Organic Agriculture is Worse for the Environment and Climate Than…

Inorganic agriculture?

Guest commentary by David Middleton

New study challenges beliefs about organic ag

BY MARK LYNAS

APRIL 9, 2018

Organic agriculture is not as good for the environment as commonly believed, according to a new scientific study reviewing multiple lines of evidence over more than two decades.

The study, conducted by German researchers Eva-Marie Meemken and Matin Qaim from the University of Goettingen and published in the journal Annual Review of Resource Economics, challenges many beliefs that have helped the organic food industry grow into an $82 billion global market.

However, Meemken and Qaim also make clear that the scientific evidence shows that organic is better in some specific situations, and that the best strategy overall may be to combine conventional and organic approaches.

In general, the study concludes that while organic farming is more environmentally friendly per unit of land than conventional approaches, it is not better for the environment when assessed in terms of units of output.

This is because organic farming generally has lower yields — between 19-25 percent, on average — although the picture is complicated between different crops and locations.

The lower land-use efficiency of organic systems means that “large-scale conversion to organic would likely require bringing more natural habitats into agricultural production,” with a potentially severe impact on global biodiversity due to the loss of rainforests and other currently wild areas.

Although organic farms tend to have lower nitrogen inputs and better carbon sequestration, more use of fuel and animal manures counterbalances this effect, Meemken and Qaim conclude.

“Overall, the evidence does not support the widely held notion that organic agriculture is more climate friendly than conventional agriculture,” they write.

[…]

Read more here

This falls under the heading of: No Schist Sherlock.  Pretty well all feel-good virtue signalling is at best irrelevant and often actually worse for the environment and less “climate friendly” (whatever the frack that means) than the conventional way of doing things.  Furthermore, the concept of “climate-friendly agriculture” is as bass-ackwards as a concept could be.

The Little Ice Age was an agriculture-hostile climate.  Climate is either agriculture-friendly or agriculture-hostile.  Despite the recent consumption of a salad that was grown entirely in Antarctica… The continent of Antarctica has, by far, the most agriculture-hostile climate on Earth.  Climate-friendly agriculture won’t make Antarctica any more amenable to agriculture than it has been for most of the past 35 million years.

Furthermorer…

What Is Organic Chemistry?

Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-containing compounds, which include not only hydrocarbons but also compounds with any number of other elements, including hydrogen (most compounds contain at least one carbon–hydrogen bond), nitrogen, oxygen, halogens, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. This branch of chemistry was originally limited to compounds produced by living organisms but has been broadened to include human-made substances such as plastics. The range of application of organic compounds is enormous and also includes, but is not limited to, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, food, explosives, paints, and cosmetics.

ACS

If there’s “at least one carbon–hydrogen bond” involved, it’s organic.  If not, it’s likely to be inorganic.

What Is Inorganic Chemistry?

Inorganic chemistry is concerned with the properties and behavior of inorganic compounds, which include metals, minerals, and organometallic compounds. While organic chemistry is defined as the study of carbon-containing compounds and inorganic chemistry is the study of the remaining subset of compounds other than organic compounds, there is overlap between the two fields (such as organometallic compounds, which usually contain a metal or metalloid bonded directly to carbon).

ACS

Until humans figure out a way to subsist on salt, water and metals, all agriculture will be “organic.”

Furthermorest…

This past weekend, we went shopping at Central Market in Dallas and I just couldn’t resist taking a picture of this:

organic-valley

WTF is an “organic valley”?

V-shaped valleys are generally carved by rivers.  U-shaped valleys are generally carved by glaciers.

A glacier carves a U-shaped valley

U-shaped glacial valley

spacer image Glaciers carve some of our planet’s most spectaculer scenery, but it’s not until glaciers melt that their rasping handiwork is exposed.

spacer image Glaciers and running water sculpt the land in different ways. While streams tend to cut winding curves and V-shaped valleys, glaciers carve nearly straight valleys with U-shaped cross-sections. The imposing, sheer rock walls of glacial troughs (U-shaped valleys) are among the most fundamental and distinctive features of glaciated landscapes. The U-shaped valleys left behind by valley glaciers are usually 1 kilometer (1.6 miles) or more in width and typically hundreds of meters high.

spacer image Follow along to see how it’s done.


A glacier carves a U-shaped valley: Step 1

Start with a typical stream

spacer image As streams wind their way downstream they tend to cut away the outsides of bends and deposit sediment on the insides of bends. This gradually makes the stream valley more sinuous.

spacer image Running water gradually cuts a deeper V-shape. The end result is a typical meandering, V-shaped stream valley. 

A glacier carves a U-shaped valley: Step 2


A glacier carves a U-shaped valley: Step 3

Glaciers move in

spacer image Climate cools and glaciers grow and begin their slow downhill push, usually taking the easiest path down – the path already cut by streams. Glaciers ooze into stream channels, but unlike streams, glaciers focus their grinding energy on the insides of bends. Bit by bit, the glacier eats away at the meandering curves of the original stream valley, carving a wider, straighter valley.


A glacier carves a U-shaped valley: Step 4

Work of a glacier revealed

spacer image During times with warmer climate like today’s (called interglacial periods), glaciers gradually melt away except at high elevations and latitudes. As glaciers melt, their effect on the landscape is revealed. Former stream valleys have been transfomed to broad, very steep-sided troughs and waterfalls cascade from hanging valleys perched high above the valley floor.

USGS/NPS

What on Earth could carve an “organic valley”?  Vegans with organic shovels?  An organic glacier?  A river of organic water?

Note: Furthermorer and furthermorest are not typos.  They are words I made up for this post… A sort of homage to organic agriculture, organic valleys and climate-friendly agriculture.  Well, maybe not an homage.

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198 thoughts on “Organic Agriculture is Worse for the Environment and Climate Than…

  1. Old man Rodale had a good run with “organic food”. I think it is one of the more effective sc@ms ever.

      • The Rodale I’m thinking of was the publisher of Prevention magazine, who notoriously died on the Dick Cavett Show.

      • I accept that challenge, I will take on your veggies in a standard ring, with 8 ounce gloves. We will use Olympic scoring, 3 rounds, 3 judges. I must warn your tomatoes that I jab well with both hands, and have a solid left hook. I expect to train to super welter-weight, but if I have a few stubborn pounds I might end up as a middle weight. I have open dates in both late August and early September. Please have your people contact my people soon.

        • My heirloom Cherokees are up to the task. Two seasons ago, I had a 24 ounce and three 20 ounce tomatoes off of this variety, and they are wonderful to eat. Last year the largest were in the 16 ounce range. It was a bit cooler than previous summers was the likely reason.

      • My wife used to work for a survey company that does one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys of farmers pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer use across the US. They surveyed organic farmers as well. Every organic farm she ever spoke with used roundup around the house. I always wondered how many of those houses were on a hill in the middle of the fields.
        Most organic farms are carefully sited in the middle of a bunch of conventional farms and are shamelessly taking advantage of runoff and drift of sprayed chemicals as well as the physical barrier to insect travel created by hectares of pesticide treated land all around them.

        • I think that the organic thing is overblown, but I fully believe in the value of a well made compost. I use grow bags for my garden as it aids greatly in keeping bug problems down, especially when the plants are young. However, I would like to nuke the pincer bugs who eat the new growth off of my citrus trees. Any ideas on what works best for those critters?

      • Goldminor,
        Species of tachnid flies (European but introduced to the US) parasitize earwigs. Lots of other animals eat them, of course.

        • It would be nice to find a solution for them. I have gone out in the middle of the night, and there they are chewing away at young growth. It is next to impossible to put out young starts because of them. So I start everything under fluorescents inside to get the plants big enough to survive.

        • I hate yellow jackets. There was nothing worse when working in the woods then to be lying on your back as you dug a hole under one end of a log to pass the choker through, and running into a nest of those guys. Then off you went running as you beat your head, and other body parts as you ran away. The other chokersetters laughing at you as you ran off. It was funny to watch from a safe distance.

