Organic farming in Pakistan

Organic farming is an art of producing herbs, vegetables and crops without using of any chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides. Peoples believed yield drastically deceased in organic farming but real situation is totally different; during conversion period (first three years) yield decrease but gradually yield and produce value increase many folds as compare to conventional farming. Organic farming eliminate complete use of chemical fertilizers and pesticide that cuts a major cost of production, due to high sale return of organic produce give an extra advantage over conventional production.

Organic agriculture in the beginnings presentations decrease yields than standard cropping but as its input are not up to typical agriculture and labour in Pakistan is cheap

Why organic farming is vital

In Pakistan maximum of large farms are run by absentee land lords, on this case land is cared by way of the workers, who don’t have any feeling of ownership quantity of production, margin of profit. On other hand small land house owners, who’re provide at the farms have constraints of buying great amount of inputs associated with possibility are pressured to diversify their investments. To duvet dangers they in most cases reduce farm inputs but are not able to scale back environmental degradation like soil erosion, pollution, excess water input, water logging drainage, regulate of perennial weeds etc. Organic farmer pays more to the labours additionally controls his farm in addition to off farm environmental costs. They reduce manufacturing money costs by hanging family labour eliminate inorganic fertilisers, pesticide and herbicides and reduce soil erosion. Conventional meals would possibly comprise cancer causing agents, chemical substances that purpose sicknesses including cancer.

Organic farmer pays more to the labours additionally controls his farm in addition to off farm environmental costs.

Additive in processing might further turn on cancer causing agents. This meals may comprise nitrates and different preservative or nitrosamine which are potent carcinogen. Conventional farmer spent more on input of fertilisers, pesticide and those wastes is going to the surroundings specifically ground water.

This type of farming enters into commercial manufacturing processing and distribution device the entire chain of which adds some more chemicals. The cost of this business model for agriculture are exceptional and very broad attaining, but unrecognised as business manufacturing applying more chemical compounds and system produces food inexpensive, higher in beauty glance and but poisoned via chemicals. Organic farming has doable of area of interest markets for native prime valued, non-conventional, indigenous and local agricultural products like medicinal herbs, conventional agriculture and non-timber tree merchandise. Farmers developments to switch to organic farming is correlated intently with the scale of conversion grants. The subsides for conventionally produced food these days restrict the expansion of natural agriculture to the size of market this is keen to pay higher price to the patron. Although organic merchandise and its market outlet are restricted but premium prices may boost the market.

World image of organic farming

In 1989, subsidies were introduced in numerous European countries, like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, to inspire conversion to natural farming, which changed 376,000 hectares of land by way of 10,000 farmers into organic farming. In Germany the place subsidies are available for 2 years so 7.nine% of farm of farm and three.6% land modified to natural farming.

In 1989 Europe is able to build up 200,000 hectares to 900,000 hectares natural farming. In Iran total 20,000 ha with manufacturing of 107,000 kg in line with 12 months well adopted to social structure of family oriented process. It is in keeping with guide paintings, production and processing in accordance with indigenous methods and animal manure is the primary supply of plant nutrition. In EU nations the selection of natural farmer have build up from 6,000 in 1985 to 48,000 these days. Italy have 30,000 qualified natural farmers. In Scandinavian countries eight% are qualified organic farmers. Australia has 10%, U.K five% natural farmer. The general farm space in Pakistan 19.7 million hectares, which is 28% of the full house of the rustic. The average size farms in 1972 used to be five.2 hectares. In Pakistan best few farmers are organic farmers. Ministry of Agriculture, fisheries and meals in U.ok pay strengthen of 50 in keeping with ha in step with yr for five years to convert to organic farming.

In 1989 Europe is able to build up 200,000 hectares to 900,000 hectares natural farming. In Iran total 20,000 ha with manufacturing of 107,000 kg in line with 12 months well adopted to social structure of family oriented process.

Expected expansion price of natural farming in the World is 20-30% however natural agriculture won’t ever have the ability to feed the swiftly rising world population due to low labour out put inspite of prime yields. Due to over use of chemical compounds, land is depleted of organic subject and moderate manufacturing in line with ha decreases. Food produced in excess to demand serves to cut back commodity prices, won by farmer’s however hungry other people ill come up with the money for high priced natural meals.

Organic agriculture

Organic approach is to minimise the hostile affects on the environments, via warding off the use of materials from non-renewable resources, recycling where conceivable, use minimum amount of pesticides, fending off the use of sources which reason air pollution, relying on crop rotation, using crop residue recycling animal manure, legumes, and inexperienced manure, biological pest keep an eye on, minimal tilth to be used to deal with soil productivity, to minimise the power costs of production and transportation fabrics, to stay soil extra fertile.

