Navigating the Complexities of Organic Farming

What are the advantages and disadvantages of organic farming?

Organic farming is typically a suite of practices, just like industrial ‘conventional’ farming is a suite of practices, just like regenerative agriculture is a suite of practices, just like countless other systems, that should be evaluated firstly on the merits of the system regardless of whether the implementation is satisfactory, secondly within the context of other systems possibly implemented on a given piece of land, and thirdly as a relatively successful or unsuccessful implementation of the system in context to other implementations of organic farming. Let’s get to it.

1) The Merit of the Organic Farming system

Organic farming is a suite of practices that allow some types of government-approved pesticide use, some types of government-approved fertilizer use, and some types of government-approved infrastructure use to grow stuff. All this government approval is just exhausting. Farmers who attempt to grow stuff organically almost universally complain about the time and money involved in obtaining the Organic certification. They complain about the time and money involved in retaining the Organic certification. They hate the paperwork. However, they feel that they get a gain from the certification. In real terms, the gain is economic. Some other answerers on here are right, the price for organic produce is higher than other produce. The price of organic milk is higher than other milk. The consumer likes organic stuff and will pay more for organic if they have more to spend. This is as it should be because all the paperwork and regulations take time and money away from the farmer growing stuff, which means he/she (let’s pretend the farmer is a she) has to charge more for the stuff she grows. The regulatory environment a farmer willingly enters is a prime disadvantage of the organic system.

2)  Organic farming implemented on your land

I am not on any given farmer’s land, I do not see what they see, and I do not know the climate or the soil. But if I did, I would not implement organic farming. Why? Because organic farming is a tightly regulated system, it may not apply to a given farmer’s situation. The best I can do is recommend the implementation of a regenerative system, with organic certification as a possible route to take after the system regenerates the landscape. Even then, the organic certification is still a hassle, and still a regulatory nightmare, and if the farmer educates her consumers, she will not need any certification at all to sell out of her stuff every year at a similar-to-organic price.

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