    • As Kate says (from smalldeadanimals.com), organic is Greek for “grown in pig #%$#@%”.
      Not sure where I read it (maybe “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” by Michal Pollan?) but to “organically” control weeds, farmers flood the soil to kill the weeds, then plant, harvest, repeat. WAY more water than non-organic.

    • Try looking at real science, not industry funded fake science. Pesticides are the scam- just like global warming. If you disagree why not take a bath in glyphosate? Common sense tell you anything?
      Glyphosate herbicide tied to shorter pregnancies
      More than 90 percent of pregnant women in an Indiana study had glyphosate in their urine, and higher concentrations were associated with earlier deliveries. This article from Reuters covers research reported by GMWatch a month previously.
      Glyphosate and neonics impair learning in bees
      Hive-bound young honey bees are being poisoned by glyphosate weedkiller and insecticides gathered by their foraging hive mates, according to new research. The paper demonstrates that glyphosate and neonicotinoid insecticides adversely affect memory, taste and smell in young bees – the very senses and skills required by worker bees for nectar foraging.
      Germany to go forward with plans to restrict glyphosate
      Germany agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner says she is finalizing a draft regulation to end use of the glyphosate weedkiller in household gardens, parks and sports facilities. The minister also plans “massive restrictions” on the use of glyphosate in agriculture, with exemptions for areas that were prone to erosion and could not be worked with heavy machinery.
      Glyphosate and a hidden epidemic
      A survey of human urine samples shows that exposure to potentially health-threatening levels of glyphosate has escalated over the past 20 years. Glyphosate use in the agricultural sector rose a massive 300-fold from 1974 to 2014 and nearly 67% of total agricultural glyphosate use in the US since 1974 occurred in the period 2005–2014, when GM crops became widespread. Effects of glyphosate exposure may include increased cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Yet regulators are turning a blind eye, writes Prof David Schubert.

      • The GMO debate is over again. Last week, the prestigious National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine issued what is probably the most far-reaching report ever produced by the scientific community on genetically engineered food and crops. The conclusion was unambiguous: Having examined hundreds of scientific papers written on the subject, sat through hours of live testimony from activists and considered hundreds more comments from the general public, the scientists wrote that they “found no substantiated evidence that foods from GE crops were less safe than foods from non-GE crops.”
        The National Academies process was both impressively inclusive and explicitly consensual. As noted in the preface to their report, the scientists “took all of the comments” however ludicrous “as constructive challenges” and considered them carefully. Thus the expert committee patiently gave yogic flyer-turned-anti-GMO activist Jeffrey Smith a generous 20-minute slot within which to make his customary assertion that genetically engineered foods cause just about every imaginable modern ailment. Greenpeace also offered invited testimony. So did Giles-Eric Seralini, the French professor who suffered the ultimate scientific indignity of having his paper claiming rats fed GMOs suffered tumors retracted in 2013.
        Each of their claims was examined in turn. Do GE foods cause cancer? No patterns of changing cancer incidence over time are “generally similar” between the US, where GMO foods are ubiquitous, and the United Kingdom, where they are virtually unknown. How about kidney disease? US rates have barely budged over a quarter century. Obesity or diabetes? There is “no published evidence to support the hypothesis” of a link between them and GE foods. Celiac disease? “No major difference” between the US and UK again. Allergies? “The committee did not find a relationship between consumption of GE foods and the increase in prevalence of food allergies.” Autism? Again, evidence comparing the US and UK “does not support the hypothesis of a link.”
        […]

        https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2016/05/gmo-safety-debate-is-over/

        • So if the ‘activists’ are wrong, then the “scientists” must be right? Sweet. And what exactly does “the most far -reaching” and “consensual” mean, in scientific terms? The earth used to be “consensually” the centre of the universe, remember?
          And that was pretty “far-reaching” too. The inquisition would reach right out an grab any dissenters by the throat. Bullying and posturing is not
          science. And science has nothing to do with consensus.
          Yes, we could ALL be mistaken. But the worst would be to consign truth to the guardianship of an anointed fellowship.

      • “Glyphosate use in the agricultural sector rose a massive 300-fold from 1974 to 2014”
        Which proves that glyphosate must be pretty benign, or we would have noticed its effects. LOL
        And contaminants tend to be correlated with everything. Even living “close” to a nuclear plant in Germany is correlated with more cancers!!!!
        It just shows that those exposed to “pollutions” have more health issues. The parameters are too many.

  2. This falls into the category of: Yeah, let’s do things less efficiently. Then we can complain more.
    I generally view the “organic” foods as a kind of flim-flam operation. Mainly because those pushing it can’t offer definitive evidence that I get a tangible (measurable) benefit for paying $5.99 / pound for chicken rather than $0.99 per pound for chicken, which is probably chemically indistinguishable from each other.
    Productivity goes down, more land is needed for the production of food, more plowing and thus more loss of topsoil, more money from people’s pockets.
    It all sounds like the usual junk science we see pushed out every day——like climate alarmism.

    • It’s bad enough when it’s just a scam to get rich people to spend more money on wants and vanities. If some of the upper-middle to upper class want to pay a few extra bucks for yet another way to feel smugly superior to us common folks, that’s all fools and their money as far as I’m concerned.
      However, when people start talking about “large scale conversion” to vastly more expensive food production methods, how many millions, if not billions of people would starve as a direct result? it’s never the cheap methods that the food scare mongers go after, it’s always the cost cutting efficiency measures that enable us to feed the majority of the world.

      • It would seem that extreme vegetarianism i.e. Veganism is now the next “must be” . I don’t think the eskimos and Masai people would do very well!

      • My wife is totally convinced organic food is healthier than non-organic and could care less about the impact on CO2.

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_McCartney_Foods
        Linda died of cancer at the age of 56.
        So, if you go vegan, or vegetarian, to have a healthier and longer life and you end up dying of cancer at 56, that is a bummer.
        On a side note, If you google Linda McCartney foods, you will find its home page, that says:

        Linda McCartney uses cookies on this website.

        And, yes, she was Paul McCartney´s first spouse.

      • Bang on. Throwing people into energy poverty kills indirectly by forcing them to choose between heat and eating. Throwing people into food poverty kills directly by forcing them to eat or deny food to another.

    • “…benefit for paying $5.99 / pound for chicken rather than $0.99 per pound for chicken.”
      I can think of a few benefits… reduction of obscene cruelty, filthy living conditions, chicken that tastes of nothing, pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones (both of which get into the natural environment and your own body), pumped full of water, farm workers treated like animals, filthy and cruel slaughter houses, environmentally degrading, nutritionally useless, and so on. I note the above study confirms organic benefits and only reaches a punchline which sounds critical by twisting the obvious advantages of intensive farming – it’s errr more intense.
      There are many reasons for which it is worth paying a little more for better quality animal products – it all depends on how revolting you’re willing to tolerate your supply chain. Organic is the best standard of quality we have – it’s not perfect, it’s been scammed by some (but way way less than all the other rubbish ‘standards’ that have been promoted for profit by industry – farm assured, etc etc), but overall it’s a pretty good assurance of quality – and I for one would rather eat less meat – and eat organic.

      • cows grazing pasture dont require the water claimed to grow grains to torture them in feedlots, very few if any aussie farms irrigate pastures, we dont have the water to do it
        our bushbred cattle taste damned good in spite of missing being fed the muck feedlots push into them. the high prices for organic narks me and i grow organic hand weed and wont use ANY weedkiller of any sort anywhere on my land. im contemplating superstrength vinegar for some problem areas, and thats cos im getting older n weaker.
        the same few passes with a disk set and no chem is costing the same fuel as if i ran the tractor to pull a chemcart but not the cost of many hundreds per block if i used toxic chem weedkillers. grazing provides weeding and fertiliser and rockdust and lime are all i will use. many smaller farms growing organically employ more people in cleaner environments. and as for organic growers using the chem growers around as a benefit?
        youve gotta be nuts! their runoff and spraydrift are a constant hazard and risk to organic growers whole properties.

