Organic can be effective

Published 4:03 pm Friday, December 6, 2013

Dear Editor,
While Ashley Johnson was incorrect that all non-organic milk comes from hormone treated cows, about 25 percent of U.S. milk does (mostly in the West so local stores don’t stock it). Many take issue with the milk’s quality, but personally I’m glad that hormone use is declining because of the unnecessary suffering it causes the cows. These hormones greatly increase hoof damage and mastitis, leading to more pus in the milk than normal – yuck.
Although Ms. Johnson engaged in a little hyperbole when she painted “all” the non-organic milks with the hormone brush, I am very much in agreement with the spirit of her editorial. I also agree with  Dr. Paul Johnson’s letter to the editor when he says that more education is needed but I would expand it to include everyone, not just the Millennials, and get the facts out about both conventional farming and more sustainable alternatives. Maybe the people who ask Ms. Johnson “Are you really going to eat that” don’t know that organic farming means growing good food while increasing (rather than depleting) soil fertility.
While conventional farming produces huge amounts of food, we can’t blindly ignore its negatives, especially since it is possible to continue producing enough food without poisoning our land and water, rendering antibiotics ineffective or harming native plants and wildlife. Organic farming can feed the world. In his letter, Mr. Johnson mentioned several items he felt were important (safe food, clean water, variety of choice) which organic excels in. There are many misconceptions about organic farming (on both sides) but if people could understand the core efficiency of resource use it entails, I think they would agree it makes sense.
In the meantime, the more sustainable techniques that conventional agriculture “steals” from organic farming, the healthier our bodies, farms and economy will be.
Ben White

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