30-Year Study Proves It: Organic Farming Is Best

Soil health, yields, and energy use are all better than conventional methods.
A farmer on a vintage tractor drives through an organic apple orchard. A new study shows that organic farming methods surpass conventional farming. (Photo: Getty Images)
Oct 5, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Need more proof that organic farming is better for the planet than conventional methods? A new 30-year study shows that in every category from soil health to human health, profits, yields and energy usage, "organic farming is far superior to conventional systems."

The study, produced by the Rodale Institute, was based on the country's longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture in the U.S.

Rodale's Farm Systems Trial was started in 1981. Soybean and corn crops—which represent nearly half of all U.S. cropland acreage—were farmed using three different methods: organic manure, organic soybeans, and conventional chemical treatments. 

While initial crop yields on the organic side were down, the study reports that the organic side later rebounded to "match or surpass the conventional system." 

Among the study's key findings:

  • Organic yields match conventional yields.
  • Organic outperforms convention in years of drought.
  • Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
  • Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
  • Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
  • Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional. 

As the folks at Rodale write, 30 years of research prove that "organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future."

Sounds like a pretty convincing argument for making the switch to us.

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