Rodale Institute has been running a side-by-side comparison of organic
and chemical agriculture since 1981.
After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of
transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the
conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long
term potential of the two systems.
And now comes evidence from the very heart of Big Ag: rural Iowa, where
Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture runs
the Long-Term Agroecological Research Experiment (LTAR), which began in
1998, which has just released its latest results.
At the LTAR fields in Adair County, the (LTAR) runs four fields: one
managed with the Midwest-standard two-year corn-soy rotation featuring
the full range of agrochemicals; and the other ones organically managed
with three different crop-rotation systems. The chart below records the
yield averages of all the systems, comparing them to the average yields
achieved by actual conventional growers in Adair County:
Norman Borlaug, instigator of the “green revolution”
of no-till and pesticides, when asked in 2000
whether organic agriculture could feed the world, said:
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In addition to the problems produced by the pesticides Monsanto seeds are
developed to be immune to,
Peter Whoriskey writes in the Washington Post
about how 93% of soybeans and 80% of corn grown in the U.S. now
comes from Monsanto-developed seeds.
And during the decade in which that has happened:
…for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.
Many farmers are fed up with Monsanto’s ruthless use of litigation. All over the United States, the wind is carrying Monsanto’s genetically altered seeds into neighboring fields. Monsanto regularly sends out investigators to visit farms and to test whether any Monsanto strains have shown up on those farms. If they have, then Monsanto proceeds to sue the living daylights out of those farmers.
A commenter makes the monoculture point:
They don’t have to be more susceptible to crop diseases. They have extremely low genetic diversity, so a disease that strongly affects that strain of plant will be able to spread over millions of acres of nearly identical targets.
This is exactly what happened to the Irish during the potato famine. The Inca, who discovered the potato, had thousands of varieties. Some resisted blight, some resisted insects, others performed better in dry years, etc.