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Organic Farming, the alternative to Conventional foods.

With frigid weather and snow around this week, it's only fitting to do some light reading and paperwork around the house. Fortunately, for you I won't bore you with the details of paperwork.

While staying awake with our newborn I stumbled upon a few interesting articles this week, which I will post the links to at the end of the blog. One article was from Time magazine, the article is titled Study shows EPA not imposing rules when it comes to pesticides and kids. Being a father now this article hits home, hard.

The article goes on to state that insufficient testing is being done on produce that is grown conventionally for pesticides. For those of us with little ones that is a scary situation, we want to protect them as much as possible and feed them right. But are we? Within this study done by an advocacy group they found out of 47 non-organophospate pesticides only 5 were below the EPA law's threshold. That is an alarming number that are over the threshold. The article also reveals that an insecticide has been taken off the market by a large Agro-chemical company, Corteva. The insecticide is called chlorpyrifos, which is in the organophosphate family of insecticides. They have a short half life in the soil, which means they break down faster, but they are quite harmful while there.

Now you may be thinking, well we wash everything before we eat it, that helps but truly how much is washed off when most chemicals have an oil base? You may also hear conventional farmers say we only use small amounts, this is true, but if you are above the legal amount allowed by the EPA then shouldn't you at least get a warning? I know with our farm we have to be compliant or risk losing our certification. That is just my opinion on the insecticide subject of things.

Another article I've read this week was from Rural Living's website, the article was titled What's the Big Deal with GMO's? Now I opened this article with an open mind, thinking it was pro-GMO. It was far from that. It was in all actuality about labeling GMO's nationally. Which that is a highly disputed topic. Conventional farmer's say no, organic farmer's say yes. The truth is most of you who visit farmer's markets during the summer and cook fresh produce will only be eating or drinking GMO's rarely. Most of the GMO's you will encounter will be in the form of high fructose corn syrup or processed soy protein in some way, shape or form.

You ask what's the big issue with them? We have been planting them since the 90's nearly 30 years now. It started with soybeans then shifted to corn. The first traits (genes inserted into a crop) as they call them were for herbicide resistance, round-up and a chemical called STS. Soybeans were the first crop with these traits that help with weed problems. Corn was soon to follow, again first was round up, then came a whole new animal, well insect that is. Corn rootworm was first found in the US in the mid 90's and the cure so to speak was found shortly after, a soil bacteria called Bacillus Thuringensis or Bt. Now Bt can be sprayed on organic crops, we have done this in the past, but only if we are about to lose a whole crop of delicious sweet corn. In traited corn the bacteria genes are inserted into the corn genes, hence where Genetically Modified come in. With advancements in technology we now have corn hybrids that produce insecticide above and below ground, and multiple proteins that kill both the beetles and worms of the corn rootworm. But do we truly know if inserting 1 or more genes is affecting others as well? Or are we now going to create super bugs and need more chemicals and more technology to handle them? There is already a variant of the corn rootworm that overwinter's in soybeans then emerges in cornfields the following year. Unfortunately, I don't think us as humans, should play god like this with plants.

Now as I stated earlier, we as organic farmer's can use pesticides, some that are bad for the environment but, at our farm we strive to only use them as a last resort. We use the most natural ways of reducing pest populations such as: crop rotation, cover crops, planting resistant varieties in the case of disease and companion planting.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of conventional vs. organic farming. I implore you to do your own research and choose for yourself which produce you choose for your family.

Thanks for reading.

Kyle Dionne

Owner, KRD Farms LLC.

What's the Big Deal GMOs?

Study: EPA Not Imposing Laws to Protect Kids from Pesticides | Time

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