A new study from Northeastern University and nonprofit research organization The Organic Center (TOC), though, has reached the conclusion that soils from organic farms have 26 percent more potential for long-term carbon storage than soils from conventional farms, along with 13 percent more soil organic matter (SOM).
As reported in Civil Eats, this study analyzed soil samples from over 700 conventional farms in 48 states. Chemists Elham Ghabbour and Geoffrey Davies made the alarming discovery that these samples contained little to no humic substances. Humic substances are one portion of soil organic matter, which is made up of decomposing plant and animal matter. Humic substances are a major component of healthy, fertile soil, giving it structure and water-holding ability, among other things. Ghabbour and Davies hypothesized that the lack of humic substances was due to the high-input practices inherent to conventional farming, such as tilling and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.