What is Sustainable Ag?

edited October 2013 in What Is Sustainable Ag?
It seems there are multiple definitions for "Sustainable Agriculture." How do YOU define it?


  • To me, "sustainable agriculture" means producing a product in a way that works with the land, doing your best to preserve it, maintain it, and improve it for future use.
  • When in doubt, go with the literal definition. So I would say if one is doing something in a "sustainable" way, one is using tools and methods that can be used indefinitely without exhausting available resources or fouling the growing environment. And yes, most of us fall short of that definition; I know I do.
  • Sustainable ag to me is getting your farm to the point you don't need inputs from off farm.Including off farm power or water.
  • One definition I've heard is something like 'providing for the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future'. Doing things in such a way that we do not leave our children with the burden of our pollution and a lack of resources.It makes it real for me to think about how my behavior now is going to effect this child that I love,and this child's children.
  • I see "Sustainable" farming in two major categories. The first is the business side. I would consider a sustainable business as one that can buy, trade and sell while paying for itself entirely. This includes paying for the materials, salaries, taxes and many other commodities and still have money left over to improve the business. The second is the environmental side. I would consider a sustainable Ag business as one that can consume and then replenish in equal or greater amounts that it has taken from the environment. For example, if I cut a tree down to make paper, then I should plant a tree to replace what was taken. If not, we all run out of trees (Eventually).
  • sustainable farming will include all of the previous comments but will also include the following. The agronomy side cannot be isolated from the other aspects. So sustainable farming includes a social perspective, an environmental one, an economic as well as an ethical basis too. When these four "pillars" intersect we have the possibility of being sustainable
  • one aspect many farms miss out on completely is the labor side. many farms i have worked for take advantage of so called cheep intern labor so they can make a buck. if you expect workers to work and make a profit for you, they need to be paid a sufficient living wage. if you are burning up employees every year and just keep bringing in new ones to keep burning them up, you are a long way from sustainable.
Sign In or Register to comment.