what is organic farming? Definition, standards and examples. (2023)

what is organic agriculture? What specifications and standards does organic farming follow? Advantages and disadvantages of organic farming? Let's find out.
what is organic farming? Definition, standards and examples. (1)

Definition of organic farming

Organic agriculture can be defined as an agricultural management and production system that combines a high level ofbiodiversitywith environmental practices that preserve natural resources and has strict animal welfare standards. In addition, organic farming responds to the growing demand for natural products by consumers and, at the same time, allows the environment to be preserved in the context of sustainable rural development. The term organic agriculture can be applied to the following product categories:

  • Unprocessed products: vegetables, cereals, fruits, cotton, flowers, animals, eggs or milk;
  • Products processed for human consumption: cheese, bread or instant meals;
  • animal-based foods such as organic soybean cakes;
  • Materials for vegetative reproduction and seeds.
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Definition of organic agriculture: specifications

Obtaining and maintaining an organic farming certification means that an application must be submitted to an approved organization. The companies will then be certified if they show evidence of compliance with strict specifications that vary according to the type of production. However, some of the most common principles of organic farming are:

  • The use of “synthetic” chemicals is not allowed; even so, fertilizers or pesticides in their “natural origin” are allowed;
  • No use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs);
  • Recycle all organic waste;
  • Crop rotation to improve soil regeneration;
  • Pest control by biological agents;
  • Extensive farming with organic food and prioritizing alternative medicine and prevention;
  • Guarantee the well-being of the animals (ground surfaces must be habitable, there must be courses and pastures in the open air, prohibition of breeding on the surface);
  • Respect for the environment and preservation of natural resources;
  • Maintenance and development of biodiversity (cultivation and reproduction of various species, maintenance or planting of hedges).

It is also important to note that a transition period is required for conversion from a conventional farm to a certified organic farm. This period depends on the type of production, but usually takes up to three years.

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Are pesticides allowed in organic farming? What products are allowed in organic farming?

what is organic farming? Definition, standards and examples. (2)
Contrary to popular belief, organic farming does not prohibit the use of pesticides and fertilizers and most organic farms use fertilizers and/or pesticides (for more details see:Are pesticides allowed in organic farming?). For example, copper sulfate is a pesticide used in organic agriculture in the wine industry. In total, there are several hundred pesticides and fertilizers authorized in organic farming that are listed in Annexes I and II of theEC Regulation No. 889/2008.
The difference between organic and conventional agriculture lies in the origin of the products (fertilizers and pesticides) used. as the mineral copper sulfate. However, in conventional agriculture, they can be synthetic, that is, manufactured in laboratories.

Organic Agriculture Regulation: Standards and Labels

At the level of the European Union, the CouncilRegulation (EC) No. 834/2007 of June 28, 2007, together with two Commission Regulations from 2018, presented the legal framework, principles and rules for organic production, control and marketing in the EU. These texts are intended to replace all national specifications, with the exception of some specific cases of local production.
Since July 2010, the logo of the European Ecolabel, known aseuro sheet, must appear on all products from organic farming packaged in the Union, as well as the mention of the certifying body. National label logos are optional and often not required.

The benefits and drawbacks of organic farming for consumers

what is organic farming? Definition, standards and examples. (3)
Organic farming has many benefits for consumers. In the first place, organic farming, thanks to its particular specifications, obliges producers to respect certain quality criteria. larger areas, with mandatory outdoor access for some animals. For example, calves raised in organic farming benefit from 4 m2 per head (for a 300 kg calf) compared to 1.8 m2 in conventional farming. This broader approach would allow some specialists to obtain more qualitative products that could be tastier, for example.
On the other hand, the yields of organic farming are usually lower than those of conventional agriculture. That means higher operating costs (and therefore higher sales prices). Therefore, in general, the recommended retail price (RRP) for consumers buying organic farming products is higher than traditional farming retail prices. . The prices are not much different on some products, especially those that grow easily without pesticides. Still, others, like meat and dairy, are significantly more expensive in organic farming because they require more labor to meet organic specifications.

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Organic Agriculture and Nutritional Composition

Many studies have attempted to assess the nutritional differences between organic and conventional agricultural products. However, these studies revealed contrasting results. Some have found a higher concentration of certain nutrients in organic farming products, including omega-3 essential fatty acids in meat or dairy products, or so-called antioxidant compounds. However, whilesome meta-analysesconsider these significant differences,othersthey are believed to be of marginal nutritional importance. In addition, other studies have also identified higher content of phenolics or antioxidants in organically grown grain or fruit products, but identify these differences as "modest."
In general, therefore, there are indications that the nutritional composition of foods from organic farming could be somewhat more complete compared to conventional farming. Even so, this difference does not seem very significant.

Organic Farming and Pesticide Residues

On the other hand, studies have consistently shown that organic produce contains less pesticide residue or potentially harmful products than conventional produce. Cadmium, in particular, is one of the compounds found in the least amount in organic products. agriculture are very low (and well below current sanitary limits), some consumers are concerned about a potentialcocktail effect that isstill badly evaluated by the health and scientific authorities. Therefore, the consumption of food from organic farming could limit the risk of exposure to these effects of the cocktail.

Organic Agriculture and Health

Several studies have tried to estimate the effects of consuming organic products on health. In general, most conclude that it has (to a small degree) positive effects. However, they cannot say for sure whether these results are significant (see, for example,on here,on hereoon here).
In fact, the consumption of organic products is often related to healthier lifestyles of people who follow a better diet, practice sports, pay more attention to their health or have a higher standard of living. Therefore, it can be difficult to say whether the observed differences are due to strict consumption of organic foods or to all of these factors. Most of the existing studies say that more studies are needed to confirm the potential health benefits of consuming organic products.

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Organic agriculture and cancers

what is organic farming? Definition, standards and examples. (4)
There are studies that showRegular consumption of products from organic farming is associated with a lower frequency (25% lower) of specific cancers in some populations (especially women). Organic farming reduces the risk of cancer. But he points out that in populations that regularly consume organic products, they have lessnon-hodgkin lymphomacancers and women have fewer postmenopausal breast cancers.However, it is difficult to know if this "health" benefit is directly related to the consumption of organic products. Again, it could be related to other social and economic factors (such as standard of living, diet, or other health practices), although the study tried to counter these biases.
Other than this study, few have been able to show a link between consuming organic products and reduced cancer risk. In 2014,a large-scale study conducted in Great Britainshowed that regular consumption of products from organic agriculture was not correlated with a decreased risk of cancer, with the exception of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. So presumably there are good reasons to believe that consuming organic products does not significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer, but it may limit the development of lymphomas.

Organic Agriculture and Environment

Organic farming also brings a number of benefits to the environment. The first is obviously that it reduces the amount of pesticides used. Because although some inputs (so-called "of natural origin") are allowed, organic farming strictly regulates their use.biodiversitymiecosystems.
However, organic farming is sometimes highlighted by a number of problems.
First, organic farming yields are generally lower than conventional farming, leading to higher operating costs (and therefore selling prices). Farmers' workload is further increased due to the impossibility of using chemicals. and generally require more work. In short, it takes more effort and human labor to produce the same amount of food in organic farming than in conventional farming.
This yield loss also raises a number of ecological issues. In fact, if organic yields are lower, it means more agricultural land is needed to produce the same amount of food that conventional agriculture would produce. In theory, this could also mean increased human pressure on ecosystems. In fact, a large synthesis study conducted on organic agriculture showed that it would take around 30% more cultivated land to feed the planet with organic agriculture alone.

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Image credits toorganic on Shutterstock,organic farming on Shutterstock,pesticide cultivation no Shutterstockmiorganic food on Shutterstock

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What are the standards of organic farming? ›

Produce can be called organic if it's certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest. Prohibited substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

What is organic farming and examples? ›

Definition of organic farming

Unprocessed products: vegetables, cereals, fruits, cotton, flowers, animals, eggs or milk; Processed products for human consumption: cheese, bread or instantaneous meals; Food for animals like organic soy cakes; Materials for vegetative reproduction and seeds.

What are examples of organic farming methods? ›

The principal methods of organic farming include crop rotation, green manures and compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation.

Does organic farming have national standards in the US? ›

Certified organic foods are produced according to federal standards set by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP). These regulations describe the specific standards required to use the word “organic” or the USDA organic seal.

What are the important of organic standards? ›

Becoming certified organic helps producers and handlers:

Receive premium prices for their products. Access fast-growing local, regional, and international markets. Support local economies. Access additional funding and technical assistance.

What are the quality standards of organic products? ›

The material must be at least 95% organic, as certified by "recognized international or national standards". If the material is 70% organic, it can be labeled as "made with organic".

What are the 3 types of organic farming? ›

Organic farming is of two types; Pure Organic Farming and Integrated Organic Farming. Pure Organic Farming – This involves avoiding all unnatural chemicals.

What is organic farming by USDA? ›

As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, ...

What are the 3 basic principles of organic farming? ›

Principles of Organic Agriculture
  • Principle of Health. Organic Agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible. ...
  • Principle of Ecology. ...
  • Principle of Fairness. ...
  • Principle of Care.
Aug 6, 2014

What are organic resources examples? ›

Introduction. When using organic nutrient sources— for example, compost, manure, green manures, meals, and so forth—recommendations for crop nutrient needs will need to be translated.

What is the goal of organic farming? ›

The aim of organic farming is to establish and maintain soil-plant, plant- animal and animal soil interdependence and to create a sustainable agro- ecological system based on local resources, approaching in this way the concept of functional integrity of systems.

What is the organic regulation 2022? ›

On January 1, 2022, the new Organic Regulation entered into force. This regulation replaces the existing European Regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008 and from this moment on contains the main rules for the production, processing, trade and labelling of organic products in the European Union ("EU").

Is organic farming regulated by the USDA? ›

The USDA National Organic Program regulates all organic crops, livestock and agricultural products certified to the USDA organic standards. USDA also conducts oversight of organic certification, compliance and enforcement activities, and product labeling.

What is the 95% organic rule? ›

Organic claim

Only products with organic content that is greater than or equal to 95% may be labelled or advertised as "organic" or bear the organic logo. This includes the presence of the word “organic” in the name of the person who is responsible for the product.

What are the US organic standards? ›

Products sold, labeled, or represented as organic must have at least 95 percent certified organic content. Products sold, labeled, or represented as “made with” organic must have at least 70 percent certified organic content. The USDA organic seal may not be used on these products.

What are USDA organic egg standards? ›

Organic: Eggs marked with the USDA's National Organic Program label come from uncaged hens that are free to roam in their houses and have access to the outdoors. The hens are fed an organic diet of feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers.

What is the USDA's definition for a natural product? ›

Natural. As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products.

What are quality standards? ›

Quality standards are defined as documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose.

What are the food quality standards? ›

HACCP, ISO Standards are necessary condition for improving the overall quality of food safety & hygiene in the country and also to increase India's share in global food trade.

What is the most essential quality standard that should be followed? ›

ISO international standards are by far the most widely accepted set of quality standards in the world. ISO 9001:2015 specifies the requirements for a quality management system that businesses can use to develop their own quality agenda. See also ISO 9001 quality management standard.

What are the two main characteristics of organic farming? ›

Organic farming is a system of farming which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs and to a large extent rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, etc. Its characteristics are: Use of organic materials as pesticides and insecticides. protecting the long-term fertility of the soil.

What are two principles of organic farming? ›

The Principles of Organic Agriculture are Health, Ecology , Fairness and Care.
  • Health.
  • Ecology.
  • Fairness.
  • Care.

What are the six methods of organic farming? ›

Different methods of organic farming
  • Crop diversity. ...
  • Crop rotation. ...
  • Biological pest control. ...
  • Soil management. ...
  • Green manure. ...
  • Compost. ...
  • Weed management. ...
  • Controlling other organisms.
Jul 19, 2020

What is the difference between natural farming and organic farming? ›

In organic farming, organic fertilizers and manures like compost, vermicompost, cow dung manure, etc. are used and added to farmlands from external sources. In natural farming, neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are added to the soil.

What is the real meaning of organic? ›

a(1) : of, relating to, or derived from living organisms. (2) : relating to, yielding, dealing in, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides. organic stores.

What are three examples of organic? ›

Examples of organic compounds are carbohydrates, fats (lipids), proteins, and nucleic acids, which are the basis for the molecules of life.

What are 5 natural resources examples? ›

Any natural substance that humans use can be considered a natural resource. Oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone and sand are natural resources. Other natural resources are air, sunlight, soil and water.

What are the most common organic foods? ›

This statistic presents the retail sales of fresh organic produce in the United States in 2022. Organic berries were among the best selling items in 2022 totaling around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in sales. Carrots, apples, and spinach were also among the most popular organic items.

What is organic farming summary? ›

organic farming, or organic gardening, System of crop cultivation that uses biological methods of fertilization and pest control as substitutes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which are regarded by supporters of organic methods as harmful to health and the environment and unnecessary for successful cultivation ...

What things are prohibited in organic farming? ›

A very important part of the process-based regulatory framework is the prohibition of certain methods in organic production and handling. Methods like irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering are all expressly prohibited from being used when growing or processing organic foods.

Is organic regulated by the FDA? ›

The FDA does not regulate the use of the term “organic” on food labels. The National Organic Program (NOP) is the federal regulatory framework governing organically produced crops and livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the program and enforces the NOP regulations and standards.

What requirements do farms certified as organic need to meet in the US? ›

The organic regulations state that any field or farm parcel, from which harvested crops are intended to be sold as organic, must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for a period of three years immediately preceding the harvest of the crop.

What is 100% certified organic? ›

“100 Percent Organic”

Used to label any product that contains 100 percent organic ingredients (excluding salt and water, which are considered natural) Most raw, unprocessed or minimally processed farm crops can be labeled “100 percent organic” PDP: May include USDA organic seal and/or 100 percent organic claim.

Does 100% pure mean organic? ›

Pure does not mean Organic. By law Organic products must be certified by the USDA. Only 100% Certified Organic products can bear the USDA Organic Seal on the Label. To be CERTIFIED all ingredients must meet or GO ABOVE & BEYOND the USDA's STRICT STANDARDS.

What is the difference between 100% pure and organic? ›

Certified Organic means the plants used are grown without toxic pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. It's regulated by the USDA. Pure means plants were used. The plants can be grown in any condition with chemicals and pesticides and still be considered pure.

What are the 4 principles of organic agriculture? ›

The Principles of Health, Ecology, Fairness, and care are the roots from which organic agriculture grows and develops. They express the contribution that organic agriculture can make to the world, and a vision to improve all agriculture in a global context.

What are the USDA guidelines for organic agriculture? ›

These include maintaining or enhancing soil and water quality; conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife; and avoiding use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering.

What is the main goal of organic agriculture? ›

"Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.

Who regulates organic agriculture in the United States? ›

The National Organic Program (NOP) is the federal regulatory framework governing organically produced crops and livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the program and enforces the NOP regulations and standards.

What is the difference between organic and USDA organic? ›

For a product to be considered certified organic by the USDA and carry the USDA seal, it must either be 100% completely organic or be 95-99% organic with non-organic ingredients being approved by the USDA. All other products typically fall into another category: made with organic ingredients.


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