Organic farming refers to means of farming that does not involve the use of chemicals such as chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Organic farming is kind of agricultural that provide the consumers, with fresh, tasty and reliable food while regarding natural life-cycle systems. In order to reach organic farming a number of practices should be implemented. Unnatural substances such as chemical synthetic pesticide and synthetic fertilizer livestock antibiotics, food additives and processing aids should be limited. The use of genetically modiﬁed organisms should be prohibited. Taking advantage of on-site resources, such as livestock manure for fertilizer or feed produced on the farm. Choosing plant and animal species that are resistant to disease and adapted to local conditions. Raising livestock in free-range, open-air systems and providing them with organic feed
Organic certification verifies that your farm or handling facility complies with the USDA or EU organic regulations. This certification allows you to sell, label, and represent your products as organic. Farms all over the world may be certified to the USDA or EU organic standards. Most farms and businesses that grow, handle, or process organic products must be certified. Certification allows you to call your product "organic" and to use Organic standard seal.
The organic industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural segments around the world today, United States sales reaching nearly $35 billion in 2012.
About 25,000 farms and businesses - in every U.S. region and over 100 countries around the world - are certified to the USDA organic regulations.
Organic benefits for farmers:
- Receive premium prices for their products
- Access local, regional, and international markets
- Support local economies
- Access additional funding and technical assistance programs
- Protect natural resources
Organic food is normally priced 20-30% higher than conventional food. This premium is very important for a small farmer whose income might only be sufficient to feed his/her family with one meal
- Air pollution and climate change
- Water pollution
- Soil pollution
Natural ecosystems have been providing a home for plants and animals. The current diversity in species is result of million years of evolution of such systems. However, when we simplify natural ecosystems to anthropogenic ones, home of unwanted plants and animals appear to be limited. A contemporary agriculture system destroys complex ecosystem such as forests and rangelands through clear cutting. Furthermore using chemical based substances to get rid of pests and weeds make the problem doubles. Organic farming have less impact on hedge bottom vegetation, with hedges on organic farms displaying signiﬁcantly higher species diversity than those on conventional farms
Air pollution and climate change
A major theme in organic practices is to operate in tight nutrient cycles to minimize losses to the air and water reserves. There is a reduction in air pollution not just from the lower carbon footprint but also from the absence of chemical sprays which get into the atmosphere. There have been tremendous amount of chemicals which are used to direct lands to yield only desired products and not pests and weeds. This is especially can be tracked aﬅer agricultural revolution through using planes and tanks of materials.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the annual amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the agricultural sector is estimated about six Giga- tons CO2 in 2005. This represents approximately 10-12% of total greenhouse gases. As a consequence an organic farming system is only substitute to produce healthy products without any side eﬀects locally (air pollution) and globally (climate change).
Water and soil pollution
Intensive aquaculture may leave substantial amount of nutrients and poisons to water bodies. Water pollution is largely associated with the use and discharge of water in both animal and plant farming. For instance in a ﬁsh pond each time water is exchanged, wastewater is discharged to the surrounding surface waters. The wastewater carries a number of pollutants, reflected in the selected indicators. These pollutants ultimately stem from chemicals, fertilizers and feed added to the ponds. Therefore in an organic farming, water pollution is lower, as there is much reduced eutrophication of chemical inputs. Soil structure on organic farms is much better leading to less pollution from nitrate and is healthier for the crop plant, and that environmentally organic is better than the other forms and is chemical free.
Health benefits of Organic
- Greater Antioxidant Value and less cadmium
- Reduced Pesticide Exposure
- Reduced Antibiotic Exposure
- Genetically Modified Foods
Greater Antioxidant Value
Antioxidants are important nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables and have been shown to impart multiple health benefits, including the prevention of many cancers. Some studies show that organic foods may have more antioxidants compared to commercial varieties. A 2012 study in the "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture" discovered higher antioxidants, including vitamin C, in organic broccoli compared to conventional.
Reduced Pesticide Exposure
Many consumers choose organic produce because they desire to lower their exposure to the pesticides found on commercial produce. Certified organic produce is free from pesticide residues. When commercial produce was replaced with organic produce, pesticide exposure was reduced significantly.
Reduced Antibiotic Exposure
With the increasing usage of antibiotics among dairy farms and feed lots, antibiotic resistance is becoming a concern for many Americans. Organically raised animals are not given antibiotic additives; therefore, organic diary and meats products do not contain these residues. Consistent exposure to low doses of antibiotic residues can also disrupt the normal flora of the human gut, reducing the number of healthful bacteria and leaving humans more vulnerable to harmful bacteria and illness.
Genetically Modified Foods
More recently, an increase in production of genetically modified foods and the lack of labeling of these foods is causing many concerned peoples to choose organic foods. The health implications of GM foods is still being studied, but preliminary results do not look good. Rat studies show depressed immune systems, reproductive dysfunction, cancer, allergies, toxicity and more. Nearly 70 percent of all processed foods contain GM ingredients, and choosing organic is the only guarantee that food is free of genetic modification.
Organic certification processes
- Stage 1: Organic application.
- Stage 2: Application acceptation and sending certification period, prices and working procedure.
- Stage3: Contract between certification body (CB) and client.
- Stage4: Making OSP (Organic System Plan) for organic farming
- Stage5: Organic inspection <less two times per year> announced inspection and non-announced inspection.
- Stage6: Issuance of certificate after three years inspection.