Oregon State University

organic agriculture

USDA Organic symbola farming system that focuses on building soil humus and using natural products as plant nutrients and pesticides. The organic farming concept arose in the early 20th century in reaction to the soil-degrading practices and toxic chemicals that were often part and parcel of preindustrial era farming. Organic ag was first conducted on a commercial scale in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1990 the US Congress passed legislation requiring the USDA to develop guidelines for organic certification ⎯ a process completed in 2002. In addition to requiring that all inputs meet a definition of natural, the guidelines preclude the use of genetically engineered crops, sewage sludge, and irradiation. As of 2008, only 0.52 percent of harvested US cropland was certified organic. Organic growers are usually paid a price premium to compensate for their generally lower crop yields.

… we reject the organic-conventional dichotomy and emphasize that, in order to optimize environmental sustainability, individual tactics must be evaluated for their environmental impact in the context of an integrated approach, and that policy decisions must be based on empirical data and objective risk-benefit analysis, not arbitrary classifications. ~Bahlai et al

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