Experts can argue over whether organics are slightly or substantially less productive, but they are clearly better for soil and the environment.
I am a big fan of the Perishable Pundit, Jim Prevor, whose opinions on the produce industry I think are always worth reading whether I agree with them or not. I check his site regularly.
I am also a big fan of organics. I think research shows that organic production methods are kinder to soil, climate, and animals than industrial production methods.
So I was interested to read Perishable Pundit's interview with Dr. Steve Savage, an agricultural consultant in San Diego.
Q: Your detailed analysis of U.S. organic crops rattles the generally accepted notions about the size and potential growth of the organic market. Based on the latest USDA-NASS data, you make four key points:
- Organic is a very small part of U.S. agriculture.
- Organic is significantly less productive on a per area basis.
- Organic acreage, and to a greater extent, organic production, is skewed to the dry, Western states.
- Farmers are paid higher prices for organic commodities, but when combined with lower productivity, gross income per acre is not always much higher and even sometimes lower.
Savage backs up these statements with additional data in a slideshow from the USDA. You can look up both links and decide for yourself if you agree with his conclusions.