Organic farming, when done correctly, is more than just producing crops and livestock without synthetic chemicals, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. Most definitions of organic farming emphasize production practices that conserve, protect and enhance natural resources, encourage biological diversity, foster cycling of nutrients, build soil organic matter and minimize use of offfarm inputs. I like to think of organic crop production as an integrated system of cultural, biological, ecological and mechanical practices, much like the traditional definition of integrated pest management, without most, or usually any, of the chemical practices. With very limited chemical tools at their disposal, organic farmers have to develop and continually hone their skills and practices in these other management areas.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison