The practice of farming began over 10,000 years ago in parts of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent, enabling us to generate plentiful supplies of food that helped to establish the first urban communities.
For thousands of years, farmers used natural fertilizers such as manure to help grow their crops. But fast-forward to the Industrial Revolution and chemical fertilizers began to emerge. Calcium nitrate, the first truly synthetic fertilizer, appeared in 1903. But unknowingly, these pioneers set in motion a chain of events that continue to affect us today.
These products have the capability of contaminating the environment, infiltrating water supplies and damaging ecosystems. Chemical fertilizers could even pose health risks to humans.
Switching to organic fertilizers will mean that you will use natural and much safer products for both humans and the environment than chemical products. But even organic fertilizers need to be evaluated and verified.
That’s where the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) comes in.
OMRI is an independent non-profit institution that evaluates how suitable certain input products like livestock feed, fertilizer, and pesticides are for producing organic stock that consumers buy. Basically, OMRI makes sure that the products we use to grow organic crops are authentically organic.
An OMRI-listed product has been tested to make sure that it is compatible with the practices of organic farming, however they don’t evaluate the crops actually being grown. That’s a job for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
What does it mean for organic farming?
Think of OMRI as a litmus test for making sure that the food sold in your local market as “organic” is actually grown organically. Farmers can consult the OMRI’s Brand List to make sure that they are purchasing organic-grade fertilizers, livestock food pellets, and other input products suitable for organic farming.
Using OMRI-listed products helps to create a fully organic production chain from seed to store, reducing the reliance on chemical fertilizers and other synthetic products that could continue to harm the environment.
Being able to choose OMRI-listed fertilizers and pesticides will help the organic farming industry to continue to grow and eventually become the norm throughout the agriculture sector.
Benefits of organic farming
As we continue to face the growing issue of our environmental impact, moving towards more organic and sustainable practices across all industries is a major goal. Organic farming is just one of these industries, but it yields some huge benefits for the future of our food:
- Reduces environmental damage: Organic farming practices cause a lot less damage to our agricultural ecosystems than conventional farming. Chemical fertilizers do not leach into the soil or water supply, which avoids harsh damage to the natural environment. There is also much less soil erosion.
- Reduces human risk: With a reduction in chemicals that are used in agriculture, there is also less of a health risk to humans. While pesticides are still used even in organic farming, OMRI-listed pest control products cause much less potential damage than their chemical counterparts.
- Better taste and nutrition: This is the benefit that most people will notice – organic food just tastes better. There is also more nutrient density in organically-grown produce than conventionally-farmed products.
To learn more about our OMRI-listed organic fertilizers, contact Crop Fertility Services today.