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Benefits of organic production

Some important benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumers: Greater Knowledge - Small farmers have abundance of farming knowledge with them and within their community. Most of these knowledge backdates to the time when their ancestors were farming using traditional and natural ways. Organic farming is not a new method, but one that predates to thousands of years when each family has their own land to farm and produce food. Just a century ago, there are no large scale commercial farming and there are no chemical plants that produces chemical fertilizers.

Typical organic farming practices include:

- Crop rotation as a prerequisite for an efficient use of on-site resources

- No chemical synthetic pesticide and synthetic fertilizer use,

- Very strict limits on livestock antibiotics, food additives and processing aids and other inputs

- Absolute prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms

- Taking advantage of on-site resources, such as livestock manure for fertilizer or feed produced on the farm

- Choosing plant and animal species that are resistant to disease and adapted to local conditions

- Raising livestock in free-range, open-air systems and providing them with organic feed

- Using animal husbandry practices appropriate to different livestock species

Organic farming prohibits the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which are routinely used in conventional farming and is known to create dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens

Every time you buy an organic you can be sure they were produced according to strict rules aimed at respecting the environment and animals.

The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources. Organic farming reduces toxic farming runoff and pollutants that contaminate our water, soil and air.

Soil is the foundation of the food chain and the primary focus of organic farming. We’re facing the worst topsoil erosion in history due to our current agricultural practice of chemical intensive, mono-crop farming.

Organic agriculture respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is an essential part of a total farm and is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.

The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of our most pressing environmental concerns. Many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.

Organic farming is better for the environment, better for business, more energy efficient and makes better tasting fruit than conventional methods .

Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy. Organic farming may be one of the few survival tactics left for the family farm and the rural community. The increasing demand for their organic products will further strengthen their financial position.

The artificial fertilization associated with conventional crops produces lush growth by swelling produce with more water. On a pound-for-pound basis, organic food has more "dry matter". Because of this there are higher levels of nutrients in organic produce.

Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.

The cost of organic food is higher than that of conventional food because the organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society. These costs include cleanup of polluted water and remediation of pesticide contamination. Prices for organic foods include costs of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage. In the case of processed foods, processing and packaging costs are also included. Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps than conventional foods. The intensive management and labor used in organic production are frequently (though not always) more expensive than the chemicals routinely used on conventional farms. There is mounting evidence that if all the indirect costs of conventional food production were factored into the price of food, organic foods would cost the same, or, more likely, be cheaper than conventional food. Cost, however, is very dependent upon market venue and consumer product choice. It is possible to consume a moderately priced diet of organic foods by purchasing directly from farmers at venues such as farmers markets, and by choosing unprocessed organically grown foods at the grocery store.

Researchers have found that by following organic farming methods, conventional farmer’s can actually reduce production cost by over 25%. This is accomplished by eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, minimizing soil erosion by up to 50% and increasing crop yields up to five-fold within five years. Organic crops yielded 95% of crops grown under conventional, high-input conditions. Organic has the potential to produce yields fully matching or sucparpassing those of conventional crops. Growers who go through the 3-year transition period from conventional to organic management usually experience an initial decrease in yields, until soil microbes are re-established and nutrient cycling is in place, at which point yields return to previous levels.

Organic products have a higher premium and an advantage when selling - Organic prices of organic foods are usually 20-30% higher than conventional food. This higher premium would meant fair and better returns for the small farmers, many of whom are still struggling with trying to achieve better returns from their farms. Even if no higher premium is achieved, when buying food consumers always prefer the organic products to the conventional products.

Regardless of products produced, a well planned transition strategy will allow conventional farmers to adopt new, more effective organic farming process in as little as three to five years.

Organic farms can support substantially higher levels of wildlife especially in lowlands and where animals can roam pastures or graze on grassland. Not only does wildlife benefit, but also entire ecosystems and ground water are improved by simply following organic farming methods.

Organic farming practices not only benefit farmers and consumers; but the animals can also benefit. When animals are feed organic feed and graze them on organic fields, the animals experience better health, less sickness, diseases and ultimately produce better tasting milk, eggs or meat.

Regardless of minimal price differences, consumers can smell, taste and see the difference in the quality of organically grown food products they buy.

Organically grown products are free from harmful chemicals, artificial flavors and preservatives that ultimately cost consumers money when they purchase non-organically grown products.

