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George Kuepper The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

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Presentation on theme: "George Kuepper The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture."— Presentation transcript:

1 George Kuepper The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

2 Washington University Organic Farming Studies: Mid- to Late 1970s Western Corn Belt States: Illinois, Iowa, E. Nebraska, S. Minnesota, & N. Missouri Agronomic Crop & Livestock Farms Farms Comparable in Size to Neighbors; about 20% smaller on average Comparable Mechanization Minimum 5 Years in Organic Production Sales Into the Conventional Marketplace

3 Washington University Organic Farming Studies: Major Findings Existence of commercial-scale organic farming in the Corn Belt, operating within the conventional marketplace. Organic farms used 2/5 ths as much fuel to produce one dollar’s worth of crop as conventional farms. Organic Farms had 1/3 rd less soil erosion than conventional farms based on crop rotations and diversity. Organic farms sequestered slightly more carbon in their soils; no P or K depletion. Organic farms had lower yields of corn (about 10%), comparable yields of soybeans, and required about 12% more labor per dollar of crop produced. Lower organic yields and higher labor costs were offset by lower input costs resulting in generally similar net returns per acre.

4 Washington University Organic Farming Studies: Selected Publications Lockeretz, Wm., G. Shearer, S. Sweeney, G. Kuepper, D. Wanner, & D.H. Kohl Maize Yields and Soil Nutrient Levels With and Without Pesticides and Standard Commercial Fertilizers. Agronomy Journal, Vol. 72, p. 65–72. Shearer, G., D.H. Kohl, D. Wanner, G. Kuepper, S, Sweeney, & Lockeretz Crop Production Costs and Returns on Midwestern Organic Farms: 1977 and Amer. J. Agr. Econ., Vol. 63, No. 2, p. 264–269. Lockeretz, Wm., G. Shearer, & D.H. Kohl Organic Farming in the Corn Belt. Science, Vol. 211, p. 540–546. USDA Study Team on Organic Farming Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming. USDA. July. 94 p.

5  2007 US Organic Sales Estimated at $20+ billion  20% Increase in Organic Sales from 2006  Organics approaching 3% of total food sales in the U.S.  OTA 2007 Manufacturer Survey

6 Source: Nutrition Business Journal, annual Nutr, OTA 2007 Manufacturer Survey

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8 Convertible Husbandry (America Mid-1800s) Biodynamics Sustainable Practices from the Asian Continent HumusFarmingOrganicFarming Countercultural Influences Environmental Consciousness Organic By Neglect Organic Certification & Industry Standards Demeter Certified Production Eco-Agriculture Integrated Production, etc. USDA National Standard CertifiedOrganicProduction ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ Evolution Of and the Influences On American Organic Farming R. Steiner & Anthroposophy J.I. Rodale A. Howard Wm. Albrecht L. BromfieldE. Pfeiffer E. Balfour F.H. KingOFPANA/ OTA OFPA Agroecology & Permaculture Silent Spring USDA’s Organic Report NOP Standard Implemented Pioneers Organizations Events High Farming (Europe 1800s)

9 — An Old Saying among Organic Farmers Organic Soil Management

10 10  2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology The Soil Food Web

11 Organic Soil Management In humus/organic farming, the Law of Return refers to the return of organic materials to the soil, not merely the replacement of chemical nutrients.

12 12  2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Plant Roots Soluble Minerals Organic Compounds Other Benefits Plant Nutrition Under Natural Conditions Parent Rock Material Digestive processes and nutrient recycling in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food Web Organic Matter Source of plant nutrition: - plant residues - animal remains - animal wastes

13 13  2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Plant Roots Soluble Minerals Organic Compounds Other Benefits Parent Rock Material Conventional Management Soluble Minerals Pesticides and some synthetic fertilizers are toxic and weaken the soil food web Organic Matter as Crop Residues Digestive processes and nutrient recycling in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food Web Conventional Soluble Fertilizers ζ ζ ζ

14 14  2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Plant Roots Soluble Minerals Organic Compounds Other Benefits Parent Rock Material Soluble Minerals Digestive processes and nutrient recycling in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food Web Humus Farming/Organic Management Organic Matter Organic Materials and Methods: Composts Crop Residues Green Manures Livestock Manures Natural Fertilizers Biological Inoculants Rotations w/ sod crops

15 Because of its roots in humus farming, organic farming is traditionally viewed as, and labeled as, a “soil-based” production system.

