Farming

ANOTHER OPINION: State should encourage increased organic farming | opinion

The expansion of organic farming in Indiana is worth celebrating.

It’s beneficial to people, the environment and the economy. According to 2019 data from the US Department of Agriculture, the number of organic farms in the United States had risen by over 50% in the last decade, covering about 5.5 million acres, a 38% increase from 2008.

When ranked against other states for organic production, Indiana falls somewhere near the middle.

Of course, geography plays a role in this ranking, as not all locations are created equal in terms of farmable landscapes.

AS AN AGRICULTURAL STATE, we can and should raise our standing. Here in the Corn Belt, pivoting to organic farming methods could be just the boost the industry needs.

Organic farming promotes a healthier lifestyle by making available more fresh vegetables and fruits that are free of chemical pesticides.

As noted in a recent article, food waste can be converted into materials that encourage healthy soil that helps microbes carry nutrients to plants more effectively. Not only are we growing food that is healthier for us, but the food waste converted into compost helps the environment.

Organic farmer Sam Johnson informed The Herald Bulletin that he uses physical barriers on his farm near Anderson to keep insects, weeds and irritants away from the crops.

THIS PRACTICE benefits us because it means we will be no longer have pesticides on our fruits and vegetables. It also preserves the ecosystem, allowing for healthier soil and cleaner air.

Anyone who has shopped in the organic food section at the local grocery store has probably noticed that the organic food is not exactly priced for the family on a shoestring budget. However, with more farmers converting to organic and more small-scale farms getting into the business, we could potentially see organic food prices become more affordable.

As we pull our economy out of the pandemic slump, lawmakers should consider the promotion of organic farming as a means to boost the state’s economy. Providing incentives to farmers who convert to organic operations will offset the risk and expense of this venture and result in better living for all Hoosiers.

Organic farming reduces pollution and increases overall well-being. Expanding its practices can boost the bottom line for farmers and bring about affordable prices for consumers.

The Herald Bulletin, Anderson

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