Over the last few years, organic farming has experienced a resurgence in popularity. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that organic farming practices are more efficient and environmentally friendly, and consumer demand for organic products is increasing. Many online organic farming courses are available to help farmers take advantage of this trend. These courses can provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to operate an organic farm.
- Organic farming pros and cons
- Organic farming standards & using the label "organic"
- Organic farming market growth, profitability & career prospects
- 1. Bachelor of Science in Horticultural Science (Organic Horticultural Systems)
- 2. All About Tomatoes: A Gardener's Guide to Growing Tomatoes Organically via Skillshare
- 3. Sustainable Agriculture via edX
- 4. Is Organic an Option for Me? by USDA National Organic Program
Why should you be interested in organic farming?
The goal of organic farming is to create a sustainable system that does not harm the environment. Organic farming relies on using organic matter to increase soil fertility, such as compost, manure, and green manures. Natural predators and parasites are also used to control pests instead of synthetic pesticides. Moreover, organic foods are thought to be more nutritious than conventionally grown foods.
Organic farming pros and cons
Even with its cons, organic farming has advantages in consumer demand, which greatly affects profits and returns. Take a look at the section on organic farming’s profitability to find out.
Still, organic farming’s advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and it is better for the environment.
|Healthier and more nutritious for consumers||Compared to conventional farming, organic farming is more expensive|
|Ensures soils and groundwater are not contaminated||Regulations can be challenging to adhere to|
|No synthetic pesticides are used, which is better for farmers’ health||Pest management can be challenging|
|Provides protection to beneficial organisms from pesticides||Additional costs associated with organic certification|
|The composting and reusing of organic waste is safe||Crop yield and quality fluctuate greatly but tend to be lower|
|Organic products are becoming more popular among consumers|
Organic farming standards & using the label “organic”
The USDA’s (U.S. Department of Agriculture) regulations are similar to Canada’s and UK’s organic farming standards, and the label “organic” is controlled. The UK has a list of approved organizations that control and award the label “organic”.
The organic farming of vegetables and fruits cannot involve the use of synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, growth regulators, or sewage sludge. In the same way, organic farming of livestock must accommodate the nutritional and behavioral needs of animals (e.g. animals must be able to go outdoors) and not use antibiotics and growth hormones. It is even necessary to feed livestock organic feed.
Also, hydroponics and aeroponics do not qualify as organic farming.
Farms in Australia are not required to have organic certification to label their products as organic, but they must be able to justify their claims. In Australia, organic farming standards are voluntary and private organizations issue these certifications.
Generally, it takes 1 to 3 years for farmland to become organically certified in most countries. You can find more information below:
- Australia: being certified as organic
- Canada: being certified as organic
- United Kingdom: being certified as organic
- United States: being certified as organic
Organic farming market growth, profitability & career prospects
In 2020, the global organic farming market was worth USD $96.1 billion (AUD $144.5 billion / CAD $130.4 billion / GBP £75.7 billion). The market is predicted to reach USD $183.8 billion (AUD $276.3 billion / CAD $249.4 billion / GBP £144.7 billion) by 2027. Furthermore, organic farming has a lower environmental impact, which appeals to today’s eco-conscious and health-conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for organic food products.
Specifically in the US, organic goods have grown in popularity and registered double-digit growth since the 2000s. A similar trend is evident in the growth of market values around the world. This naturally means that careers in organic agriculture would also be sought after.
Organic farming yields per acre & higher returns
Even though organic farming yields per acre are lower than conventional farming, corn and soybeans return higher returns to farmers. Because consumers were willing to pay much more for the two organic crops, organic farmers were able to offset the higher costs, leading to superior profits. It is therefore important to be selective and strategic in your crop selection when farming organic crops; this is something you can learn from organic farming courses.
|Difference between organic vs|
|Difference Organic consumer prices vs|
|Organic Corn||41 bushels per acre lower||USD $5 to 10 per bushel higher|
|Organic Wheat||9 bushels per acre lower||USD$1 to 4 per bushel higher|
|Organic Soybean||12 bushels per acre lower||USD $10 to 15 per bushel higher|
For other profitable forms of farming, check this list out.
How would organic farming courses help?
Organic farming courses can help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes. The courses will teach you how to apply organic farming standards, manage pests that could compromise crop yields, and learn about marketing. You might be surprised to learn that organic farmers tend to be younger and are more hands-on when it comes to marketing to consumers directly. And that is what you might have to become good at.
Take a look at these four organic farming courses, including university and government programs.
1. Bachelor of Science in Horticultural Science (Organic Horticultural Systems)
|Course||Bachelor of Science in Horticultural Science (Organic Horticultural Systems)|
|Institution||University of Florida|
|Fee||USD $114,632 (AUD $172,326 / CAD $155,538 / GBP £90,268)|
|Delivery Mode||On-campus in Florida, USA|
Suitable for career farmers and anyone interested in a career in horticulture science (with a specialization in organic systems).
2. All About Tomatoes: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Tomatoes Organically via Skillshare
|Course||All About Tomatoes: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Tomatoes Organically|
|Instructor & Platform||Tiffany Selvey (Organic Garderner) via Skillshare|
|Fee||Skillshare subscription (access all course with just one fee)|
Suitable for beginner hobbyists, Tiffany’s course takes you through growing different varieties of tomatoes organically.
3. Sustainable Agriculture via edX
|Institution & Platform||State Bank of India (SBI) via edX|
|Fee||Free / Upgrade with certification available at USD $149|
The course cover sutainable agriculture as a broad topic, and introduces organic farming and techniques such as crop rotation that qualify as organic farming.
4. Is Organic an Option for Me? by USDA National Organic Program
|Resource||Is Organic an Option for Me?|
|Institution||National Organic Program, USDA Organic|
|Delivery Mode||Online materials|
Suitable for career farmers looking to make the transition into organic farming.
- Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24968103/
- Code of Federal Regulations: Agriculture (Part 205), https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-7/subtitle-B/chapter-I/subchapter-M/part-205?toc=1
- Organic food: UK approved control bodies, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/organic-food-uk-approved-control-bodies
- Global Organic Farming Market Size, Share & Industry Growth is anticipating a prosperous growth reaching USD 183.8 Billion by 2027- BlueWeave, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/08/10/2277558/0/en/Global-Organic-Farming-Market-Size-Share-Industry-Growth-is-anticipating-a-prosperous-growth-reaching-USD-183-8-Billionby-2027-BlueWeave.html
- Australian Competition & Consumer Commission: Organic claims, https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/groceries/organic-claims
- Canadian General Standards Board: Organic production systems (General principles and management standards), https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2020/ongc-cgsb/P29-32-310-2020-eng.pdf
- Organic farming: how to get certification and apply for funding, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/organic-farming-how-to-get-certification-and-apply-for-funding
- USDA Organic, https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic
- Global Organic Farming Market Size, Share & Industry Growth, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/08/10/2277558/0/en/Global-Organic-Farming-Market-Size-Share-Industry-Growth-is-anticipating-a-prosperous-growth-reaching-USD-183-8-Billionby-2027-BlueWeave.html
- Despite Profit Potential, Organic Field Crop Acreage Remains Low, https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2015/november/despite-profit-potential-organic-field-crop-acreage-remains-low/