Eating organic foods may in fact, reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer for individuals who abstain from consuming products produced by conventional farming methods.

Consumer demand for organically grown foods and livestock products are increasing. Sales of organic products are the fastest growing sector of agriculture. Sales continue to grow by over 20% annually and have shown an annual increase of at least 20% during the last 6 years.

Over the next 10 years analysts are projecting total sales of organic products to exceed one hundred billion dollars worldwide. The vast majority of growth will in occur in the United States, Japan and throughout Europe. (Source – IFOAM, International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement)

Thousand of corporations are targeting consumers worldwide by adding organic foods to their product lines. Even corporations such as McDonalds start to introduce organic products in their offer e.g. organic milk being sold in Sweden, Lufthansa, Swiss Air and Nestlé are positioning their products and services to offer organic products.

If a product falls under Organic Certification, you can be assured that there are no GMOs (Genetically Modified Foods) in that product.

It’s estimated that conventional farmers use over 300 different pesticides to grow (non-organic) foods which.

there are numerous inherent benefits that both the organic farmers and consumers of their products receive to improve on health, quality of life and longevity. Organic farming normally does not involve capital investment as high as that required in conventional farming. Further, since organic fertilizers and pesticides can be produced locally, the yearly costs incurred by the farmer are also low. Agriculture greatly depends on external factors such as climate, pests, disease. Further most of the small farmers are dependent on natural rain for water. Therefore in cases of natural calamity, pest or disease attack, and irregular rainfall, when there is a crop failure, small farmers practicing organic farming have to suffer less as their investments are lower.

Small farmers have abundance of traditional knowledge with them and within their community. Most of this traditional knowledge cannot be used for chemical farming. However, when it comes to organic farming, the farmers can make use of the traditional knowledge. Further, in case of organic farming, small farmers are not dependent on those who provide chemical know-how.

The nutritional value of food is largely a function of its vitamin and mineral content. In this regard, organically grown food is dramatically superior in mineral content to that grown by modern conventional methods.

Because it fosters the life of the soil organic farming reaps the benefits soil life offers in greatly facilitated plant access to soil nutrients.

A major benefit to consumers of organic food is that it is free of contamination with health harming chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.

As you would expect of populations fed on chemically grown foods, there has been a profound upward trend in the incidence of diseases associated with exposure to toxic chemicals in industrialized societies.

Organically grown plants are nourished naturally, rendering the structural and metabolic integrity of their cellular structure superior to those conventionally grown. As a result, organically grown foods can be stored longer and do not show the latter’s susceptibility to rapid mold and rotting.

A healthy plant grown organically in properly balanced soil resists most diseases and insect pests, The crops, being healthier, are also better able to compete with weeds that are present.

Fertilizers are either created in situ by green manuring and leguminous crop rotation or on-farm via composting and worm farming.

Because chemical fertilizer is soluble, plants are forced to imbibe it every time they are thirsty for water. They can and do enjoy good growth as long as water is readily available. As soon as water becomes limited, however, the soluble nutrient salts in the cells of chemically fed plants are unable to osmotically draw sufficient water to maintain safe dilution. They soon reach toxic concentrations, and the plant stops growing, hays off and dies earlier than it otherwise would have.

Industrialized agriculture thrashes the land, and diminishes its soil life to the point where it can no longer function to convert available organic matter into soil fertility. Productivity begins to wane, and attempts to bolster it with increasing chemical inputs has a similar effect to flogging a dead horse.

Because it relies on living soil to build fertility, the benefits of organic farming for soil life is fundamental to its methods. soil

Organic farming benefits food production without destroying our environmental resources, ensuring sustainability for not only the current but also future generations.

Organic growers do not use genetically modified or engineered food crops, some of which are engineered to tolerate herbicides or resist pests. Conventional growers, on the other hand, are free to “take advantage” of GM crops.

According to a report from the Directorate-General for Agriculture of the European Commission, productivity gains attributed to GM crops are usually negligible when growing conditions, farmer experience and soil types are factored in, and are often in fact negative.

There are worrying indications that GM crops may be associated with harm to both human health and the environment. The main concern is that once they are released it is nigh impossible to “un-release” them.

Organic farming requires greater interaction between a farmer and his crop for observation, timely intervention and weed control for instance.

