Organic Pushes Innovation in Agricultural Science

Photo Credit: Ron Reiring Photo Credit: Ron Reiring

Because organic production cannot use synthetic chemicals to control agricultural pests, researchers must think outside the box to develop organic, non-toxic, environmentally friendly methods for overcoming these challenges.  One successful example of organic pushing agricultural innovation is research that just came out of New Mexico State University providing an eco-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides.  Professor Geoffrey Smith led a team of researchers who found a mixture of essential oils from common desert plants that can protect crops from fungus, bacteria, nematodes, and some insects.  The essential oil mixture is especially effective at combating fungus. “Tests showed very, very strong efficacy against fungus, rivaling synthetic pesticides,” said Professor Smith.  Testing is currently being conducted in California’s Salinas Valley, where, according to Professor Smith, “Growers there are losing up to 70 percent of their produce because they have no effective fungicides.”  This new product will be able to help decrease losses while protecting the environment and consumer and producer health.