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Certified Organic Farming and Food Production Costs

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January 9. 2012

New Education about the Certified Organic Farming and Food Production Costs on Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water

Fred Kirschenmann, PhD, Iowa State University, talks with Sharon Kleyne about Organic Farming, Soil Health and Food Economics

Hear Sharon Kleyne's interview with Fred Kirschenmann on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes

Sharon Kleyne, host of the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water syndicated radio talk show, recently interviewed Fred Kirschemnann, PhD, of Iowa State University and President of Kirschenmann Family Farms in South Dakota; about certified organic farming, food production costs, soil health, food economics and the cost of a healthy diet. The interview may be heard on-demand on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes.

Dr. Kirschenmann has appeared previously on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, discussing his breakthrough research into dry land farming. He is able to grow crops with just a few inches of annual rainfall as productively as nearby irrigated farms. The key is the soil's organic content, which retains moisture better and also increases the crop's nutrient content.

Sharon Kleyne asked Dr. Kirschenmann about certified organic farming. He noted that this is a complex field and that a farm can be certified as "organic" as long as they don't use any disallowed substances. Large monoculture farms (that grow only one crop and do not rotate) can be certified as organic even though their agricultural practices may not attend to the needs of the soil. He is highly skeptical of imported "organic" products.

Dr. Kirschenmann believes it is cost effective to pay a little more for organic foods to support the health of the planet.

Sharon Kleyne and Dr. Kirschenmann had a lengthy discussion of food costs. Dr. Kirschenmann pointed out that if US consumers had to pay the full cost of food production, without subsidies on any level, it would increase shelf prices by about 40%. Currently, neither consumers nor farmers pay directly for the cost of environmental and soil damage from monoculture crops, chemical fertilizers and salt contamination of the soil from irrigation using water from deep aquifers.

It was pointed out that while foods costs in the United States seem fairly low, they are only low with respect to percentage of total income because total income is high. Measured in terms of "cost per calorie," food prices in the US are actually rather high, by world standards.

Also, the ready availability, and constant promotion of unhealthy foods and poor diet choices, increases the amount of illness (obesity, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, etc) and adds significantly to the cost of health care. There is a complex interrelationship between food production practices, diet, health, economics and other social costs.

Sharon Kleyne and Dr. Kirschenmann concluded with a discussion of diet, food production and health. They encourage purchasing whole foods, organic produce and meats. Dr. Kirschenmann advocates dry land farming because the system relies on soil with a heavy organic content, which not only retains water better but makes food healthier with less need for artificial chemicals or indiscriminate water usage.

Mrs. Kleyne emphasized the importance of drinking enough water in your diet and the use of agricultural practices, such as dry land and organic farming that increase and improve the air's natural, clean humidity.

Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water is sponsored by Bio-Logic Aqua Research, whose Nature's Tears® EyeMist®, a hand-held personal all-natural water humidifying device. Nature's Tears® EyeMist® is available at,, and selected drugstores nationwide.

Listen to the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water Mondays, 10 a.m., PST/PDT. The syndicated radio talk show is heard on Voice America/World Talk Radio, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes. Go to for written summaries and on-demand replays. Also visit,, "Nature's Tears EyeMist" on Facebook and "Bio-Logic Aqua" on Twitter.

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