Greening organic farming by borrowing technology from industrial farming?

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The guest opinion of Elizabeth Black (“Some inconvenient truths about organic and GMO farming methods,” Daily Camera, April 17) was an eye-opener for me as a longtime opponent of industrial farming methods. Indeed the strip-till method displays great environmental advantages over conventional and current organic practices. . . . I am still saddened by the massive amounts of the herbicide glyphosate used in large scale farming and the mixing of neocotinoids (insecticides) in seeds. . .

Ms. Black’s data also shatters the popular misconception that organic farming is eco-friendly to the planet. True, it is not environmentally friendly or sustainable as it uses fossil fuels to run equipment and mainly coal-fired electricity to run water pumps. Also continual heavy plowing will increase water consumption, lower soil organic quality and re-propagate weeds.

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Florida’s Kevin Folta on anti-GMO groups scaring consumers about glyphosate in foods

That said, organic farming is growing at a higher rate than industrial farming so it is past time for organic farmers to face the environmental challenges of our times. Most organic farms are less than 20 acres and can install grid inter tie or off-grid solar arrays to run electric pumps and tools. Converting small tractors from gas to electricity is possible. Also, modern, all-electric tractors are becoming available. . . .

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A strained marriage will continue to exist between the two disciplines with each stealing from the other to enhance market share. Organic farmers will copy technologies from industrial farmers to increase efficiency and industrial farmers will continue to try to provide the taste, quality and local availability of organic crops, hopefully with the earth itself as the main beneficiary.

Read full, original post: Tom Lopez: Organics and GMOs — a strained marriage

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