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Agriculture in the United States and many other countries is at a critical juncture. To feed a growing world population, producing adequate crop yields is vital but only one of four main goals that must be met for agriculture to be sustainable. The other three are enhancing the environment, making farming financially viable, and contributing to the well-being of farmers and their communities. Conventional farming systems have provided increasing sup-plies of food and other products, but often at the expense of the other three sustainability goals. Alternative systems, such as organic and integrated farming, better blend production, environment, and socio-economic objectives. Yet, no one of these systems alone will produce enough food to feed the planet. Rather, a blend of these innovative farming approaches is needed for future global food and ecosystem security. The slow expansion of such innovative farming systems in the United States and elsewhere is as much a policy and market problem as a science and technology problem. And you, as a consumer, play a vital role in the foods you choose to eat, which in turn can hasten implementation of more sustainable agricultural systems.
Bio- Dr. John Reganold is a Regents Professor of Soil Science at Washington State University. He founded the first organic agriculture major at a university in the United States and one of the nation's largest certified organic teaching farms. His research has appeared in the world's top journals and documented the improved soil health, environmental quality, and economic impacts of organic and other innovative farms on four continents. Each year, thousands of college students learn from his two textbooks, Organic Agriculture: A Global Perspective and Natural Resource Conservation: Management for a Sustainable Future, now in its fourth edition.
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