Trending in Agriculture: #Sustainability

by Erin Beck

January 26, 2016

It’s the hot topic across many industries today, and agriculture is no exception. The problem is that as sustainability has grown in popularity, it’s turned into a generalized concept.

To clear up the fog floating around the perception of sustainability, let’s clarify what we’re talking about.

What makes sustainability sustainable?

Sustainability is a mindset. It’s a perspective that holistically meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.

From an agricultural and food production standpoint, sustainability revolves around three key principles:

  • Ecological: stewardship of the environment
  • Economic: long-term profitability
  • Social: quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities

It isn’t just about preserving the earth’s resources. It’s about conserving and enhancing the earth’s resources so that everyone benefits.

Sustainability embraces the big picture. Conserving the environment is critical, and that includes soil health, water safety, plant and wildlife diversity, air quality and the preservation of nonrenewable resources.

Ensuring the success of farmers and ranchers that steward the land is also vital in sustainability. If growers aren’t rewarded economically for their efforts in improving the health of the soil and the water, they’ll be financially unable to carry out conservation practices.

The societal impacts of sustainability are just as important. Agricultural production doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

Even though the overwhelming majority of people are disconnected from agricultural practices today, everyone is impacted by food production and environmental health. Agricultural practices that are ecologically sound will be supported by society in the long-term.

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