USAgNet – 09/19/2011
Rodale Institute today announces the latest results of the Farming Systems Trial, America’s
longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional farming practices.
Originally created to study the transition from conventional to organic production, this 30-year
study also examined productivity, soil quality, energy and economics.
“The Farming Systems Trial clearly documents in a replicated, scientific fashion, that many of
the current myths are not true. Organic agriculture does not result in the grower losing money,
does not result in lower yields, or more expensive management practices” Key findings show:
Organic yields match or surpass conventional yields.
Organic yields outperform conventional yields in years of drought.
Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more
Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy and is more efficient.
Conventional agricultural systems produce 40 percent more greenhouse gases.
Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional farming systems.
After 30 years of a rigorous side-by-side comparison, the Rodale Institute confidently concludes
that organic methods are improving the quality of our food, the health of our soils and water, and
the conditions of our nation’s rural areas. Organic agriculture creates more jobs, provides a livable
income for farmers, and can restore America’s confidence in our farming community and food
“America’s farming techniques affect the health of our families, our communities, and our planet.
The Farming Systems Trial shows that organic farming is the healthiest and safest way to feed the
world, provide much-needed jobs, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and protect precious natural
resources,” says Mark “Coach” Smallwood, Executive Director of Rodale Institute.
“The Farming Systems Trial clearly documents in a replicated, scientific fashion, that many of the
current myths are not true. Organic agriculture does not result in the grower losing money, does
not result in lower yields, or more expensive management practices,” says Dr. Elaine Ingham, Chief
Scientist at Rodale Institute. “The next step forward is to educate growers, whether they are conventional
or organic, in the methods used in the Farming Systems Trial to assure equal or better yields through
farming practices that do not harm the environment.”
The trial is slated to continue with a new focus on nutrition and human health. “We have shown that
organic can feed the world. Now it is time to take on the matter of feeding the world well,” said Smallwood.