Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Organic Farming to Protect Natural Resources in North Dakota

Organic farming is a way for farmers to plant their crops and harvest them without harming natural resources as much as traditional farming practices. There are many farms that choose to participate in organic farming practices. Some of these farms are located in North Dakota.

To be certified as organic farming in North Dakota, there are certain requirements. For example, the land must be free for at least 36 months of prohibited synthetic fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides. Crop rotation is another important part of organic farming. Annual inspections of the land during the growing season will also take place. Another important part of organic farming is that there cannot be any genetically modified organisms involved in the production of the crops. All of these measures are important not only for the crops but also for the natural resources of the area where the organic farming is taking place.

One important thing to understand about organic farming is that even organic practices cannot ensure that the products are completely free from residue. Wind carrying residue from neighboring fields can still cause some impurities in the product, but by using natural resources to aid in the organic product's growth, these purities can be limited. The main goal of organic farming is to optimize the health of the natural resources in the area while also producing crops that are healthier for people.

One of the barriers to organic farming in North Dakota and in other locations is that some farms are not getting organic certification even if they are abiding by the rules to qualify them as an organic farm. Without this resource, crops cannot be marketed as organic. There are a few steps for a North Dakota farm to obtain certification. They need to contact a certifier and obtain application material. Then they can complete the application material under the certifier's directions. Then an inspector will come to the farm annually to certify that the farm is following all organic related practices including crop rotation and growth of crops without harmful pesticides. Certification is important for North Dakota organic farms, because it shows that they are following the same set of given standards to qualify as an organic farm.

There many different crops that are an important part of North Dakota's organic farming. At one point, North Dakota led the nation in the production of organic grains and oilseeds. They also ranked first in oats, buckwheat, and other specialty grains such as triticale and quinoa. North Dakota also ranks high on the production of organic dry beans, dry peas, and lentils. Although organic products can be sold for higher prices, that is not why most North Dakota organic farmers choose this farming method. For those who stay in the business, it's about using their resources wisely and making the protection of natural resources a lifestyle. If they go into it for the money, most will later return to traditional farming, because organic farming is harder work as guidelines must be followed to ensure that the farm is really organic. The added work is not worth it for those who do not want to make it a lifestyle.

Samantha Kleiner writes about floods and water damage problem. See:

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