What is Organic farming? What are the main features of organic farming?
Avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals, hormones, antibiotic agents, genetic engineering and irradiation in growing crops and raising livestock.
In the United States, the National Organic Program (NOP) has been prepared in response to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 by US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The NOP has set labelling standards. In other countries, the same relation on the base of authorities controls the organic farming and labelling.
Organic farms must have these conditions to qualify as organic:
- Three years before farming, most synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer must not have used on the farm.
- The farm should be surrounded by a buffer zone to decrease contamination from adjacent lands.
- Genetic engineering, sewage sludge and ionizing radiation are prohibited.
- Soil fertility and nutrient content should be managed with crop rotations, cultivation practices and cover crops supplemented with crop waste and animal fertilizers.
- Pests, weeds and diseases should be managed by physical, mechanical, and biological controls instead of with synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
Organic livestock must be reared as follows, to qualify as organic:
- Without the routine use of antibiotic agents or growth hormones (GHs). If an animal is treated for disease with antibiotic agents, it cannot be sold as organic.
- Livestock must be provided with access to the outdoors.
- Preventative health practices include vaccination and vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Consumers are confronted with a wide range of food product marketing terms, some regulated and some not (Table). The labelling requirements of the NOP apply to raw, fresh products and processed products that contain organic agricultural ingredients. These labelling requirements are based on the percentage of organic ingredients in a product.
|100% organic||Must contain only organically produced ingredients and processing aids (excluding water and salt).|
|Organic||Must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining product ingredients must consist of non-agricultural substances approved on the National List.|
|Made with organic ingredients||Must contain at least 70% organic ingredients.|
|Natural||A product containing no artiﬁcial ingredient or added color and that is only minimally processed (a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product). The label must explain the use of the term.|
|Free-range||Producers must demonstrate to the USDA that the poultry has been allowed at least 5 minutes of access to the outdoors each day|
|No hormones (pork or poultry)||Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”|
|No hormones (beef)||The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for|
use on the label of beef products if sufﬁcient documentation
is provided to the USDA by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.
|No antibiotics (red meat and poultry)||The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufﬁcient documentation is provided by the producer to the USDA demonstrating that|
the animals were raised without antibiotics.
|Certiﬁed||“Certiﬁed” implies that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service have ofﬁcially evaluated a meat product.|
|Chemical free||This term is not allowed to be used on a label.|
There are no restrictions on the use of other truthful labelling claims, such as “no drugs or growth hormones used,” or “sustainably harvested.”
The term “raw” milk refers to unpasteurized milk. All milk certiﬁed as organic by the USDA is pasteurized. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella species, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria species, Campylobacter species, and Brucella species, and has been repeatedly associated with outbreaks of disease caused by these pathogens1.
Organic or Biodynamic farming what is the difference and definitions?
Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated asks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives.
Biodynamics has much in common with other organic approaches – it emphasizes the use of manures and composts and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach include its treatment of animals, crops, and soil as a single system, an emphasis from its beginnings on local production and distribution systems, its use of traditional and development of new local breeds and varieties. Some methods use an astrological sowing and planting calendar. Biodynamic agriculture uses various herbal and mineral additives for compost additives and field sprays; these are sometimes prepared by controversial methods, such as burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow, which are said to harvest “cosmic forces in the soil”, that are more akin to sympathetic magic than agronomy.
As of 2016 biodynamic techniques were used on 161,074 hectares in 60 countries. Germany accounts for 45% of the global total, the remainder average 1750 ha per country. Biodynamic methods of cultivating grapevines have been taken up by several notable vineyards. There are certification agencies for biodynamic products, most of which are members of the international biodynamics standards group Demeter International.
No difference in beneficial outcomes has been scientifically established between certified biodynamic agricultural techniques and similar organic and integrated farming practices. Biodynamic agriculture lacks strong scientific evidence for its efficacy and has been labelled a pseudoscience because of its overreliance upon esoteric knowledge and mystical beliefs.