Farming Sustainably Is About Economic Viability, Social Responsibility and the Environment

Farming Sustainably Is About Economic Viability, Social Responsibility and the Environment

There are various definitions of sustainable farming but all seem to have in common three basic elements that need to be considered and they are environmental protection, social responsibility and Economic viability.

Farming on any scale from the small family holding to the large “agribusiness” is a business so arguably for the farmer wanting to practise sustainable agriculture the most important element to get right is therefore ensuring that the farm is economically viable and can provide an adequate living for all those involved.

The costs of food production include seed, fertiliser, pesticide, fuel and haulage costs as well as land prices should the farmer wish to expand and currently in the UK arable land prices have reached a record high, particularly in East Anglia, while land used for livestock sells at less than half the price of arable.

A surge in commodity prices for basics like grain and in the demand for staples like wheat, as well as the competition for land to grow biofuels, explains the surge in arable land price and also illustrates the kinds of dilemmas and pressures farmers face.

The situation becomes even more complex when the other two issues, of social responsibility and environmental protection are included in the sustainability equation.

Any business has to be responsive to social and consumer pressure if it wants to be successful and there is evidence that consumers, and therefore the large retail chains, are looking for fresh, natural fruit, vegetables and grain as well as animal products that are free from pesticides and other chemical residues.

This demand also plays into the environmental element of sustainable farming and is having an impact on farming methods across the UK and Europe.

Most importantly there is a need to protect the natural resource base on which agriculture depends: and in some locations increased production has led serious concerns about soil erosion, falling soil organic matter levels, rising salinity and heavy metal contamination.

Equally important is reducing air, soil and water pollution from pesticide residues and from fertiliser and livestock effluent run-offs. Here too, legislation is forcing major changes in farming practices across Europe.

While the most purist method of environmental protection is organic farming it is possible to achieve sustainable farming using the products being researched and developed by biopesticides developers, who are teaming up with major producers to provide low-chemical agricultural products derived from natural sources. These products have a significant role in helping to achieve these goals of environmental protection.

Already there is a range of biopesticides, biofungicides and yield enhancers either on the market or in the process of being trialled, registered and licensed for use.

Because regulation is not yet harmonised even across Europe, it is a slow process but the potential for providing at least some of the tools farmers need to farm sustainably is there.

Farming sustainably requires all three elements to be practised in harmony, in a way that can provide the farmer with an acceptable income from the work, the consumer with the healthy produce they increasingly ask for and in a way that protects, preserves and improves the environment on which all this depends.


Farming Sustainably Is About Economic Viability, Social Responsibility and the Environment

Sustainable farming is a holistic approach that takes into account economic, social, and environmental factors. It seeks to balance the needs of the present with the needs of future generations. In this article, we will explore how  farming sustainable is about economic viability, social responsibility, and the environment.

  1. Economic Viability

Sustainable farming practices aim to be economically viable over the long term. This means that farmers must be able to earn a living while also preserving the resources they depend on. Sustainable farmers often use practices such as crop rotation, composting, and integrated pest management to reduce costs and increase yields.

  1. Social Responsibility

Sustainable farming also has a social responsibility component. This includes treating farm workers fairly and providing them with safe working conditions. Sustainable farming practices also aim to support local communities by sourcing inputs locally, selling products locally, and contributing to local economies.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of sustainable farming is its commitment to environmental sustainability. Sustainable farmers aim to preserve the natural resources they depend on, such as soil, water, and air. This can be achieved through practices such as conservation tillage, cover cropping, and the use of renewable energy sources.

  1. Conservation of Biodiversity

Sustainable farming practices also aim to conserve biodiversity. This can be achieved through practices such as crop rotation, which can help to reduce soil erosion and increase soil fertility. Sustainable farmers also seek to reduce their use of pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm beneficial insects and other organisms.

  1. Building Resilience

Sustainable farming practices also aim to build resilience. This means that farmers are better able to withstand challenges such as drought, floods, or pest outbreaks. By building soil health and diversifying their crops, sustainable farmers are better able to adapt to changing conditions and maintain their productivity over the long term.

In conclusion, sustainable farming is about more than just the environment. It is a holistic approach that takes into account economic viability, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. By balancing these three factors, sustainable farmers can create a system that is more resilient, more productive, and more equitable.


Prepare and write by:
Author: Mohammed A Bazzoun
If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask in comments.


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