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Long-term studies support benefits of organic farming

Jul 14, 2015
Photo credit: USDA

Photo credit: USDA

A new paper published in the journal Sustainable Agriculture Research examines results from six of the oldest grain crop-based experiments comparing organic and conventional farming methods with the goal of communicating both the benefit of long-term comparison trials and environmental and economic findings for organic agriculture.  Although these long-term organic farming system experiments were established to gather baseline agricultural data, they have provided evidence suggesting that transition to organic from conventional agricultural production can be done successfully. Long-term experiments analyzed include the Farming Systems Trial conducted by the Rodale Institute, the Sustainable Ag Farming Systems at the University of California at Davis, the Variable Input Crop Management Systems at the University of Minnesota, the Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trials at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the Beltsville farming systems project at USDA-ARS in Beltsville, and Long-term Agroecological Research at Iowa State University. All of the studies showed an increase in soil health, productivity, water quality, and economic benefits for farmers when they employed organic systems. “These results suggest that organic farming practices have the potential to reduce nitrate leaching, foster carbon sequestration, and allow farmers to remain competitive in the marketplace,” the authors concluded.

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One Response to “Long-term studies support benefits of organic farming”

  1. Donald E. Lewis says:

    I started Organic Farming/Gardening in 1950. I did three years of experimenting on my Vermont Dairy chemicals vs organic. I learned how superior organic was with my own trial and errors. Never used anymore chemicals after 1952. In 1958 I won many awards over several thousand chemical farmers all using chemicals. I will not explain all of the successes I have had in this short space. At 86 Organic Gardening and can out produce all chemical users and produce much better produce on a smaller area.. My story is in a book I wrote in 2011. “Learned by the Fencepost” It can be reviewed on Google my typing the title. Organic in 1950 was not accepted even when I out grew all the chemical users. I hope you can lookup my book I was encouraged to write before my procedures were lost. Please get back in touch. I can still learn and i hope I can help encourage more to go Organic.