Organic agriculture can yield profits as well as organic food is viewed by people because it is a healthy and ethical option. Beyond the financial and ethical aspects, however, organic farming practices provide numerous environmental benefits.
Reduced Exposure to Pesticides and Chemicals
The Organic Trade Association notes that If every farmer in the U.S. converted to organic production, we could remove the equivalent of 500 million pounds of toxic and persistent pesticides that enter the environment each year. Chemicals and pesticides result in numerous environmental problems:
- Pesticides allow disease resistance to build up in plants, weeds, plant-eating insects, fungi, and bacteria.
- Chemicals and pesticides sprayed onto plants pollute the groundwater, soil, and even the air. Sometimes, these harmful pesticides stay around for a long time (maybe for a longer period).
- Synthetic chemicals can also deter intelligent farming practices like crop rotation and cover crops and, can in turn create other environmental issues such as erosion.
Organic Farming Builds Healthy Soil
For healthy food production, it is essential to start with healthy soil. If you treat your soil using harmful pesticides or chemicals, you might end up having soil that is unable to grow by itself. Organic cultivation methods are superior to the use of chemical methods to manage soil.
A huge study over nine years conducted carried out by USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) proves that organic farming can build up organic soil matter much better than conventional no-till agriculture.
Based on Professor Dr. Elaine Ingham, just one teaspoon of organic compost soil could contain up to 600 million to 1 million helpful microorganisms from 15,000 varieties. Ingham explains that on the opposite side, one teaspoon of soil treated with chemicals could be able to carry just 100 beneficial bacteria.
Organic farming does not only create healthy soil and improves soil health, it also helps fight grave land and soil problems, like erosion.
A significant study comparing adjacent natural and chemically treated fields revealed that organic fields contained eight inches more soil topsoil than the chemically treated field, and was also less than one-third of less erosion.
If you’re not worried about erosion, you ought to be. Erosion problems are very serious impacting the environment as well as the food supply and even humans. However organic farming practices prevent erosion from occurring.
Fighting the Effects of Global Warming
Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial is the longest-running, side-by-side analysis of organic and conventional agriculture. The trial, which began in 1981, has proven the benefits of a sustainable organic farming system is able to reduce carbon dioxide levels and slow climate change. Actually, the Rodale study shows that:
“If just 10,000 farms of medium size located in the U.S. converted to organic production and stored tons of carbon in the soil that it’s equivalent to taking 1174,400 cars off the road, or cutting down on the number of car miles traveled in the United States by 14.62 billion kilometers.
Organic Farming Supports Water Conservation and Water Health
The dwindling supply of water and the poor water quality are real risks. If our water supply is in danger, both people, as well as the entire planet, are being affected.
American Rivers notes that the biggest water pollution danger for U.S rivers is runoff from non-organic farms, which include poisonous pesticides and toxic fertilizers as well as animal waste. Organic farming is a great way to ensure that our water sources are clear by preventing polluted runoff.
Organic farming can also help conserve water. Organic farmers generally tend to be more focused on making the soils properly and also using mulch – both of which can help save water. Cotton, which is a highly sought-after crop is a major requirement for water irrigation and a lot of water when it is grown conventionally. But organic cotton farming requires less irrigation, which means it saves water.
Discouraging Algal Blooms
The blooms caused by algae (HABs) cause negative impacts on the health of both marine animals and creatures. The blooms can also affect tourism, recreation, and consequently the local and regional economics. Although there’s many causes of algae blooms, the primary human-caused reason for algae blooms is the runoff of petroleum-based fertilizers that are commonly used in conventional agriculture.
Supporting Animal Health and Welfare
Fish, insects, birds, and all sorts of creatures face problems when humans enter their territory and ruin their natural habitats.
Organic agriculture is not just a way to conserve more habitats for wildlife but also encourages birds as well as other natural predators to stay in peace on the farm which helps with the natural pest management.
Furthermore, animals who live on organic farms have access to safe, chemical-free grazing which ensures they are healthy and immune to disease. As a benefit to organic farms, healthy and happy organic animals can be productive organic animals.
Organic Farming Encourages Biodiversity
The more the diversity on farms it is greater stable it. Organic farming helps to promote healthy biodiversity and plays a crucial aspect in how resistant the farm is to challenges like weather conditions, diseases and pests.
In addition, the loss of biodiversity may directly be linked to an increase in the incidence of infectious diseases. This, obviously isn’t good for humans or the planet.
For more information on biodiversity, read the publication the Organic Farming Manual by Ann Larkin Hansen – chapter 13 is about conserving as well as encouraging healthy biodiversity organic farms.