Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors use agricultural methods intended to preserve the environment. USDA organic regulations restrict the use of certain conventional tools such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Importance of Organic Agriculture
The organic industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural segments in the United States. Organic farming yields such vital benefits as preservation of soil’s organic composition.
Organic farmers utilize practices that:
- Maintain and improve fertility, soil structure and biodiversity, and reduce erosion
- Reduce the risks of human, animal, and environmental exposure to toxic materials
- Fine-tune farming practices to meet local production conditions and satisfy local markets
NIFA programs advance the field of organic agriculture by encouraging work that includes:
- Facilitating development of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods
- Evaluating potential economic benefits to producers and processors
- Exploring international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed products
- Determining desirable traits for organic commodities
- Identifying marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture
- Conducting on-farm research and development that emphasizes observation of, experimentation with, and innovation for working organic farms
- Developing new and improved seed varieties suited for organic agriculture
- Developing educational tools for agricultural professionals who advise producers on organic practices
- Facilitating the transition from conventional to organic agricultural practices
Read more about NIFA's Organic Agriculture Program.