What is organic farming?
According to HDRA (Henry Doubleday Research Association of the UK), Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. The methods and materials that organic farmers use are summarised as follows.
To keep and build good soil structure and fertility:
• recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures
• the right soil cultivation at the right time
• crop rotation
• green manures and legumes
• mulching on the soil surface
To control pests, diseases and weeds:
• careful planning and crop choice
• the use of resistant crops
• good cultivation practice
• crop rotation
• encouraging useful predators that eat pests
• increasing genetic diversity
• using natural pesticides
Organic farming also involves:
• careful use of water resources
• good animal husbandry
Organic Farming Definition from the USDA:
The USDA organic regulations describe organic agriculture as the application of a set of cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. These include maintaining or enhancing soil and water quality; conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife; and avoiding use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering.
Organic producers use natural processes and materials when developing farming systems—these contribute to soil, crop and livestock nutrition, pest and weed management, attainment of production goals, and conservation of biological diversity.
USDA standards recognize four categories of organic
+ Crops. Plants grown to be harvested as food, livestock feed, or fiber or used to add nutrients to the field.
+ Livestock. Animals that can be used for food or in the production of food, fiber, or feed.
+ Processed/multi-ingredient products. Items that have been handled and packaged (e.g., chopped carrots) or combined, processed, and packaged (e.g., bread or soup).
+ Wild crops. Plants from a growing site that is not cultivated.