Guidance for reducing loss of reactive nitrogen in organic farming systems

A new review, led by The Organic Center and published in the journal Organic Agriculture, highlights the benefits that organic farming has in reducing global nitrogen pollution, and details ways to maximize those benefits. The collaboration among The Organic Center, University of Virginia, the Louis Bolk Institute, and VU Amsterdam in The Netherlands focuses on the issue of nitrogen pollution, because it has led to a wide variety of environmental and human health problems, and is one of the drivers of climate change. The paper pinpoints the difference between sources of nitrogen used in organic versus conventional farming, noting the beneficial impact organic has by recycling nitrogen that is already in a reactive form through the use of compost and other organic soil amendments. Organic also has advantages when it comes to its ability to access nutrients in the soil, and higher residue recycling rates. The paper also details areas where additional research, policies and protocols can help improve nitrogen efficiency in organic and conventional systems alike, such as increasing yields, increased recycling of processing waste, matching nutrient flows, and reducing and recycling edible food waste.