11 Pros and 7 Cons of Organic Farming in 2021

Pros and cons of organic farming

If we take a close look at the history of organic farming, many pioneers including Sir Albert Howard and others believed organic farming to be the most sustainable approach towards a healthy lifestyle.

Their extensive research in various countries proved that organic farming improves the quality of the soil, serves chemical-free food on the plates of the world, and much more.

But along with these, some were against the organic agriculture approach.

They reported that organic farming cannot serve everyone due to low yielding, requires a large number of laborers to operate the farms, etc.

In short, just like any other thing, organic agriculture has its own benefits and disadvantages.

In this article, I will tell you exactly every pros and cons of organic farming that you need to know.

Some of the benefits will be largely related to the environmental benefits of organic farming, while others will be distinct to its purpose.

Keep reading.


Pros and Cons of Organic Farming Table Overview

Pros of organic farmingCons of organic farming
1. Healthy soil 1. Low quantity in yielding
2. Pesticides prepared on the farm itself2. Time-consuming 
3. Nutritious and flavorful food3. Poor people cannot buy your premium food 
4. Safer environment for farmworkers 4. Difficult to promote an organic product
5. No use of Genetically Modified Organisms 5. Tough to get the organic farming certification
6. Less wastage 6. Organic farming requires ample study
7. Reduces carbon footprint 7. Overuse of organic pesticides can be harmful
8. Preserve and enhance biodiversity –
9. Sustainable and profitable approach for the long run –
10. Health improvement for all –
11. Organic farmers do get subsidies –

Pros of Organic Farming

1. Healthy soil

Organic soil

After analyzing the nine-year data of the National Sol Project, Rodale Institute found that organic soils had an average organic matter of 8.33 percent which is nearly 1 percent higher than that of conventionally managed soils.

Organically managed soil is naturally healthier due to organic best practices.

This helps increase the number of beneficial gases like Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus that eventually fight pests and disease through the natural resistance capacity.

In fact, organically managed soil has numerous benefits. Here are a few important:

  • Soil is really healthy for crops.
  • Avoids entrance of unwanted chemicals and pests.
  • Brings in more nutrition to the roots of the crop.
  • Organically managed soils form a natural shield against anything unusual.
  • And much more.

Besides this, healthy soils also support the increment in pollination which can help produce enough seeds required for plantation.

2. Pesticides prepared on the farm itself

As you may already know, you cannot use any types of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in your organic farm.

However, few organic pesticides are:

  1. Easy to make with lesser ingredients.
  2. And permitted by the government and every organic farming associations.

In fact, there are various plants that you can use to prepare helpful pesticides. I have listed some of them in this article.

Have a look at them afterward.

There are countless methods to prepare different organic fertilizers. You can, for example, make tea from compost and use it as a fertilizer, and so on.

I found this article by Wikihow to be more useful if you wish to make organic pesticides for your farm easily.

With all this, I am saying that you do not need to rely on chemically involved pesticides that are costlier and harmful.

You can rather prepare your pesticides at the comfort of your farm and that is too inexpensive.

3. Nutritious and flavorful food

As per Helpguide, organic foods are rich in valuable nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants.

This is mainly because they use no amount of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. People with allergies can also rely and count on organic foods.

Besides that, National Geographic uncovered that most foodies always long for the flavorful taste to fulfill their desires and feed the tummy.

Fortunately, organic farming is tastier than conventionally grown food.

This is because organic food contains 50% less cadmium which is one of the toxic metal elements.

Overall, organic foods taste better without risking human health.

4. Safer environment for farmworkers

Safer environment for farmworkers

This is one of the major benefits of organic farming when compared to conventional farming.

Organic farmers are not exposed to toxic chemicals and pesticides and therefore are free from getting contaminated with some of the diseases.

Also, as most of the organic fieldwork occurs with the collaboration of manual laborers and not heavy machines, laborers are less prone to injure themselves.

Some of the studies including the one by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found a direct correlation between the use of pesticides and various cancers in the human body.

