The Truth About Organic Farming & Why It Matters

Would you like to see more organic produce on the market, and at more reasonable prices? As interest in organic farming continues to grow in the United States—it rose by $3.7 billion from 2015 to 2016 to an estimated $47 billion industry wide—the answer to those questions seem to be yes. Yet while these numbers seem to be huge, they represent a mere 1 percent of farmland in the US that is dedicated to growing organic products.

Farmers could use some help bringing those numbers up, which would give us consumers broader, healthier, and more inexpensive produce choices. Currently, growers are stymied by long certification processes and complicated regulations, among other restrictions, that are forcing US food companies to look to overseas suppliers.

Also read about organic farming in a GMO world

A little help from two US law makers, Rep. Ann Kuster (D) from New Hampshire and Bob Casey (D) from Pennsylvania, who have introduced a pair of bills to the US House and Senate, respectively, may provide some much-needed assistance for farmers. The two bills, both of which sport the same name—the Homegrown Organic Act of 2017—are designed to make it easier for current or wannabe organic farmers to get funding, secure farmland, and receive help from the government.

What the Homegrown Organic Act hopes to achieve

Both bills have been designed to modify existing programs for organic farming and make them organic-farmer friendly. One of the programs that will potentially undergo change is the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The CSP, under the US Department of Agriculture, provides free assistance to farmers and ranchers that can help them improve their operations.

Help already extends to organic farmers for activities such as weed control and cover crop scheduling, but it lacks any specific program for farmers who want to switch from conventional to organic farming. The proposed Act will create such a program.

A second program that would benefit from the new Act is the Environmental Quality Initiatives Program (EQIP), which “provides farmers and ranchers with financial cost-share and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on working agricultural land.” Although the current EQIP program provides organic farmers with financial assistance, there is a cap on how much they can get; that is, $20,000 per year or $80,000 over a six-year period. The proposed change would get rid of that cap, which would open up the growth possibilities for organic farmers.

Read about 10 top reasons to eat organic

The third plan that could greatly benefit organic farmers is part of the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). Currently, TIP gives retired or retiring farmers and ranchers some extra income if they are willing to sell or rent their land to beginning farmers or anyone who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group (i.e., minority farmers, but this does not include women).

In this case, the proposed change would mean that retiring farmers could qualify for more money if they rented or sold their land to someone who wanted to start organic farming. This could open up much more land to organic farmers.

It will likely be some time before lawmakers take up this proposal. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t voice your opinion and help support organic farmers. Contact your representatives and let them know what you think about H.R. 3637 or S.2215.

Written by Andrea Donsky

Post originally appeared on Naturally Savvy

68 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R14 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R14 days ago

ty

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Jerome S
Jerome S18 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S18 days ago

thanks

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Jim V
Jim Ven18 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim V
Jim Ven18 days ago

thanks for sharing

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heather g
heather g22 days ago

I often think that after all the years of love of all types of chemicals, that the soil is permanently damaged - even on the farms. It's difficult for the average person to even taste the difference if they're used to wolfing down fast food.

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Bill Arthur
Bill Arthur24 days ago

MilliSite; I would be interested in a link to the story about people becoming ill from pesticides on organic food. Often the problems with 'organic' food comes from contamination with toxins from insect or disease organisms that were not controlled with modern chemicals.
If anyone wants to think critically about which type of food is better try this site
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/pesticides-food-fears/
And a quote from the article
"The false dichotomy between conventional and organic isn't just misleading, it's dangerous. Our constant attention to natural versus synthetic only causes fear and distrust, when in actuality, our food has never been safer. Eating less fruits and vegetables due to fear of pesticides or the high price of organics does far more harm to our health than any of the pesticide residues on our food."

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MilliSiteProbs M
MilliSiteProbs M24 days ago

I am sure this will work out for some! But just say'n some organic foods have been tested and proven to contain more contaminants that non-organic produce. There were several cases last summer where people became violently ill from the pesticide residue on "organic" produce. I will not purchase store bought organic foods any more, having grown my own vegetables and knowing how tasty new young carrots are vs buying organic in the store - no taste, would not even know it was supposed to be a carrot if it did not look like one!

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Bill A
Bill Arthur24 days ago

Christine D; you want to do away with science based decisions on what is safe? and then you get what? a free for all where people 'just believe' in things and sell and use things that are not safe? As I posted earlier copper sulphate has been given the OK again to keep using as an 'organic' pesticide when it is documented to be harmful to the environment as well as on the produce and then people keep trying to ban other chemicals that modern farming uses like Glyphosate that has been shown over and over to be safe. Sort of like the people who promote drinking alcohol, a proven carcinogen while again turning around and crying about how glyphosate should be banned because one agency listed it as a POSSIBLE carcinogen and that has been claimed to be untrue by several other agencies. It is hypocritical to want to ban chemicals proven to be safe while promoting the use of other chemicals proven to be unsafe just because they have the word 'organic' in front of them.
That word does NOT make the safe!

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