How does organic farming impact water quality?

The creation of healthy soils, which is the basis of organic systems, conserves water, promotes fertility, reduces surface runoff and reduces the need for nutrient supply. Using less toxic pesticides, organic agriculture helps protect the quality of the country's waterways. Many of the changes observed in the environment are long-term and occur slowly over time.

Organic agriculture

considers the medium and long term effect of agricultural interventions on the agroecosystem.

Its objective is to produce food and, at the same time, to establish an ecological balance to avoid soil fertility or pest problems. Organic agriculture takes a proactive approach rather than dealing with problems once they arise. The Rodale Institute is growing the organic movement through research, farmer training and consumer education. McDermid said that, in some areas of the developing world, organic agriculture can increase yields compared to conventional agriculture because it doesn't rely as much on water or chemical inputs.

Organic agriculture is one of the best ways to reduce not only the deterioration of water quality, but also food toxicity. Some scientists remain concerned that, with the limited areas of land available for agriculture, it may not be sustainable for industrialized countries to opt for 100 percent organic products. Nitrate leaching from agricultural soil to water drainage systems is a major source of water pollution in upper Midwestern states. A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications concludes that the widespread adoption of organic agriculture practices in England and Wales would lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep in mind that organic crop yields are approximately 35% lower than conventional crops (USDA data), so it follows that for every bushel of organic food produced, there is a 35% larger footprint; 35% more water is used; and more fertilizers, pesticides (yes, even organic ones) and labor are used. This review highlights that organic agriculture can play a fundamental role in reducing pests and pathogens, which would eventually reduce the need for chemical reagents to protect crops, improving yield quality and water reuse. Experts argue that, in the heated debate on organic versus conventional agriculture, consumers need to have more information about labeling and even understanding certification processes in industrialized countries, such as the United States. Soon after the article was published and covered extensively by several news organizations around the world, several researchers criticized the study.

With that in mind, there's no need to feel guilty or pressured to spend more on organic products. Despite being much more expensive than its non-organic counterparts, organic agriculture has become the most popular type of alternative agriculture, not only in the United States but also globally. That said, both Wirsenius and McDermid agree that it's much more environmentally sustainable to eat organic chicken rather than conventionally produced beef. The researchers found that the loss of nitrate through water in conventional cropping systems was twice as high as the loss of nitrates from the organic farming system, and that the organic pasture system lost the least amount of nitrate.

For now, in the developed world, the industrialization or commercialization of organic agriculture has posed many difficulties for both consumers and researchers, who are trying to understand what the objectives of this booming industry are. .

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