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When you pony up the extra money to buy organic produce, are you supporting environmental benefits? I wanted to know, and it was probably one of the most difficult questions I’ve tried to answer.
. . . .
. . . .The USDA’s farm in Beltsville, Md., tests five kinds of agriculture: two conventional and three organic. (The differences involve crop rotations and types of tillage.)
Which one wins?
. . . .There’s never a clear-cut answer to a question like that when you’re talking about something as complicated as farming. The first thing [Michel Cavigelli of the USDA] told me is that “all conventional is not the same, and all organic is not the same,” . . .
Nevertheless, some important differences among those five systems have bubbled to the surface over the past 23 years.
The organic systems in the USDA test:
●Have more-fertile soil.
●Use less fertilizer and much less herbicide.
●Use less energy.
●Lock away more carbon in the soil.
●Are more profitable for farmers.
The conventional systems:
●Have higher yields.
●Are best at reducing erosion (when a no-till system is used).
. . . .
. . . [S]ome tools that mitigate environmental harm aren’t available to organic farmers; one of them is genetically modified crops. . . . [M]any scientists and farmers, says that both major types of GMOs — the kind that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate and the kind that have a built-in organic insecticide — can help cut pesticide use.
Read full, original post: Is organic agriculture really better for the environment?