The Future of Farming and Agriculture

Author: Kevin Hill  •  Date: November 10, 2016  •  Appears in: Farmers

The Future of Farming and Agriculture

Thinking about investing in farming?  Then this is what you need to know about the future of farming and agriculture.

The agricultural sector has witnessed massive changes, particularly since World War II ended. New technologies were introduced, mechanization was on a rise, chemical use increased and various government policies were implemented that supported the agricultural community. All these added up to an increased productivity, reduced labor costs and farming risks.

However, there was a downside to this. Such large scale farming along with the constant use of chemicals, machinery and continuous crop cultivation caused topsoil depletion, contamination of the groundwater and an increased cost of production. At the same time, there was a steady decline in the family farms, the working and living conditions of the farm laborers were neglected and there was a disintegration of economic and social conditions in rural communities. There was an immediate need to bring a change to this, which manifested through small scale farming and sustainable agriculture. Let’s see what they are. 

Small-Scale Farming:

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘farm’? Most probably, a large piece of land that stretches for miles, far away from the city, full of different crops. However, the picture is slowly changing. Over the years, people have moved out of the rural settings and have brought farming to the urban areas in the form of small scale farming.

The concept of small scale farming is gaining popularity as it doesn’t require a large plot of land spread across a vast expanse of land, and also allows you to cultivate multiple crops and raise multiple livestock. You can do small scale farming anywhere — your backyard, in your community or in a small piece of land that is just beside your house. This change had a significant hand in elevating the quality, flavor and nutrition content of the produce.

With traditional large-scale farming, crops have to be transported over long distances which can destroy perishable food products. Most of the time, the vegetables and fruit are plucked without allowing them to ripen so that they can withstand long-distance travel. Soil infertility, water pollution and shortage, and food security issues are some common issues which small-scale farming addresses as all food is grown and distributed within short distances. Everyone who grows crops gets a fair share of the price, boosting the local economy.

Beginning of Sustainable Agriculture:

The crux of small scale farming is achieving sustainability. Sustainable agriculture focuses on producing abundant food without depleting the necessary resources of our planet or causing any pollution. It integrates three important goals — maintaining the health of the environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Sustainable agriculture is based on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without harming or compromising the future needs of the next generation. Farmers are embracing various industrial models and ecology-based approaches such as bio-intensive, holistic, regenerative, alternative, biodynamic and low-input farming systems and tools such as

— your backyard, in your community or in a small piece of land that is just beside your house. This change had a significant hand in elevating the quality, flavor and nutrition content of the produce.

With traditional large-scale farming, crops have to be transported over long distances which can destroy perishable food products. Most of the time, the vegetables and fruit are plucked without allowing them to ripen so that they can withstand long-distance travel. Soil infertility, water pollution and shortage, and food security issues are some common issues which small-scale farming addresses as all food is grown and distributed within short distances. Everyone who grows crops gets a fair share of the price, boosting the local economy.

Beginning of Sustainable Agriculture:

The crux of small scale farming is achieving sustainability. Sustainable agriculture focuses on producing abundant food without depleting the necessary resources of our planet or causing any pollution. It integrates three important goals — maintaining the health of the environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Sustainable agriculture is based on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without harming or compromising the future needs of the next generation. Farmers are embracing various industrial models and ecology-based approaches such as bio-intensive, holistic, regenerative, alternative, biodynamic and low-input farming systems and tools such as livestock scales, truck scales, etc., as a part of sustainable agriculture. It also helps in promoting biodiversity, integrating crop and livestock enterprises, preventing soil erosion, recycling plant nutrients, conserving water and growing crops using minimum tillage in addition to achieving optimized farming operations

Though sustainability is important, it is equally essential to be profitable to have a healthy income and a good quality of life. Sustainable practices lend themselves to small-scale farms, which in turn sell within the local food systems and often directly to the consumers. This is where the biggest challenges of sustainable agriculture lie— creating new markets and serving them. Despite the challenges, the future lies in small scale farming and sustainable agriculture.

Kevin Hill

Author

Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California. He enjoys everything mechanical and electronic, computers, the internet and spending time with family.
Read more by Kevin Hill

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