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Organic Versus Conventional Farming Essay

1757 words - 8 pages

For years organic farmers and conventional farmers have feuded over which is superior. Organic farmers argue that their product is more eco-friendly because they do not use the synthetic chemicals and fertilizers conventional farmer’s use. Conventional farmers argue that their product is healthier and yields more. People tend to have stereotypes regarding the two types of farmers. Organic farmers are usually thought of as liberal, hippy, tree-huggers while conventional farmers are usually thought of as right-wing, industrialists. Obviously, some do adhere to this stereotype, but a majority of these farmers are normal, hardworking people. Although these farmers, both believe in their methods, one is no better than the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but there is no true superior method of crop farming.
The definition of conventional farming is “Intensive farming or intensive agriculture as an agricultural production system characterized by a low fallow ratio and the high use of inputs such as capital, labor, or heavy use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers relative to land area.” Conventional farming is the method that a majority of farmers use. Although they have to use a lot more chemicals and fertilizers, conventional farming is cheaper than organic farming. Conventional farming has significantly higher crop yields than organic thus, producing more money, making it much more farmer friendly. Conventional farmers also use genetically engineered seeds that are sometimes referred to as “miracle seeds” because of their ability to fight against certain diseases or produce higher yields. The technical term for these seeds is HYV’s or high yield varieties (Qaim). Conventional farming also incorporates the use irrigation. This helps the crop, maintain and adequate moisture level, even droughts, thus, increasing plant yields. Most fields are irrigated using pivots which is essentially a long pipe on wheels with nozzles that moves in a circle around a fixed point that evenly disperses water throughout the crop. Some pivots can cover as much as one thousand acres of land with of full three hundred and sixty degree turn. But, this water has to come from somewhere, most irrigation systems draw from underwater aquifers or freshwater ponds. The disadvantage to using aquifers is that it is not an unlimited source of water, it will eventually run out. It is estimated that irrigation accounts for seventy percent of all fresh water use in the world (Monsanto).
Conventional farming has a plethora of benefits that come from it. Although a majority of conventional farms are corporately owned and ran, conventional farming is fiscally more convenient for the smaller family owned farming operations (Shurig). A farmer who farms anywhere from fifty to three thousand acres monetarily benefits from not having to apply for all of the permits and abide to all of the regulations that organic farming requires. Another benefit of conventional...

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