16 Crop Nutrition Disease Management Insect Pest Management Weed Management ☼ Compartmentalized ☼

17 17  2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology SYSTEM ELEMENTS Crop rotation Reduced toxicsSoil/water conservation Soil-building cropsN-fixing crops Refugia Resistant varieties Manure/waste recycling Sanitation Soil & Soil Fertility Benefits N self-sufficiency Access to native fertility Nutrient banking Reduced erosion Reduced leaching Nutrient cycling Soil water retention Better tilth Nutrient bioavailability Pest Management Benefits Innate resistance/tolerance Disease suppression in the soil Biocontrol above ground Pest life-cycle disruption Weed seedbank reduction Shift in weed populations Induced resistance/tolerance Ease of cultivation for weed control

18 HEALTHY SOIL HEALTHY FOOD HEALTHY PEOPLE HEALTHY SOCIETY

19 Convertible Husbandry (America Mid-1800s) Biodynamics Sustainable Practices from the Asian Continent HumusFarmingOrganicFarming Countercultural Influences Environmental Consciousness Organic By Neglect Organic Certification & Industry Standards Demeter Certified Production Eco-Agriculture Integrated Production, etc. USDA National Standard CertifiedOrganicProduction ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ Evolution Of and the Influences On American Organic Farming R. Steiner & Anthroposophy J.I. Rodale A. Howard Wm. Albrecht L. BromfieldE. Pfeiffer E. Balfour F.H. KingOFPANA/ OTA OFPA Agroecology & Permaculture Silent Spring USDA’s Organic Report NOP Standard Implemented Pioneers Organizations Events High Farming (Europe 1800s)

20 Alternative Production Mode Alternative Delivery Systems Countercuisine Adapted from: Pollan, Michael The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Penguin Press, New York. 450 p.

21 Mid 60s–70s, budding organic industry Mid-70s: First State Legislation; CA & OR 1973: First Private Certification Program; CCOF 1975–1980: Washington University Studies 1980: USDA Study of Organic Ag Released Mid-80s: OFPANA (later became OTA) 1989: Alar Scare 1990 OFPA Passed by Congress

22 1990 Legislation: Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA)  Created the National Organic Program and the National Organic Standards Board The National Organic Program or NOP is the Federal body responsible for writing, interpreting and enforcing the Regulations The National Organic Standards Board or NOSB advises the NOP on interpretation of the Regulations and has statutory responsibility for the content of the National List—which details synthetic materials allowed and natural products prohibited in organic production and processing. The NOSB is comprised of 15 members from the organic community appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

23 1997: Regulation: First Draft of National Standard  2000 (spring) Revised Draft  2000 (winter) Final Rule/Standard Released  2002 (October) Full Implementation

24  USDA Organic Regulation(s)  Final Rule of the National Organic Program  National Organic Standard  7 CFR; Part 205

25 √ Production System √ Handling/Processing Scale of Production Food Miles Social Justice

26 Alternative Production Mode Alternative Delivery Systems Countercuisine Adapted from: Pollan, Michael Omnivore’s Dilemma. Penguin Press, New York. 450 p.

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28 Organic by Neglect Systems Addressed by the National Organic Standard Humus Farming Organic Hydroponics Input Substitution Biodynamics Wild Harvest

29 Organic Farm Certification & the NOP Organic Crop Production Overview Organic Crops Workbook Organic Materials Compliance Org. Orchard, Vineyard, and Berry Crop Doc. Forms Forms, Documents, and Sample Letters for Org, Prod.

30 The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service PO Box 339, Spring Valley, WI Tel: Fax: Guidebook for Organic Certification

31 Publications: Small Organic Farms & Local Markets: How to Assess Organic Compliance Organic Foods: What Do We Need to Know About Them? Organic Production in Oklahoma: Q&A Information Packets: Organic…Is It For Me? Organics in the Midsouth…What are the Challenges? Organic: Making the Transition The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, P.O. Box 588, Poteau, OK 74953; Tel: ;

32 Thanks for your attention! George Kuepper The Kerr Center P.O. Box 588 Poteau, OK


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