Agriculture is considered as a science and art of animal and plant keeping, therefore in land utilization there are basically two methods by which crops are produced for food and income generation (Pimentel, 2005). They include: conventional and organic systems of farming. Conventional land farming entails the usage of artificial fertilisers that are chemically made so as to increase yields of plants, pest protection, and higher animal output using hormones and antibiotics (Acs et al., 2009). Alternatively, organic land usage is the reliance of techniques such as plant waste, rotation of crops, animal waste, and natural-pest controls to improve both animal and plant outputs (Best, 2010).
Globally, farmers have been using the two systems together, but factors such as food production, environmental conservation, knowledge and skill, capital has forced farmers to choose one farming system (Best, 2010). Pimentel, et al., (2005) researched on the benefits of the two methods and concluded that organic farming was better than conventional even though the latter is the commonly used system. Apart from increased production of food and less skill application required in conventional farming it lacks the merits of environmental, economic, and energetic offerings of organic farming systems. This paper will highlight the merits of organic farming in comparison to conventional farming through reviewing of an article by Pimentel et al, (2005). Conclusions from the article will then be made with a comment on what the future holds on organic farming.
The paper by Pimentel et al., (2005), was a study that aimed at proving that organic farming was better to conventional farming. The study method involved dividing the cropping systems into three groups which are conventional, organic farming (animal-based), and organic farming (plant-based). Land investigations were carried out at Institute of Rodale in Pennsylvania and were to be analysed for twenty one years that is from 1981-2002. Soil in the land throughout the whole study was moderately well-drained and silt-loam. In all the farming methods, the dimensions to be obtained were: biomasses of cover-crop, specific crop, and weed; amount of carbon, water, and nitrogen in soil; grain outputs; leaching rate of nitrates and herbicides; and amount of water applied. Furthermore, intermittent rainfall, energy inputs and outputs, and economic inputs and outputs were also obtained.
After twenty two years the results recorded showed that there was a significant contrast between the farming methods. The differences were based on crops, regions, and technologies used in the investigation. In the investigations it was proved that: carbon and nitrogen amount was more in organic farming than conventional; fossil-energy outputs were lower by 30% in organic farming; labour inputs in organic farming were 15 % higher and distributed evenly yearly. Therefore from the results it was concluded that organic system of farming was better than conventional in that: there was more organic and nitrogen matter; lower fossil energy inputs; similar yields; and led to conservation of water and soil in the land.
The article was credible and factual in the sense that results were obtained from a twenty two year period with measurements obtained from planting different crops. The benefits of organic farming that can be highlighted from the study are numerous to the consumer, farmer, and to the environment. To the consumer, the benefits are: higher nutritional-value; poison free; better food tastes; and produces that can last longer. Similarly, to the farmer, the benefits that can be drawn from the study are drought resistance of crops, lower input costs, disease and pest resistance crops, and produces that have added value. To the environment, organic systems are essential in conservation of soil and water, and in reduction of pollution during processing of the produce.
Ages ago it was common knowledge that conventional farming had an edge over organic farming in terms of higher productivity. This is the reason why many farmers insist on conventional farming all for the sole reason of increasing their income. However, the notion has been disproved by Pimentel et al., (2005), where the yield was proved to be equal or higher. The higher or equal yield was obtained when the produce was sold to the markets which are seen to fetch a higher or equal economic return per ha. Therefore, the only merit that conventional system of farming has over organic farming is in its methodology where less skills are required to practice it resulting in produce that are obtained quickly (DASH). The other advantage of production of GMO (GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS) has mixed benefits with others claiming they are harmful and others saying there is increased produce.
The study has proved that organic farming is better than conventional farming as it is environmental, energetic, and economically advantageous to consumers and the farmer. Conventional farming has ever more been proved to be worse in that it is ecologically hazardous, results in produce that require a lot of energy in processing, and results to produces that can be health hazards. Therefore, farmers are encouraged to concentrate their efforts in organic systems of farming which are seen to be the trend in the future. The popularity of the system will continue to soar because of global efforts to conserve the environment, and to produce high-value products that will enable people live longer.
Acs, S., Berentsen, P., Huirne, R., & van Asseldonk, M. (2009). Effect of yield and price risk on conversion from conventional to organic farming. Australian Journal of Agricultural & Resource Economics, 53(3), 393-411. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8489.2009.00458.x
Best, H. (2010). Environmental Concern and the Adoption of Organic Agriculture. Society & Natural Resources, 23(5), 451-468. doi:10.1080/08941920802178206
Pimentel, D., Hepperly, P., Seidel, R., Hanson, J., & Douds, D. (2005). Environmental, Energetic, and Economic Comparisons of Organic and Conventional Farming Systems. BioScience, 55(7), 573-582. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.