There are various definitions of sustainable farming, but they all have three key elements to consider in common, which are environmental protection, social responsibility and economic viability.
Farming on any scale, from the small family holding to the large “agribusiness”, is unquestionably a job for the farmer who wants to farm sustainably, so the most important element to get right is to ensure that the farm is economically viable and can provide an adequate living. for everyone involved.
The costs of food production include seed, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel and transportation costs, as well as land prices if the farmer wants to grow, and currently arable land prices in the UK have reached a record high, particularly in East Anglia. livestock sells for less than half the price of arable.
The increase in commodity prices of basic necessities such as grain and the demand for basic necessities such as wheat, as well as the competition for land to grow biofuels, explain the rise in arable land prices and also illustrate the dilemmas and pressures faced by farmers.
The situation becomes even more complicated when two other issues of social responsibility and environmental protection are included in the sustainability equation.
Any business must be sensitive to social and consumer pressure if it is to be successful, and there is evidence that consumers, and thus large retail chains, are looking for fresh, natural fruit, vegetables and grains as well as free animal products. From pesticides and other chemical residues.
This demand also affects the environmental aspect of sustainable farming and is affecting farming methods in the UK and Europe.
Most importantly, there is a need to protect the natural resource base on which agriculture depends: and increased production in some places has led to serious concerns about soil erosion, falling soil organic matter levels, increased salinity and heavy metal pollution.
Equally important is reducing air, soil and water pollution from pesticide residues and manure and livestock wastewater. Here too, legislation mandates major changes in farming practices across Europe.
While organic farming is the purest method of protecting the environment, it is possible to achieve sustainable agriculture using products researched and developed by biopesticide developers who work with major manufacturers to provide low chemical agricultural products derived from natural sources. These products play an important role in achieving these environmental protection goals.
There are a number of biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers currently on the market or in the process of being tested, registered and licensed for use.
This is a slow process as regulation has yet to be harmonized even in Europe, but it has the potential to provide at least some of the tools farmers need to farm sustainably.
Sustainable farming requires the harmonious application of all three elements in a way that preserves, preserves and improves the environment, and an acceptable income to the farmer from work, the healthy product that the consumer is increasingly demanding, and the environment. what it all depends on.