Over the past twenty years there has been a growing concern about the threats to our general environment. In response to this, the Irish government has developed a national environment policy and new legislation and organisations have been put in place in order to implement this policy.
This policy is based on European Union treaties, directives and regulations, and a key element is the concept of sustainable development.
Sustainable Farm Management
"Sustainable Farm Management" is just one piece in the inter-linking jigsaw of sustainable development, and it may be defined as the day to day decisions, practices and activities that:
- Seek to reduce the impact on the environment both inside and outside the farm gate (e.g. water quality, air quality, waste management, wildlife diversity, noise pollution, and so on)
- Seek to maintain both the short and long term productivity of the farm (soil fertility, water availability, stocking rates, fertiliser and pesticide use, energy efficiency, etc), and
- Have a high regard for animal welfare
In practice this means the day-to-day farm management is guided by the need to:
· Recycle materials on the farm
· Use renewable sources of energy
· Reduce off-farm inputs including synthetic chemicals and fertilisers
· Manage instead of control pests and weeds
· Conserve water, soil, energy and biological resources
· Value the overall health of the farm ecosystem rather than a particular crop
Implementing these basic guidelines will go a long way towards developing a sustainable method of farming.
For an outline on 'Monitoring the sustainability or otherwise of agricultural activities' please click here.
Case Study 4: Sustainable Agriculture
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