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What is Sustainable Agriculture?. “…a journey, not a destination” Iowa Farmer. Sustainable Agriculture. “…an integrated system of plant and animal production practices…that will satisfy human food and fiber needs enhance environmental quality make the most efficient use of

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what is sustainable agriculture
What is Sustainable Agriculture?

“…a journey, not a destination”

Iowa Farmer

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

sustainable agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture
  • “…an integrated system of plant and animal production practices…that will
      • satisfy human food and fiber needs
      • enhance environmental quality
      • make the most efficient use of

nonrenewable resources

      • sustain economic viability
      • enhance quality of life.”

1990 Farm Bill

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture


Thethree-legged stool of sustainability

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

economically sustainable
Economically sustainable
  • Provides a secure living for farm families
  • Provides a secure living to other workers in the food system
  • Provides access to good food for all

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

environmentally sound
Environmentally Sound



quality of



and air

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture


Environmentally Sound


with and

is modeled

on natural


Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

socially sustainable
Socially sustainable
  • Good for families
  • Supports communities
  • Fair to all involved

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture


Goals:A desired end

Practices:Actions to achieve a goal

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

how do you get to goals
How do you get to goals?
  • Figure out where you are
  • Analyze your strengths and weaknesses
  • Select strategies (practices)
  • Keep monitoring your progress
  • Re-evaluate your goals and plans

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

where are we
Where are we?

What are the




of our current agricultural system?

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

  • abundant food supply in the developed world
  • fresh fruits and vegetables available year-round
  • cheap food
  • luxury foods such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and spices easily available around the world
  • effective food preservation technologies (refrigeration, freezing, canning, packaging)
  • convenience foods
  • mechanization produces high labor efficiency
  • improvements in soil conservation
  • availability of agricultural inputs for quick solutions to production problems

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

  • continuing soil loss
  • food safety concerns (mad cow disease, food poisoning outbreaks, antibiotic resistance, toxins and pesticides)
  • water pollution, air pollution (& odors), habitat loss, water depletion
  • continuing hunger – and rise of obesity
  • failing farms, economic uncertainty and stress
  • declining communities
  • farm accidents, chronic diseases linked to agricultural chemicals
  • reliance on fossil fuels, global warming
  • farmland loss to development, ugly countryside
  • difficulty of starting in farming

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture

  • Agriculture has accomplished much
  • There are still many problems to solve, both old and new
  • Sustainable agriculture is about trying to solve these problems – without creating new ones.

Toward a Sustainable Agriculture