dicts that these new policies, which increase the demand for bioenergy feed-stocks—and reward farmers via
subsidies for growing these—will likely
shift land use to dedicated energy crop
acreage and cause significant decreases in pasture conversion for grass-fed livestock.
According to Benbrook, this will
not only make it more expensive for
organic dairy and beef farmers to feed
their animals, but it also fails to logi-
cally weigh the impact of this land shift
in regard to environmental gains. “If
an organic farmer is managing grass-
land through an intensive rotational
grazing system, they are already opti-
mally sequestering carbon compared
to any imaginable system and they
should be getting rewarded for this,”
he comments. “The key is for the or-
ganic community to be at the table
when these programs and incentives
get shaped to ensure that organic is in-
cluded in the discussion. If not, all
these governmental subsidies will draw
land away from organic livestock for
uses that sequester less carbon, and we
all lose—the organic farmer, the tax-
payer and the environment.”
ducing the risks and impacts of water
shortages and unpredictable
weather—protecting vulnerable agri-
cultural land in semi-arid areas from
desertification and improving global
food and water security.
Yes, Organic Can Feed the World—
and Do it Sustainably
Organic soil has many other benefits that go far beyond sequestering
GHG emissions. The carbon-rich organic matter creates a stronger, healthier soil that helps conserve water and
support healthier plants that are more
resistant to pests and diseases and
more resilient during droughts and
floods. In Rodale’s study, researchers
found that during times of drought,
organically-grown corn and soybeans
outperform conventional crops by 30
percent and 50 to 100 percent respectively. Additionally, water capture in organic fields can be 100 percent higher
than in conventional fields during torrential rains. As we face climate
change, these agricultural traits can
help improve climate adaptation by re-
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