The Big story is the rise of regenerative agriculture and its organic certification as well. All forms of pure mono culture suppresses soil diversity and health.
Field work has been well underway now for over two decades and it is expanding as more operators learn to master it all. It is not so simple but the benefits are clearly huge.
Follow Greg Judy who is operating a three hundred animal herd. What it hugely compelling is how the land and soils have hugely rebounded from been deeply over cropped. That operation can also be integrated with plenty of no till cropping as well to even accelerate the whole conversion as well.
His operation uses almost no hay and keeps the animal outside continuously during the winter. More difficult to do further north, but should we not try?
Again, the real take-home is that traditional methods lacked energy assistance significant enough to ever adopt any of this. That is no longer the problem and our agriculture is been fully reinvented before out eyes continuously. That is good..
2019 Year in Review
by Rodale Institute
Dec 20, 2019
As 2019 comes to an end, we look back on all the ways farmers, consumers, scientists, and organizations have grown the organic movement in the past year.
2019 was a record year for the organic agriculture industry. This year, organic commodity farmers in the United States harvested a record number of acres (3.1 million—a 7% increase from 2018), driven in large part by a surge in new certified organic crop operations.
Across the world, organic food, farming, and products have taken center stage. For the first time in American history, regenerative organic agriculture has become a part of Presidential platforms, bringing the issue to a forefront like never before (including as part of a Q&A with Senator Bernie Sanders).
Here are some other updates from the organic industry in 2019:
Rodale Institute opened three new Regional Resource Centers in agricultural heartlands like Iowa, Georgia, and California. This expansion puts boots on the ground to provide organic research, training, and education to a new audience of farmers interested in adopting organic practices. 3
2019 marked the first year that industrial hemp was fully legalized as an agricultural commodity after the 2018 Farm Bill—paving the way for organic farmers across the country to begin integrating hemp into their crop rotations or as cash crops. In November, the USDA announced that industrial hemp can be officially certified as organic.
Numerous groundbreaking studies were released about chemicals in our food, environment, and bodies, including dramatic findings such as:
Families that ate an organic diet for only one week saw a dramatic drop in their pesticide levels.
Eating an organic diet can reduce the risk of cancer by up to 25%.
The overuse of agricultural fungicides may be leading to a rise of new drug-resistant fungal infections in humans.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, was found in 89% of major restaurant chain food samples, including from establishments like Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonalds.
Conventional milk was found to contain traces of antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides that were not found in organic milk.
U.S. agriculture is 48 times more toxic to insect life than it was 25 years ago, largely due to the rise of neonicotinoids.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that agriculture and forestry now account for nearly 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, underscoring the need for agriculture to consider regenerative methods for carbon sequestration potential.
The Regenerative Organic Certification has completed its pilot program, testing the new standard that goes above and beyond organic in 9 countries. Pilot program participants include brands like Nature’s Path and Patagonia, as well as Apricot Lane Farms, the subject of the breakout documentary The Biggest Little Farm.
Researchers from Penn State have made the connection between soil health and human health even more explicit by observing a compound called ergothioneine in mushrooms that may help combat neurodegenerative disorders.