by Malcolm Beck
My wife and I started operating
our farm organically back in 1957. Some call me the grandfather of
organics in Texas. I am a grandfather and old and gray. I don't
mind being called either. However there is one thing I do care about
and that is DOING THINGS NATURE APPROVES OF.
The word organic describes
a method of production, years ago it was a good method. Now the word
is beginning to get screwed up. The present organic rules are a good
method for some farmers and ranchers to market in a niche. But I don't
think the rules are all Nature Approved. However, the National organic
Standards are still in a state of evolution and for now they are better
than no rules.
Lets look at some examples.
Sold under seventy or more brand names including Roundup. The farmers
that have gone to conservation tillage use glyphosate as a tool. These
no till and low till methods save many hours in the field, many gallons
of diesel fuel, prevents a lot of air pollution, saves soil moisture,
fertilizer, stabilizes soil temperature, stops wind and water erosion.
With no till you don't oxidize the soil and lose all your carbon
to the air in the form as CO2. The soil organic content goes up one
tenth of one percent each year instead of continually going down as
it does with regular tillage. The benefits are numerous. Not all benefits
are mentioned here, but enough to win Nature's approval.
On my own farm I tried
to kill a large patch of Johnson grass by chiseling it to death, before
I bled the life out of it a rain came and gave it a new and better
lease on life. After all the tractor time, wasted fuel, air pollution
and soil carbon loss Nature probably called me a fool.
In healthy humus rich and
biologically active soil Nature can quickly, in less than three days,
change glyphosate from toxic to microbe food. However, if used in
cold or poor soils it could remain toxic for some time before the
microbes become active and find enough energy to completely de-grade
The Asians have maintained soil fertility for twenty centuries or
longer by using human waste in their fields. We have worn out farm
after farm in this country in less than two centuries because of our
Out best farmland is used
to produce our food. Those farms badly need organic matter; their
organic content goes down each year. Soil loss from wind and water
erosion is going up each year. Soil loss worldwide it is tremendous,
some researchers claim as much as 25,000 acres turn to desert each
day of the year. Almost every town and city in this country has a
sewer plant. But instead of keeping it clean of toxins and properly
processing this organic material so it can go back on the land like
Nature demands we bury it in landfills. To Nature this is a grave
Is another product forbidden by the organic rules that could be used
in beneficial ways if not overused. Microbes accept urea that is the
same as urine. Urine is organic but, you could pee on a tree too much
and kill it.
Above are three examples
of things that Nature could approve of if used properly in certain
conditions. Meanwhile we follow rules made by man and pollute and
waste Nature's resources without even consulting her for approval.
Note: I am not endorsing
Roundup, only showing that sometimes it is the lesser or two evils.