Rodale Institute has collected long-term data over 30 years, comparing the effects of organic and agricultural systems through the Farming Systems Trial®, concluding that organic farming is superior to conventional farming according to several criteria!
Rodale Institute has conducted research on organic practices for more than 60 years. After 30 years of side-by-side comparison, their studies have revealed that organic systems match or even outperform conventional systems!
The study began in 1981, and after a three year transitional period, yields from the organic system were comparable to that of the conventional system. Results so promising, they continued their study for 30 years, and to this day, are still conducting the Farming Systems Trial®, making it the longest running side-by-side farming trial in the United States.
Here is what they’ve discovered so far:
- In terms of environmental impact, the organic system reduced runoff, stored water and nutrients more effectively, recharged groundwater, and contributed to increases in soil organic matter. By contrast, the conventional system leached nutrients and herbicides into groundwater and produced 40 percent more greenhouse gases than the organic system. Overall, the organic system required 45 percent less energy to maintain.
- The organic systems consistently matched the yields of the conventional system, and produced greater yields than the conventional system under moderate drought conditions.
- The organic system was almost three times as profitable as the conventional system due to premiums on organic crops, and was still equally or more profitable than the conventional system without these premiums. Additionally, organic farming systems provide 30 percent more jobs per hectare than conventional systems, which have replaced manual labor with mechanized labor. This means that more money in the agricultural sector is going to people, rather than corporations, aiding in the revitalization of rural communities.
For soil health alone, organic agriculture is more sustainable than conventional. When one also considers yields, economic viability, energy usage, and human health, it’s clear that organic farming is sustainable, while current conventional practices are not.