> >I seem to be the only person here who cares to defend the
> >"synthetic/natural" division as useful.
Bluestem Associates wrote:
> One example of why it is *not* useful ... ammonium sulphate, ordinary
> superphosphate (0-20-0), and hydrated lime have each been shown to
> increase soil microbial activity, and thereby (presumably) soil health.
Okay, excellent, a concrete example. Unfortunately, I cannot presume
that increased "soil health" is necessarily correlated to increased soil
microbial activity, especially if such activity is being measured only
by respiration rate or something simple and independent of substrate.
Says who? Tillage also increases soil microbial activity; am I supposed
to be agreeing that more tillage is better for soil than less?
> Each of the three
> fertilisers just mentioned is a synthetic, and therefore prohibited in
> "organic" agriculture.
Okay, so the above three fertilizers are synthetic. I am sorry, but I
am missing your point. Do you think their use should be permitted, and
that only the "synthetic" designation is the barrier?
> Organic bureaucrats even try to differentiate between *mined* potassium
> sulphate (allowed) and 'other' types of potassium sulphate
Okay, I take it that you think this is bad. What are the non-mined
sources of potassium sulphate?
> while discriminating (with reason, IMO) against *mined*
> potassium chloride.
I agree with this prohibition as well.
For a different reason, no? They are not allowing "synthetic" KCl, are
> There is no other word for the mined vs
> 'manufactured' distinction with potassium sulphate than "idiotic."
Well, I can think of other driving forces, however, I would argue
instead that the goal must be to move away from mined sources as well,
not that that was even part of the conversation about the organic
standards. But that's my "sustainable" persona talking. And for sure,
in terms of its complete analysis, the impurities in any mined natural
substance not only might be different but are likely to be different
from those which result from any industrial process which make "the
same" nominal substance. And my work with trace elements makes this a
big part of my frame of reference. I have to worry about the "dirt" in
lab grade chemicals-the stuff which isn't on the certificate of
analysis. Sometimes the impurities matter more than the stuff on the
> Talk about a non-verifiable distinction in the field!
Now here you have my complete sympathy and understanding. However, I
cannot agree to care only about those things easily verified. But tell
me, what is wrong with a two-pronged approach to the materials problem:
One, don't records already have to be kept on what was purchased, for
the purposes of documenting business expenses? That is one source of
information. Nothing "not allowed" should appear in those records if
those expenses are to be written off as business expenses. To "cheat"
on the materials the person would either have to forego the tax
advantage or to cheat also on the taxes, with a much more serious
Two, your comments about the farm management have not gone unheeded.
Yes, those are the things easy to verify and inspect, and it appears the
major problem has been to codify. Like if it is obvious that the farmer
doesn't even know how to manage fertility without the forbidden fruits
then you can be darned sure that something else is going on. Who has
ever suggested that materials be given priority of concern over soil and
field management? You seem to suggest that we can either be concerned
about materials or all the important stuff. I cannot imagine why it must
be one or the other. And it doesn't seem reasonable to hold the people
concerned with materials responsible for the ridiculous focus on
materials to the exclusion of everything else. I've never implied that
nothing else matters.
One thing of which I was previously, (blissfully) unaware is the
apparent contempt in which "the industry" holds its customers.
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