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Whether you're thinking about growing your own food, or just buying it, there are a number of factors to keep in mind when it comes to organic farming. In this article, you'll learn about the types of crops you can grow organically, the costs involved, and where you can find certified organic sales.
Compared to conventional farming, organic farming has a long list of advantages. It can reduce pollution, pests, and soil erosion. It has also been linked to improved health. However, the upfront costs are still prohibitive to many low-income farmers.
Studies have found that organic farming is often more productive than conventional farming. In addition, organic farms have higher levels of soil organic matter and are less dependent on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The benefits of organic farming include reduced weed control, less chemical use, and less water pollution.
Studies have also shown that organic farming systems are more energy efficient. In a recent study, researchers found that organic systems emitted 29 percent less greenhouse gases. However, this is only one of many benefits of organic farming.
Researchers also found that organic systems have significant carbon sequestration potential. However, this was not the case for every crop.
Studies have also found that organic farming systems may be more susceptible to nitrate leaching than conventional systems. In fact, the authors of a study found that "external" costs for organic farming are one-third of those of conventional farming.
Crops that can be grown organically
Besides a healthy dose of restraint and self-control, it's also important to know where your food comes from. There is more to eating organically than just eating organic food; you need to also be mindful of the environment. Organic farming promotes sustainable farming.
There are several benefits to farming in a sustainable manner. There are several ways to reduce pollution, increase biodiversity and improve the soil. One way to accomplish this is crop rotation. Crop rotation increases soil fertility and reduces the need for pesticides. Besides, you may get lucky and find a pest-free garden.
The best way to do this is to make it a part of your routine. For instance, you may want to plant trees around your house to reduce the impact of dust on your air conditioner. Also, you may want to look into planting drought resistant plants. These plants may be a bit trickier to grow but the reward for your hard work will be well worth it.
Pesticides and fungicides
Agricultural pesticides are designed to prevent or reduce damage to crops and livestock. They can be classified into three categories: herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Each has a different level of toxicity. Among the herbicides, glyphosate-based herbicides pose the most risk. The EPA also grants exemptions for pesticides with minimal dietary risk.
The National Organic Program (NOP) regulates the use of pesticides in organic production. Organic growers use ecological principles to minimize pesticide applications, but some still require use of insecticides. The NOP limits use of pesticides when physical and cultural practices are not effective.
Organic growers use low-toxicity pesticides to control a range of insect and weed pests. In addition, organic growers rely on non-synthetic chemical control tactics. The inputs for organic farming must be of plant or mineral origin. They are also required to be of sufficient quantity.
A number of insecticides and fungicides are approved for use on organic farms, but a growing number of synthetic alternatives are available. They represent the most heavily applied family of chemistry.
Certified organic sales
Increasing demand for organic products has resulted in an increase in the number of certified organic farms. These farms must adhere to strict organic production processes and animal welfare standards. They must also adhere to certain standards regarding soil health and chemical-free fertilization.
Certified organic farmers may also receive additional reimbursement from the Department of Agriculture to help offset the cost of certification. They must contact their county USDA Farm Service Agency office to apply for the program. The cost of certification is often a sliding scale.
A new report released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows a record-setting increase in organic sales. The total value of organic products sold in the U.S. increased by $31.2 billion in just the past year. Organic products are sold to local food hubs, restaurants, retailers, and institutions.
Among the top five commodities for organic sales, fresh spinach grew 52%. Other commodities included apples, grapes, and strawberries.
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