Iowa State University

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The Future of Farming?
by
Bob Hartzler

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May 28, 2004 -  While the number of organic acres in Iowa is miniscule compared to conventional acres, this practice has grown rapidly in recent years.   Nature, one of the most respected science journals in the world, recently featured several articles on this topic.  Of particular note was the cover of the magazine, featuring an organic farm in northeast Iowa (click on thumbnail for larger version).  The articles focused on the debate between advocates and critics of organic agriculture, stating that the arguments occur both in public discussions and in the scientific literature.  The inconsistency in results was stated to be a reflection of the complexity of the system, rather than biases of the researchers involved.  The general conclusion was that there were advantages and disadvantages to both agricultural systems.  A limitation attributed to the organic system was that it could not replace conventional agriculture as long as the desire for a high meat diet is continued. 

The articles can be accessed at Nature's website.

 

Prepared by Bob Hartzler, extension weed management specialist, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University

For more information contact:
ISU Extension Agronomy
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Voice: (515) 294-1923
Fax: (515) 294-9985
http://www.weeds.iastate.edu
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Common chemical and trade names are used in this publication. The use of trade names is for clarity by the reader. Inclusion of a trade name does not imply endorsement of that particular brand of herbicide and exclusion does not imply nonapproval.