Sustainable Agriculture

Powerful Essays
Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture has been a fundamental component of human societies for centuries. It is so fundamental in fact that it is often forgotten by those dependent on its products, but not directly involved in the production. As we enter the 21st century, agriculture is beginning to receive more attention from the general public as the implications of farming are realized and the problem of potential world wide food shortage is addressed. With the future in focus, much of agricultural establishment uses words like biotech, and high-tech to describe their goals for U.S. agriculture. With few exceptions, traditional agriculturalists see a continuing trend of industrial agricultural practices that continue to drive production to fewer, larger, and more specialized production units which are virtually responsible for all stages of the production globally. This increased specialization is dependent on new biological technologies and information technologies at all levels from farms on which the food is produced to the markets where it is distributed.

While these forecasts are legitimate, a growing number of agriculturalists, concerned public, and educators envision a very different future for agriculture. Such a view is represented in the writings of John E. Ikerd, an agricultural economist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri. In his paper, "Sustainable Agriculture: a necessary alternative to industrial agriculture", Ikerd questions whether the guiding trends of agriculture in the past hundred years can continue to be the guiding force of agriculture. He argues the while the tools of the "high-tech" future may be different from the tools of the industrial age, the objectives to specialize, mechan...

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