How going green is growing

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Keith Dierker checks his soybean crop treated with the organic Blue Gold plant enhancement solution. (Lucas Johnson/Missouri Farms)

It's no secret in today's society there is a movement towards organic everything. At the supermarket the demand for organic or non-GMO food has been ever increasing over the last decade. An excerpt from Time Magazine reads:

"Sales of the additive-free offerings surged 11.5 percent in 2013, to $35.1 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association."

More and more emphasis is being directed towards "going green," leaving behind the usage of GMO seed and fertilizer that gained popularity in the 20th century.

One such farmer who has moved to organic methods is Keith Dierker. Dierker began using a plant enhancement product called Blue Gold, an all natural compound made of plant and sea extracts, herbs, minerals and other naturally occurring nutrients, according to Eden Solutions' website. Dierker has been extremely pleased with his results thus far and has applied the product to not only his personal garden, but also to multiple bean fields he and his brother farm. Dierker stated he had 15 tomato plants which have a combined yield of approximately 2,300 tomatoes this season. As far as his row crops go, Dierker explained he had one field that is planted with GMO seed and two without, all with the same application of Blue Gold. He is anxious to see if the combination of non-GMO seed and the Blue Gold treatment will fare better than those fields with GMO seed.

Dierker mentioned an additional benefit of the treatment he uses is its affect on the soil. During application, the excess mixture of the substance which is not directly absorbed by the plant itself, is thereby absorbed into the soil and that the nutrients are sustained within the soil being resistant to run off.

Dierker measures his crop's height. Approximately four feet was the average for this particular field. (Lucas Johnson/Missouri Farms)

Dierker also explained how in his experience the organic supplement helps with weed control as well.

"Why is the weed there? It's to put back into the soil what it's missing," Dierker said.

So what does "organic" farming mean? The USDA describes organic farming as: "Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics."

Many farms nationwide have made the switch to organic methods. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the USDA, the top five states with certified organic farms are California with 1,898, Wisconsin with 870, New York with 597, Washington with 493 and Iowa with 467.

Missouri, as of 2007, has 273 organic farms and approximately 21,000 acres under organic production as presented in a study by www.missourieconomy.org.

With the rise in popularity of organic food and production, farmers are increasingly faced with the question of what avenue to take. Methods of using GMO seed in combination with herbicides and pesticides may be taking a turn -in light of recent studies- toward a more natural method. Dierker will be at least one Missouri farmer who finds out first hand what results come from applying his organic plant treatment, and if successful, he is confident his method will catch on quickly in the future.

Contact Lucas Johnson at ljohnson@marshallnews.com