Traditional and Organic Farming: What’s the Difference?

We hear the word “organic” used a lot in relation to the foods we consume.  We often notice that organic raised produce and meats are pricier than their traditionally farmed counterparts.  The question of whether organic goods or traditional are right for you, is a personal one. Today, on our blog we are going to explore what is the difference between traditional and organic farming.

Organic Farming: By definition.

By definition, organic farming, by the USDA is: “Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.” In 1990 the USDA went one step further in the Organic Foods Protection Act (Title 21 of the Farm Bill, 1990) and outlined universal standards for the entire organic growing process (farming, processing, handling, etc) to ensure that growers are providing a uniform product. Those who meet these guidelines are able to list their commodities as “USDA Certified Organic”.

Traditional Farming: A race to produce.

The worldwide demand for food continues to increase along with the world’s population. Hunger is a problem in every single country in the world including our own. The stress of continuously increasing demands has led growers to introduce new methods to reduce crop loss and increase their output per capita. Growers commonly implement systems including GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), fertilizers and pesticides in order to increase production and decrease damages.

In their earnest efforts to keep up with demand and provide bigger, better, products, farmers have implemented these methods. By most accounts, pesticides and GMO’s are effective at achieving higher yields, but also have unwanted side effects.

Foods now contain residual chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals.  Animals eat the chemicals and pass these on the in the meat.  Many livestock receive hormones and vaccines which are retained through their meat to the human populous. Additionally, these chemicals seep into the soil and water systems in our land.

Traditional and Organic Farming: a comparison.

Now that we understand what each type is, we can truly begin to decide what is the difference between traditional and organic farming. Before you decide organic farming is the correct choice for you, you must know that even organic farmed products can contain contamination.  A commonly used organic fertilizer is manure.  Manure contains E-Coli and other bacteria which is easily transferred. E-Coli is highly dangerous to humans even though it is rightly organic. Often you find higher rates of mold and fungal growth in organic crops simply because no chemicals are being used to thwart their growth. This is also hazardous. So there must be a balance when looking at the difference between traditional and organic farming methods.

All in all, the one thing we can prove is that “organic farming must be more developed for the welfare not only of the environment, but most importantly to all mankind.” Even if the process are more detailed, even if it takes us longer to figure out tried and true systems, organic farming can and likely will be the method of the future if we wish to sustain our home here on earth long term.

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