Download Crisis & opportunity: sustainability in American agriculture by John E. Ikerd PDF

By John E. Ikerd

With the decline of kin farms and rural groups and the increase of company farming and the ensuing environmental degradation, American agriculture is in predicament. yet this problem bargains the chance to reconsider agriculture in sustainable phrases. right here probably the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this suggests. those attractive essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it all started, and the way it might probably be successful. jointly they represent a transparent and compelling imaginative and prescient for rebalancing the ecological, monetary, and social dimensions of agriculture to fulfill the desires of the current with out compromising the future. In situation and chance, John E. Ikerd outlines the results of agricultural industrialization, then info the tools which can fix fiscal viability, ecological soundness, and social accountability to our agricultural approach and hence verify sustainable agriculture because the origin of a sustainable nutrients procedure and a sustainable society. (20081101)

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Sample text

The complete corporatization of American agriculture would remove the last vestiges of the American family farm. Corporatization takes the family, and even the farmer, out of the agricultural production process. Farmers are inclined to do things their way, whereas in corporate production, it is the corporate way or no way. And spouses or children certainly have no place in a corporate business operation. The corporate producer can’t afford special considerations given to neighbors or community or to stewardship of the environment.

Change may not come quickly and it may not come easily, but change will come. American agriculture fifty years from now will be fundamentally different from agriculture today; the question is not if, but how. The challenge is to change it in ways that will better serve the long-term needs of people — consumers, farmers, rural residents, and society in general — rather than the short-run economic needs of corporations. The challenge is to develop an agriculture that is ecologically sound and socially responsible so that it can also be economically viable.

Nearly all larger farms either rely on rented land or hired labor, or are contract operations. However, I simply do not believe that a true family farm can be defined in terms of dollars of sales or percentages of land, labor, capital, or management provided by a family. A true family farm is one in which the farm and the family are inseparable parts of the same whole. If a farm is run as a separate business enterprise that simply earns income for the family, it is not a family farm. If the organization and management of the farm doesn’t reflect the preferences, abilities, and aspirations of the members of the family, it is not a family farm.

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