Conventional versus organic agriculture

Conventional versus organic agriculture






Introduction to the debate of conventional versus organic agriculture

Conventional agriculture is a modern farming technique that intensifies normal farm activities by implementing various systems to achieve maximum efficiency. Such systems include the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemical fertilizers, and other continual inputs such as genetically modified organisms, concentrated animal feeding operations, heavy irrigation, intensive tillage, or concentrated monoculture production (Seufert, V., Ramankutty, N., & Foley, J. A., 2012). Organic farming is best defined as an integrated farming system that strives for sustainability by prohibiting items such as genetically modified organisms, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones and in turn advocates for the enhancement of soil fertility with biological diversity. Although these two methods are seen to be counter-positive to each other they still greatly solve the underlying problem of feeding a large number of the human population. The main issues with the two methods are in their implementation, their efficiency in that they cost little to implement but give greater output, and finally in their overall effect on the environment.

The key general purpose of writing this paper is to greatly discuss these two methods at length and thus determine which one is adequate to help a large number of human beings by creating enough food for a large enough population. The paper in question will consider the variable nature of these two methods and their vast impact on human lives. The key factors that will be greatly considered will be the environmental cost, maximum output, and the general cost of implementing any of the two methods. A team discussion will thus give us a consensus on the pros and cons of the two methods so that we might assess the most beneficial method. The final summary will give us the critical thinking and consensus of this paper so that we may answer key important questions about the two methods.

Conventional agriculture

The task of feeding a large sum of the human population might seem hard but taking into consideration that by the end of the century the human population might be 11 billion this task seems even more impossible. Conventional agriculture already feeds 98.9% of the world at present and thus it only stands to reason that this method would still be implemented soon (Seufert, V., Ramankutty, N., & Foley, J. A., 2012). Its lesser cost and higher gains approach make conventional farming an idle system especially for farmers who wish to sell higher when there is peak demand for goods. A greater added advantage of this system is its ability to increase food production. This case to ever increase the food production is an ever-increasing problem, especially in the 21st century. The effects of global warming have to lead to natural calamities and a situation like droughts in which the eventual result is low food production is unavoidable.

Although conventional agriculture may stand to some as an environmentally hazardous way of feeding the human population it should be noted that organic agriculture is also equally harmful. Unlike conventional agriculture which can re-use a piece of land for maximum efficiency, organic agriculture would require the cutting down of huge chunks of land to create a truly bio-diverse area in which to cultivate (Beus, C. E., & Dunlap, R. E., 1990). Other studies have also shown that the use of composted manure for the provision of nutrients in organic farming has lead to greater groundwater pollution rates than the use of liquid fertilization techniques furthering showing us that organic farming is not helpful as it may seem. The time cost and opportunity cost of organic farming proves to be ever bothersome and tiresome to many farmers. Taking into account that a farmer might take years just to have their farm meet the organic system standards it stands to reason that conventional agriculture is the only suitable means by which a farmer might greatly benefit profit-wise. Conventional agriculture proves to be the only sustainable and cheap way to feed an ever-growing population that will continuously keep on growing soon.

Organic agriculture

This practice although not as common as conventional agriculture is quite useful. The main characteristics of organic agriculture include weed management, disease control, and greater soil fertility management practices. Although this system historically speaking produces a lower yield compared to conventional agriculture it is however more profitable and environmentally friendly. This advantage is also proceeded by the fact that organic agriculture delivers more nutritious foods that contain fewer pesticide residues, compared with conventional farming. More evidence has revealed that this system delivers greater eco-system services and social benefits (Lotter, 2003). The key underlining feature of organic farming is its efficient use of resources by recycling through methods such as crop rotation and other natural by-products.

Although most people might see organic agriculture as costly it is worth noting that conventional agriculture has significant downfalls that greatly make it an unnecessary system. Its ever-growing health and environmental concern make it especially problematic to a large group of people who use it (Reganold, J. P., & Wachter, J. M., 2016). Such health hazards include pesticides used that may find themselves into river bodies and thus in one way or another contaminate human beings and other animals. Another greatly disadvantageous part of this system is how unfair it is too small farmers. Due to how cheap and lucrative this system is, big farming industries that have the capital for such an endeavor have dominated this industry and thus leaving the small-scale farmers with less room to grow. Organic agriculture although hard it somewhat creates a fair enough field for all people to gain and profit from. Luck of monopoly in this field is a huge advantage as it most assuredly helps everyone involved in the sector.

Discussion board forum teamwork reflection

I have had the privilege of compiling our notes and assessing just how well this work was done can accurately attest to just neatly this work is. My group members not only portrayed diligence in this work but also an unseen level of resolve to assist and help one another. I can truly without a doubt say that the communication on how to do this work proved to be the key ingredient needed to do this work on time to not miss the deadlines we put in place for each other. Although one or two conflicts did arise in regards to the work we as the group members found an ever efficient way to work with each other to achieve the desired results. Encouragement was at an all-time high as we kept pushing each other forward to learn more and share ideas. As we had agreed teamwork became the cornerstone of all that we did and it thus helped us contribute equally in finishing this work on time. Our contribution to the synopsis greatly pushed this work to its fullest since they provided the basis for our understanding of the conventional and organic agriculture assignment. We commented on each other’s synopsis and this surprisingly lead to more encouragement on what ideas to share to better create this assignment. Politeness and respectfulness were always an integral part of us, they allowed our members to share more and be more proactive in the group work. I was deeply touched by just how much effort and commitment that we all placed in the group, it truly made a difference in ensuring that this assignment was one of a kind.


I noticed that although I had a bit of knowledge on both conventional and organic agriculture more still could be gained from this assignment. My pre-conceived notion on that one method was greatly favorable that the other one was proven especially when my group members presented their synopsis. My pre-conceived notion was that conventional agriculture produces more yield than organic farming and although I stated as much in this paper, my belief as to which method is superior to the other has changed. Although I found out that organic food is much healthier than conventional food, I still struggle to understand just how harmful certain foods can be. The statement on just how conventional food can be harmful to a person has greatly shocked me but in hindsight, it has allowed me to pay more attention to what I eat.

Based on new information acquired I believe that more information and research is essential in the agricultural field. Although I have gained more questions than answers because of this research, I still believe that there has to be an adequate way to provide for the world’s population without necessarily causing the greater harmful effect to the environment. My main fundamental question is whether we should still consider conventional agriculture as an adequate means of feeding the world population. Although this method is cheap and less costly my main concern is whether its benefits out ways its cost. I believe that in the end, both methods are greatly beneficial but if we are to find a good enough way to feed the world`s population we need to find a cheap efficient way that is not at all harmful or dangerous to people.


Seufert, V., Ramankutty, N., & Foley, J. A. (2012). Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture. Nature, 485(7397), 229-232.

Beus, C. E., & Dunlap, R. E. (1990). Conventional versus alternative agriculture: The paradigmatic roots of the debate. Rural sociology, 55(4), 590-616.

Lotter, D. W. (2003). Organic agriculture. Journal of sustainable agriculture, 21(4), 59-128.

Reganold, J. P., & Wachter, J. M. (2016). Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century. Nature plants, 2(2), 1-8.