Organic food sales have doubled in the US over the past decade. Consumer attitudes are shifting, and fast.
According to the Organic Trade Association US organic food sales broke through the $50 billion mark for the first time ever in 2018. Sales hit $52.5 billion that year, 6.3% higher than in 2017.
Organic food is now so increasingly popular that it accounts for more than 6% of all food sold in the US.
And this profitable trend is accelerating.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drive towards protecting family health, 82% of US organic shoppers said they were willing to experiment with new brands or products.
The outlook for organic farming is bright, especially when you factor in the potential for exports.
While fears have grown over the impact of the US-China trade war, North America’s farmers are pursuing other lucrative new opportunities.
Taiwan, for example, the United States’ fifth largest trading partner for organic food exports, signed a new trade deal in June 2020.
With domestic and foreign markets opening up, the growing demand for organic food shows little sign of slowing down.
This Canadian sustainable agritech firm has developed an innovative and cost-effective method for farmers to convert livestock waste into saleable organic fertilizer.
EarthRenew’s pioneering approach promises to deliver a revolution for livestock producers across North America and beyond.
Livestock waste management is one of the biggest challenges facing cattle farmers today. Manure management currently poses both an environmental hazard and a significant cost burden to dispose of correctly.
This severely restricts a farmer’s ability to grow his or her herd.
However, thanks to the revolutionary new method offered by EarthRenew, farmers can now transform this troublesome operational overhead into a highly profitable revenue stream.
The potential is phenomenal, both as an investment and for its positive environmental contribution.
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The heavy environmental cost of synthetic fertilizers driving more farmers towards organic methods – perfect conditions for EarthRenew (CSE:ERTH|OTC:VVIVD|F:WIMN)
Most modern farming relies on synthetic fertilizers to maintain high crop yields.
However, this carries a heavy environmental cost, which the farming sector is keen to reduce.
This desire is a crucial driver in the move towards more organic methods in agribusiness.
Synthetic fertilizers grew up around farming because they were cheap. Farmers needed to produce ever-greater yields to improve their bottom lines. So they did what any smart business owners would do. They turned to the best-available products on the market at the time.
These inorganic compounds — ammonium sulphate or ammonium nitrate — are usually derived from by-products of the petroleum industry.
But research increasingly has shown that far from improving soils, synthetic fertilizers can do much more harm than good.
Organic fertilizers on the other hand are far better for soil quality and preservation.
There is also carbon dioxide to consider. Half of all the greenhouse gas emissions from synthetic fertilizers come not from using them, but actually making them in the first place.
In the steam reforming process, hydrogen is created by superheating natural gas, LPG or refinery offgas, and mixing it with steam then separating it. It is then combined with nitrogen to form ammonia.
The process is incredibly energy intensive, requiring extreme pressures and temperatures, and so produces a massive carbon footprint.
Research by the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) shows that fertilizer manufacturing accounts for 1% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrous oxide emissions from applying this synthetic fertilizer to the ground adds another 1.5% to the global total.
As this economic and environmental damage becomes clear, desire for synthetic fertilizers is waning. “The largest year-on-year change is in North America,” warns the IFA in its 2019-2023 report.
Global policy, too, is changing.
International voices are growing strongly to reduce the impact of synthetic fertilizers on farmlands and biodiversity: nutrient losses, watercourse pollution, chemical burn to crops, increased toxicity and acidification of the soil — all are under the spotlight.
In March 2019 the United Nations (UN) Environment Assembly adopted its first ever global resolution on nitrogen use.
A month later, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization brought into play the first International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers.
USDA researcher Rick Haney told Yale University recently that crucial farmland can be saved, but only by ending the industry’s damaging reliance on synthetic fertilizer.
“The good news is that soil will come back if you give it a chance. It is very robust and resilient. The soil health movement is trying to bring those organic levels back up and get soil to a higher functioning state.”
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Organic fertilizers are now much more highly prized than synthetics.
By switching from synthetic to organic fertilizers, this is one important step farmers can take to win the sought-after certification of USDA Organic.
This seal can be applied to any produce grown on soil, which contains no prohibited chemicals three years before harvest. These substances include most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Because organic fertilizers are formulated from natural materials, they have far fewer negative long-term effects.
“Farmers have this product of incredible potential value, what EarthRenew does is to get it to where it actually creates value, instead of sitting in a pile in the feed line.”
This is the kind of strategy that looks at environmental impacts of a business alongside its growth and value prospects.
While institutional investors and multi-billion-dollar funds have bought into the idea and are profiting from it, the trend hasn’t yet reached most private retail investors.
“There’s such a shortfall of organic fertilizers that it’s a much better market to be in than synthetics,” says Driver. “The old market is flooded with incumbents, but the new market for organic fertilizer is higher value, and it’s limited in supply. If we were to sell our product but we couldn’t get organic, we would only be able to sell it for a quarter of the price.”
Taking conventional manure and being able to certify it as organic fertilizer improves its value by four times, notes Driver.
It’s a HUGE value play.
Using organic material that farmers have lying around, costing them money, and converting it to cold hard cash? “
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Author: Ben Turney
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