The Hidden Footprint of Making All Farms Organic
What would be the consequences of massively scaling up organic farming and eliminating synthetic fertilizer use? It’s widely recognized that synthetic fertilizer increases yields. But most people overlook that it also reduces the need to set land aside to replenish the soil’s nutrients, usually by planting legumes. Aiming to simply eliminate synthetic fertilizer would therefore have larger negative consequences than commonly believed. Environmental groups and policy should aim to reduce fertilizers’ negative impacts rather than to stop using it.