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Industrial Agriculture Vs. Sustainable Agriculture

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on 18 January 2013

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Transcript of Industrial Agriculture Vs. Sustainable Agriculture

Historically, there has been a shift in agriculture from most work been done by hand to a capital-intensive system dependent upon the use of machinery, off-farm inputs, and high-tech devices. Agricultural Industrialization For at least 5 decades, the agricultural model has been promoting the mass production of crops and animals at "lower market prices". This cheap-food model has aggravated environmental degradation, health problems, animal welfare and farmers' economies in some cases. The entire food system goes beyond the farm; it is often concerned with the interaction of individuals and institutions that quite often have contrasting and even competing goals.
In addition to change production practices, sustainable agriculture needs the commitment of policy makers, economic institutions and social values. Challenges: Many farmers have adopted integrated and sustainable farming practices and they have cut down the cost of purchased inputs without trading off productivity (EA, 2005). Productivity trade-offs?! Sustainable models Sustainable agricultural models are part of a larger movement looking for sustainable development, which recognizes the finite characteristic of natural resources and therefore the limits enhanced in economic growth, this broader movement encourages equity in resource allocation and focuses on long-term interests instead of focusing on short-term profits. Industrial Agriculture Vs.
Sustainable Agriculture Despite great progress in agricultural
productivity during the past half-century,
it will be over optimistic to assume that
the current model would remain
sustainable. The Industrial Agriculture model Sustainable Agriculture It is the intensive use of nonrenewable resources and the excessive waste and pollution resulting, that makes the current model u n s u s t a i n a b l e. Environmental impacts: Eutrophication and biodiversity lost.
Water and air pollution.
Land degradation and soil destruction. Intensive use of off-farm inputs, monocropping and factory farming... Animal production and animal welfare Crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Excessive use of antibiotics.
Excessive volumes of manure and nutrient loads into water ecosystems. Human health Due to high content in saturated fat, animal based diets are related to chronic degenerative diseases such as heart diseases and type II diabetes.
Certain types of cancer and endocrine system disorders are associated to pesticide residues.
The excesive use of antibiotics used in animals may be creating resistant straints of microbes in humans. The farm's economy Industrial agriculture is dependent on financial capital, external inputs, and distant markets. Profitability has shift from farmers to financial institutions, input and retail industries.
The emergence of large-scale farms has taken many farmers out of business. Sustainable agriculture is also intensive in resource use, but it makes a better selection from the available resources, that is, focus on the availability of natural, human and social assets and combines them with suitable technologies and inputs that do not harm the environment. Practices that enhance sustainability!

Crop rotation
Cover crops
No-till and low-till farming
Soil, nutrient and pest management
Diversification of crops
Rotating grazing Sustainable Agriculture is not a bunch of prescribed methods, it is more a change in mindset where agriculture understands and recognizes its dependence on a finite amount of natural resources and where farming problems are solved in an integrated way which premise is that agricultural ecosystems are only a part of a bigger ecosystem whose balance must be maintained. The "dead zone" in Gulf of Mexico caused by nitrogen run-offs into the Mississipi River grew to 20,000 km2 in 1999. (Simpson, 2001).
The use of water for irrigation is highly inefficient, FAO (1995) has estimated that only 45% of irrigated water is used by crops.
More than 1500 local rice varieties have been lost due to the plantation of modern rice varieties in Philipines and Indonesia (Worldwatch Institute, 1998).
Agricultural management accounted for about 68% of all U.S. greenhouse emissions in 2010 while manure accounted for 6% (EPA, 2010).
The world's arable land per person has been declining steadily (FAOSTAT, 2001). Some Facts! Between 1967 and 1997 the number of hog farms in U.S. declined from over a million to just 157,000 (USDA, 1997).
USDA (1997) has estimated that the U.S. meet industry produced 1.4 billion tons of manure in 1997.
In factory farm facilities, animals become aggressive, present skeletal deformities and become susceptible to respiratory diseases due to highly concentrated ammonia in manure (Horrigan et al., 2002). Some more facts!! Between 1910 and 1990, the share of U.S. agricultural economy going to farmers declined from 41% to 9%, while the market and farm input industries' shares increased by similar amounts (Madden and Chaplowe, 1997). Two more facts!! The largest 3% of farms (all with at least 1,000 hogs each) now produce 60% of U.S. hogs In the U.S. the average adult male consumes 154% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein, and the average adult female consumes 127% of the RDA, 67% of that protein intake is derived from animal proteins usually with a high level of saturated fat(National Research Council, 2009).
2 million poisonings and 10,000 deaths occur each year from pesticides, with about three-fourths of these occurring in developing countries (Quijano, 2003).
A University of Iowa (2000) study found that people living near large- scale hog facilities reported elevated incidence of headaches, respiratory problems, eye irritation, nausea, weakness, and chest tightness. and more... !! The International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Canada, reports that almost 30% of subsidies go to the top 2% farms. If the United States government were to shift its target from the top 30% to the bottom 70% of farmers, it could save at least $8 billion a year while supplying a competitive boost to lower-income farms. For example... Local food movement! Reduced use of energy and fuel consumption in the supply chain.
Less packaging
Trust and connectedness between consumer and producers which may lead to a greater responsibility in personal diets and quality of food.
Social networks.
Multiplier benefits in local communities.
Diversification of the food system now dominated by supermarket chains.
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