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Sustainable Agriculture Project by Sophie, Victoria and Melyssa.

Project in Environmental Science

sophie nguyen

on 27 February 2013

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Transcript of Sustainable Agriculture Project by Sophie, Victoria and Melyssa.

Sustainable Solutions Soil health and stability Success Environmental Issue Sustainable Agriculture
Food and fiber productivity soared due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favored maximizing production. Since the end of World War II, agriculture has changed dramatically. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labor demands to produce the majority of the food and fiber in the U.S. Industrialized agriculture heavily relies on monoculture, mechanization, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, biotechnology, and government subsidies which have made food abundant and affordable. However, the ecological and social price has been steep... Erosion
Depleted and contaminated soil and water resources
Loss of biodiversity; deforestation;
Labor abuses
Decline of the family farm
Continued neglect of the living and working conditions for farm laborers
Disintegration of economic and social conditions in rural communities Over the years, a growing movement has emerged to question the role of agricultural establishment in promoting practices that contribute to these social problems. Today this movement for Sustainable Agriculture is getting increasing support and acceptance within mainstream agriculture. 1. Organic Farming When crops are harvested, vital mineral elements are removed from the soil. However, they are returned to the soil through the application of animal wastes and green manures

Using regular addition of crop residues and animal manures to build up organic matter in soil as opposed to chemical fertilizers Using animal dung on soil instead of using dung for fuel.

Using rock dams and other appropriate technologies to address the problems of moisture loss and erosion so that they hold water and protect the forest cover around croplands. 2. Using wind and solar energy for many farming tasks Using animal energy for working the land instead of mechanization

People using small plots of land to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and small animals. 3. Livestock management Recognizes the carrying capacity of rangeland ecosystems and preserves the soils and plant cover in them.

Whereas mismanagement of herds and overgrazing lead to the deterioration of rangeland. 4. Crop rotation Practices alternating the crops grown on a piece of land

Ex: The farmer might plant three seasons of alfalfa plowed under (green manure) followed by four successive crop seasons of first wheat, then soybeans, then wheat, and then oats. As a result, weeds and insects are more easily controlled, and plant diseases do not build up in the soil. Process-Facilities Cost Resources Production of wastes Jobs 1. Crop rotation 2. Soil amendment Both are designed to ensure the crops being cultivated are able to obtain the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Facilities:
farm lands
seed selection centers
soil testing
community recycling centers
local organic farms. Farmers also practice sustainable agriculture such as:
pest management
soil and water conservation practices
crop rotation
natural or synthetic inputs Over-application of fertilizers can pollute the nearby rivers and coastal waters.

The negative impacts from these wastes include:
soil degradation
loss of plan and animal genetic diversity,
water depletion and contamination,
destruction of non-agricultural habitat,
certain wastes can impact on human health including nitrites in ground water
pesticide exposure in an occupational setting,
pesticide residues in food
many food additives and certain food processing techniques Sustainable Agriculture Solutions:

The use of toxic materials in sustainable agriculture is very low in comparison to the conventional ones

Therefore, it does not produce waste that will affect human health compared to the conventional agricultural practice

Sustainable agriculture recycles crop waste and animal waste produced in the agricultural system.

Therefore, it helps to maintain the soil quality without using non-renewable materials. In recent years, farmers in Canada are caught with price increase in inputs that allow them to carry on their agricultural production.
Those inputs include:
genetically modified seeds

Some U.S investigation indicates that massive government subsidies are required to keep farming jobs. When a farm fails, it usually means 3-5 jobs related to it are disappearing as well. Sustainable farming practices create jobs. Evidence suggests that farmers using sustainable practices can have a net income higher than the conventional producers.

Sustainable farmers:
use more local resources that doesn't require transportation cost
use recycled materials from their land and therefore, reduce the cost to purchase chemicals.
achieve higher income by making more direct linkages with consumers. Government subsidies are also directed to sustainable agricultural research.

Therefore create jobs in the research and development fields such as:
Universities and research institutions
The local business can benefit from increasing production of organic food in their area
local community jobs Compared to the industrial farming practices, sustainable agriculture costs less.

Agricultural sustainability is a living, changing system that is in constant interplay with the total environment.

Diversity of farming practices:
reduce the use of soil
promote soil and water conservation
land stewardship
recycling of animal wastes on the farm

This all adds up to the reduction of the cost of agriculture. The costs of production is lower because sustainable farmers generally seek to replace purchased inputs with resources produced and recycled on-farm. This approach can significantly reduce some costs of production.

Facility costs tend to be lower on sustainable farms. This is because the farmers try to use existing structures or facilities such as hoops or fencing that are relatively flexible and inexpensive. However, sustainable farms that include processing can have higher facility costs.

In general, and in a long term view, sustainable agriculture would have a much lighter cost on the big environment. Sustainability is an ecosystem approach to agriculture. Although sun and air are available, the soil can be depleted after extensive use. Water resources is also limited.

When farmers grow and harvest crops, they remove some of the nutrients from the soil.
Sustainable farmers put the nutrients back by recycling natural materials back to the soil.
They don't heavily depend on chemicals and non-renewable resources.
Recycled crop waste are known to contain renewable sources of nitrogen. Therefore, sustainable agriculture preserves or better uses resources. A sustainable approach to farming is economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially beneficial: it works for the farmer, the land, and the community What is sustainable agriculture? Organic farming: is attracting renewed attention from producers, consumers, and regulators.
Its goals—healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy people—are laudable.
But it won’t achieve them on a big scale. Producers: A person, company, or country that makes, grows, or supplies goods or commodities for sale
Consumers: A person who purchases goods and services for personal use

Regulators: A person or thing that regulates something, in particular.

Healthy soils need actively growing crops that contribute organic matter and support life. Healthy plants need nutrients, water, air, and support from the soil. Use animal dung on soil instead of using dung for fuel: When we grow crops, we withdraw essential nutrients from the soil: potassium, nitrogen and phosphate, to name but the most important. During the greater part of human history, we recycled these nutrients through our bodies and returned them to the soil, via excreta, food trimmings and the burial of dead. Today, we flush them mostly into the sea THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE (Recycling animal and human dung is the key to sustainable farming) Use animal energy for working the land instead of mechanization:

1. Operating costs and depreciation are low and replacement by home breeding is inexpensive.

2. Management is easy and quite well understood.

3. Animals are multipurpose in that besides being used as a draft animal they produce manure and can ultimately be utilized for meat.

4. Little if any foreign exchange needed for procurement or operation. (Hossain) Use wind and solar energy for many farming tasks: We use energy for heating, cooling, lighting and electricity everyday and put it to use in many different settings in which we live, work and play.

Capturing solar energy from the sun and wind energy provides access to a ready supply of power that is sustainable, affordable and has less impact on our environment. Encourage people to use small plots of land to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and small animals rather than simply growing grass to mow.

Sustainable farming means that whatever is farmed, raised and grown on the farm is consumed by the farm dwellers themselves. They are living off the land and providing all the food they need for their own consumption. Crop rotation is a vital part of sustainable agriculture by rotating in a winter crop of legumes, you can restore the nutrient levels of your soil, protect it from erosion, and disrupt the life cycles of pests.

Research has shown that agro-ecologically based methods—such as organic fertilizers, crop rotation, and cover crops—can succeed in meeting our food needs while avoiding the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture.
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