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How to Understand USDA Attitudes Toward Hydroponics


Growers who want to start a commercial enterprise should look carefully at the ways that we regulate agriculture in the U.S. That involves reeding about regulators and the history of what they do, and looking at public opinion at all of the factors that go into how we treat our farms. The reality is that hydroponics is emerging as an alternative to soil-based growing, for a lot of reasons, but faces some strong headwinds.

Allowing Hydroponics

First, growers should realize that the USDA does provide some allowance for hydroponic methods. You can even see hydroponically growing greenhouse stuff on the shelf in a supermarket. The USDA said in a statement in 2014 that hydroponic production “is allowed within USDA as long as producers demonstrate compliance with USDA organics regulations.”

The USDA also created a National Organic advisory board that looked at growing crops in containers and greenhouses.

Hydroponic farmers also need to understand the controversy around the hydroponic method and why people may be up in arms about farmers growing crops this way.

Some point to issues like the Europeans’ proposal that hydroponics should not be used because the original natural way of growing was to grow plants in soil. This is the basic idea around which European nations have created significant regulatory frameworks. And that's another angle from which to view the controversy around hydroponics today. Do countries allow measures that would make growing more efficient, also changing the ways we've done agriculture in the past? And what's more natural – soil-grown systems or hydroponics products?

The Fertilizer Question

Another thing to think about is the issue of good stewardship of the environment. Some might argue against hydro products because of the infrastructure that's required in terms of petrochemical products for plant pots, reservoirs, etc. but you also have to look at the vast amounts of fertilizer used to nurture plants in a soil-based environment. These are questions that come up as people look at whether to allow hydroponics of different types of operations.

For more about hydro and everything around it, keep checking the Dealzer website. We talk about hydroponics issues and how to practically get started with hydroponics to enjoy a bright gardening future.

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