T20+Sustainable+Agric+paper - Sustainable Agriculture F or...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Sustainable Agriculture F or nearly four decades after World W a r 11,U .S.agriculture was the envy of the world, almost annually setting n e w records in crop production and labor efficiency.Dur- ing this period U .S. farms became highly mechanized and specialized, as well as heavily dependent on fossil fuels, borrowed capital and chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Today the same farms are associated with de- clining soil productivity, deteriorating environmental quality, reduced profit- ability and threats to h u m a n and ani- mal health. A growing cross section of American society is questioning the environ- mental, economic and social impacts of conventional agriculture. Conse- quently, m a n y individuals are seeking alternative practices that would m a k e agriculture m o r e sustainable . Sustainable agriculture embraces several variants of nonconventional agriculture that are often called organ- ic, alternative, regenerative, ecological or low-input. Just because a farm is organic or alternative does not m e a n that it is sustainable, however. For a JOHN P.REGANOLD, ROBERT I.PAPEN- DICK and JAMES F. PARR are soil sci- entists who have studied agricultural sustainability and organic farming for many years.Reganold teaches introduc- tory soil science and conservation and management at Washington State Uni- versity and has conducted several stud- ies that compare the effects of conven- tional and organic farming methods on soil systems .Papendick is head of the land management and water conserva- tion research unit with the USDA Agri- cultural Research Service in Pullman, Wash.He served as chairman and coor- dinator of the study Report a n d Recom- mendations on Organic Farming, pub- lished in 1980. Parr is a soil-fertility program leader with the USDA Agri- cultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md ., and an authority on crop-residue management systems for soiland water conservation. Traditional conservation-minded methods combined with modern technology can reduce farmers' dependence on possibly dangerous chemicals.The rewards are both environmental and financial SCIENTIFIC A M E R I C A N J u n e 1 9 9 0 by John P.Reganold, Robert I.Papendick and James F.Parr farm to be sustainable, it m u s t pro- duce adequate amounts of high-qual- ity food, protect its resources and be both environmentally safe and prof- itable. Instead of depending on pur- chased materials such as fertilizers, a sustainable farm relies as m u c h as possible on beneficial natural process- es and renewable resources drawn from the farm itself. Sustainable agriculture addresses m a n y serious problems afflicting U .S. and world food production : high ener- gy costs, groundwater contamination, soil erosion, loss of productivity, de- pletion of fossil resources, low farm incomes and risks to h u m a n health and wildlife habitats.It is not so m u c h a specific farming strategy as it is a system-level approach to understand- ing the complex interactions within agricultural ecologies .agricultural ecologies ....
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 01/27/2011 for the course SSO 10 taught by Professor Randydahlgren during the Fall '10 term at UC Davis.

Page1 / 7

T20+Sustainable+Agric+paper - Sustainable Agriculture F or...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online