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Organic Farming for Health and Prosperity.

Crop rotation : Enhances soil quality, disrupts weed, insect, and disease life cycles, sequesters carbon and nitrogen,diversifies production (can have market benefits)

Manure, compost, green manure use : Enhances soil quality, sequesters carbon and nitrogen, contributes to productivity Cover cropping Enhances soil quality, reduces erosion, sequesters carbon and nitrogen, prevents dust (protects air quality), improves soil nutrients, and contributes to productivity.

Avoidance of synthetic fertilizers : Avoids contamination of surface and ground waters, enhances soil quality, sequesters carbon, mitigates salinization (in many cases).

Avoidance of synthetic pesticides : Enhances biodiversity, improves water quality, enhances soil quality, assists in effective pest management, prevents disruption of pollinators, reduces costs of chemical inputs.

Planting habitat corridors,borders, and/or insectaries : Enhances biodiversity, supports biological pest management, provides wildlife habitat.

Buffer areas : Improves water quality, enhances biodiversity, prevents wind erosion.

Organic Farming is Good for Human Health.

Organic farming is specifically designed to grow food without the use of toxic substances. Exposure to chemicals used in agriculture has been linked to cancer in many parts of the body including the brain and central nervous system, breast, colon, lungs, ovaries, pancreas, kidneys, testes, and stomach, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ President’s Cancer Panel’s 2010 report. The President’s Cancer Panel examined the impact of environmental factors and the use of synthetic chemicals on cancer risks and recommends that American consumers eat food grown without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

There is a large body of literature that documents the negative impacts of synthetic pesticide exposure on conventional farm workers and their families, much of it summarized in the President’s Cancer Panel report. Some of these problems include increased incidence of certain types of cancers by farm workers and their spouses, increased exposure to pesticides by children living in agricultural areas, and increased incidence of leukemia in children living in agricultural areas.5 By not applying toxic synthetic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, organic farmers do not contribute to these health issues.

Organic Farming is Good for Slowing Climate Change

Global climate change is increasing the frequency of costly droughts, floods, heat waves and major storms. The destabilized climate is already affecting crop production and water availability, causing hunger, malnutrition, and social unrest worldwide. Organic farming is uniquely able to help mitigate further warming by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and is well-positioned to adapt to new climate conditions.

Scientists have documented that human activity is responsible for unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that trap heat and contribute to global climate change. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4), the three main greenhouse gases that are released by humans, have increased more than 70 percent in the last 30 years.28 Agricultural production releases 13.5 percent of human greenhouse gas emissions globally and, in the United States, 6 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Two primary strategies for mitigating climate change are to increase carbon sequestration into soils and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While there are ultimately physical limits to the amount of carbon that can be stored in the soil, organic farming systems--particularly those with lengthy, diversified rotations and that integrate crop and livestock production -- can play a significant role in helping capture carbon. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has offered recommendations for adapting agriculture to mitigate climate change by increasing soil carbon storage, including those already being used by organic farmers,

Advantages Of Organic Farming.

Organic farming is more cost effective. It reduces the production cost by about 25-30%, because it does not involve the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.It retains 40% more topsoil, thus increasing the crop yield up to five-fold within five years.Organic farming is more profitable because it reduces water use, nutrient-contamination by pesticides, and reduced soil erosion.It also enables the farmers to use the soil for a longer period of time to grow crops as soil fertility is maintained for a long time.Cattle grazing on organic farmlands have been found to be less prone to diseases, and they yield more healthy milk.Products or foodstuffs produced from organic farming do not contain any sort of artificial flavors or preservatives.Due to the absence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, the original nutritional content of food is preserved.Organic farming also helps reduce the occurrence of many ailments, and speeds the recovery process by boosting the immune system.

Disadvantages Of Organic Farming.

Organic farming results in smaller yields, and is more labor intensive, and time-consuming.Organic fertilizers tend to release slowly, and hence may need several applications before the desired results can be brought about. Farming the organic way requires deep skill and extensive knowledge.

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