TED Conversations

Jay MackDougal

This conversation is closed.

Organic Farming vs. Conventional Farming: Why do you favour one over the other?

I have a background in commercial agriculture - namely tree fruits, and more recentley vegetables and berries - and now work in pesticide research and integrated pest management programs. I'd like to know what people think of the organic vs conventional farming debate - this means what you believe the word "organic farming" entails, what you think the problems with either system are, what your opinions on pesticides are (organic and synthetic), and if you have ever heard of Integrated Pest Management (IPM for short). If you feel comfortable, I'd like to know if you have an agricultural background or not when you are sharing your opinions - this way we might be able to see where any divides might occur. I'd like to limit this to a debate/conversation that does not include GMOs (although I'm sure it'll come up, as it always seems to find a way into these sorts of conversations), as that is an entirely different topic. Let's hear some passion! But try not to attack others opinions, let's use this as a learning platform as it is meant to be!

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 28 2012: My friends, there is a battle on many fronts and we cant win em all but we need to prioritize our fights and do what we can to help the planet in our own way. Did i mention i have solar panels and am putting up a 3kw wind generator on my 19 acre farm because i disagree with coal power. We organic farmers just want to make a honest living and not get ousted out by the big guns. The reason i can sell my vegetables for far less than conventional is because i payed cash for my farm, tractor, and greenhouse, and dont have any bank loans looming over my head. Can you believe a college educated rich kid from Bellevue Washington would want to pick weeds all day?!-I love doing it and my organic farm ain't going no where. You would be surprised what a 19 acre farm can produce. My friend has a 20 acre organic farm and he sold over $250,000 in veggies last year! I have yet to build such a customer base but im in no hurry. He doesnt care about the posotive aspects of organic farming, he just does it for the money. I could have bought a bigger farm but this is plenty of income for me and a few hired pairs of hands.
    • Feb 29 2012: That's great - and I wish I had that kind of money. My mom has been talking about putting a wind generator up for years, I dunno if there's enough wind in her area for it to be worth it though.

      That's awesome your friend is doing well with his farm - I also have a friend similar to that back home who is organic and only sells local. He doesn't need the money either, but he does it because he wants to. If anything, I support local (and have nothing against pesticide-free growing, but it's the 'certified organic' that is bought in the store by people who think it's pesticide free that really bothers me).

      The farm life is an awesome life, no doubt about that.
    • Feb 29 2012: Also keep in mind that it's not only small, organic famers against the 'big-guns'... there are also a LOT of small conventional farmers. Actually, where I am from it is all small farms, organic or non-organic. The lay of the land just doesn't allow for large farms to be planted.

      When it comes down to it, in my experience, there is no divide in the farm world between organic and non-organic growers (aside from the occasional finger pointing for pest sources or pesticide drift problems), a farmer is a farmer. It's mostly in the consumer world, as far as I can tell.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.