Nicole Garrison lists 8 things to know about sustainable farming.
Due to the declining health of the planet, sustainable farming is a priority.
Intensive farming results in water pollution, soil contamination, loss of wildlife, the introduction of chemicals to food, and poor animal welfare, just to name a few. That is why we need sustainable farming.
However, before you leap into it, you should know a thing or two about it.
Even if you’ve already joined the community of sustainable farmers, these points can open your eyes to its importance, useful practices, and relevant novelties.
1. Small-scale farmers are an important element in food security
Many aren’t aware of how relevant small farmers are.
These individuals not only help us preserve this beautiful planet, but they integrate into local and global food systems.
There’s also the fact that the demand for locally grown food is growing. There’s no secret about the pesticides and harmful chemicals in food, which is why people turn to organic food.
What does this mean for the ruling bodies of countries around the world?
Governments and companies need to improve their support for sustainable farmers if they want to scale up their production.
The support can come in the form of access to markets, legal land tenure, professional training in sustainable agriculture in business development, investment in technologies, and so on.
2. Everyone needs to contribute
The road towards sustainability can’t be built by a single person.
The challenges that humanity faces, such as increasing demand for food, ask for joined efforts. If we want satisfactory outcomes, everyone needs to jump in and help.
This refers to more farmers turning to sustainable systems. Individuals need to reduce food waste; countries need to help sustainable agriculture; consumers need to invest in sustainable products, and much more.
Food production is difficult and demanding. If everyone doesn’t contribute to making it successful and profitable, it will be hard to further develop and improve sustainable farming.
3. Forestation on farms can aid crop yields
Forests and agriculture work hand in hand and complement each other.
According to studies, forests located near crops can sustain them and increase dietary diversity. What’s more, researchers have found that wheat situated nearby forests are richer in micronutrients.
Melissa Mauro, an environmental writer and editor at TrustMyPaper, says:
“Productivity and earnings can’t be the main focus of sustainable farming. Diet, health, and overall improvement of the ecosystem should come first”.
4. Switching crops will be necessary
Climate change is affecting commercial crops, meaning that we need an alternative. That alternative is switching crops.
“Emphasis will be on climate-smart agriculture in the short term, but in 10 to 20 years’ time, the focus will be on switching crops,” said the senior vice president of market transformation for the World Wildlife Fund, Jason Clay.
This can be a chance for smaller farmers to become more productive. Instead of struggling with the underperformance of their current crops, they can use the technical assistance and resort to better management practices and genetics to switch crops.
5. Farmers’ organisations play a key role
Without the joint effort of sustainable farmers, establishing good practices and facilitating technology transfers would take much more time.
Farmers are establishing organizations, community-based initiatives, land care programs, and more to help each other and tilt over new farmers to sustainable agriculture.
Some of the things they do are:
- Develop codes for proper environmental farming practices;
- Establish quality assurance schemes;
- Inform of useful technologies for sustainable farming;
- Exchange ideas on fruitful practices;
- Set up water user groups.
Find more about such organisations in your community or nearby area. Having a knowledgeable and experienced support group can improve your farming.
6. The number of programmes supporting sustainable farming is growing
While on the topic of useful resources, we should mention government programs that provide support to farmers and agricultures dedicated to sustainability.
Doing research and collecting information on potential funding can help farmers enhance production quality and quantity.
For example, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture offers a professional development program and competitive grants programs.
Through the programs, NIFA finances and assists the ambition of new sustainable farmers and helps the existing ones with funding for research, expansion, and extension.
Dominic Beaulieu, a research writer who collaborates with the best essay writing services and a specialist in good agricultural practices, explains:
“Without the monetary contribution of governmental agencies, sustainable development will be detracted.”
“However, farmers also need to do their best to seek such programs and apply regularly. It takes effort on both parts for this collaboration to be fruitful.”
7. The criteria for good farming can be ambiguous
When the word “good farmer” pops up, what comes to your mind?
Farming is individual, complex, and can throw you in some unpredictable situation.
The actions you take and the measures you introduce may not be what other farmers would resort to.
For example, from the perspective of resource management, the stocking density of animal welfare can be positive, but otherwise, it can indicate negative performance.
Farmers need to go back to the key principles for agriculture sustainability in order not to lose their way.
- Improve efficiency in the use of resources;
- Apply direct action to protect, conserve, and enhance natural resources;
- Not being able to protect and improve rural livelihoods and equity is unsustainable;
- Enhancing communities, ecosystems, and resilience of people is essential for sustainable agriculture;
- Use responsible and effective governance mechanisms.
8. Sustainable farming has its challenges
Lastly, we should overview the common challenges of sustainable farming.
These challenges are the weather, lack of workforce, and of course, the large food chains.
The low prices of food at supermarkets drive consumers away from organic products.
The root of this problem is poor education. If consumers were to know the effort, the means, and the love that farmers put into their products, they would be more likely to invest.
Creating campaigns that promote sustainable agriculture, health, and natural flavours is necessary to spread awareness.
Gaining knowledge, seeking funding, and taking every possible step towards better and more widespread sustainable farming should be our main goals.
As time progresses, we can look forward to new technologies that will support sustainable agriculture.
Until then, we should make the most of what we have and ensure that people understand the relevance of sustainable farming.
About the author:
Nicole is a writer for SupremeDissertations and sustainability expert specialising in farming and agriculture.
She takes part in research projects dedicated to strengthening the position of sustainability in the world.
The insight she gains, Nicole shares with a wider audience to promote sustainability across different industries.