Growing organic takes a significant investment of time and money. A field must be cultivated with no chemicals or contamination for three years before crops produced on it are certified organic. "In effect, that means putting in all the effort required for organic crops with none of the payback," Mirani writes from Norfolk, Neb.. "Moreover, it often means buying separate equipment rather than risking contamination through shared use with machines handling the conventional crop."
Growing organic is riskier, too: non-organic pollen drifting from nearby farms can pollinate the organic crop and render it uncertifiable. Weather and weeds are a bigger threat without conventional fertilizers and herbicides. And growing organic takes more work, which is both more expensive and sometimes harder to find.