Organic agriculture

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotationgreen manurecompost, and biological pest control. Depending on whose definition is used, organic farming uses fertilisers and pesticides (which include herbicidesinsecticides and fungicides) if they are considered natural (such as bone meal from animals or pyrethrin from flowers), but it excludes or strictly limits the use of various methods (including synthetic petrochemical fertilizers and pesticidesplant growth regulators such as hormonesantibiotic use in livestockgenetically modified organisms;[1] human sewage sludge; and nanomaterials.[2]) for reasons including sustainabilityopennessindependencehealth, and safety.

Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.[3] The USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) definition as of April 1995 is:

“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony."[4]

Since 1990 the market for organic food and other products has grown rapidly, reaching $63 billion worldwide in 2012.[5]:25This demand has driven a similar increase in organically managed farmland which has grown over the years 2001-2011 at a compounding rate of 8.9% per annum.[6] As of 2011, approximately 37,000,000 hectares (91,000,000 acres) worldwide were farmed organically, representing approximately 0.9 percent of total world farmland.[5]:1

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