    • MS April 10, 2018 at 8:13 am
      I used to think much like you indicated that you do. After seeing some videos about the soil science that goes into the whole “organic food” thing I feel differently.
      Food can’t provide good nutrition to us unless the soil provides it to the plants. Plant up-take and bio-availability are a good thing — I should think.
      Now, I do not limit myself to “organic” but choose it when I can. In my neck of the woods organic foods are getting more available – so the market seems to support it. Organic tomatoes taste SO much better!!!!

      • Most tomatoes are grown in green houses using hydroponics so out door tomatoes grown in soil in the sunshine always taste far better , organic or conventional .
        The warmists talk about growing towers for producing vegetables in cities but they have never worked out that they would all be grown hydroponically with artificial lighting with large energy requirements whereas field crops get their energy from the sun and most of their water from rainfall .
        There is a lot of mumbo jumbo with organics .For example plants do not differentiate between super phosphate and rock phosphate if they require phosphorus but super phosphate can not be used as the phosphate rock has been treated with sulpheric acid to make the phosphorous soluble .A lot of rock phosphate will never dissolve enough for plants to take up .
        This is only one of many rules which make little sense
        The sensible use of sprays in agriculture against weeds and pests , and antibiotics for treating animals have a place in feeding the world.

      • Taste depends on water content (size in American produce is held to be of greatest importance for sales, so varieties are produced that produce larger produce by means of increased water content – hence lessened taste since the taste elements are diluted) and also to the nutrient spectrum supplied to the plant. Science has discovered the best nutrient spectrum for every major plant species. “Organic” agriculture isn’t, as the organic nutrients have to be broken down to inorganic solutes and ions in order to be taken up by the plant. It is a reversion to the days when faeces (human, animals and guano) were collected from islands, fields, and the streets of towns, and spread annually on the soil. This had three main defects: it ran out as populations grew and horses weren’t used; it wasn’t specific for a particular plant species so production was sub-optimal; and it spread diseases such as tetanus (in WW1 tetanus was major killer of troops in France and Belgium – get a scratch or a minor wound and, bingo, tetanus, all due to the use of manure as fertiliser.)
        If you want taste grow smaller varieties of crops – heritage tomatoes are great. And, if you are lover of organic, you should realise that the insecticides and fungicides that organic growers have to use have not been adequately tested by science. They include heavy metal concoctions, and rotenone which the FDA tried to ban because of the risk to health it presented, but was prevented doing so by the organic lobby. Best of luck, but I am sticking with science.

      • IMO “organic” tomatoes taste better not because they’re organic but because you can grow smaller and different varieties with more taste. Watery commercial tomatoes have to be large, with thick skins for ease of harvesting and transport. They’re also injected with reddening agents.
        Grow the same varieties in your backyard using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and they’ll taste just as good as if grown “organically”.
        Roundworm parasites are common in North Korea because the enslaved, starved peasants there still fertilize with feces.

    • Organic is just a marketing term. People perceived it to be of higher quality, plus you get the virtue signalling benefit as well. It’s very rare nowadays to sell a premium meat or vegetable product without it being organic. Some products marketed as organic of course are of higher quality, but most are just a waste of money.

    • Yes, MS!
      While not exactly a flim-flam, it is definitely a marketing program gone haywire.
      There are other farmers who read WUWT, so maybe someone else can weigh in:
      Back in the early 1970s, USDA, and through various state Cooperative Extensions gave presentations about “Organic” farming.
      The whole concept was how to take pricing advantage for a desirable niche product.
      i.e., thanks to loopey press and allegedly health conscious people, the public was hearing about “Organic” foods.
      Therefore, USDA and various state Cooperative Extensions proposed that small farmers cater to this niche market, and basically charge more for the same product.
      These presentations were still available online about ten to fifteen years ago. For some reason, they’ve been cleansed.
      My Father fell for this “niche market” spiel and we planted several acres of strawberries along with a few acres of corn, tomatoes, peppers and whatnot. After all, my Father reasoned, he had five sons to do most of the work.
      Except, until there are large enough gullible deluded markets where people pay any price for produce, one must either accept the going rate or compost the waste.
      After a few seasons of backbreaking “organic” strawberry care, My Father reversed course and reverted to conventional farming. Until he passed a few years ago, he did not try “organic farming” again.
      It was the infestation of thistle that really finished the deal.
      Hand controlling thistle requires pulling the thistle, including every piece of the root; or the thistle grows back. Thistle thorns penetrate leather gloves easily. We learned to try and dig down into the ground under the thorns before grabbing the thistle stem. One still gets a thistle thorn every few thistle plants.
      Perhaps, I should mention this is pulling thistle plants that are six-eight inches tall, not mature plants.
      Mature plants require shovels for safe handling. Or one can burn the thistles off with propane torches.
      All without disturbing the strawberry plants.
      None of us walked upright for weeks. Our neighbor farms had good long hearty laughs.
      United States Department of Agriculture has maintained a foods and nutrition database” for decades now.
      There are no identifiable differences between “organic” and conventional foods.
      A decade or so ago, a friend went rather bonkers about organic foods. In his rant about foods he preached endlessly about the virtues of organic free range eggs.
      I told him he could have those eggs just by raising his own chickens. Because every virtue he was desperately claiming for free range eggs were indicative for fresh eggs.
      That discussion did not end well.
      Heads exploding could be an excellent descriptive for excessive blood pressures and flushed face.

    • The labelling of food as organic is an oxymoron, as all food is organic. These dipsticks that push the organic nonsense need a lessen in chemistry, if they marketed as grown naturally chemical free is closer to the truth.
      However chicken, pig, horse , cow, manure is very chemically rich.

      • Those are “natural” chemicals… Synthetic fertilizers are filled with unnatural, supernatural and other chemicals that don’t occur in nature… /sarc

  3. “organic Valley” is just a brand, capitalizing on the the positive connotation of “valley” and implying they sell “organic” products from some “valley” (which may be true… or not…). Doesn’t deserve so much fuss about. At least, no more than “apple”, “sun”, “triumph” or some many trademarks of the same ink…
    And “organic” is not about chemistry (obviously these organic-lover are chemistry-ignorant), but rather about its being some sort of living organism. To quote wikipedia :
    “An organic farm, properly speaking, is not one that uses certain methods and substances and avoids others; it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system that has the integrity, the independence and the benign dependence of an organism”.
    I am no fan of this vitalism redux, but it doesn’t deserve such rant.

  4. Organic is to food production as the song “Imagine” is to political science…a childlike, ephemeral pie-in-the-sky dreamland for the low info hippie/hipster to aspire to.

  5. Chemophobia runs the organic craze. Fear of the unknown. Fear of toxins. Fear that chemicals cause cancer/ALS/ MS..
    Some of the most ardent believers of organic foods are those who believe or are sympathetic to chemtrails conspiracy. When I explain the chemicals are mostly hydrogen hydroxide, dihydrogen monoxide and carbonic anhydride, the immediate question from these nuts is ” What are these chemicals doing to us?”
    Forget explaining hormeses to these types. Dunning Kruger ignorance.

  6. Had a long talk with a fellow with the head of Fertilization and Pesticides for a 10,000 acre ranch in California. All of their pesticides and fertilizers are measured , carefully weighed and recorded for each application, with State inspectors being around all the time. The soil is being tested for residues, and any water runoff is curtailed and recycled back into pits where it is remixed and neutralized, before being reused. The nearby Organic farms are not even inspected, as their scale is too small (Think $$$ and Votes)..He mentions that the amounts of “Natural ” Pesticide applications have to be increased by a factor of 3-4 times, to be effective. They are still poisons, or they wouldn’t be effective. The applications are very shoddy, runoff all over, no soil testing, no residual testing and no oversight. But,….HEY —-it’s Organic.