So, if you are an organic farmer, you are at least safe at the health and safety level 🙂

5. No use of Genetically Modified Organisms

To achieve desired characteristics in a certain animal or a plant, its DNA is basically exchanged with that of another plant or animal that can result in desirable outcomes.

This is done through Genetically Modified Organisms.

However, it’s not all good as you might have thought in the first place.

Oxfordre confirms that GMOs have widely negatively impacted some of the critical parts of farming – human health, pest resistance, productivity, and yielding, etc.

And as organic agriculture does not allow the use of GMOs, it does not have to deal with any of the issues that conventional farming deals with.

6. Less wastage

This is very simple to understand, especially if you run an organic farm.

Whenever you harvest a ripened crop, there is some crop residue that needs to be get rid of.

Most farmers just burn the residue.

While some smart ones like you may choose to either feed it to the cattle (if possible) or use it in making the organic pesticides (again if possible) or use it anywhere else where it is useful.

This is how organic farming creates less wastage though this is not the only way.

7. Reduces carbon footprint

Organic farming reduces carbon footprint

The reduction of carbon footprint is the major environmental advantage of organic farming.

The right crop residue management leads to carbon sequestration which is one of the main reasons behind decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the air.

In simple terms. carbon sequestration is the process of eliminating the unwanted carbon from the unwanted place and injecting it to the needed place (which is ground) in this case.

How to exactly do it?

One easiest way that I have come across is that once any crop which has carbon in it is harvested and the residue is the only leftover, then this method works.

Instead of burning that residue or using it for another purpose, try to implement that crop residue into the field to inject the carbon.

Easy and simple yet mostly overlooked. Thus, organic farming is climate-friendly.

8. Preserve and enhance biodiversity

Organic farming gives space to various insects, organisms, and animals to make the land a favorable environment for all.

You will seldom see earthworms on a conventional farm but you will likely see wasps, beetles as well as earthworms on an organic farm.

And almost every animal or insect serves the purpose.

Take earthworms, for instance. They help make the soil fertile.

Wasps, on the other hand, act as natural predators by helping fights pests and diseases.

After a study by NIH (National Institute of Health), it was discovered that species richness had increased to around 30% in organic farming.

Now, an increment of 30% is a large jump in biodiversity. Thanks to organic farming.

9. Sustainable and profitable approach for the long run

Organic farmers burn their midnight oil into fostering and raising crops organically.

This makes their product premium and helps them cover the costs by selling it at a higher price than that of a conventionally grown food.

If we talk about the US, customers are paying around 7.5 percent more for organic food and beverages than they would pay for regular food (Source).

However, the prices are not the same forever. As the category and options for organic food rise, the premium cost tends to fall down.

But overall, organic food costs more which gives a higher Return on Investment to the farmers for their hard work.

Besides being profitable, organic farming is a far more sustainable approach.

As soils are treated with organic fertilizers and other soil-friendly methods, the soil tends to get better and better over time, as articulated by the Columbia climate news portal.

10. Health improvement for all

Organic farming is healthy

Organic farming is not only healthy for the customers, but every stakeholder of organic farming.

It can include:

  • The insects living on the farm.
  • The cattle and other animals.
  • The soil.
  • The overall environment.
  • People working on the farm.
  • Etc.

11. Organic farmers do get subsidies

During losses occurred by natural disasters, organic farmers are provided with financial help on anywhere between 55 to 100 percent of the average price in the market at the time of the crop loss (Source).

This is helpful when a farm is located at a place that gets hit by natural disasters timely.

This was all the good stuff about organic farming.

With that, let’s move on to some negative effects of organic farming.

Cons of Organic Farming

1. Low quantity in yielding

Organic farming yielding

Though organic farming is profitable, the yields are usually lower than conventional farming, particularly in the initial years.

Why is it so?

Technical University of Munich (TUM) gives a large credit for higher yields in conventional farming to some of the gases.

According to them, there is a direct relation between higher yields and more amounts of gases like nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil.

Organic farming, alternatively, faces lower yields as they use organic pesticides instead of synthetic fertilizers.

Synthetic chemicals play a huger role in increasing the yields by increasing the beneficial gases.

2. Time-consuming

In organic farming, manpower is everything.

From seeding to plowing to harvesting, almost everything is done by manual laborers and not machines.

This is because organic farming methods are such that require the constant eye of an individual to make sure that everything’s fine.

In Roguing, for example, a laborer is required to check the farm regularly and remove the unwanted weeds through hands to prevent the spreading of diseases.

These were only a few examples.

Many different elements of a farm are handled by laborers which is much more time-consuming as compared to technology and machinery.

3. Poor people cannot buy your premium food

This is a big one.

This is much gloomy to say that organic food cannot be enjoyed by everyone.

As the price is high, poor people rarely get the chance to taste fresh foods.

Eventually, they have to get back to the typically chemically treated food which is the house to many diseases.

However, the tables are turning gradually. As discussed earlier, more and more varieties of organic foods result in the downfall of the premium price.

Though this is not great news for the farmers, this is the only way everyone can get access to organic food.

As of now, this is not the case.

Shifting the focus from customer to the farmer, there is this common problem.

Farmers with less area are unable to grow organic food as it requires hefty investment (especially in the beginning).

The higher cost of production compels them to stick towards the inexpensive methods of farming.

4. Difficult to promote an organic product

Organic food promotion

Marketing and promoting an organic product has never been difficult than today.

With the utter rise in competition and strict organic standards, everything is legally processed.

Though every country’s organic regulations differ, the uber amount of guidelines are still the same.

You cannot just list your organic food in any shop.

You need to prove it through your organic farming certification as well as some other legally controlled methods.

This is one of the main reasons why people fear entering the organic farming business.

The fear of their product not getting sold at the right price tag is a reasonable fear.

5. Tough to get the organic farming certification

As discussed above, every country has different norms when it comes to getting approved for the organic farming certification.

However, let’s take USDA (for the US farmers) in this article.

The worst part: If you currently practice conventional farming and want to shift towards organic farming, you need to be the pet for the USDA for 3 years.

It means that you need to play by every rule of USDA, pay the required fees when asked, and so on.

And yet after following all these methods, you cannot use the ‘organic label’ for 36 months.

If we conclude this point shortly, you need to keep surviving at a loss for 3 years because even though you are practicing organic farming, you will have to sell it under the regular food category for a given period.

Here are some of the other common reasons why getting organic farming certification is not easy:

  • You will have to deal with the large amount of paperwork without losing your temper.
  • Rules are not as per your or my will, they are boringly difficult to follow.
  • Nothing is free, and certification is no exception.

6. Organic farming requires ample study

Organic farming is not a simple thing that can be started anytime and by anyone.

Before starting it, you need to plan extensively, study each element in detail, keep up with the latest updates, comply with the rules of your country’s organic farming association, etc.

If writing this article requires profound research, you can imagine the amount of time and effort being invested into practicing the real deal.

It will not be easy, be prepared.

7. Overuse of organic pesticides can be harmful

Though organic pesticides are allowed in organic farming, it does not mean they are harmless.

Anything done in excess is not good.

If you think logically, you will come that no matter whether it is organic pesticides or synthetic pesticides, both are used to solve the same problem: kill pests.

So, if it can eliminate some diseases, it is not 100% safe for humans too.

There are no strict rules on the appropriate amount of organic pesticides usage, this makes it skeptical.

Conclusion

This was everything you needed to know about the prevailing pros and cons of organic farming.

Hopefully, you learned something new from this definitive guide.

Besides all the advantages and disadvantages of organic farming listed here, do you have any other critical ones that I forgot to mention here?

Please let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

Also, share this article with all your friends and family who are interested in learning more about organic farming.

It may help serve my purpose of helping you and many others as possible.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *