The popularity of organic produce has risen rapidly in recent years. And to keep pace with that trend, farmers have had to adapt. In the past, the U.S. has relied heavily on imports for organic crops. That is changing. In 2015, 20000 farms in the U.S. were using organic seeds. But what are organic seeds, and how do they differ from non-organic ones?
Conventionally grown seeds are usually grown in conjunction with the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Genetically Modified seeds have been enhanced with genetic material from other similar varieties. These are usually used by large-scale farming operations and for commercial crops. Although the USA produces the most corn globally, 90% of this comes from GM crops.
In contrast, organic seeds are grown, harvested, and processed without any exposure to chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Certification systems are in place thanks to the OTA (Organic Trade Association) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A three year transition period is required to become certified to grow organic crops. This can either be done field-by-field, or through individual crops.
So why might you want to use organic seeds for your crops? Here are some benefits of organic seeds.
Benefits of Using Organic Seeds
Despite the initial three year transition period, as well as a higher initial cost, Organic crops can actually be sold at a higher price than their GM equivalents. With conventional crops, farmers can usually only hope to break even. But according to a 2017 scientific study of corn farms in Minnesota, the market price for crops from organic corn seeds was almost 2.5 times higher than GM corn.
Increasing production of organic crops across the U.S. would also cut back on its reliance on imported organic crops. This would provide greater benefit to American farmers, who would be able to sell their crops closer to home. As the domestic organic crop industry expands, quality organic seeds offered by brands like Blue River Hybrids, and AgriGold, are more important to farmers than ever. These brands offer both organic corn and organic soybean seeds, along with many other crops.
With the vast commercial operations using GM crops, small to medium farms could take advantage of the higher profits of organic seeds. After their initial set up and transition period, organic farms can also have lower operating costs compared to GM farms, due to requiring less chemical fertilizer and insecticides.
There are also environmental benefits from moving to organic crops. Because organic seeds and crops require less chemical fertilizer or insecticides, the exposure of both the farmers and surrounding residents to harsh chemicals is greatly reduced. In terms of the environment itself, organic crops like corn tend to produce less C02 emissions than GM varieties.
At CFS, we’re proud to distribute high quality organic seeds for sale in North America. Call us today to learn more about the best organic seeds for your farm.