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Organic Farming

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that avoids the use of synthetic and chemical inputs and depends upon crop rotation, crop residues, green manure, legumes, off-farm organic residues, mineral bearing rocks, animal manures, compost, biological pest control, organically approved pesticide application, and mechanical cultivation.  It excludes usage of synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.  Production of palatable food free from chemical residues is ensured under organic farming.  It helps to maintain soil productivity and pest control.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) established in 1972 for organic organizations has defined organic farming as a production system that maintains soil health, ecosystems, and people.  It depends upon the ecological processes, biodiversity, and cycles that are accommodating to local conditions, rather than use of inputs having adverse effects.  Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation, and science for a better environment.  Organic farming is internationally regulated and has been adopted by many nations according to the standards set by the IFOAM.

The U.S. has been practicing organic farming since the late 1940s.  Organic farming has resulted in the manufacture of organic processed products and the sale of organic products.  The increase in organic products necessitated the need to produce organic products according to certain standards and the verification of such products.  Thus, the organic certification industry has evolved to verify the various organic products.

A marketing program adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for marketing organic products is called the National Organic Program (NOP).  The Agricultural Marketing Service sets the standards for marketing organic products.

The main components of organic farming are composting, vermicompost, green manuring, crop rotation, bio-fertilizer, weeds control, organic pest control, nematode control, and organic labeling.  According to USDA organic standards, manure must be subjected to proper thermophilic composting.  Composting is done by using the pit method and the NADEP method.  In the pit method, materials for composting  are spread evenly in a pit and in the NADEP method materials for composting are put in a perforated rectangular brick tank of about 10’ x 6’ x 3’ in size.  Vermicompost or vermin composting is the method of producing compost using earthworms.  Green manuring is the method of incorporating green leafy matter directly into soil.  In crop rotation, species or families of annual and/ or biennial crops grown on a specific field are alternated in a planned pattern or sequence.  Bio-fertilizers help increase crop production by fixing atmospheric nitrogen solubilize, mobilizing phosphorus, and translocating minor elements like zinc and copper to plants.  Weed control refers to the use of cover crops, pre-irrigation of field, and drip irrigation to control weeds without using pesticides.  In organic pest control, the pest population is controlled by using a pheromone trap.  Nematode control means reducing the nematode number with soil solarization or solar heat.

Inside Organic Farming