Organic farming is a production method defined in terms of legislation at EU level with a primary regulation, Regulation CEE 2092/91, later replaced by Reg.CE 834/07 and 889/08 and on a national level by the DM 18354/09.
The term "organic" refers to a method of cultivation and breeding that allows only the use of natural substances present in nature and prohibits the use of synthetic chemical substances (fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides).
Organic farming means developing a production model that avoids excessive exploitation of natural resources, in particular of the soil, water and air, instead applying a development model which employs the use of resources that can last over time.
To preserve the natural fertility of the soil, organic farmers use organic material and appropriate agricultural techniques to avoid its intensive exploitation.
In animal husbandry, utmost attention is paid to the welfare of the animals, feeding them on grass and organic feed, and avoiding antibiotics, hormones or other substances that artificially stimulate growth and milk production. In addition, farms must provide for large spaces in which the animals are able to move about and graze freely.
In organic farming no synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and pesticides in general, are used. To ensure crop protection, farmers opt for prevention, selecting disease-resistant species and intervening with appropriate farming techniques, such as:
-Crop rotation: not consecutively cultivating the same plant on the same grounds, thus hindering an acclimazation of parasites and taking advantage of the soil nutrientsless intensively and more rationally;
-Planting hedges and trees and recreation of the landscape: giving shelter to natural predators of parasites acting as a physical barrier to possible external pollution;
-Intercropping : contemporarily cultivating plants to the dislike of other plants' parasites.
Organic farming uses natural fertilizers such as appropriately composted manure and other organic compost (cuttings, etc.), as well as green manure which means incorporating intentionally sown plants such as clover or mustard into the soil.
Should crops need to be protected, this can be done with natural plant-, animal- or mineral substances: extracts of plants, beneficial insects that feed on parasites, rock meal or natural minerals, in order to correct the structural and chemical properties of the soil and protect the crops from cryptogams.
The use of organic farming techniques restores the balance on farms; if, however, it becomes necessary to intervene for the protection of crops from parasites and other adversities, farmer may only turn to substances of natural origin, expressly detailed and authorized by the European Regulation (complying with the criterion of the so-called "positive list")