Can Organic Farmers Use Pesticides?
Pesticides are used in organic farming. Organic agricultural standards in Europe and the United States allow for the use of over a hundred fertilizers and inputs (pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides). It contains composts and manures, as well as inputs or pesticides like aluminum-calcium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, sodium chloride, calcium polysulfide, copper sulfate, and many others.
The main difference between conventional and organic farming inputs is that those used in organic farming must be of plant, animal, microbial, or mineral origin, unless products or substances from such sources are not available in sufficient quantities or quality, or if alternatives are not available.” That is, organic agricultural compounds must be “naturally occurring” components generated by ecosystem services.
Are the pesticides permitted in organic farming hazardous?
Some pesticides are permitted in organic farming if they are made from “natural origin” ingredients. However, this does not necessarily imply that they are safer than the synthetic pesticides commonly employed in conventional agriculture.
Each pesticide, fungicide, and insecticide has varied applications and levels of toxicity. Pesticides, whether natural or manmade, are harmful materials that contain active chemical components. As a result, we must exercise caution when employing them. Nonetheless, health officials or pesticide registration agencies believe that pesticides (natural or synthetic) are safe as long as the guidelines for use are followed.
This demonstrates that, depending on the dosages employed or the context, even “naturally occurring” pesticides can have negative impacts on the environment and health. In other words, even if the pesticides used in organic farming are natural, they might be hazardous.
Natural Pesticides: Are They Better For The Environment?
When we talk about natural pesticides being better for the environment, it’s not because an organic pesticide is necessarily better for the environment. A biological insecticide, as demonstrated by the case of copper sulfate, may have harmful effects on ecosystems and pose threats to aquatic creatures.
Spinosad, a “natural” organic insecticide, is another example of a biological pesticide that could harm the ecosystem. In fact, it is known to be a highly hazardous insecticide for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
What are you spraying now?
Customers are understandably perplexed when they learn that organic farmers occasionally use pesticides and other “inputs.”
Do organic farmers use pesticides? Why, some argue, are organic sprays much more hazardous than conventional sprays?
“Synthetic” is an important word. Organic farmers, in general, do not utilize any synthetic (read: man-made) inputs. They are, however, permitted to utilize natural ones.
Non-synthetic vs. synthetic
First, the USDA determines if a material is synthetic or non-synthetic when assessing it for use in organic farming. Non-synthetic is defined as “a substance derived from mineral, plant, or animal matter that does not undergo a synthetic process.” Natural is a synonym for non-synthetic.”
Almost all natural materials are permitted for use in organic production. Take neem oil, for example. The seeds of the neem tree are utilized to make neem oil. It has been used to control pests and plant diseases for hundreds of years. Neem oil is natural and organically approved.
A couple of regular synthetics, for example, arsenic and tobacco dust, are denied in natural creation. Glyphosate, a compound made in an examination community, fits into this class and is thus denied.
Restriction of Use
Each is further classified as a “use class.” Crop fertilizer and disease control are two examples of use classes. A material that has been designated for fertilizer cannot be used in any other way.
Copper sulfate is only for disease control and plant disease control. Copper must be splashed on natural ranches on the off chance that there is a confirmed need for it. That implies the farmer must also demonstrate that they have exhausted all other alternatives for dealing with the disease. A certifier will study the documentation and information and will only authorize the use of copper if there is nothing else that can be done and a farmer’s crop is in jeopardy.
Furthermore, the certifier will collaborate with the farmer to ensure that just the bare minimum of the material is used. Priority is always given to biological and preventative approaches before introducing a synthetic material, and exposure is always minimized to the greatest extent possible.