Oklahoma agriculture is about to face another major change in its future.
The state’s farmers and food processors are heading to organic.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau is planning a nationwide movement to grow more organic food, and they’re doing so in partnership with the Oklahoma Farm Partnership, a coalition of organic farmers, ranchers and food service providers.
Organic farming means using organic practices to feed animals and farm to supply their local community.
The goal is to get the most out of land and to avoid overuse and contamination.
It also means minimizing the use of chemicals.
Oklahoma’s farmers, processors and retailers have been pushing the movement for decades, as organic farming has become more common.
It has helped turn some communities into sustainable food hubs, including Fort Smith, where organic produce is grown.
But it’s only now that organic farming is gaining popularity in the U.S. and internationally.
Organic farmers and processors say organic is a better option because it’s better for the environment.
For decades, many farmers and organic food makers have been reluctant to use pesticides and fertilizers, says Randy Sowden, executive director of the Oklahoma Agriculture Council.
Now, they’re taking action.
The organic movement is attracting national attention because of the growing popularity of organic food in the United States.
But the movement is a complicated one, says Josh Johnson, executive vice president for agriculture and food science at the Oklahoma Alliance for Organic Agriculture.
The Organic Trade Association, which has chapters across the country, has been pushing for a national movement for organic agriculture.
Its goal is that farmers and farmers suppliers get the best possible organic products and the best value for their money.
“They’re looking at the same things, but there’s different levels of complexity,” Johnson says.
“There’s a whole whole new set of problems we’re talking about when we talk about the environmental impact, and the health impact.”
Some farmers and companies have taken the position that organic food can be environmentally responsible, Johnson says, but he says that the USDA has not taken a position on whether organic food is environmentally responsible.
“The USDA does not take any position on organic,” Johnson said.
“I have not seen that they’re looking into it.”
Sowden says the organic movement has created a whole new level of uncertainty.
“We are all aware that we have a lot of organic stuff on our farm, but how do we know if that’s all organic or not?”
We have to be responsible,” he says.
Oklahomans are also concerned about environmental impacts from the pesticides that are used to grow organic crops.
The chemicals include neonicotinoids and imidacloprid.
In Oklahoma, farmers are required to spray their crops with the chemicals to protect them from insect damage.
But Oklahoma’s farmers have been spraying with these chemicals for decades.
The EPA and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the agency charged with regulating the chemical industry, have said that neonic and imichlor are safe, but farmers and producers have been sprayed with them.
In recent years, the Oklahoma Organic Growers Association has pushed for a mandatory use of neonic to protect its farmers from insect pests.
Sowen says the USDA and the EPA have not addressed the issue of pesticide use on organic farms, because they are working with the USDA to make that a federal law.”
So we’ve been pushing them for years,” he said.”
And it’s not going to be a problem for us.
We have an independent regulatory agency that we’re trying to create.
“Says Johnson, “If you look at the organic industry, there’s a lot more organic than conventional farming.
It’s the kind of business that’s growing at a rate that’s unsustainable.
“The Oklahoma Farmers Association is part of the OUDA.
It represents more than 500 organic farmers and suppliers.”
It’s a really strong and strong movement,” says Chris Strom, president of the state’s organic industry association.
Strom says the OUCA has also been working with food processors to improve their supply chain practices.
He says the processors are working together to reduce waste, to make their food more nutritious and to use less pesticides and fertilizer.
Okla farmers and businesses are starting to take notice.
Okasfarmers.com, a website that gives organic farmers an overview of organic farming in the state, has more than 4 million page views a month.
But that’s a small fraction of the organic farm business in the world.”
This is a lot bigger than organic,” says Sowen.”
A lot of these guys are really, really good at it.
“Oklahoma farmers are also growing crops that are less pesticide-intensive.
One example is corn, a crop that’s typically grown in corn fields, with no use of herbicides.
Farmers can use corn and other low-chemical corn to make hay, which is then dried and shipped.
But that’s just part of what Oklahoma farmers are doing.Farm