Only a few people outside the agriculture industry know what organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture exactly mean. While organic production avoids chemicals and enhances biodiversity, sustainable agriculture produces affordable and safe food for the population. Hence, organic and sustainable agriculture are not the same. Further, organic production is a way to become more sustainable.
To have a better understanding of the two agricultural methods, let’s compare them on the basis of some important factors:
No antibiotics are given to organic-certified livestock. Sustainable farms, on the other hand, do not have to follow this rule. That means they can use antibiotics when their animals need treatment.
Both sustainable agriculture and organic farming don’t use hormones. These hormones used in modern farming are given livestock to increase their feed as well as to make them grow faster.
Farms performing organic farming need to be certified ‘organic’ by the United States Department of Agriculture. Sustainable farms do not need such certification.
Sustainable farms involve the production of a variety of crops on smaller, mixed plots. There is no limitation on the plot size for organic farmers. While some organic farmers use a small piece of land, others can use large farms as the farm size is not controlled by National Organic Policy (NOP).
Farmers practicing sustainable farming live near the farms they own. Organic farming can be done by the farmers and the companies also.
Although both organic and sustainable farmers treat their livestock well, the latter subject them to better conditions. It happens because organic farmers may keep their animals in confined areas. Sustainable farms give better space to their animals to roam freely.
Sustainable farms use natural resources like solar, wind, water, etc. Moreover, these resources are utilized efficiently. On the other hand, organic farms can use non-renewable resources. Hence, this practice limits to only a few farms.
Conservation of water is important in sustainable farming. This farming use drip irrigation, water storage methods, etc. to save water. Organic farming may or may not use these practices.
Waste management is important to create a healthy environment both within and outside the farm. Organic as well as sustainable farming use various methods to manage their waste. These methods include composting, reuse, and other such methods.
Organic doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable and the same applies to the latter. Organic farming avoids pesticides, hormones, fertilizers, etc. Sustainable farming means growing food without draining natural resources. It is about meeting the present needs without compromising with the future needs of the next generations. Well, it can’t be said which agriculture practice is better as it depends on how each practice is actually carried out.