10 Things You Need to Know About Sustainable Agriculture
One of the greatest challenges facing the farming community, and as a result everybody else on the planet, is the condition of our planet and the booming population of people living on it. Farmers have long been our producers of food over human history and today is no different.
At the same time, farming uses our land and natural resources and inappropriate practices have a damaging effect on both crops, and therefore, our ability to continuously produce food and other important products to the people of the world.
Obviously, these issues are of interest to us all and our/our planet’s health, but they also directly impact the economy of this country, the world and the livelihood of farmers just like you across the globe. We here at Wagner Ag might just sell the best farm equipment, but we want to see the world thrive and continue so that there are farmers in work, mouths fed and a world healthy enough for us all to live in. In today’s post, we have 10 things you should know about sustainable agriculture as experts in the field have identified as important ideas or themes to keep in mind.
We Shouldn’t Accept Climate Change
The effects of a changing climate are apparent, especially in the farming industry where differences in our climate have a direct correlation to how we grow crops and to what extent they yield the kind of sales you need to keep the farm going and to feed the people of the country and the world. However, just because climate change is happening doesn’t mean accepting it is the answer. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are still important and agricultural GHG emissions make up about 25 percent of the global GHG emissions.
Protecting remaining forests and intensifying agriculture on existing land can eliminate emissions from land use, according to Richard Waite, associate of Food, Forests and Water Program at World Resources Institute. Reducing emissions from agriculture productions such as cows, fertilizers, etc. can also help the Earth.
Don’t Accept Feeding 9.6 Billion By 2050
Never before in history has mankind grown by such a vast and rapid rate, leaving us with the concern of how we keep up with feeding all the people on this planet. Fertility rates have dropped over the past few decades, but there are still more of us having kids, so attacking overpopulation and food scarcity can be done from both ends. If some areas of the world lessened their reproduction, the estimate of 9.6 billion people in 2050 could significantly be reduced, making the stress on farmers to produce food less severe.
The Future is Switching Crops
As we continue to learn and discover more about how farming and agriculture affect and play a part in global climate change, it becomes easier to understand what we need to do differently in order to alleviate some of the stress on our planet. Part of the solution is in smart practices like switching crops. Sorghum, for instance, is becoming more popular as a substitute for corn and maize because it is usable in feed and produce such as beer. Perhaps better technical assistance, genetics, management and practices, switching crops could present a chance for small farms to increase performance and become more productive.
Research Needs Investment for Breakthroughs
Learning more about advancements in technology and farming techniques requires some level of financial backing and support to encourage study and research, just like with any other area of science and technology. Adapted crop varieties that are more resistant to climate change could be feasible to some over at Olam International, which is dedicated to global agriculture and food systems. Currently, spending on research in the field is significantly lower ($4 billion annually across the globe) than the suggested backing of $45-50 billion.
Cultivating Trees On Farms Could Boost Crop Yields
In other areas of the world, such as Niger, farmers have noticed the growth of trees on farmland to help fix the nitrogen within the soil, protecting the fields from wind and water erosion while contributing organic matter to the soil when the leaves fall. Crops in those fields have doubled the production of maize compared to those still following traditional approaches to farming.
Small Farmers Are Vital to Food Security
While it’s true that large farms produce much of the food we used globally, it is still the small, local farmers who create much of the food we need at a domestic level. However, financial difficulties and competing with large farms put plenty of stress on local farmers, who often can make ends meet and are forced to stop. In the United Kingdom, local farmers produce 24 percent less food than people consume on a yearly basis. So saving small farms and farmers goes beyond just their well-being, but all of ours.
Urban Farms Are Best For Plants, Not Cows
A reduction in transportation, refrigeration and packaging, as well as source inputs from local waste streams, then city farms might offer a sustainable agriculture alternative for vegetables and fruits, according to Architecture and Food. Livestock farming in cities (although not common), contributes to GHG emissions where there is already tons of pollution.
Reduce Meat Consumption
The way we eat food and waste food can go a long way to sustainable agriculture as well. Livestock farming increased biofuel demand and creates a host of other environmental problems contributing to climate change. A steady shift away from such a meat-centric diet (even slightly) on a global scale could great tip emissions toward a more positive trend.
Being a “Good” Farmer is Different Everywhere
What we consider to be a good farmer and environmentally-conscious farming techniques in this country might seem ludicrous to farmers elsewhere in the world. Animal welfare and stocking density, in particular, see a drastic difference is standards and accepted practices. While you might consider them as an indication of poor performance, they may actually be positive for resource management.
We All Have a Role to Play
A report from Creating a Sustainable Food Future found that the world needs approximately 70 percent more food by 2050 than we currently have to adequately provide each of the 9.6 billion estimated people their daily intake of 3,000 calories. That’s a huge number and an incredible challenge. It takes a world committed together for change to make a difference and achieve what we need to thrive in the future. Waiting on somebody else to fix the problem won’t work.
Farmers and consumers alike should be invested in the future of the planet because many of us will still be around by 2050. Reducing food loss and waste, eating lower-impact diets and investing in sustainable agriculture can all go a long way if undertaken on a global scale. Caring is the first step.
To make a difference on your farm, ensure you have the farm equipment you need to not only yield the most crops to make a profit but to help the world produce enough food to sustain us all! Wagner Ag provides expert knowledge, experience and affordable prices on both new and used farm equipment, so contact us or browse our wide selection today!