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Jennifer Chait

Organic Production Promotes Increased Drought Tolerance

By January 31, 2013

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What's News in Organic (pdf), published three to four times a year by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) focuses this month on how organics are the best crops for thriving and surviving in drought conditions.

The main focus is on Rodale Institute's experiment farm in Pennsylvania, which as you likely know has been collecting organic crop data for over 30 years. One of their most significant findings surrounds the increased drought tolerance of organically raised crops.

According to OTA, drought research has taken on even more importance today, "As U.S. farmers try to recover from a year of severe drought." OTA notes that 60% of land in the lower 48 states, particularly in the Great Plains and Midwest, were experiencing at least some degree of drought when Sandy struck in late October. Though most farms were hit hard because of drought in 2012, organic farms did fare better than their conventional counterparts due to the organic practices used that ended up helping to maintain crops in spite of droughts. That said, USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) developed farmer recommendations already followed by organic production management to help promote soil health.

You can learn more about this drought research and see the links to the NRCS resources in the January What's News in Organic (pdf).


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