    • Other problem about “organic” foods is that there is higher risk of being contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and/or parasites. After all, the life cycle of many parasites and bacteria include the fecal-oral route as a route of infection. And it is one of the reasons we started using chemical fertilizers in first place, but this fact is often forgotten.
      As an example, the German E. coli, O104:H4 outbreak that caused 53 deaths. Initially the germans blamed cucumbers imported from Spain. Later it was found that the source was an import of seeds of organic fenugreek from Egypt. It was heavily covered by the media while the outbreak was linked to the spanish cucumbers but as soon as the source was indentified as coming from an “organic” farm, the media stopped covering it.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Germany_E._coli_O104:H4_outbreak

      • The French mainstream media was talking non stop about this outbreak. It was the big story. (Few recent international stories were given at least as much coverage in French media, except of course Melania Trump not holding The Donald’s hand in Israel – a sequence viewed probably as many times as the Zapruder film.)
        But the media lost all interest the German E. coli story no more than one day after it was clear that a “biologique” (French for “organic”) was the starting point. Never in my life I saw such a drop in interest for a story, in a period where there was no competition what so ever in the newsworthiness race.

    • One of the most used pesticides in organic farming is copper sulfate a product that I need a licence to apply in my province.
      “While no pesticide is entirely safe, organic products are not necessarily less hazardous than their conventional counterparts. Nor are they pesticide free. Copper sulfate is one of many pesticides approved under the USDA National Organic Program and a number of studies show that it has a great deal of toxicity to both humans and the environment. For example it is toxic to honeybees when used as a fungicide and a study showed extreme toxicity to bees in tropical environments(it was carried out in Brazil), where copper sulfate is used as a sprayed fertilizer (to provide heavy metal nutrients). In addition, some wineries in France, the US and elsewhere have backed away from growing organic wine because of accumulation of copper in the soil.
      In conventional agriculture as well as organic, it can be used as a fungicide. In organic applications, it’s used a lot. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, copper, one of the top two organic fungicides (sulfur’s the other one), was used at a rate of 4 pounds per acre in 1971. In contrast, synthetic fungicides used on conventionally grown crops only required a rate of 1.6 lbs per acre.
      It’s also used in non-agricultural applications, such as killing algae in swimming pools and even keeping algal populations down in natural lakes. And, like many other pesticides, some fungi and algae have developed a resistance to it, a characteristic that’s been known for nearly 60 years.”
      https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/09/08/closer-look-popular-organic-fungicide-copper-sulfate-compare-glyphosate/
      Nice that it is so “friendly”!

    • One of the most common pesticide used in organic farming is copper sulfate which for me to use in our province requires a exterminators licence for some of its uses.
      “While no pesticide is entirely safe, organic products are not necessarily less hazardous than their conventional counterparts. Nor are they pesticide free. Copper sulfate is one of many pesticides approved under the USDA National Organic Program and a number of studies show that it has a great deal of toxicity to both humans and the environment. For example it is toxic to honeybees when used as a fungicide and a study showed extreme toxicity to bees in tropical environments(it was carried out in Brazil), where copper sulfate is used as a sprayed fertilizer (to provide heavy metal nutrients). In addition, some wineries in France, the US and elsewhere have backed away from growing organic wine because of accumulation of copper in the soil.
      In conventional agriculture as well as organic, it can be used as a fungicide. In organic applications, it’s used a lot. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, copper, one of the top two organic fungicides (sulfur’s the other one), was used at a rate of 4 pounds per acre in 1971. In contrast, synthetic fungicides used on conventionally grown crops only required a rate of 1.6 lbs per acre.
      It’s also used in non-agricultural applications, such as killing algae in swimming pools and even keeping algal populations down in natural lakes. And, like many other pesticides, some fungi and algae have developed a resistance to it, a characteristic that’s been known for nearly 60 years.”
      https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/09/08/closer-look-popular-organic-fungicide-copper-sulfate-compare-glyphosate/
      Corn gluten was heralded as a weed killer but I have some friends that received skids of it for free since it didn’t kill weeds well enough to sell to the public. It is however a good fertilize
      Polski

  7. Organic food is like the gas-guzzling car in the last article.
    It’s daft. It’s inefficient.
    But if people want to buy it, let them.

  8. As you know us low land types don’t know the difference between valleys (Rio Grande) and deltas (Mississippi). We are short of erratics, well the hard rock kind. Central Market has diversity! Like a living museum, or maybe a zoo or an aquarium. Some of the same things sometimes for sale there. Try Austin.

  9. I prefer organic because I want to eat food, not pesticides, hormones, medicine and other chemicals. Men fertility has dropped by 50% in 40 years in western countries, probably because of the toxic food.

    • Exactly. I am using Organic methods this year in my garden. I am slowly transitioning from using Chemicals, over to using nature to feed my garden.
      Kind Thoughts,
      The Northern Garden

      • Your labor will increase (to keep the weeds a bay), and your yields will decline due to various pests, fungus, etc. But if you want to work harder to produce less, that’s your choice I suppose.

        • Well sir, that would depend on the type of methods you are using. I am not using horse manure or cow manure, which are notorious for weeds.
          I am using worm castings, fish fertilizer, kelp fertilizer, garden tone, compost (well done) and other organic methods such as eggshells, coffee, and compost tea.
          All gardens have weeds despite the fertilizing methods used.
          I would love to hear back from you sir! 🙂
          -The Northern Garden

      • Nature is notorious for weeds. Period.
        Unless you are growing your plants in a hermetically sealed dome with the ground thouroughly sterilized to a depth of several feet, you are going to have a problem with weeds.

      • Reminds me of the ending of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit episode about Organics. “For thousands of years people have (until recently) suffered famines even here in western countries, and do you know what they ate? Organic.” They also noticed that people can’t tell the difference between “organic” and “non-organic” food.
        What evidence you have that men’s fertility has gotten down? What evidence you have that the food is responsible? People have less kids, sure, but that is because we are richer and don’t need big families to survive. And like I said, agricultural productivity has increased which means less famine. Indeed, today we worry about eating too much food, not less.What evidence you have that organic food is any better than “non-organic” food? Isn’t all food organic? Isn’t water a chemical? That reminds of dihydrogenmonoxide -scam where people were persuaded to sign a petition aiming to ban water, because it just sounds scary and it’s put into our food by big companies, it’s a chemical and all that. The petitioners never lied. They just didn’t tell the whole truth and used the same language used by enviromentalists.
        I think it’s all scam and bullshit. It exploits our fear of unknown, new things, and everything man-made, and our love towards nature, even though Mother Nature (ironically) is a human invention and clearly doesn’t give a shit about anyone. Basically a modern religion. It feels good. Humans tend to worship things and fear doing stuff on their own. Even if everyone managed to agree what is “natural” and what is not, that doesn’t mean anything.

    • Or, perhaps by placing electronic devices on our laps or perhaps something else. Some citation of scientific fact may be worthwhile.

    • Your choice. I remember when we raised our own chickens, got eggs and an occasional chicken meal. Easier nowadays to go to the HEB and pick up a dozen eggs and a broasted chicken. And I don’t care if t hey are organic or not. Hmm. But they must be organic, they come from animals.

    • Possible cause. A sedentary lifestyle is a more probable cause. That some people are living more “organic” lives, the incidence of lower fertility should be decreased?
      You could also blame conception control hormones recirculating in water systems..which is why I drink only rain water and pure grain alcohol 😉

      • Hormonal contraception is the only synthetic hormones the crazy “feminists”(*) and the “left” are OK with. Yet they claim to be worried about minuscule amounts of glyphosate that may have hormone like (cell signaling) behavior (that was never observed), or interact with human cells in strongly non linear fashion, for some other reason.
        (*) “feminist” who made every efforts to hide the possibly nasty side effect of hormonal contraceptives
        Arguing for non linearity of “toxins” is one thing, arguing for non monotonic toxicity, with higher toxicity at very low dose than at high dose, is another entirely. If some products are more toxic at low dose (as they have been arguing for some time), it may mean that the reduction of pesticide contamination will harm consumers simply by lack of non monotonic poison!

