16 Sep 2011
Rodale Institute today announces the latest results of the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming practices. Originally created to study the transition from conventional to organic production, this 30-year study also examined productivity, soil quality, energy and economics.
“The next step forward is to educate growers, whether they are conventional or organic, in the methods used in the Farming Systems Trial to assure equal or better yields through farming practices that do not harm the environment.”
Key findings show:
Organic yields match or surpass conventional yields.
Organic yields outperform conventional yields in years of drought.
Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and is more efficient.
Conventional agricultural systems produce 40 percent more greenhouse gases.
Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional farming systems.
After 30 years of a rigorous side-by-side comparison, the Rodale Institute confidently concludes that organic methods are improving the quality of our food, the health of our soils and water, and the conditions of our nation’s rural areas. Organic agriculture creates more jobs, provides a livable income for farmers, and can restore America’s confidence in our farming community and food system.
“America’s farming techniques affect the health of our families, our communities, and our planet. The Farming Systems Trial shows that organic farming is the healthiest and safest way to feed the world, provide much-needed jobs, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect precious natural resources,” says Mark “Coach” Smallwood, Executive Director of Rodale Institute.
“The Farming Systems Trial clearly documents in a replicated, scientific fashion, that many of the current myths are not true. Organic agriculture does not result in the grower losing money, does not result in lower yields, or more expensive management practices,” says Dr. Elaine Ingham, Chief Scientist at Rodale Institute. “The next step forward is to educate growers, whether they are conventional or organic, in the methods used in the Farming Systems Trial to assure equal or better yields through farming practices that do not harm the environment.”
The trial is slated to continue with a new focus on nutrition and human health. “We have shown that organic can feed the world. Now it is time to take on the matter of feeding the world well,” said Smallwood.
Rodale Institute will celebrate the 30th year of this landmark trial on Friday, September 16th with the first Organic Pioneers Award dinner, honoring Drew and Joan Norman of One Straw Farm, Maurice Small, youth organizer and Dr. Richard Harwood, former Director of the Rodale Research Center and invaluable contributor to the Farming System’s Trial.
For more information on the results, including detailed findings and graphs, please visit www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst.
Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the fall of 2011, the Institute’s landmark Farming Systems Trial is America’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. For over sixty-years, the Institute has been committed to researching the best practices for organic farming and sharing findings with farmers and scientists around the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.