    Organic methods strengthen soil well being, increase population of healthy worms, fungi and other soil organisms. Organic agriculture saves the land from losses due to erosion and soil degradation, reinforce soil fertility and complements moisture conservation. Diverse types only be used below negative prerequisites.

    Organic farming is in response to much less inputs, higher marketplace call for because of having environmental and social considerations. It additionally in accordance with native sources and applied sciences that offer farmer better independence and more regulate over their method of manufacturing. Environmental affects of natural farming are:

    1. Improvement of soil biological job.
    2. Improvement of physical characteristics of soil.
    3. Reducing nitrate leaching.
    4. Increasing and making improvements to wild existence habitant.

    Organic farming in Pakistan.

    Its function are to expand low capital much less labour in depth, prime yielding, better quality and healthy natural farming. Reducing the cost of production to minimum to achieve self sufficiency in all inputs. It is recognised as a long-term option to the problem caused through nitrate pollution. Organic agriculture in the beginnings presentations decrease yields than standard cropping but as its input are not up to typical agriculture and labour in Pakistan is cheap, in lengthy when natural agricultural strategies have stepped forward soil characteristics, soil fauna and established trojan horse job and large manufacturing of vermicasts, the yields will surpass the conventional strategies.

    Nutritional criteria of organic products

    People’s number of meals is primarily based now not handiest on prices, style, but additionally takes in to account, ethical, religious and dietary causes. Some even suppose on the subject of exploitation of human and natural resources and degradation of environments. The natural food at the entire is vitamin and meets anatomical and physiological requirements of human. It also helps in interplay of food clean like production, processing, packaging and buying and selling inside the surroundings and the social structures.

    Organic practising

    The natural farmers used garlic pyrethrum and neem to regulate pest and sicknesses, also use predators like Encarsia Formosa used to keep an eye on inexperienced house, white fly and phytoseinlus persimilis a predator mite used for two-spotted mite regulate also get composts are a wonder producing by means of recycling garden and kitchen wastes. Mulch is magic and now not assist in suppressing weed however provides crops raised all macro and micro-nutrients, in chelated forms and vermicasts wealthy in vitamins and antibiotics.

    Biomass use as organic topic and also does the similar. Crop rotations and inter cropping is designed to toughen soil fertility. Organic subject composts and manures strengthen the soil health and thereby plant health to the level that pests attack on crop is diminished and injury is negligible.

    Animals and organic farming

    The organic farmer will have to paintings arduous to combine animals in to the farming system:

    The non-agricultural public should understand that natural animal husbandry is basically better the kind of animal manufacturing they continuously criticise.

    The natural farmers used garlic pyrethrum and neem to regulate pest and sicknesses, also use predators like Encarsia Formosa used to keep an eye on inexperienced house, white fly and phytoseinlus persimilis a predator mite used for two-spotted mite regulate also get composts are a wonder producing by means of recycling garden and kitchen wastes.

    Some farm animals farmers also find problem to justify conversion to organic production, due to prime restructuring price and loss of top rate prices to compensate for yield relief and in addition decreasing in the house for organic production rotational constraints.

    Market tendencies

    Organic merchandise have premium market which make no longer available to the entire inhabitants because of costs constraints. The costs of organic merchandise is larger via factor such as: small scale manufacturing, broadly dispersed farm, separate packing amenities costlier recycled packaging and pricing insurance policies of retail outlets.

    Seasonal production and regional markets stay an important objective in organic farming. We need to deal with National Organic Standards Board to come to a decision the criteria of what’s natural?

    Some shoppers are ready to pay extra for food that has awesome high quality. Consumer demand for natural products is progressively expanding due to concern in regards to the environments and health implications of business agriculture even though there’s no relation between shopper and manufacturer however the poor financial efficiency of organic farming displays the monetary problems of small farmers in some instances due to loss of access to premium marketplace helps. Such difficulties have compelled out from the business the small natural farmers. It is imaginable that organic farmers marketplace their products immediately but it requires more labour and organisation. Organic food are equipped to supermarket additionally provide house supply. Seasonal production and regional markets stay an important objective in organic farming. We need to deal with National Organic Standards Board to come to a decision the criteria of what’s natural? International actions (IFOAM) has formulated elementary requirements to outline natural production. Food containing products of gene generation will have to be labelled, so consumer have an choice, Bioethics influences the marketability of goods derived from biotechnology. It is the consumers who come to a decision on the prospects of biotechnological markets. Organic food will have to be labelled that consumer merchandise no longer derived from genetically engineered types. Organic product must boost-out agribusiness, chemical-biotech corporation and massive grocery store chain. The maximum developed markets for natural food are Northern World.

    There are 300 natural industry marks available on the market. Organic label is not unusual in 15 nations. Organic business must strengthening the native communities for higher social and environmental accountability, meals security, holding natural sources, control biological and cultural range.

    Fair industry/Trade

    Healthy food and honest industry organisations accept the important of exterior tracking via labelling. Organisation are awarded label of approval. The Fair Trade in accordance with equal partnership between the Southern producers, Northern importers, labelling organisation, honest trade retail outlets and consumers those organisation work with the producer organisation. They produce to strengthen the ecological sustainability of manufacturing. It additionally provide coverage to the brand new comers in this field, this might be helpful to the farmer’s organisation to safe working capital, long run mortgage for investments, marketplace knowledge, conversation, control, and technical support and help, but it also required make it possible for labelled products meet fair business criteria. Fair trade can result in environmental benefits.

    The fair trade regulations exist for coffee, cocoa, banana, honey, sugar however royalties are imposed to cover operating value when one makes use of these truthful commerce label.

    Fair trade need fair and real price overlaying prices for farmers everywhere the arena however its merchandise will have to be upto global standards in terms of high quality and quality and should be accountable to the labelling organisation. International fair-trades lend a hand strengthening local economics. National fair-trades designed their own label and define the condition underneath which producers, trade and industry achieve the appropriate to make use of the fair commerce label in their business promotion. The honest trade regulations exist for coffee, cocoa, banana, honey, sugar however royalties are imposed to cover operating value when one makes use of these truthful commerce label. Certification both from fair-trade or organic Agriculture Movement produce self belief and trust. This protects the patron’s rights. Fair trade will have to provide social fairness, ecological tasks as pre-conditions, for sustainable production. It contribute to make stronger the residing usual of economically deprived small farmers to strengthening their self-governing organisation. Certifying organisation has devised particular standards for quality assurance, in-co-operaiton with the inspection organisation IMO (Institute for Market Ecology) and in line with IFOAM’s accreditation programme.

    Fair trade could have downside due to loss of management talent, non-public pastime might be greater than co-operative interest, market diversification into typical, truthful commerce and organic marketplace. Organic certification is gradual, laborious and dear process and is a challenge to small producers. The price premium above the marketplace value is insufficient, whilst inflexibilities inherent in truthful trade style eroded a substantial part of the cost top class. Fair commerce movement is able to significantly problem the social dumping that involves the exploitation of inexpensive labour and kid labour.


    The barrier in commerce are: restrictive commerce insurance policies perverse subsidies and bureaucratic regulations, integrating environmental elements are used to design higher export methods.

    Farmer’s rights and coverage of traditional plant sorts. Also trade related sides of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) below aegis of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATI), will have to come with farmer privilege. Small farmer have little get right of entry to to data on World marketplace costs, lack of transparency and politically inspired distortion, small farmer generally receive low costs for their produce. Farmer have inadequate knowledge on progressed applied sciences and scientific understanding of the process concerned about their farming device, in environment friendly extension carrier. Under present risky marketplace conditions, process isn’t followed in step with the need of farmer’s organisation.

    The factor liable for market construction are government fair and the only real of primary super markets.

    1. Government worth insurance policies, monopolies on market of agriculture produce, inflicting low agricultural source of revenue.
    2. Organic agriculture calls for time and neatly skilled extension workers. Since organic farming is a new practice it wishes competent and dependable control.
    3. Major drawback is loss of public consciousness of organic meals.
    4. Development of viable manufacturer and shopper linkages.
    5. Poverty alleviation, sustainable development, meals security, agrarian reforms and suitable technologies higher farm management is wanted.
    6. Due to lack of advertising and marketing construction, organic merchandise are sold at the market rate of typical produce. Artificial value structure deliver drawback to client in addition to manufacturer.
    7. Organic farms spent more on labour for spreading manure. Organic farmer suffers due to high labour cost and labour scarcity.


    In long run we have to take a look at the commercial marketplace and policies during which organic merchandise produce and advertised and take a look at within the financial results which range through the sources, farm trade, higher management, labour availability.

    1. In future Government design higher Trade regulation which can be socially fair, ecologically sound and higher standards for inexperienced and honest commerce.
    2. Future we need to identify promotion and coaching programmes to foster export alternatives for organic merchandise.
    3. Future consideration will have to be given to fulfill the ensure device that may be sure organic quality and allow client to broaden their preferences for natural products with feeling of accept as true with.
    4. In future we have to develop a realistic and sophisticated tracking procedure that is applicable to different farming buildings and handle world requirements.
    5. In long run want right kind organic standards, laws and legislation.

    New tech for clean agriculture offers chemical-free food

    After shedding her shut family to most cancers, agricultural engineer Bilge Akgün developed a brand new generation which grows fruit and veggies that don’t carry any chemical stays nor purpose any air pollution. Engineer and entrepreneur Akgün has founded an organization named Hextech Green and recently undertakes experiments at Istanbul Technical University’s ARI Teknokent.

    With her motto “Clean Agriculture,” Akgün mentioned the polluted food that has discovered its method to our tables is the reason for many cancer instances. “Seeing the pain that my beloved ones suffered because of cancer is a very hard thing. As an agricultural engineer, I made developing a technology that creates no pollution as my life’s purpose,” Akgün added.

    The Smart Agriculture Machine that Akgün has advanced offers solutions for cultivation with minimum water and fertilizer. With the machines, vegetables and fruit are grown with out using any pesticides or chemical fertilizer. The machine saves 98 p.c water and seeds are grown in 10 days. If the machine spreads, farmers will be capable to grow their meals with out being occupied with herbal failures or drought.

    “Seeing the pain that my beloved ones suffered because of cancer is a very hard thing. As an agricultural engineer, I made developing a technology that creates no pollution as my life’s purpose,”


    Akgün has also developed a household sort Smart Agriculture Machine which can be used by families living in cities.

    Currently we’re best promoting these machines to professionals however the research and development process for a family prototype continues. The work in this smaller gadget is planned to be completed by way of the second half of 2019 and we plan to continue with mass production as soon as conceivable,” Akgün added

    Organic farming drives sustainable agriculture

    The future of farming has to appear other from farming as of late. Tremendously other. Otherwise, we will be able to chance dropping much more biodiversity, continue with polluting water bodies, driving erosion and running down soil fertility. And we will be able to never reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), lots of which at once relate to agriculture. How we will have to transition to sustainable food systems is topic to heated and polarized debates. Proponents of agroecological manufacturing methods reminiscent of natural agriculture highlight the environmental benefits of those programs and argue that handiest the ones can result in the essential adjustments. Proponents of intensive production methods emphasize the will for prime yields to spare land and guarantee meals security for an ever expanding population and argue that extensive systems can’t be sustainable because of their upper land use.

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    We need to conquer such polarized debates. Focusing on policy interventions to make stronger the SDGs quite than on farming systems can lend a hand. Four groups of policy interventions In a recent Comment in the journal Nature Sustainability, we discuss 4 teams of coverage interventions for a transition to extra sustainable meals systems. First, policy makers can make stronger selection production techniques comparable to organic agriculture. This fortify can take the type of direct payments, offering training and knowledge switch, and investment analysis.

    The goal isn’t to succeed in full protection with anyone alternative machine, however to perfect make the most of their attainable and to additional expand them as showcases of sustainable agriculture. Second, bettering consumer awareness of sustainability in agriculture in conjunction with shops’ dedication to provide such merchandise may just stimulate demand for extra sustainable products.

    Third, positive deterrents may just cause improvements in all types of agriculture, with key levers being decreasing pesticide use and nitrogen inputs from outdoor regional ecosystem barriers. Taxes on pesticides and taxes on mineral fertilizers, on nitrogen in imported feed and biomass may just all contribute to this. Fourth, executive and business could elevate felony requirements and business norms, e.g. by banning particularly hazardous ingredients and practices. a Versatile solution to more ecology These approaches are flexible within the sense that they do not exclusively support organic farming, integrated manufacturing, precision farming or another single system.

    All of these approaches can in finding their place in the sort of coverage panorama as long as they show decent sustainability performance. For example, any machine with low nitrogen inputs would get advantages, whilst even an natural machine could be put at an obstacle if it had top external nitrogen inputs. Organic agriculture as essentially the most prominent choice farming system can play a different position in this. Its long experience regarding the construction of the establishments had to grow instead device can encourage all four teams of policy interventions, be it associated with direct reinforce, customers, gradual improvements or prison requirements and bans.

    Organic agriculture as a blueprint When designing their sustainability policies, governments will have to most effective strengthen agriculture and food techniques that ship on the SDGs. And they must abandon inconsistent insurance policies comparable to subsidizing pesticides and fertilizers whilst additionally subsidizing biodiversity protection. The ongoing discussion of Switzerland’s long run agricultural coverage AP 22+ gives us exactly such a possibility. One of the controversy’s central points is how to supply consistent and efficient fortify to production programs which can be tailored appropriately to their locations and don’t exceed the ecosystem’s wearing capacities.

    The coverage context is challenging, regardless that, given the tough vested interests of agribusiness, meals corporations and commodity-related passion teams. Scientists, farmers, policymakers, companies and civil society organizations want to align and pull those robust avid gamers along to actually make the future of farming look different than farming nowadays. Tremendously other, another way in 2030 we’ll be going through any other type of SDGs: Sustainable Development Gaps.

    Modern Ways and Obstructions in Organic Farming of Pakistan

    Modern Ways and Obstructions in Organic Farming of Pakistan

    What is natural and organic farming?

    Organic farming approach elevating of plants and rearing of cattle by means of using only natural sources. There is little need of fertilizers, expansion hormones, pesticides, genetically modified organisms and antibiotics in organic farming. It is a device that sustains the health of soil and ecosystem. It may be named as low enter farming.

    Aims of natural farming:

    • Encourage higher utilization of organic pesticides.
    • Maintain higher soil structure in addition to soil fertility.
    • Proper tillage operations at the proper time.
    • Limit weeds, pests and illnesses.
    • Enhance genetic heterogeneity.
    • Reduce whole forms of pollution which is due to agricultural practices.
    • Provide food of best dietary status in ok amount.
    • Provide all natural stipulations to farm animals.
    • Restoration of the deteriorated soil.
    • No use of inorganic chemical substances.

    Major rules of natural farming:

    The following ideas have been shaped through the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

    The Principle of Health:

    Organic farming will have to deal with and upgrade the well being of human, soil, plant and animal.

    The Principle of Ecology:

    The precedence of this theory is to reach ecological steadiness by way of natural farming. It objectives on recycling.

    The Principle of Fairness:

    Organic agriculture is a potent defender of equity. Fairness expresses honour, justice, protection and steadiness. This idea is acceptable to all classes equivalent to providers, farmers, vendors, processors and consumers. Each workforce should be sure that they will not do any harm the soil, setting, animals, water and every other thing below this.

    The Principle of Care:

    In order to satisfy above objective, it is very important offer protection to land and environment from damaging substances.

    Classification of natural farming:

    Pure natural farming:

    In this sort of organic farming, farmer makes use of organic pesticides and manures. There is no need of inorganic chemicals in natural natural farming.

    Integrated organic farming:

    In integrated natural farming, crops produce which have proper nutritive value and safe from pest’s harm by using all of the natural assets. It comprises integrated pest control and built-in nutrient management.

    Strategies of natural farming:

    Green manuring:

    Incorporation of any crop or plant into the soil in green state to fortify soil well being. Mostly, leguminous vegetation are preferred because these crops fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil.

    Crop rotation:

    Means raising of incompatible crops, in collection, at the same piece of land. It is completed to deal with soil fertility and to regulate bugs, weeds and sicknesses.

    Biological pest keep an eye on:

    In this system, living organisms are applied to check pests, without or with minimal utilization of inorganic chemical substances.

    Crop diversification:

    Its way, growing of 2 or more plants in combination in the same box. It is done to restrict pest inhabitants and to enhance soil situation.


    It is a decomposed organic topic. During decomposition carbon dioxide as well as water and heat are produced. The finish product is rich in nutrient and likewise a supply of meals for microorganisms present in the soil.

    Soil management:

    Due to continuous cultivation, the soil becomes low in vitamins and reduces its high quality. Incorporation of natural subject into the soil helps to preserve soil fertility as well as improves biological task of soil.


    It is a procedure of manufacturing soil modification (compost) by utilizing earthworms. Nutrients which can be provide lower within the soil and now not available to plants, earthworms help to convey them to the upper layers. Small channels which can be formed via the movement of earthworms help to support the water protecting capability of a soil. Organic waste can also be a subject matter within the agriculture sector if not supervised in a right kind method. Vermicomposting is a potent and rapid strategy to arrange organic waste. In vermicomposting, earthworms act on natural matter both biochemically and bodily.

    Constraints in natural farming in Pakistan:

    • A dearth of social consciousness about organic merchandise.
    • Lack of presidency insurance policies related to the price of an organic product.
    • There is no efficient connection between shopper and producer.
    • Organic farming calls for time and labour at the side of patience.
    • Lack of simple availability of inputs.
    • No availability of separate natural markets.
    • Lack of organization that factor certificates to the organic product.
    • No consideration in opposition to small farmers which can be working laborious day and evening.
    • No understanding of farmers about modern technologies fascinated with organic farming.

    Wastage of organic topic in Pakistan:

    Plant’s residues:

    Mostly, Pakistani farmers misplace the plant’s residues of the previous crop. Farmers use rice and wheat straw as animal feed. The dietary price of rice and wheat straw decreases due to inappropriate storage. Mostly, farmers retailer it on a farm flooring where it suffers to an destructive setting. Actually, farmers will have to incorporate crop residues into the soil. These residues won’t most effective feed to the soil but additionally to the plant.

    Let’s take an summary within the following pictures.

    A Huge quantity of end result and vegetable residues goes unnecessary, day-to-day. It could be very valuable for the soil to control it from depleting soil organic subject. It may be used to make compost. In evolved countries, a tree after reducing changes into tiny pieces throughout the specially designed machine. They even use sawdust as a source of natural subject which in Pakistan used as a fuel. They use lawn clippers as compost after composting.


    Although Pakistani climate is not beneficial to construct organic subject within the soil, there are lots of defaults in Pakistani farming machine which leads toward low yield.

    Let’s take a view of mismanagement of organic manures in Pakistan.

    In Pakistan, farmers know not anything in regards to the price and garage of manures. They retailer the manures in an open atmosphere which in flip develop into a source of mosquito relating to different health issues. The nutrient status of manures decreases swiftly in an open environment. Keep in mind that every one manures should store in a closed pit and the entire pit duvet with plastic sheet, internally. The plastic sheet avoids from seepage losses. Use decomposed manures because it’s secure for plant and soil.


    Now, the human population is expanding and agricultural land is lowering day by day. Our intention is to increase in step with capita yield, on a sustained foundation, without compromising the well being of human and setting. Organic farming is an technique to get now not only healthy food but also a healthy breath. Everyone, who learns, tries to teach the farmer and different stakeholders which are unconsciously enjoying with setting.

    Disappearing Insects: Healthy and Organic new year

    We elevate the public debate about the hazards of pesticides from a human and environmental perspective in the context of a clear solution to the pesticide problem. I start with my conclusion: We can eliminate hazardous pesticides with alternative practices and
    products that are compatible with organic systems. How we advance both an understanding of the problem and how we frame the solution is critical to the ultimate outcomes and
    the speed with which they are achieved. We are living at a time when the urgency for integrating our work into the big picture of human survival gains clarity every day. So, we draw the interconnections between the indiscriminate destruction of living organisms caused by pesticides, habitat loss, and global climate change.
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    Bringing it to the mainstream
    To do this, we do need to articulate the problem by bringing to the public arena new scientific discussions that are often buried in the scientific literature. That is why Beyond Pesticides spends so much of its resources evaluating science and translating it into language that is accessible to the general public. Our objective is to take the analysis and reporting in this journal, and the information in our factsheets, Daily News, and databases to community discussions at town, city, and county council meetings, as well as school boards and park commissions, and with neighbors, family, and editorial boards of local media.
    The insect apocalypse
    So, you can imagine how important it was in late November for the New York Times magazine to publish its front page article, Insect Apocalypse. This piece clearly explains the
    current crisis of disappearing insects and the devastating biodiversity decline. The author, Brooke Jarvis, brought to the mainstream media the disturbing news that readers
    of this journal have been following. As Ms. Jarvis says, “[T]here were documented downward slides of well-studied bugs, including various kinds of bees, moths, butterflies and beetles. In Britain, as many as 30 to 60 percent of species were found to have diminishing ranges.
    Larger trends were harder to pin down, though a 2014 review in Science tried to quantify these declines by synthesizing the findings of existing studies and found that a majority of
    monitored species were declining, on average by 45 percent.” She continues: “Ornithologists kept finding that birds that rely on insects for food were in trouble: eight in 10 partridges gone from French farmlands; 50 and 80 percent drops, respectively, for nightingales and turtledoves. Half of all farmland birds in Europe disappeared in just three decades. At first, many scientists assumed the familiar culprit of habitat destruction was at work, but then they began to wonder if the birds might simply be starving.”
    Bringing science to the mainstream Various studies have found reductions of up to a factor 60 over the past 40 years–there were 60 times as many insects in some locations in the 1970s. Over 75% of insect abundance has declined over the last 27 years, according to research published last year by European scientists in PLOS One.
    The dramatic drop in insect biomass has led to equally dramatic pronunciations from highly respected scientists and entomologists. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon,” study coauthor David Goulson, Ph.D. of Sussex University, UK, told The Guardian. “If we
    lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”
    As we discussed when he published his book, A Sting in the Tale (2014), Dr. Goulson writes, “We need worms to create soil; flies and beetles and fungi to break down dung; ladybirds
    and hoverflies to eat greenfl[ies]; bees and butterflies to pollinate plants to provide food, oxygen, fuel and medicines, and hold the soil together; and bacteria to help plants fix nitrogen and . . . cows to digest grass. . . . [Yet] we often choose to squander the irreplaceable, to discard those things that both keep us alive and make life worth living.”
    Where must we be headed with all this? What do we want to achieve? Certainly, we do not want to spend our lives on the treadmill of banning pesticide after pesticide that are used in land and building management systems because underlying pest conducive conditions are
    not fixed or prevented. How would we define a preventive approach that avoids the problems that lead to pesticide use and pesticide dependency, that create resistant organisms requiring more potent chemicals to control, that are fossiln fuel dependent, use fracking water, destroy the soil and aquatic food webs, and contribute to global climate
    change or, conversely, does help to manage carbon? With organic systems, we are well on our way to eliminating the toxic pesticides that wreak havoc with life. However, a lot more urgency is needed. Best wishes for healthy and organic new year!

    How to Get USDA Organic Certification

    As a farmer, retailer or other business, gaining USDA organic certification status is a savvy and ethical business move. However, it’s not enough to simply claim “organic.” You must make sure that your product is carrying the certified USDA Organic Seal.
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    The USDA National Organic Standard Seal not only shows your ongoing commitment to a healthy planet but assures consumers and buyers that your product meets stringent USDA organic certification requirements. It will make your product more marketable and profitable. So, how do you get started with the USDA organic certification process?
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    How to Find out If You’re Eligible?

    The best way to find out if your farm or product is eligible for USDA organic certification is to contact a reputable organic certifying agent. An organic certification agent is an agent who is accredited by the National Organic Program (NOP). Choosing the right organic certification agent is a big deal as your agent will help you with the planning process, inspect your product and in the end, license you to use the term “organic” to sell your product.

    Who Qualifies?

    In general, you may be eligible for organic certification if you are one of the following.

    • A commercial producer of organic crops or livestock such as a farmer or livestock producer.
    • A processor of organic foods, feed, fibers or textiles.
    • A handler of organic products, for example, a broker, packer, wholesaler or distributor.
    • A restaurant owner who sells organic fare.
    • A retailer who specializes in organic products or organic food.
    • A marketer of organic products.
    • A brand owner developing organic products.
    • Not Everyone Qualifies

    Not everyone qualifies for USDA organic certification. First of all, your product needs to meet the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. This list, mandated by the Secretary of Agriculture, tells you which synthetic and non-synthetic substances may or may not be used in your organic production and handling operations. You may also be exempt or excluded from organic certification based on a number of USDA regulations.

    Is It Right for You?

    USDA organic certification is an ongoing process that requires dedication. Getting certified means making a long-term commitment to the organic process and it can be time-consuming.
    For example, did you know that to become certified organic you must comply years in advance in some cases? It’s true. National Organic Program standards state that organic crops must be grown on land that has been free from prohibited pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers for three years proceeding growth.
    There are many other issues to think about as well. Becoming certified organic means considering your entire operational procedure, not just the end product.

    How Much Will It Cost?

    When the National Organic Program initially launched USDA organic certification, the cost of a single farm becoming certified was estimated at $750 with a sliding scale fee structure in place for other organic operations.
    Current certification fees vary wildly depending on the organic certification agent you choose. Be sure each organic certification agent you’re speaking with gives you a clear estimate of the fee structure before officially choosing an agent. There are also programs that can help you pay for the costs of getting certified, as shown below.

    How to Apply?

    If you’ve taken the time and initiative to ensure that your processing or distribution process is truly organic, then the actual process of gaining USDA organic certification is fairly straightforward. While variations apply due to specific circumstances, USDA organic certification can normally be divided into three phases. Organic certification includes the application process, the company, and product inspection and certification.

    The Application Process:

    If you’re planning to market your product as “organic” you must get certified by a National Organic Program (NOP) accredited agent. First, choose your organic certification agent. Obtain and fill out your agent’s application forms and turn them in. After the agent reviews your application and decides that you’re in compliance with NOP regulations and standards, your agent will schedule a site inspection.

    The Inspection:

    A reputable organic certification agent will always schedule an on-site visit to inspect your organic production and handling site. The inspection is conducted to ensure that your application information is truthful and accurate. Your inspector will need to see your operations and will want to verify that zero prohibited substances have come into contact with your product.
    Before the inspection ends, your inspector will conduct an exit interview with you. During the exit interview, the inspector will inform you about concerns or problems and answer any questions you may have.


    After your inspection takes place, your inspector will write a report based on his or her findings. The report, applicant file, and exit interview are again reviewed to ensure National Organic Program (NOP) compliance. If your organic certification agent has zero concerns and all fees have been paid, you’ll be allowed to label your product or company as USDA Certified Organic. If there are minor concerns, you may be certified if you agree to solve the concerns within an appropriate time-frame.
    If your agent feels that you are not fully NOP compliant you won’t be certified until you make the necessary changes to become NOP compliant.

    How Long Does Certification Last?

    Your organic certification will remain valid indefinitely if there are no problems. The only way your certification will end is if you voluntarily surrender certification or if your certification is suspended or revoked by the certifying agent, the State Organic Program’s governing State official, or the Administrator for violation of the Act or NOP regulations.

    How to Become an Organic Farmer

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that farming is not just a rewarding career, but a smart and potentially financially successful career choice as well, especially if your goal is a niche area such as organic farming. It can seem a little overwhelming when you first decide to be an organic farmer, especially since the path to organic farming is different for everyone. Still, below are some general ideas about how to get to the organic farming career finish line.
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    01 Personal Commitment

    Farmers carrying organic squash during harvest in field on foggy fall morning
    [ads-quote-center cite=’Author’]JENNIFER CHAIT[/ads-quote-center]
    One of the most important aspects of becoming an organic farmer is to make sure you have the drive needed to accomplish your goals. No matter what path you choose, if you’re not personally dedicated to this career choice, there’s little chance you’ll succeed. Farming, in general, is a tough career path. Organic farming, with certifications to gain and many rules and standards to follow, can be extra difficult. Once you’re sure that you want to become an organic farmer, check out the options below to get started on this career path.

    02 Educational Path to Organic Farming

    In the past, most farmers learned the trade after growing up on family farms. It isn’t the case anymore. In 2010, there were 1,202,500 farming jobs out there, and most of those farmers did not grow up on the farm. So how do many farmers learn the trade? Through education.
    The minimal education most organic farmers, ranchers, and other organic agricultural managers have is a high-school diploma. Most successful farmers nowadays have much more education under their belt. If you just want to farm, hands-on experience may be all you need, but if you want to farm organically and successfully, getting an agriculture degree from a university is wise.
    Almost all general state university systems have some land-grant college or school of agriculture in place, so your choices are vast and no longer limited by where you live.
    At the very basic level, most agricultural students, depending on what they’d like to grow or raise, study issues such as growing crops, land conditions, plant diseases and livestock care including the basics of veterinary science.
    There are many other topics you can study in college to prepare for a career in organic farming. For example, you can complete a course of study in business agriculture, farm management, dairy science, plant science, agricultural economics and much, much more.

    03 Hands-On Experience

    As a prospective organic farmer, rancher, and agricultural manager, it’s likely that you’ll eventually spend some hands-on time working under an experienced mentor, even if you also go to college for agriculture or livestock. Book learning, while very useful, especially for the more complex areas of farming, cannot replace hands-on time on a farm.
    Most colleges with agricultural programs have hands-on experience in place via a university farm or land and/or offer internships as part of their program or can help you find a non-campus associated internship or farming workshop.
    There are also volunteer opportunities on organic and conventional farms, farm caretaking positions available, plus government projects, such as Beginner Farmer and Rancher Competitive Grants Program, that can help increase learning through internships or apprentice programs.
    It’s important to note that hands-on learning experiences are few and far between. There are rarely enough positions to go around. That said, although you’re interested in organics, it may be wise to take a conventional farm internship if that’s all that’s available. You’ll still gain valuable skills and be in the farming loop when an organic opportunity comes along.

    04 Certification Options

    Clearly, as an organic farmer, you’ll eventually need to become certified organic. However, that’s down the road a bit if you’re just starting out. In the meantime, there are other certification programs in place that can help round out your education as you learn to farm and help you show that you’re a competent farmer.
    For example, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers offers many types of education options for appraisal, farm management and consulting, and continuing education seminars, but some require years of work experience and a bachelor’s degree. MOSES offers various conference workshops, and you can usually locate on-going conferences and workshops related to farming in your neck of the woods as well.