    • Nonsense. There’s no such thing as pure, nontoxic food. Do you like celery? It contains natural toxins to help keep bugs from eating it. Same thing is true of many vegetables. And your body does not care if a specific chemical is natural or man made; it reacts the same regardless. Spend your money and time the way you wish, but don’t spread your ignorant beliefs around – there are too many stupid people on the planet as it is.

    • Peter Langlee – or it could be because practically every prepared food on the market has soy in it.

  10. Being raised on a farm when it was the norm to spread the manure on the fields I can conclusively claim that none of the people buying the food grown in fields fertilized that way want to live within a mile of those farms. I can still remember nights that took hours to get to sleep from the stench of the freshly spread “Fertilizer.” Some times it would take a week before it was not noticeable to us, but even then friends from the city commented on it immediately. You also had problems where large areas had higher strength manure stunting or killing the crop in that area.

    • You may not be aware – but a great part of modern treatment of human sewerage depends on spreading semi-decomposed human waste on agricultural fields – it’s called sludge. See EPA guidelines https://www3.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/sludge.pdf
      It is unlikely to be certified organic. from Wiki : For produce to be USDA-certified organic, sewage sludge cannot be used.
      So I guess that would be an additional ‘benefit’ of living on or near an organic farm.

      • Jay: Heavy metals in the sludge are not very healthful when incorporated into the plant life.

      • Out here in fly-over country, the turd hearse pumps the septic tank and immediately goes to a field and sprays the effluent. (PS. The odor only lasts a few hours)

    • Your experience is a good reason to have a healthy skepticism to an article like this.
      Back in the old days, when the only way to fertilizing fields was to spread manure and hope for the best, you got what you got. How many “organic” farms are still using old fashioned techniques like that?
      On the other hand, years ago I read a study on the economies of using an anaerobic digester of manure for the purpose of harvesting the methane gas. The left over slurry was spread on the fields as fertilizer. Charted, but not mentioned in the text, was a higher crop yield of the slurry over straight manure. Apparently the anaerobic digester made the nutrients in the manure more available to the crops. How many other similar studies have been made?
      Manure needs to be broken down in order for its nutrients to be available to crops. Spreading it on fields is a very inefficient way of doing that.
      If the article mentioned above compared best practices with best practices, would the results have been the same?

      • Richard, Back during the oil crisis in 79, one neighbor that was a sort of “Gentleman Hog Farmer” (Was an AG professor full time.) buried three or four large septic tanks next to his barn. The barn and the hog lot had a concrete floor and the waste was washed into one tank. When filled he switched to another and let it set a while. He would then draw off the methane to run a gas diesel generator for his lights and power. Additionally, he had dampers so that the heat of the engine could be used to keep the barn at a comfortable temperature for the hogs in the winter and change the dampers to circulate air in the summer. He claimed that he set the unit up to run on NG and got free electricity for what he had been spending on heat and ventilation. After setting up the methane collection tanks, he got heat and electricity free except when it was to cold for proper action of the tanks. Used a salvaged VW diesel engine. which supposedly had very low maintenance. Was not run 24/7 but only when needed for power or heat.
        Surprised I have not heard of others doing this. Should work on any feedlot and most dairy farms. Dont know what he did with the “Liquor” but should not have been hard to use it for fertilizer. As an electrical/nuclear engineer was only interested in the thing making power from waste.

  11. “Conventional farming” is not conventional. It’s new and innovative high technology farming.
    Organic farming is conventional farming: low-technology, low yield, and an affinity for less productive cultivars. Organic farming is just 19th century methods that have been ideologically sanctified.
    In its use of manures, organic farming also leaches nitrogen year-round into water-ways; something modern farming avoids.
    Also, as David pointed out, organic farming uses anywhere from 20-40% more land for the same total yield. I have never seen a comparison of biological richness between natural lands and the lands converted to organic farms. The usual comparison is between modern farms and organic farms, with the latter getting the nod as more eco-friendly.
    But a correct comparison must take into account the excess arable land area brought into use for organic farming.
    That comparison would be between an organic farm and an equal area composed of a modern farm plus natural wild lands to make the compared land areas equal.
    How does species richness compare in that case? I’ve never seen such a comparison, but would expect the nod to go to the modern farm.

  12. A bit off topic, but I see the BBC has been rapped over the knuckles by OFCOM for an interview with Nigel Lawson where they didn’t challenge his point of view sufficiently. Yet this morning Christina Figueres was given free rein with no contra arguments.

  13. I studied organic chemistry, TPFT or tetraflouralpolyethene, otherwise known as teflon, is an organic compound with no hydrogen. CO2 is probably the most common organic compound. It is the presence of carbon, not a carbon – hydrogen bond, that determines what is organic chemistry. (Most organic compounds do include hydrogen.)
    Yet I prefer “organic food” and the #1 reason is GMOs, genetically modified organisms. What I learned in genetics, including how GMOs are produced, makes me suspicious of them. I don’t want to be a lab rat to find out the multi-decadal long-term effects of GMOs on a human body.
    I don’t know from where the author got his geological information. It’s overly simplified. There are more factors to valley development than what he lists.
    Studies like what is at the beginning of this article, I find suspicious. Too many of what I have seen deliberately skew results to fit a particular agenda. There are many ways to skew a study, possibly the most common is to compare the best results with the side that one favors, with the worst results of the disfavored side. The people reading this blog are smart, how many other ways to skew a study can you think of? In short, I need to see more data before accepting the study at face value.

    • Yep, you are right. I was going to say that carbon tetrachloride is a common organic solvent with no carbon hydrogen bonds. Tefron is also a good organic example with carbon hydrogen bonds.

      • Most, but not all, organic compounds have carbon-hydrogen bonds. Organofluorine and Organophosphorus are examples of organic compounds without C-H bonds.

    • Teflon is an Organofluoride.
      Organofluorides have carbon-fluorine bond. Compounds with Carbon-Fluoride, Boron-Fluorine, Silicon-Fluorine and Hydrogen-Fluorine bonds also qualify as organic compounds.
      Carbon dioxide is an inorganic compound…
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_inorganic_compounds
      Dissolved Inorganic Carbon or Total Inorganic Carbon is the sum of carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, carbonate and bicarbonate.
      CT = [CO2*] + [HCO3−] + [CO32−]

      • Don’t believe WikiPedia. It’s off topic to give all the reasons why.
        CO2 is the basic raw material used by plants to make all their organic chemicals. Combined with water in the krebs cycle, water giving up its hydrogens, results in sugars, starches, adding some other elements giving all the organic compounds found in plants. For this reason, CO2 is included as an organic chemical.
        Water, on the other hand, is not an organic compound because it doesn’t have carbon.

      • @Richard
        I find Wikipedia-articles that give sources more trustworthy than random people on the internet, who usually don’t give any sources at all. Atleast in Wikipedia you can usually check the sources and see where the information comes from. That’s my problem with the Museum of Natural history in my country, which preaches about extinctions happening now, but doesn’t bother to give any sources for that, so it’s impossible to check where that claim comes from.

      • Alright, David Middleton, I won’t argue, I’ll merely mention what was taught in class (unfortunately, I no longer have the texts used in class) and let it go at that.
        In the article you referenced from Purdue, it specifically claims that “organic compounds” have both carbon and hydrogen. Yet in class both in the texts we used and the professor mentioned carbon compounds that have no hydrogen as being organic compounds. The plastics industry likewise considers them as “organic compounds”.
        So basically we have authorities that contradict. You can go on claiming what you want, and I’ll just stick with what I learned from both class and from my contacts in the plastics industry. No argument.

    • So you prefer the traditional method?
      Irradiating the seeds then growing them to see if something usable was produced?

