I listened to the article on LaVon's and Craig's competition between organic and conventional corn production yesterday as I was planting cover crops for next year's corn on my own farm. The article and comments that I saw ignored major differences in the way real world agricultural production is taking place. It did not differentiate between insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Your article made it sound as though the corn was sprayed with "pesticides" to make it bigger. Instead, the non-organic plot was bigger and healthier because of weed suppression.
I think that there is a real viable place for organic fruit and vegetable production. While these practices are more labor intensive than conventional farming practices, it is sensible to limit our exposure to most insecticides. However, organic row crop production [such as Craig's corn] that is not used for human consumption is vaguely immoral. Organic row crop production requires tillage to incorporate a crop grown for fertilizer, and requires more tillage to reduce the weed load of the cropland. Tillage destroys soil structure, releases stored carbon, and allows erosion
In contrast, modern no-till farming involves planting crops such as corn and soybeans in an herbicide killed cover crop. This cover crop prevents erosion, sequesters carbon and suppresses weed growth. The added organic mater increases soil microbiotic activity, increases water infiltration of the soil, and lessens the stress and fertilizer needs of the crop. Fertilizer and pesticides adhere to soil particles when applied at agronomic rates. It does not mater if the fertilizer is organic or non-organic. The vast majority of pollution from farms is from erosion of these soil particles into our water ways. Most of the "dead zone" that now occurs in the Gulf of Mexico from run-off from mid-western farms could be eliminated if they were to switch en masse to no-till.
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