PDF AGRICULTURE

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First there was subsistence farming. Then there was a technological revolution: develop- ments in machinery and chemicals allowed us to clear and cultivate land faster, feed plants and animals quicker (and grow them faster); and kill pests or diseases quickly. These new- found abilities seemed like a godsend to mankind; and throughout the 20th century we used them to their fullest, generally with little regard to any unforseen repercussions.
Gradually, time has revealed a variety of problems caused by this modern agricultural development, including chemical residues affecting plant and animal life on land and in the sea, soil degradation in the form of soil structural decline, erosion, salinity, soil acidification, loss of fertility, nutrient loading of waterways, dams and lakes and more.
As we move into the 21st century and concern about our environment grows, there is an obvious move towards more sustainable farming.
Sustainable farming is, in essence, concerned with anything that affects the sustain- ability of a farm. You cannot keep farming a property indefinitely if there is a degradation of resources (environmental resources, financial resources, equipment, machinery, materi- als, or any other resources). In the short to medium term, the problem of sustainability is overwhelmingly a financial one; but in the long term, environmental sustainability will possibly have a greater impact on the whole industry than anything else.
Why be sustainable?
If we can’t sustain agricultural production, we will eventually see a decline in production; hence a decline in food and other supplies. There is no escaping the fact that people need agricultural products to survive: for food, clothing, etc. Science may be able to introduce substitutes (eg synthetic fibres) but even the raw materials to make these will generally be limited. As the world’s population increases (or at best remains stable in some places) demand for agricultural produce increases accordingly. Poorly maintained farms produce less in terms of quantity and quality. Profitability decreases mean that surplus money is no
First there was subsistence farming. Then there was a technological revolution: develop- ments in machinery and chemicals allowed us to clear and cultivate land faster, feed plants and animals quicker (and grow them faster); and kill pests or diseases quickly. These new- found abilities seemed like a godsend to mankind; and throughout the 20th century we used them to their fullest, generally with little regard to any unforseen repercussions.
Gradually, time has revealed a variety of problems caused by this modern agricultural development, including chemical residues affecting plant and animal life on land and in the sea, soil degradation in the form of soil structural decline, erosion, salinity, soil acidification, loss of fertility, nutrient loading of waterways, dams and lakes and more.
As we move into the 21st century and concern about our environment grows, there is an obvious move towards more sustainable farming.
Sustainable farming is, in essence, concerned with anything that affects the sustain- ability of a farm. You cannot keep farming a property indefinitely if there is a degradation of resources (environmental resources, financial resources, equipment, machinery, materi- als, or any other resources). In the short to medium term, the problem of sustainability is overwhelmingly a financial one; but in the long term, environmental sustainability will possibly have a greater impact on the whole industry than anything else.
Why be sustainable?
If we can’t sustain agricultural production, we will eventually see a decline in production; hence a decline in food and other supplies. There is no escaping the fact that people need agricultural products to survive: for food, clothing, etc.

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27.10.2013

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