The argument is over the topic of whether or not hydroponic growers should be allowed to use the term, “organic”. Soil growers say that the ruling by the US Department of Agriculture has weakened the label “organic”. Soil-based farmers say that the term, “organic” also means that methods should be used that improve the fertility of the soil which hydroponics does not do. They contend that the ruling by the USDA was illegal based on that fact. The article also mentions that the movement may be spurred on, in part, by the fact that farmers growing in the soil are having a hard time competing with hydroponically grown products because of the lower prices they can charge while maintaining the label of “organic”.

Key Takeaways:

  • The USDA is being sued over the use of the term “organic”.
  • Soil-based growers believe that the USDA violated the law when it allowed hydroponic growers to use the label.
  • Soil-based farmers say that there is confusion in the marketplace because customers cannot tell which products nurture the soil via growing methods and which are hydroponically grown.

Quote: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture was sued March 2 in a civil action brought by organic interests that use soil to grow their crops. They claim the USDA decision allowing hydroponics to be sold under the organic label puts dirt growers at a disadvantage.” (Flynn, 2020)

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