Sustainable farming is a hot topic these days. It is all about going beyond profit and focusing on the environment and biodiversity. And it’s no wonder; we are in a society that places a lot of importance on how we live and treat the planet. So let’s get started on this hot topic right now.
What is sustainable farming?
Sustainable farming refers to harvesting food, fiber, plant, or animal products to avoid harming or depleting natural resources and land. Sustainable farming also means taking on social responsibilities like working and living conditions of farmers or workers, the needs of rural communities, as well as the safety and health of consumers. It incorporates environmental sustainability, social and economic equality, as well as economic viability and profitability.
The ideal kind of sustainable farming satisfies the present generation’s requirements without jeopardizing the future generations’ capacity to meet their own needs.
Why is sustainable farming important?
Sustainable farming has a lot of benefits, like:
1. Crop rotation or growing various crops at different times of the year on the same piece of land by sustainable farming methods results in a lower chance of agricultural diseases. In contrast, excessive monoculture techniques could destroy entire crops.
2. Crop rotation promotes diversity while improving soil health and pest control methods. In addition, growing cover crops and intercropping with other crops promote soil erosion prevention, weed control, and nutrient replenishment.
3. A key element of sustainable farming is ensuring that farmers, farm workers, and other people involved in the system continue to earn a livable wage and do it in a safe environment. Through sustainable farming, smaller family farms are encouraged to resurface, which benefits everyone by enriching the rural community.
4. Sustainable farming improves the welfare of animals by letting them wander freely and raising them in meadows. Farmers treat their cattle with care and let them consume the food that comes to them naturally.
5. Sustainable farming reduces pollution by using natural fertilizers and using fewer pesticides. This results in healthier and better farm products. In addition, sustainable farming employs integrated pest management to identify pests early on and restrict spraying to particular pests that are restricted to a particular area. As a result, the natural fauna is protected, and bio-diversity is not harmed in this way.
Farmers also construct shelters to keep pests away from natural pest eliminators like bats, birds, and insects.
Even the garbage generated by sustainable farming is recycled into the farm’s ecosystem, preventing environmental pollution.
Sustainable Agriculture Myths You Should Know
But as with any industry, some agriculture myths need to be debunked. So let’s dive into it.
1. It isn’t easy to go sustainable in farming by using less.
One of the biggest sustainable agriculture myths is that today’s farms don’t care about the environment. However, the scenario is quite different.
According to pubmed.ncbi, “Modern beef production requires considerably fewer resources than the equivalent system in 1977, with 69.9% of animals, 81.4% of feed, 87.9% of the water, and only 67.0% of the land required to produce 1 billion kgs of beef.“
Similarly, dairy farmers have reduced greenhouse gases by 63% in the last 6 decades. Farmers are now doing more with less while minimizing their impact on the planet.
2. Sustainable farming involves using lots of pesticides.
Another sustainable agriculture myth is that farmers use lots of pesticides in organic farming, which is as harmful as in conventional farming. Some organic farmers indeed use pesticides for their crops. However, those pesticides are made from natural ingredients and must be approved for organic production. The list of ingredients has to go through the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to be used in organic production, which typically includes naturally occurring materials and prohibits synthetic materials, with some exceptions.
In addition, many farmers these days require fewer pesticides. Thanks to advanced technology, farmers can now use fewer pesticides without leaving any residue on the water, crop, or soil. Additionally, farmers can use machines and equipment with variable rate technology to spray precisely where necessary, rather than spraying entire fields for weeds and pests.
3. Sustainably-made food has more nutritious value.
The nutrition in a crop is more about the soil the crop grows in and the genetic variety it holds. So, organic certification doesn’t mean the food has more nutritional value than conventional crops.
4. Sustainability is about the environment only, not people.
This sustainable farming myth is a myth about sustainability in general, too. Making the correct environmental decisions now will ensure that families can continue to eat securely and be healthy in the future. It involves selecting the surroundings and individuals. Sustainability is also about making sure the farmers and their families get a good living wage and work in a secure environment.
Related Article – 6 Sustainable Fashion Myths You Need To Stop Believing Right Away.
And that’s a wrap on sustainable agriculture myths. As the world moves towards a greener and more holistic approach to agriculture, we are hopeful that a better understanding will lead people to change their views and help shape a better future for farming.