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Friday
Aug112017

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORGANIC AND NON-GMO?


Recently

, I shared a question that came up in a conversation with a friend.  Another question that came up in that conversation is one that often comes up when talking with others about our farm and the way we choose to farm.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE  BETWEEN ORGANIC AND NON-GMO?  

Yes, there is a DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE between Non-GMO and Organic.  First, all Organic food is by definition also Non-GMO.  However, food labeled Non-GMO is likely not also Organic.


Farms are popping up all over the place shouting from the rooftops that they are feeding their animals Non-GMO feed. Since GMO's are bad, this must be good right?  Some are even claiming this is similar to organic. However, they could not be further from the truth. Organic food and Non-GMO food have far more differences than similarities.  Farms who are feeding non-GMO feed that is NOT organic are feeding some of the most pesticide-laden, heavily sprayed food being grown.  That is because Non-GMO feed often requires more spraying than it's conventional GMO counterpart to control weeds and pests.  

There are a lot of misconceptions with the terms Non-GMO and Organic.  When we started our farm several years ago we chose to feed organic feed at Synergistic Acres.  This decision came after much thought and research.  

THERE IS ALMOST NOTHING SIMILAR BETWEEN ORGANIC AND NON-GMO FEED except that one uses the non-GMO seed for the initial planting.  As the chart above shows, Non-GMO and Conventional use synthetic and chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on their crops.  Organic uses NONE.  That is a big difference.

We know that our farm is small and only a mere speck of the nation's crop production goes towards feeding our animals. However, we also believe strongly that each and every part counts and we DO NOT want to contribute to an agricultural community that is part of using pesticides and herbicides at an ever-growing rate.  We want to be part of the system that reverses that trend and instead compels fellow farmers to grow food that is not doused with synthetic herbicides and pesticides.  

It is my fear that many Kansas City eaters shopping for local, naturally raised meat that is healthy and nutritious are visiting websites and they see a farmer with a slick website showing they feed Non-GMO feed and eaters innocently believe they are buying the cleanest, least contaminated food possible. Research even verifies this fear.  A recent survey of consumers showed the majority believed Non-Gmo labeled foods were held to a higher standard than organic foods.  This is completely false, but perception trumps truth in consumers buying decisions.  When two products are compared side by side -- Non-Gmo will always be cheaper than organic, because it is much cheaper to grow the grain using pesticides and herbicides rather than organically.  

I also want our customers and those that are just learning about our farm to understand that the reason our costs are higher than farms that might have similar standards but do NOT feed organic, is because the NON-GMO feed is MUCH cheaper than organic feed.  In most cases, the NON-GMO feed is less than 1/2 the cost of high-quality organic feed. This makes a HUGE difference in the cost of raising the animals.   

If you are looking at buying meat somewhere else, ask the farmer a few questions.  If they are labeling their animals as being fed Non-GMO, are they also feeding organic or are they feeding grain that has been grown using lots of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides?  Once you have this information, you will have what you need for deciding the best food for your family.  

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Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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