Even without a price premium, the organic systems are competitive with the conventional systems. Marginally lower input costs make the organic systems economically competitive with the conventional system, even at conventional pricing.
The crop rotations in the organic systems are more diverse than in the conventional systems, including up to seven crops in eight years (compared to two conventional crops in two years). While this means that conventional systems produce more corn or soybeans because they occur more often in the rotation, organic systems produce a more diverse array of food and nutrients and are better positioned to produce yields, even in adverse conditions.
"My grandpa is a farmer. I asked him what he thought of the GM corn, and he said he loves it. Why? Because it produces consistent, quality grain."
That's an interesting point.
I don't know much about the microeconomics of farming, so this may be completely off base. But my sense of things is that farmers are pretty reliant on credit during the planting season. Even if organic farming is better (for the environment or by whatever metric you choose to care about), I wonder if the reason many farmers haven't moved to organic is because they're worried about the consistency of their crop from year to year.
Six hours was enough, between the 6 a.m. start time and noon lunch break, for the first wave of local workers to quit. Some simply never came back and gave no reason. Twenty-five of them said specifically, according to farm records, that the work was too hard. On the Harold farm, pickers walk the rows alongside a huge harvest vehicle called a mule train, plucking ears of corn and handing them up to workers on the mule who box them and lift the crates, each weighing 45 to 50 pounds.
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