    • ALL current food crops are GMO and have been for centuries. The difference is the method of modifying the genome. In the past it was random. You either cross hybridized plants or used radiation to mutate seeds. Then, if you got viable plants from the resulting seeds, you tested to see if it was better than previous varieties. One of these tests was for toxicity, of course, but once it was determined that it was not toxic and had desirable qualities, it was sold as food. No long term testing, no concern about how it might affect the population a few generations down the line. Now with modern techniques we can change much less of the genome, in a controlled way, and we do much more extensive testing than in the past. But somehow these new direct gene manipulation methods are more dangerous than the traditional random methods? Maybe there is a convincing argument about why that counter-intuitive notion is true, but I haven’t seen it yet.

      • Paul Penrose: There’s a big difference between selective breeding, which is taking what’s already there, and artificial irradiating and gene insertion GMOs. We’ve been using selective breeding for centuries, but irradiating and GMOs are new.

    • Nature has been modifying genetics for billions of years, hence plants growing in new lava fiedls, that are still hot. Another variation of life form. A well know Geneticist at Stanford felt the whole GMO things was way overblown, and being used as a politically charged Issue. As he also mentioned, man does its’ modifications with precision, gene splicing exactly where it is needed, while Nature is a violent, uncaring beast, often times destroying many viable options while coming up with one in happenstance.

    • How many people die from GMO’s? How many people die from car accidents, starvation, cancer, getting hit by a lightning, or diseases?
      If I want to worry about things, GMO’s are among the last on my list. IMO too many people fear things based on what “might” happen (which is pretty much everything, aliens can come down and conquer the Earth for all I know), instead of what is happening right now. But then again, it’s not surprising considering our evolution which made us fear the unknown. Often irrationally.

      • Fredar: you ask, “How many people die from GMO’s?” The answer is, “We don’t know, because the long-term studies haven’t been made.” The effects may not show up for decades, then result in cancers and other diseases.
        Further you claim, “…[our supposed past] which made us fear the unknown. Often irrationally.” What makes me suspicious of GMOs is not what I don’t know, but what I know. It’s not irrational to take what I know about genetics, the structure of DNA, genes, the so-called “junk DNA” which really isn’t junk but instructions, how the “junk DNA” instructs the mRNA to combine genes to make specific proteins, etc. then to look at the very inexact method used to insert foreign genes into the DNA used by GMO technology, then to ask “What unexpected results are we getting that have not been tested for? Are those unexpected results low-grade poisons whose effects can accumulate over time?”
        Quite simply, I don’t want to be the human lab rat to test the long-term effects, and the company execs who fight tooth and nail to prevent me from knowing what’s in my food are thieves, stealing from me my consent for that study for which I have not given my consent.

    • yup i havent looked at who funded their study but i betcha its got funding by industrial chem makers or the gmo crew behind it.

  14. “If there’s ‘at least one carbon–hydrogen bond’ involved, it’s organic. If not, it’s likely to be inorganic.”
    What about carbon dioxide?

  15. Living in a cornucopia, for the past 100 years, is hard:
    ….most folk don’t have the skill,
    when homo sapiens has genetically and behaviorally selected for 300,000 years to
    ….Feast!!….famine(find food!)…famine(find food!)….
    …….famine(who’s for dinner)…famine…found food=> !!feast!!, !!feast!!

  16. Years ago, at the beginning of the ‘organic’ craze, an Agriculture Economist explained how land was converted to the ‘Organic’ operation. A few years before a conversion the chemical sterilization of the land was initiated (killing all the weeds, seeds, and other possible interlopers). He found the process offensive.
    Curious if they still use that type of process.

  17. Yep, some (but certainly not all) organic products are tastier but converting agriculture to all-organic would mean that about half of the population would starve, And do so quickly.

  18. Here on the Canadian Prairie the organic farmer uses lots of fuel tilling the crap out of his soil to control the weeds, plants late so the crop is able to compete against the weeds, grows a crop that looks more like weeds than a healthy stand of grain and late in the season harvests a pathetic excuse for a crop and when the crop is marketed some dumb-ass some where is willing to pay 3 times more per bushel for what amounts to an exercise in futility.

    • You’re missing the key point. The organic farmer is not growing and harvesting a pathetic crop of grain. He is growing and harvesting a bumper crop of total morons with money. Give the man some credit.

  19. It must be organic. It has a bucolic picture of a barn and a sunrise and the word “Nature” or “Valley” somewhere on the label.
    (It’s funny how the mega-gullible never talk about Big Organic, or Big Supplements, or Big CAM …)

  20. I have been waiting for someone to hit the concept of “inorganic foods” as opposed to all the “organic foods” one can buy now at much higher prices. Definitely a scam as pointed out in this post quite well. Oil and coal are, after all, organic in origin. Can people be organically stupid? Apparently so.

      • My stomach can’t handle that stuff. I get a monthly food box from a local food kitchen. The box was a new concept from last year. Typically, there is a brick of cheese that goes with the box. I give that to my neighbor along with other items which I would only eat, if I had no other choice to make.

        • I swear that they constantly move Velveeta around the store. Sometimes it’s with the cheese, sometimes with the boxes of macaroni & cheese and sometimes with the cans of Rotel tomatoes… LOL!

      • I’m pretty sure that Velveeta cheese is made from fossil fuels. It certainly behaves like a thermoplastic.
        By the way, on a related topic, is it true that when MacDonalds’ ice cream melts, it keeps its shape? If so, maybe it’s made at the same factory as Velveeta.

    • Good lord, JimG1, you’ve hit upon the way out! Organic fuels! What could be better for the planet than that! 🙂

  21. Moreoverest, somebody has to write a paper on cows, which have been under unfair attack by climate Philistines. These animals eat grass which regrows in days. They chop down trees in the Carolinas for the Drax power statiion in UK and call this GHG neutral and organic biomass with zero footprint although it contributes CO2 that apparently has ramifications for centuries – heating and acidifying and the trees take 50 years to regrow so 50 years of chopping down before the first year’s cut has regrow. Thought experiment: What would happen to the CO2 burden if all plants did this for 50yrs!
    Meanwhile, while you are drinking your organic milk made by our vegetarian cow, the grass she bit off to make it has replaced itself – the most sustainable event one can describe.

  22. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. –
    Mark Twain

  23. “The U-shaped valleys left behind by valley glaciers are usually 1 kilometer (1.6 miles) or more in width and typically hundreds of meters high.”
    Organics have funny math. I the real world 1 km=0.62 miles.

  24. As I drove by a barren snow-covered corn field this fine Spring morning, it occurred to me that in our greed, we have clear cut the fields. Slashed and flattened! Everywhere I look, ugly barren fields of stubble! Are we driving the corn to extinction? I worry about this!
    No wonder we have Climate Change (TM). We may never have corn again, organic or otherwise. Oh the humanity!

  25. I like to mill my own flour and bake my own bread so I’m always shopping for wheat berries. The organic wheat is about 3x the price of ‘just plain ol’ wheat’. Maybe there is something to organic. The problem is I’ve lived so long just eating regular stuff that switching now wouldn’t have much positive impact on my longevity whereas the price of organic would be instantly fatal to my bank balance. See, I’m on what they call a ‘fixed income’ which doesn’t make much sense because I’m ‘broke’ most of the time.

  26. I grew up on a farm in NW Nebraska where we spread manure on the fields, cultivated and ditched the corn, beans, and sugar beets. Irrigation was by siphon tubes. My father farmed this 130 acre farm with his labor and hired help or kids (there were 9 of us). That same farm is now irrigated with pivot irrigation systems, the fields are planted, sprayed, then harvested (if frosts or hail don’t destroy the crops) as part of close to 800 acres with 2 men doing all the work. Where we made several passes through the fields, they make two or three. To return this to organic would require lots more man-hours and lots more fuel. Of the 110 family farms in this area, there are perhaps 8 to 10 families doing all the farming today. They have no time for the other chores we had (caring for pigs, chickens, cattle). They cannot afford to go organic.
    Organic vegetables may taste better (I grow vegetables in a garden that is surrounded by woods, so I have little to no need to use pesticides, as the pests have not been a problem for the last 25 years), but that depends more on the variety than just about anything else. Large mechanized farms use the best vegetable varieties that mature close to simultaneously, can be handled by machines without bruising, and can be shipped without spoiling quickly – taste is not one of the attributes that they worry about.

