George has deep roots in rural Minnesota. LSP is dedicated to creating transformational change in our food and farming system.In addition, Brian Devore is a journalist who for the past 30 years has specialized in writing about agriculture, the environment and natural history—blending the three as much as possible. He has written for, and among other publication and web outlets such as: the Land Stewardship Letter, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, the Winona Daily News, the Star Tribune, Sierra, Wapsipinicon Almanac, Conservation in Practice, Loon Commonsand theReader Environmental Blog.Article # 12 “Redesigning Agriculture”Notes
The modern industrial agriculture is incredibly good at mass production and low priced commodities.Some developed countries consistently full supermarket shelves and allowed the world’s population to grow from 1.6 billion to more than 6.5 billion in a little over a century.Massive amounts of nitrogen fertilizers are used to maintain high yields on industrial farms.A significant proportion of those nutrients, along with other pollutants, leaves our farms in the form of water and air pollution.In order to restoring the ecological function to agricultural land, multidisciplinary approach that goes beyond mere agronomic tinkering must be applied.Humans produce at least half of the fixed nitrogen present in the world.After World War II, chemical plants that produced explosives using the Haber-Bosch process turned to manufacturing massive amounts of fertilizer.Federal subsidies paid to growers— to push production, and produce massive amounts of liquid manure, which is stored in pits or lagoons until it can be disposed.A few pesticides have been used since ancient times; however, a large amount of herbicide and pesticide are using now on crops.A sustainable agriculture making the best of nature and people’s knowledge and collective capacity has been showing increasingly good promise. But it has been a quiet revolution because many accord it little credence.
Creating a locally based food and farming system is the only real way to tighten our nutrient cycle and achieve sustainability in the long term.If farming systems that help the environment and provide other public goods are to thrive, farmers will increasingly need reinforcement from society.To be successful, agriculture must rest on a firm ethical foundation that can only be clarified through vigorous debate that includes scientists, farmers, other practitioners, andthe consumers of food.We need to find more approaches to pay farmers for ecosystem services on the basis of actual performance.Integrated farming systems provide real opportunities to reduce our reliance on synthetic nitrogen and pesticides.Agroecological system and the potential multifunctionality of agriculture should meet thefood needs of world population.Article #12: “Redesigning Agriculture”Q & A
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