Glossary:Organic farming

Organic farming is a way of agricultural production which uses organic production methods and places the highest emphasis on environmental and wildlife protection and, with regard to livestock production, on animal welfare considerations. Organic production involves holistic production management systems for crops and livestock, emphasizing on-farm management practices over off-farm inputs.

This is accomplished by avoiding, or largely reducing, the use of synthetic chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides, (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides), additives and veterinary medicinal products, replacing them, wherever possible, with cultural, biological and mechanical methods. Organic producers develop a healthy, fertile soil by growing and rotating a mixture of crops and using clover to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. The production of genetically-modified (GM) crops and their use in animal feed is avoided.

In the context of European Union (EU) statistics, farming is considered to be organic if it complies with Regulation 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products. The detailed rules for the implementation of this Regulation are laid down in Regulation 889/2008.

Further information

  • Regulation 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products (legal text)
  • Regulation 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation 834/2007 (legal text)

Related concepts

Statistical data