In an era of climate change hysteria, diminishing natural resources, discussions about food security and political posturing, the word shouting out at us from every angle is “sustainability”.
What does it mean in the context of our agricultural industry?
Wikipedia defines sustainable agriculture as the practice of farming using the principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It is an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site specific application that lasts over the long term.
Defra talks about “ensuring the continuing availability to the consumer of adequate supplies of wholesome, varied and reasonably priced food, produced within accordance with generally accepted environmental and social standards”.
To my simple way of thinking, sustainable farming is about producing more food per hectare with reduced inputs (particularly of fossil fuel based products) and with due regard for the environment.
LEAF has been demonstrating this for years – it’s called Integrated Farm Management.
What’s your definition of sustainable agriculture?
About the author
Stephen Fell is LEAF’s Chairman and Managing Director of the family farming business HR Fell and Sons Ltd, running a flock of 1000 sheep and growing root crops at Thorganby in the Vale of York. He is also Managing Director of Lindum Turf, a business growing and marketing a range of turf and specialist grass and wildflower products.