THE IMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABLE FARMING

By Maria Onofrio

Fri, 27 Jul 2018

According to the American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, sustainable farming is a system that, “over the long term, enhances environmental quality and the resource base on which agriculture depends; provides for basic human food and fibre needs; is economically viable; and enhances the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole”.

On the same line, The Centre for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) defines sustainable agriculture as farming systems and government policies that develop long-term positive impacts on the following: agricultural profitability; environmental quality; food sufficiency, quality and affordability; and rural family and community vitality.

Though, regardless of its definition, most academics and agronomists agree that the practice of sustainable agriculture is one of paramount importance in today’s world.

Modern agricultural practices, such as tillage and the usage of chemical inputs, have resulted in soil erosion and nutrient loss, consequently making the land not arable anymore. And, with a panorama of global population raising to 9 billion by the year 2050, sustainable practices are of extreme importance to the land, and thus to the whole supply-chain.

Through the efficient use of land, among other resources, sustainable farming’s main objective is to address environmental issues to sustain significant increases in farm productivity and provide better economic returns to individuals and contribute to the quality of life and economic development.

Therefore, not only does sustainable agriculture faces many environmental and social concerns, but it offers innovative and economically viable opportunities for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.

Globally, there is a tendency towards adopting sustainable practices, from hydroponics to food hubs, through to big companies like Bayer presenting their practices.

As per Crop Science in Bayer, a good example of this kind of innovation is Bay+ Movida®, a decision support tool specific for vineyards in France. Linked to local weather stations, the system develops models for disease evolution, plant growth and treatment management. This enables Bay+ Movida® to provide tailored advice for effective disease control to the farmer with minimum environmental impact.

Along with innovative crop protection practices, advanced stewardship measures play an important role in contributing to sustainable agriculture. For example, a biological waste water treatment system. In this system, wastewater produced during cleaning of sprayers is collected in a waste water tank and then distributed over a soil-straw substrate. The naturally occurring microorganisms in this substrate biodegrade potential residues in the wastewater resulting in the evaporation of clean water.

There are also other, simple appearing measures that can improve crop productivity and at the same time preserve natural resources. Cross-borders, resembling small dams between potato hills, can act as soil-erosion barriers that retain water and avoid run-offs and loss of valuable topsoil. These small dams can also significantly increase yield due to the additional water and nutrient availability.

Though in theory the practice is quite beneficial, inconsistent messaging from policy and a lack of transparency have been named as the main challenges that farmers face when it comes to practising sustainable agriculture.


Our Agriculture 4.0 workshop mission is to help farmers better engage with the latest technology available in the market and present a wide range of solutions for the modern farmer.

To address these challenges, we have developed AG40 workshop, a programme designed around bringing key stakeholders from throughout US agriculture together to tackle the most issues in relation to the stability of the market. To find out how this will be achieved, and whether you can be involved in this, follow the link here and below:

www.challenge.org/ag40


ABOUT AG40

Challenge Advisory is bringing together AG40, a unique workshop where organisations will have the ability to network amongst each other for precise and profitable resolutions across the entire industry. There will be panel discussions and workshop sessions designed to create partnerships and profitable business development, helping to find cross-specialism solutions to current sectoral challenges.

Join Challenge Advisory and all our stakeholders for education, interoperability and investment relating to the latest technology in digital agriculture – click here to find out more:

www.challenge.org/ag40


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Maria Onofrio

monofrio@challenge.org

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