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Old 09-12-2019, 04:30 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,274
Originally Posted by kirkrapine View Post
What more, exactly? Do you use mule-drawn plows and dig up the weeds with hoes?
Would you actually like your ignorance fought, or would you prefer to revel in it?

The central ideas behind organic farming are that the farm is considered as a whole organism that's part of the larger ecological system; that the farmer works with nature, rather than in opposition to it, to preserve and improve the health of the farm as a whole and of those portions of the larger system that the farm directly interacts with; and that it's the long-term health of the field, not just of the particular crop growing in it at the moment, which is aimed for. One of the common ways of phrasing this is 'healthy fields produce healthy crops which produce healthy people.'

Avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals is a tool that's used in attempting to reach the goal of healthy fields. It's neither the primary thing being aimed for, nor the only tool in the toolbox.

(Organically-permitted pesticides, while we're at it, are way down near the bottom of the toolbox; which is one reason why I'm suspicious of that Bt-every-week-for-four-months comparison. I don't raise field corn, but my neighbor raises organic field corn on some of my fields, and while I see him out here fairly often I don't think I've ever seen him applying pesticides; and the only pest I've really heard him complain about is squirrels. The main pest problem I've got in my vegetables is deer.)

Other tools include but are not limited to cover crops; crop rotations; pasture rotations; selection of types of tillage and cultivation which are suitable to the particular operation considering such things as soil types, soil slopes, soil depth, size of operation, number of humans involved, types of crops and/or livestock involved; timing of planting of particular crops; timing of pasture use by particular livestock; selection of species suitable to the general area and to the particular operation; selection of specific cultivars and/or breeds within those species not only for yield, but also for suitability to the location, flavor, nutrition, and pest resistance; selection of livestock housing and pasture so as to allow natural systems and natural behavior to contribute to the health of the animals; selection of added nutrients when and where necessary, in amounts and fashions intended, again, to contribute to the long-term health and fertility of the field; diversity of species raised on the farm; provision of habitat for beneficial organisms both microscopic and macroscopic; provision for protection of banks of ponds and streams; provision for various methods of preventing soil erosion; provision for properly dealing with "waste" products so that if possible they don't become "waste" but instead become a useful part of the system whether on or off the farm, or if that isn't possible are disposed of in the least damaging way possible; and I'm sure there are things I've left out of this very long sentence. -- oh yes, and while the USDA doesn't allow considering in current organic standards the treatment of any hired farmworkers who might be part of the operation, many private certifying organizations used to do so, and some have developed additional agreements that farmers are encouraged to sign on to.

A mule might or might not be involved in there somewhere (some people use them to keep coyote away from sheep); and/or a hoe. And/or a 300 horsepower GPS equipped tractor pulling an experimental cover crop crimping roller followed by a multi-row no-till planter followed by a researcher from Cornell, taking notes.