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Organic farming is more energy efficient than conventional farms

Sep 26, 2014
Photo credit: Mathias Ripp

Photo credit: Mathias Ripp

A recent review published in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems has found that organic farming is more energy efficient than conventional farming for almost all crops when comparing the same amount of farmed area. The authors reviewed 50 studies in order to compare the amount of energy used for different facets of the farming system such as fuel used to run machinery. They found that even when yields are lower in organic vegetable production, the absence of fertilizer input makes up for energy costs so that energy used for the same crop output is still lower or similar to conventional farming. The authors also noted that more human labor is often needed in organic farming systems. However, this can be viewed in a positive light in that it provides an important source of jobs. Overall, organic farming systems are more energy efficient and tend to utilize renewable energy more than conventional farming systems.

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