  27. In general, the study concludes that while organic farming is more environmentally friendly per unit of land

    Citation most definitely needed.

  28. I can tell you, the bitterness of Organic Chemists runs a lot deeper than most glacial valleys. The article’s subject is a topic upon which we often feel the need to either say nothing, or everything, which rarely works out well. Thanks for including the ACS definitions.

    • I wasn’t going to say anything, but decided I should. I read part of Mr. Middleton’s post and then got to wtf. This did not seem to add anything to the explanation. I stopped reading as I will whenever I encounter that expression.

  29. Actually, now that I think about it, C60 and related Fullerenes are all-carbon compounds, no C-H bonds at all, and are strictly part of Organic Chemistry.
    Organic Chemistry got its name, by the way, because it originally concerned the chemicals derived from living things. This was back in the late 18th, early 19th centuries. It was thought that the chemicals of life were in some vital way different from the inorganic chemicals of non-living things, such as rocks.
    “Vital” was defining difference. Life was special, its chemicals were special and could not be made anywhere but in living beings. Hence they were organic chemicals, and “Vitalism” was the theory that inhered that idea.
    However, in 1838 Wöhler ruined it all by synthesizing urea — an unambiguously organic chemical — from ammonia and cyanate, both unambiguously inorganic. Another theory exploded.
    Vitalism found new life when proteins were discovered, and especially enzymes and metalloproteins. They were all thought to exhibit a chemistry that was non-reproducible outside of living things.
    But protein crystal structures removed that element of Vitalism, when the enzyme activity was understood in terms of protein structure.
    And in the metalloprotein part of Vitalism was wrecked when Dick Holm synthesized the iron-sulfur clusters of Ferredoxin and Rubredoxin — the latter involving a cube of Fe4S4 — previously thought to be viable only within their protein environment.
    So, really, the Vitalism idea wasn’t finally disproved until around 1972, long after most of us would have expected it to have been abandoned.
    And Organic Chemistry has been redefined as the chemistry of carbon (except, with a nod to David M, in its oxides) since Wöhler was so rude to the Humanities faculty as to ruin the basis for their transcendental philosophies.

    • The more I think about it, the more I realize that the definition of organic chemistry is almost as arbitrary as the pop culture usage of the word “organic”… 😉

  30. I don’t know where this is going to end up, but it is a reply to Mr Middleton’s reply to my comment re wtf. Mr. Middleton said “ WTF is an ‘Organic Valley’”. Again, what does that add to “What is an organic valley”? Decorum please.

  31. In Australia, the national broadcaster, the ABC, has been relentlessly pushing organic gardening as the preferred method for a decade now. It started with a star presenter who had been indoctrinated and it spread through the whole organisation. I have tried formal, written protest, but the usual answer about lack of balance is along the lines of “Sorry, you ignoramus, you do not understand” despite my having spent a decade in research into plant nutrition and soil science, hands on.
    All my study has shown that there is no real place in the world for the quaintness of organic farming, however defined. It is a cost:benefit disaster.
    Here is a clip of part of one method. “Known as cow horn manure, preparation 500 is basically fermented cow dung. It is the basis for soil fertility, and the renewal of degraded soils. It is usually the first preparation used during the change over to the organic/biodynamic system. Preparation 500 is made by filling a cow’s horn with cow dung, and burying it in the soil during the cooler months – November through February. The cow horns usually come from a slaughter house where the buyer has to compete with the artisans who use cow horns for various crafts. The price has risen since the horns are known to have a value in agriculture”.
    This goes on and on with more and more cowsh** involved.
    https://biodynamics.in/BD500.htm
    Geoff.

    • and abc are a bunch of idiots
      it isnt cowshit but the abomasum contents of the gut used to breed the good bacteria up that then massively diluted are applied to the soils to boost it. it would appear to work rather well if you look at some of treated bs untreated plots.

  32. So you would use it when talking to your mom, or your children, or in a fformal scientific paper ?

    • This is online, in a casual discussion. So obvious euphemisms are the norm. Advocating for some sort of online Comstock act is silly-@$$

    • WTF? Yes. What the ****? Probably not.
      For the same reason I would use SNAFU, rather than “situation normal, all f***ed up.”

    • One time when I was preparing a POE for a well in the Gulf of Mexico, I listed the main objective as the Miocene NFI Sand. We were drilling an amplitude anomaly that was deeper than any well control that I could tie into. So, I literally had No Fracking Idea what the objective was, beyond being a seismic anomaly consistent with a gas sand.

      • Well, I guess if 97% agree it must be right. I am trying to figure out climate change, but this is probably not the site for me.

    • frankly i use it to anyone anytime. sometimes/often i dont use the abbreviated form
      and if theyre a snowflake about it? then stiff sh*t get over it;-)
      ps Im an older female and I see far more in life to worry n bother about than WTF

  33. Two further comments: “organic valley” is a product name. In Canada, “Mac and cheese” is sold as “kraft dinner”, even tho we do not eat it for dinner. We don,t get upset about product names. Okay too much wine, I don’t remember the second point.

  34. Hmm the article is missing the point of many organic efforts. The stated decrease in yield is generally a known and cherished feature and not some secret bug. In any case, for pollution, exhaustion and potential climate worries alike, the cause lies within the massive population-footprint dynamic. Only changing the economy to a more human scale, human centric approach, in the West as well developing countries will ever be able to address it. We don’t need the massive numbers any more. It’s not smart and creates only social problems, pollution, migration waves and anxieties. That’s the only climate revolution needed: not any population “control” but people who take control of their own lives and minds. Which has always the same effect on the larger scale: decrease in population to more sane numbers.

    • So… People just need to eat 19-25% less food now… And then plan on further reducing their caloric intake by an additional 30% as the human population climbs from 7 to 10 billion?

      • well if the present obese and working on obese mobs DID reduce their intake;-) thered be more for others ..of course supply and control of supply same as now is the REAL issue on food poverty.

  35. i looked at their site
    curiously a advisor is a donor and also has ties to the bluemountain mob sponsoring more funds etc
    https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/team/ian-gazard/
    and mrs n goofy gates are the big bucks as well..and hes got how many monsanto and other GMO etc shares he wants to to keep paying him?
    didnt bother with the rest, its just another big aggro sh*tpiece.
    and btw and wtf;-) gazards also a long time nature conservacy bot.
    real cognitive dissonanace on that cos hes got ties to big banksters etc
    but then they use the word sustainable a bit so that makes it sweet

  36. I’d like to see robots weeding and zapping insect larvae so we could use less chemicals and possibly farm more intensively on less land.
    One reason i’m skeptical about AI/robotics hype is that no one has tried or succeeded in such efforts as far as I know.
    Of course agricultural robots would require cheap and reliable electricity…

