Hydroponic histrionics? Organic purists assail designation - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Hydroponic histrionics? Organic purists assail designation

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By LISA RATHKE
Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Some traditional organic farmers say allowing hydroponic farms to be certified organic is watering down the integrity of the $16 billion U.S. organic produce industry.

They say organic farming is about far more than not using synthetic pesticides. They say it's rooted in enhancing the fertility of soils.

The National Organic Standards Board advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It voted this month against a proposal to exclude hydroponic farming from the USDA's organic certification program.

Marianne Cufone is executive director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, which represents hydroponic and aquaponic farms. She says the board is "sending a critical message that sustainability and innovation are valuable in U.S. agriculture."

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