4 Current Trends in Sustainable Agriculture

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Trends in Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainability means doing something that will last forever. So, what does sustainability on a farm mean? First, from a financial standpoint, the farm needs to be able to pay its employees so that it does not run out of business, and it is a crucial part of sustainable farming. When we talk about environmental sustainability, it starts with the soil. The soil is important and takes a long time to form. We need to keep the soil healthy so that it has what it needs to provide plants with nutrients continuously. Therefore, one of the primary tasks of a farmer is to feed the soil with suitable crops, compost, and fertilizers so it can maintain itself to produce healthy crops continuously. The other part of sustainability is understanding crop selection. When choosing which crops to grow, you need to match the field, season, and demand. On a larger scale, the type of crop you decide to grow needs to be selected in a way that creates employment for the employees year-round. When a crop starts with healthy soil, there are higher chances of yielding healthy products. Therefore, sustainable farming is the process of growing crops and livestock without harming the soil, environment, and surrounding biome. So, the farm’s ecosystem should not be a monoculture that leaves crops vulnerable to infection. Trends in Sustainable Agriculture-

In the past few years, the popularity of sustainable agriculture has been growing exponentially. This is because both consumers and farmers have become aware of its many health and environmental benefits. Here are some benefits and Trends in Sustainable Agriculture:

Environment conservation- Trends in Sustainable Agriculture

Our environment provides all living things with a way to sustain themselves. Therefore, we must protect and look after it up coming generations. Sustainable agriculture replenishes the soil and other mineral reserves while farming feeds the current generation. It decreases the use of toxic chemicals that can poison the soil and, ultimately, humans.

Saves energy for future

Sustainable agriculture techniques decrease the use of nonrenewable energy sources, such as petroleum. In most cases, they use waste products from the livestock, which are sustainably converted to energy that powers their farms.

Public health safety

Toxic fertilizers and pesticides have little or no place in sustainable farming. It ensures all the products from the farms, like veggies, fruits as well as  meat, are healthy and safe. Also, the water sources are not polluted by these chemicals.

Prevents air pollution

Pollutants from industrial farming activities decrease air quality. However, with sustainable farming, there is little or no tillage that produces dust, no smoke because they use wind turbines and very few pesticides. All of these practices ensure that the air quality is great and healthy.

Reduce cost

Sustainable agriculture decreases the overall cost of farming. Here, there are more efficient logistic services and smart farming, which help reduce costs. Also, the use of remote sensors on crops, seeds, livestock, sprayers, drones, and satellites reduces the labor intensity and provides more efficient running of the farm. Farm owners can now make better decisions based on data collected by the sensors.

Now, let’s talk about some of the best sustainability practices.

Four main sustainable farming practices

No tillage and conservation tillage

Tilling is the process of stirring, digging, and breaking up the soil. Conservation or no tillage farming is reducing the amount of tillage to enhance soil health and reduce erosion. Since it increases soil health, it also makes the plants resilient to harsh weather and diseases.

Crop rotation and polycultures

These are farming methods where the farmers plant crops mimicking how plants grow in the wild with the aim to achieve maximum yields. In this type of farming, farm owners grow multiple crop species on one land. It increases soil fertility and makes the crops resistant to disease.

In crop rotation, the farmers plant different crops on the same field yearly as a way to improve soil conditions and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers. It also helps with pest management as you will not suffer a huge loss of crops from pest invasion. This is true because different species of plants attract different pests.

Green manure crops

Cover crops are cultivated between the harvest of one main crop and the sowing of the next main crop. The main reasons to grow cover crops are to protect the soil against erosion, increase soil fertility, and improve soil structure. When cover crops are incorporated into the soil, they are termed green manures. They help to avoid nutrient loss, particularly nitrogen leaching. The nutrients taken up by green manure crops are returned to the soil to be used by main crops. They also help to stimulate microbial activity and proliferate their growth in the soil.

Agroforestry

Agroforestry is vital for farmers in areas where the soil is undergoing desertification. Here, the farmers need to grow shrubs and trees within their fields. So, this type of farming combines forestry and agriculture practices to ensure the sustainability of the environment.

As the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, there is a dire need to ensure that everyone is fed. However, we should not forget that the land and environment provide us with food. That is why sustainable farming should be prioritized to ensure food security for us and future generations.

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