If organic yields could reliably outperform conventional yields, every farm in America would certify organic because of the much higher farm gate prices and profitability of organics. Assuming the USDA lies, markets and farmers don’t.
My position is also supported by my own conversations with farmers who produce both conventional and organic crops. But, like the Rodale FST (which, incidentally, is run in partnership with the USDA), those anecdotes are highly localized instances that don’t represent organics v. conventional applied at scale or outside of a very particular, controlled context. For a more general assessment out how organics v. convention plays out in the real world, I’m more than willing to rely on the massive amounts of survey data compiled by the USDA from actual farmers who — regardless of entrenched interests influencing the USDA — have every financial incentive to maximize organic yield.
I’m looking forward to documenting my transition from city to farm life, and from there grass farming to true permaculture farming. But I suppose it’ll be awhile before I do. We’re still getting our feet under us.