Is Organic farming better for the environment?
Yes and no. Studies of organic farming have a mix of results. Oxford University researchers report that organic farming supports more biodiversity and has a more positive impact per unit of land. However, they recognize that organic production does not have an overall lower environmental impact than conventional farming. Additional studies have found organic yields to be 25 percent less than conventional yields.
How is food classified “organic?”
The term "certified organic" is governed by uniform standards of production and processing that can be verified by independent state or private organizations accredited by the USDA. In general, crop produce or products that qualify as organic must be:
- Free from genetic modification
- Grown without conventional fertilizers and pesticides
- Processed without food additives or ionizing radiation
In addition to these requirements, organic animals also must be raised without growth hormones and antibiotics.
Is organic food better for your health?
According to a study done by Stanford University School of Medicine, “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health.” After analyzing the data, the researchers found little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods. No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products, and only one nutrient — phosphorus — was significantly higher in organic versus conventionally-grown produce (and the researchers note that because few people have phosphorous deficiency, this has little clinical significance). There was also no difference in protein or fat content between organic and conventional milk, though
evidence from a limited number of studies suggested that organic milk may contain significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. See more at Stanford Medical website or download London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's PDF
How many farms in Colorado are registered organic?
According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, there are 348 operations in the state that are listed as certified organic by the USDA National Organic Program. This includes farms, ranches, food processors and livestock handlers. 176 produce crops, 158 livestock handlers/food processors and 14 are feedlots. You will often find farmers who adhere to certified organic standards without going through the rigorous paperwork and certifications requirements.
Where does Colorado rank nationally in organic production?
- 3rd-Millet (Wondering what Millet is, click here)
- 4th-All Cropland
- 4th-All Grain
- 6th-All Vegetable Acreage
Why does organic food cost more?
The Organic Farming Research Foundation explains it as: "The organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: Substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society." The USDA notes, there is a strong demand, yet only 1 percent of farmland accounts for organic production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, also says costs are higher due to: cost of fertilization, crop rotation, organic certification, post-harvest handling (processing and transportation), marketing and slower growth in organic foods.