Organic Farming Rising in South

Jessica Desalvo, Beth Kincade, and Ben Pressley

Organic farming is the fastest growing sector of farm prodution, growing approximately 20 percent in 2008.  Studies show that households are incorporating organic foods into their lives more so now than ever before.  There are a lot of reasons for the increase.

Not only is organic farming healthy for the environment, but also it has health benefits for our bodies as well.  According to some scientific findings, organic produce tends to have higher levels of nutrients and absolutely no pesticide residue.

Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are a main reason traditional farming causes some people concern.  Fertilizers can cause groundwater pollution and are often highly acidic. These high levels of acid kill microorganisms that help supply nitrogen to plants.  After constant use of fertilizer, the soil naturally is not able to produce premier crops.

According to Bill Evans, Organic Research Coordinator at Mississippi State, “Organic farming is considered a systematic approach to agriculture that minimizes off-farm inputs, fosters soil tilth and vitality, and does not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.”

Some chemicals are permitted on organic crops by the organic certification agencies, but they must be 100 percent natural.  Billy Barron of Barron Farms does not use organic fertilizers at the risk of compromising his farm.

Barron, refuses to eat any product that is not organic.  He has been growing his own organic produce for more than twenty years and recently became one of twenty certified organic farmers in Mississippi.

“In traditional farming today, they use a lot of chemical fertilizer and those chemicals kill out all of the organic matter that lives in the soil or most of it at least,” says Barron.  “My concern is that we’re really destroying the ability for the soil to produce naturally. I think that’s the main thing that has to do with nature.

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~ by jkdesalv on November 2, 2009.

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