1 million metric tons of bananas in 2016.

  • Studies comparing yields have had mixed results, with organic yields typically lower than conventional yields but with certain practices narrowing the gap.Overview of Organic Farming: Benefits, Profitability, Sales, Energy Efficiency, Labor, and Issues

  • Long-term field studies in Switzerland and the US found that organic farming systems used less energy, had lower fertilizer input, and produced crops with similar or better quality compared to conventional farming.

  • Organic farming has been shown to be 2.7 to 3.8 times more profitable for farmers in the US and 22-35% more profitable globally than conventional farming due to the price premium for organic products.

  • Direct sales at farmers' markets are most profitable for farmers, but organic food is also profitable in markets and supermarkets.

  • Organic production is more labor-intensive than conventional production, but it provides more jobs per unit area, especially for women.

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stressed that organic farming could not feed the current human population, much less the larger future population, and that chemical fertilizers were needed to avoid hunger.

  • Organic agriculture can contribute to ecological sustainability and poverty reduction in poorer countries, and it can also increase yields and be an important part of increased food security.

  • Organic methods differ from conventional methods in the impacts of their respective externalities, dependent on implementation and crop type.

  • Organic farming has higher land requirements per yield unit, a higher eutrophication potential, a higher acidification potential, and a lower energy requirement compared to conventional farming, but it is associated with similarly high greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Yield from organic farming is significantly lower than that from conventional farming, ranging between 40% and 85% of the latter, but the premiums on organic foods are 150% higher than those from conventional farms.Debate over the Environmental Impact, Emissions, Nutrient Leaching, Land Use, Pesticides, Food Quality and Safety, Soil Conservation, Biodiversity, Opposition to Labour Standards, and Regional Support for Organic Farming. Oxford University researchers found that organic products are sometimes worse for the environment, while a 2018 review article argued that organic agriculture is more polluting per unit of output. Organic farming requires 84% more land for an equivalent amount of harvest. Organic farming prohibits synthetic pesticides, and a non-exhaustive list of organic approved pesticides was provided in the article. There is insufficient evidence to make claims that organic food is safer or healthier than conventional food. Supporters claim that organically-managed soil has higher quality and water retention, and can build up soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming. Organic farming is considered to be more socially just and economically sustainable for farmworkers than conventional agriculture. The Chinese and Danish governments have provided various supports for the development of organic agriculture. Andhra Pradesh is promoting organic farming, especially Zero Budget Natural Farming.

Test your knowledge of organic farming with this informative quiz! From the benefits and profitability to the environmental impacts and controversy surrounding organic pesticides, this quiz covers a variety of topics related to organic farming. Whether you're an expert in the field or just starting to learn about this agricultural system, this quiz is sure to test your understanding of the key concepts and practices behind organic farming.

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