It is inherently more labor intensive than chemical/mechanical agriculture so that, naturally a single farmer can produce more crop using industrial methods than he or she could by solely organic methods.

It requires considerably more skill to farm organically. However, because professional farming of any sort naturally imparts a close and observant relationship to living things, the best organic farmers are converted agrichemical farmers.

Organic farmers do not have some convenient chemical fix on the shelf for every problem they encounter. They have to engage careful observation and greater understanding in order to know how to tweak their farming system to correct the cause of the problem rather than simply putting a plaster over its effect.

The synthetic inputs upon which conventional agriculture is so dependent are energy expensive to mine and manufacture. Today the embodied energy of industrial agriculture uses up 9 calories for every 1 calorie of food that it produces!

Organic agriculture with its low input needs of naturally derived substances produces less greenhouse gas emissions and is considerably more climate friendly.

Farmers pour tons of phosphate and nitrogenous fertilizer on their cropping lands every year. Because it is soluble, much of this fertilizer is either washed off the soil surface and into waterways (especially phosphates) or leaches through the soil profile beyond the reach of plants and finds its way less directly into waterways (especially nitrates).

Synthetic agrichemicals (and most plastics widely used in our society) are derived from oil, and thus a source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (especially xenoestrogens) in the environment.

Even the “safest” herbicides such as Roundup (glycophosphate) – the second most widely used are now known to pose a danger to wetland ecologies, and can totally decimate frog populations at routine contamination levels.

Organic farming refers to means of farming that does not involve the use of chemicals such as chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Numerous small farmers have been practicing organic farming; however, since they are unaware of the market opportunities, they are not able to reap the benefits of organic farming.

Organic food is about more than just a label. It is about methods of farming and food production, which is kind to the environment, concerned for animal welfare and thought to be healthier for humans to eat.

If you buy organic food you are helping to support a system which benefits you, the farmer or processor producing it, the animals on organic farms and the countryside.

The welfare of animals is one of the key principles of organic farming and their well-being is written into the regulations organic producers must follow. Animals are held at lower stocking densities than non-organic and must have access to the outdoors (weather permitting) and an appropriate diet at all times. While organic systems aim to avoid using antibiotics in animals, they are allowed (in fact, required) if the health or welfare of the animal is at risk or they are the only way to restore its full health. While on antibiotics, and for a period afterwards, that animal’s product must not be sold as organic. This withdrawal period for organic products is twice as long as that for non-organic ones.

All animals raised organically are automatically free-range because the rules demand it. They must have access to the outdoors (weather permitting) and be held below certain stocking densities. In addition, there are all the other benefits of the organic system, explained throughout this document.

Only a limited list of pesticides is approved for use in organic farming, where there are no natural or system-based alternatives, and then as a last resort. Organic farmers do not use herbicides, instead they rely on crop rotation, well-timed cultivation, hand or mechanical weeding and carefully selecting crop varieties. Instead antibiotics organic farmers try to use holistic methods wherever possible. However, if antibiotics are necessary, on the advice of a vet, to prevent or reduce an animal’s suffering, or to return it to full health, they must be given. The welfare of the animal becomes the main concern. While on antibiotics, and for a period afterwards, that animal’s product must not be sold as organic. This withdrawal period for organic products is twice as long as that for non-organic ones.

The price of organic food is higher for a number of very good reasons. It costs more to produce because it is more labor intensive, crops are grown less often in the same piece of ground and animals are held at lower stocking densities, for their well-being. The careful controls placed on organic production (including the licensing system) add to the costs of production and organic source materials, such as seeds and animal feeds, cost more than non-organic versions. But we should always bear in mind that organic farming does not have costly environmental impacts, such as the expense of cleaning up polluted water courses and treating drinking water to remove chemicals used in non-organic production.

Organic is the only system of farming which must meet legal requirements to use the name. Anyone calling their product organic must be inspected and certified by a certification body. When they are certified, organic products must show a certification number on the label. Anyone claiming to be organic who does not have a valid certificate is breaking the law. Imported goods will carry the organic certification mark of the country in which they were produced, but the import will have been supervised by a Macedonian certification body.

It is the responsibility of the Ministry for agriculture and the certification bodies to ensure that all of the organic standards requirements are being met. Organic producers are inspected annually and can also be subject to spot inspections to ensure they are complying fully.