Columbus, OH— A prominent Ohio agricultural organization applauds the DeWine administration for its H20hio plan to address harmful algal blooms and other critical water quality issues, but says it fails to acknowledge how organic farming can provide solutions.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) finds Gov. DeWine’s top 10 list, released yesterday, misses a critical approach to farming that can reduce phosphorus runoff.
“Organic farming should be at the top of this list,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland. “Synthetic phosphorus is not used in organic agriculture; what could be more effective than that?”
The National Organic Program (NOP) standards include some of the best practices identified in the DeWine H2Ohio plan, including incorporation of manure, crop rotations, and use of cover crops. A voluntary certification program, the NOP is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, which accredits certification agencies to verify that operations comply with the national standards.
In addition to the environmental benefits, organic farming offers economic opportunities to farmers. The prices paid for organic corn and soybeans are typically double or triple that of the non-organic versions of these commodities, with modest or no increase in production cost.
“The market is providing a strong incentive for farmers to transition their acreage to certified organic production,” observed Goland. “Little wonder that in just a few years’ time, Ohio has gone from eighth to sixth in the nation in the number of organic farms.”
Ohio is currently second only to California in the number of acres being transitioned from conventional to organic production. Despite this trend, less than 1 percent of Ohio’s farms are organic.
“We look forward to the Governor’s leadership in helping farmers transition to organic management practices so that all citizens of our state can reap the benefits of organic agriculture and its positive impacts on water quality,” added Goland.