This chapter aims at shedding light on the annals of organic farming and at defining its past and present meaning. Low-profile attempts were made in the first half of the last century when it comes to organic farming as it developed almost independently in the German and English speaking world. Organic farming has been established as a promising and innovative method of meeting agricultural needs and food production with respect to sustainability (climate change, food security and safety, biodiversity, rural development). Its value in terms of environmental benefits is also acknowledged. The differences between organic and conventional food stem directly from the farming methods that were used during the food items’ production. Many people are unaware of some of the differences between the two practices. Agriculture has a direct effect on our environment, so understanding what goes into it is important. There are serious differences between organic and conventional farming; one of the biggest differences that is observed very frequently across all research between the two farming practices is the effect on the land. Conclusively, organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on ecosystem management and attempts to reduce or eliminate external agricultural inputs, especially synthetic ones. It is a holistic production management system that promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.
Part of the book: Organic Farming
Maize is the predominant raw material (together with sugar cane) for the production of bioethanol, the most common and widespread biofuel, and at the same time the predominant raw material for biogas production, with the highest yields in Europe. The advantage of maize biomass over other energy plants is the fact that biomass occurs after harvesting the seed and does not require the use of a different area for its development. The main drawback of the use of maize biomass is the negative effects of removing crop residues on fertility and the physical properties of the soil. Bioethanol’s share of global biofuel production is over 94%, as many countries are replacing a portion of their fossil fuels with biofuels, according to international regulations. The choice of crops used as feedstock for the production of bioethanol is strongly associated with local climatic factors. About 60% of world bioethanol production is made with cane raw material in the Central and South American countries, with Brazil leading, while the remaining 40% from other crops with North America producing bioethanol almost exclusively from maize, and the EU uses as raw material raw starch (cereals and maize) as well as crops such as sugar beet and sweet sorghum.
Part of the book: Maize