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Professionalism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 08:04

Farming machine working on field The organic farming sector and its associated supply chain are highly specialised. Appropriately skilled personnel are needed in order to create and deliver the high quality organic products increasingly demanded by consumers.

Operators in the supply chain are typically highly trained and knowledgeable about the sector’s goals and are given regular training to improve their skills and knowledge.


Legal requirements

The legal requirements set out in the EU Regulation offer a guarantee that members of the organic farming supply chain have highly developed work skills. For without these, they would not be able to perform the tasks required at the farming, processing and other levels to a sufficiently high level to use organic labelling and the EU and other organic logos.

Complexity

The complex nature of the practices involved in organic farming and processing also creates a level of professionalism in its own right.

First and foremost, the restrictions on inputs, such as chemical synthetic pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, as well as feed additives for livestock, mean that organic farmers must have highly developed skills and knowledge in order to maximise the health and nutrition of their crops and livestock without relying on these inputs. Under organic systems, prevention is the key, as organic farmers cannot rely on ’quick fix’ solutions to problems and often have to apply their management skills to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

This approach also extends to the processing sector with its limits on the range of processing aids and chemically synthesised inputs that can be used.

Tradition

While organic farming is a modern food production system, its roots are founded in traditional agriculture and it still retains much of the knowledge gained from these systems – for example, by:

    * Working with nature
    * Multi-annual crop rotations
    * Using livestock manure as a fertiliser and growing only what the farm can naturally yield, rather than relying on artificial fertilisers and other inputs
    * Encouraging natural resistance to pests and diseases in both crops and livestock, rather than relying on veterinary products or pesticides
    * Providing suitable habitats around the farm for beneficial animals to help control pests naturally
    * Ensuring livestock has regular exercise, access to quality feed and free-range pasture to maintain their health

Innovation

But organic farmers also utilise modern technology and up-to-date research and development, allowing organic farming to thrive within its traditional framework. For example, this might include:

    * Soil analysis and fine-tuning crop and pasture rotations based on scientific knowledge, to ensure the right levels of nutrients are available for crops
    * Identifying and finely balancing the correct feed ingredients to ensure the dietary requirements and nutritional needs of different livestock species are met
    * Using specialist equipment, such as mechanical weeders, to control weeds without reliance on herbicides
    * Reading modern research data to help choose the most suitable plant varieties for organic crop production

New opportunities

Organic farming and processing also provides new opportunities for the research and development sector, such as creating alternatives to chemical synthetic pesticides or new systems for evaluating the potential of different crop rotations to provide specific nutrients. It also opens up new marketing opportunities and fresh ways to communicate with customers for those in the retail sector.

Reconnecting

Through the high level of professionalism exhibited by the organic farming sector, opportunities are created for the production and processing sector to reconnect with consumers by clearly explaining the benefits of how and where their food is produced. Practices that contribute to this include:

    * Rural and eco-tourism ventures
    * School and press visits to demonstration farms
    * Information about farms contained on labelling
    * New marketing and promotional campaigns

 

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Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2009 13:04
 

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