  37. {Farmers across the globe are struggling with the devastating impacts of climate change: disrupted rainfall patterns, drought, extreme weather events, pest infestations, plant diseases, crop losses, and hunger. Better seeds developed through genetic engineering offer hope. But regulatory delays are preventing millions of farmers from accessing this life-saving technology}
    so??? as I chuckle…how is expensive gmo patented seed going to help when a different bug to the specifics its “supposed” to stop pops up for a feed. ie locusts will ruin the Bt corn same as the non Bt sort in the same time
    but the farmers up for massive price difference, and the poor sod cant save seed and save money cos of patents..oh and hybrid muck that if it does regrow is an utter waste of space usually.
    arent ANY of you waking up to the fact monsanto n the others are pushing the warmist hype/sustainability scam to sell more chem n monopolised controlled seed/limited gene pool variety that WIIL end up making global food at higher risk than open pollinated heritage reliable breed true and adapted/resistant strains that are 1,00s of growing yrs proven?
    Svaalbard is a goldmine for them to grab natural genetically sound seed n then screw it over and patent it..their drought resistant corn was sourced from an aussie bush farm crop that did well in heat n low water, they took the seed and then fiddled to patent it.
    some might manage some crop gains but its more the chem fertiliser and the enforcement of spray regimes pushing that, without it those crops fail. old ones produce less maybe but they cost a lot less to plant too as well as maintain.
    one years rock dust gives 3 to 5yrs gains slow release, well composted manures applied to soil not sprayed feed soil biota that break it down for the plants to assimilate,
    chem fertiliser KILLS soil biota and worms etc
    manures alone dont carry tetanus its a SOIL borne bug, soil without manure can carry it.
    any deep anaerobic wound can breed tetanus- think rose thorn thats never been touched with poop! rusty metal etc
    the whole hooha re gluten issues? think about roundup sprayed to spraytop near harvest plants cos the new headers catch fire with plant matter blocking their screens, the now dry roundup is on the hulls and some is uptaken into seed and its NOT washed off at all- its dust is in the mills and now IN your flour.
    just more chemical crud that has NO place being eaten daily in your food supply you dont even know or think about.

    • Beautiful description of the economics of farming. I’d forgotten about that.
      But what happens with major climate change?
      In the U.S. Southwest, there are many ruins from cliff dwellers. Not all of them were cliff dwellers, some were out on the open ground. They flourished in the 1200s – 1300s, then were abandoned. Can anyone say “medieval warm period, followed by the little ice age”?
      In the U.S. Southwest, there are two rainy seasons. The winter one, forget it, crops won’t grow. Too cold. The summer rainy season is tropical, that comes up north with the season. But with global cooling, will the tropical pattern come as far north, and last as long? My guess is “No”.
      Take for example Tucson, Arizona. “Normal” years can expect a rainy season to last from June 15 – Sept. 15. Last summer the summer rains lasted one month, July only. If my guess is correct, with global cooling a shortened growing season due to dryness will become the new norm.
      My understanding is that the Indians who populated those dwellings grew mostly long season crops, like corn (maize) and beans. When the growing season contracted, they needed to switch to crops that could be harvested in 45 days or less, but they didn’t have them. So when their crops dried up, they either starved, moved on, or maybe both.
      Ozspeaksup brings up many memories of farming practices from around the world. Often the lower cost associated with legacy seeds more than makes up the difference in income for the farmer generated by high yield seeds. But even there, they depend on a fairly predictable climate, and if that changes to the negative, can they count on even legacy seeds to give crops?

  38. “Pretty well all feel-good virtue signalling is at best irrelevant and often actually worse for the environment and less “climate friendly””
    If, as it appears, your comment above is meant to suggest that eating organic food is a “feel-good” activity (in the virtual sense), then it seems to me that you’re setting up and beating a straw man.
    For many years now I’ve been eating “organic” whenever availability and my budget allows. And it’s to feel “well”, not good. And my impression from the many people I’ve spoken too who buy organic food is that they also do it primarily for personal health reasons. And, like me, they avoid eating foods that are described as especially toxified, such as lettuce, strawberries, apples, and peppers, to name some of the ‘top ten” , altogether when they can’t find or afford organic versions.
    I get my “feel-good” (in addition to well-feeling) when I’m able to harvest deer in the woods instead of buying it from the slaughter house, even though they’re not “organic:. But I eat only “organic” eggs, three a day, and although they’re “free range”, I pay the hefty premium for health reasons.
    Should we all be eating food laden with hormones, antibiotics and/or pesticides so that we can squeeze a few more billions onto the planet?
    As for your gripe with the new, limited, meaning of the word “organic”, I certainly sympathize. And if you have a magic trick to replace it with something less confusing, please do. Or you could use the word “Bio” as the francophones do.

      • that IS the idea and intent. very diluted coppersulphate applied only when absolutely vital is pretty much going to be at soil amendment levels, and while milk works for downy mildew its a bit expensive . a dust of derris , again only pretty much under duress.and should only need one time use. Id rather absorb a tiny bit more copper which most of us are short of, especially since we swapped to plastic plumbing, than a systemic poison or organophosphate personally.
        the point being IF the soils were in good nick the plants wouldnt need treating, theyd produce their own repellants. notice how some plants dont get attacked and some do? same plant but ones stronger. The monocropping close planting enforced by “presently accepted” advisors is a recipie for spreading moulds n pests, and a huge nutrient drain on soils , all using the same minerals. wheres a mixed crop even just using alternating rows changes the soil drawdown and also the targeting by bugglies.
        my comment on the chem kiling the biota isnt a wild claim, i was doing soil biota testing some yrs ago and the farm soils i tested were damned near lifeless and inert. trying to find anything took multiple slides and a lot of time most often in stubble retention newstyle paddocks i sure saw a lot of mould n rusts.
        a sample i took from my no chem for 30yr sandy sad soil? was teeming with life, i even managed to film an amoeba munching a sliver of matter;-)
        an american called Albrecht wrote and studied soil science and crops for farming broadscale waaay back from the 30s onwards
        his books are the best money anyone farming can spend. The Albrecht papers a series of books reprinted and around 50$Au each be cheaper for you lot up there i bet;-)
        as for seeds and needs , yes we need to get our act together w out svaalbard and be starting to breed up cold tolerant short season options. Aussie quarantine etc makes it hard for us to do so;-( good intent but might bite us too. damned if we do -or dont- i guess

    • “Bio” is even more ridiculous than “organic.” As for a better descriptive, I would choose “massively inefficient” to describe what is currently referred to as “organic.”

      • on what actual experience David? some tiny yards produce massive amounts per sq foot and its no less juicy and attractive looking than something sprayed up to 20 times in 3 months ie lettuce, but frankly Id say its a whole lot better to be eating overall. Russians survived and still do on small allotments and so did many pommies in war yrs. hell even you guys had victory gardens or you went without.
        most of that would have been “organic” because until the war(2nd especially) was over and they needed to find a use for the toxic chem theyd used to kill n maim humans, and tested it on bugs n crops none of it was used and all our grandparents grew up eating organic by default.
        consider if organic…is such a dirty word? then why are all the large corporations buying them up? and looking to market such heavily.
        i dont agree with the inflated prices seeing as the input cost is less myself, same price as regular would be fair. but scarcity always raises the cost of anything doesnt it.

      • “massively inefficient” is still incomplete: “costly, oil consuming, neurotoxines spilling, mortal for bees products using, heavy metals pouring, ground polluting, erosion accelerating agriculture” would be better.

  39. I am SO tired of the “organic = hydrocarbon chemistry therefore all food is organic” joke. “Organic” also means relating in an inherent way, as in “the dancers performed as an organic whole” meaning that even though they may have had different moves, they conveyed a single work; or “the topic arose organically out of our previous conversation”, meaning no one artificially announced that hey we’re all now going to talk about X.
    dictionary.com gives,
    “7. characterized by the systematic arrangement of parts; organized; systematic:
    [as in] elements fitting together into a unified, organic whole.
    Granted it’s only def. number 7, but it’s still there. In this sense, “organic” food is food that has been grown using, say, fertilizer that is the stuff the critters co-evolved with, rather than the imposition of a brain trying to out-think 4 billion years of evolution.
    It’s not just Lefties who get their kicks sneering via selective interpretation.
    Furthermorer, the headline claims that organic practices are “worse” for “the environment”, and it turns out only that the article conflates “the environment” with “the climate”. Woop! Woop! Big news! Organic practices are no better than “conventional” practices at relieving a problem that doesn’t even exist! The fact that organic practices fail to poison the environment is mentioned — in the source article — only in passing, and in this posting not at all. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Middleton.

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