Con: Conventional farming produces more with eco-friendly new methods
By Amy Kaleti
Monday, April 6, 2009
AMES, Iowa — EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is addressing the question, Can eating organic help combat global warming?
The public is clearly becoming more interested in lifestyle choices that decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Whether the choice to buy organic food will help that worthy cause, however, is far from a simple question.
Nitrogen fertilizer is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Not only is nitrogen fertilizer produced from fossil fuel sources, but its production requires an energy intensive process.
Because of this, organic systems that instead rely on manure and cover crops for nitrogen input typically use less energy. On the other hand, when organic production is compared to low-input conventional farming, research has found similar energy efficiency ratios.
As energy costs rise, more and more conventional farmers are increasing their use of manure fertilizers. Without knowing the input practices of the specific farms that produced the food items, it would be difficult to compare the energy efficiency of organic versus conventional products. Read More
It’s important that consumers start hearing the truth about the benefits of certain methods of growing food. This article tries to do some of that. There are a lot of buzz words in the food business today, like “natural”, “cage-free”, and “free-range”, but “organic” seems to be the word of the day lately. Many consumers have wrongly been convinced that anything that is organic is good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Organic only refers to the production method used to raise the commodity in question. It doesn’t make it healthier, better for the planet, or taste better. If producers choose to use organic methods to raise their crops and livestock, I think that s absolutely fine, but shame on them if they are lying to their consumers about the benefits.