26 Oct '11, 11am

Farming with a smaller footprint: Why it matters

Farming with a smaller footprint: Why it matters

A no-till seeder at work on a long-term conservation agriculture (CA) trial plot Photo: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Conservation is an important part of federal farm funding -- the laws that shape what, where and how we grow our food. And yet, if the negotiations around the 2012 Farm Bill go as predicted, funding for conservation is in grave danger. Why does conservation on farms matter? Well, for starters, most large-scale agriculture is a disruptive endeavor . It requires farmers to plow under native flora and replace it with giant monocultures of annual crops, and then coddle those crops by irrigating them and applying fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides -- all ecologically damaging technologies. There are ways to farm better, to wash away less soil and use fewer dangerous chemicals. But farming with a lighter footprint often costs more than it b...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/farm-bill/2011-10-26-farming-with-a-...

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