Sustainable Agriculture and Industrial Agriculture.

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Industrial Farming and Sustainable Farming

There are different methods of farming that farmers practice all around the world. Two of the popular and widely practiced techniques are Sustainable Agriculture and Industrial Agriculture.

Farmers all around the world have to select the type of farming that best suits the local physical environment and their demand and supply chain.

They also consider which produce will make the most money.

All around the world, there are 570 million farms, most of which are small and family-operated.

Small farms with land less than the area of 2 hectares operate about 12%, and family farms, comprising about 75% of the world’s total agriculture.

However, modern farms in the developed countries use hight mechanized technology, livestock may be raised on rangeland and finished in feedlots.

And the mechanization of crop production has decreases the number of farmers required.

In this article, we will discuss Sustainable Farming and Agricultural Farming and the 7 difference which differentiate them.

Industrial Farming

Industrial Farming also refers to intensive farming and Industrial Agriculture.

In this type of farming, both crops, and animals with higher levels of input and output per unit of agriculture land are cultivated and produced.

Moreover, it is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labor, and higher crop yields per unit land area.

Industrial Farming and Sustainable Farming 1

Industrial farming is a type of Intensive farming and is characterized by innovations to increase the yield and produce of both crops and farm animals.

These techniques include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years, and improving cultivars.

Moreover, the use of fertilizers is great, plant growth regulators and pesticides, and mechanized agriculture and is controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions.

These farms are widespread in developed countries. Most of the meat, dairy products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables today come from Industrial Farms.

Moreover, this type of animal farming involves a large number of animals that farmers raise on a small or limited land.

This method increases the yields of the food and fiber per acre than extensive animal husbandry.

Moreover, the animals seldom move and the graze is brought to them.

Techniques of Industrial Farming

Intensive or industrial farming of crops and animals uses different techniques and technologies which increase the output of both.

Intensive animal farming involves the use of pasture intensification, rational grazing, and concentrated animal feeding operations.

Industrial Farming and Sustainable Farming 3

However, industrial farming for crops utilizes modified seeds, crop rotation, irrigation, weed control, terracing, and rice paddies.

This farming technique is also applicable in aquaculture i.e. fish Farming. This takes place on land using tanks, ponds, or other systems in which different factors are under control, or in oceans or cages.

Sustainable Farming

This type of farming involves the use of sustainable ways of meeting the needs of the people.

Without compromising on different environmental and animal or crop growth factors.

Moreover, it depends on the understanding of the ecosystems of agriculture.

There are different ways to increase the sustainability of agriculture.

Agriculture all around the world has an enormous environmental footprint, playing an important role in causing climate change, water scarcity, land degradation, deforestation, and other processes.

Industrial Farming and Sustainable Farming 4

Moreover, it is affecting the climate and in turn, the climate is affecting these changes.

The development of sustainable food systems contributes to the sustainability of the human population.

For instance, one of the best ways to mitigate climate change is to create sustainable food systems that are based on sustainable agriculture.

This provides a potential solution that enables agricultural systems to feed a growing population within the changing environmental conditions.

Methods of Sustainable Farming

Methods of Sustainable farming include a diverse number of potential crops in a single field.

Each of which will grow separately in different seasons so they do not have to compete for natural resources.

This system results in increased resistance to diseases and decreased effects of soil erosion and loss of important nutrients.

Moreover, these methods of weed management may also help to reduce the development of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Industrial Farming and Sustainable Farming 5

There are also different ways to practice animal husbandry.

One of which is grazing management includes sensing off the grazing area into smaller areas, i.e. paddocks, lowering the stock density, and moving the cattle between the paddocks.

After stating Industrial and Sustainable farming and their methods, let us now discuss the key differences.

But first, let us discuss the industrializing of agriculture and its impact.

Agricultural Industrialization

After World War II, many farmers started to believe that processing, scientific engineering, and other laboratory interventions will make products safer.

As well as healthier, more nutritious, and more trustworthy than natural ones.

With living through the great depression worldwide, industrial farming seemed a better option for food productions but also critical for feeding the growing population.

To meet the demand and supply chain needs, many business groups proposed different policies that aimed to replace small owed family farms with medium-sized self-sustaining farms that would produce the same amount of food more efficiently.

As farms and fields were expanding, farming methods changed.

As well, moving towards specialization, mechanization, and ever-increasing reliance on fossil fuels.

Tractors and other equipment got bigger, chemical fertilizers revolutionized crop yields, improved irrigation forced dry areas into production.

Moreover, animals were moved into controlled confinement, and seed genes began to be spliced.

Impact of Industrial Agriculture

Industrial agriculture aimed to meet the increasing demands of the growing populations and to ensure a cheap, safe food supply worldwide.

However, it did not solve the hunger issues worldwide and according to one study, in the US, nearly 16 million households experienced food insecurity in 2015.

Moreover, the cheap grains have led to the proliferation of high sugar, high fat, meat-rich diet around the world.

It has created a massive public health crisis as heart disease and diabetes cases have increased.

7 Key Differences of Sustainable and Industrial Farming

In general, the biggest difference between sustainable and industrial farms are the size of the operations, the amount of pollution, the effect on the environment, and the quality of food you get.

To understand it more specifically, let us do a detailed comparison of Sustainable and Industrial farming.

These are on health, antibiotics and hormones, environment, water, pesticides and fertilizers, animal welfare, and climate changes along with the use of fossil fuels.

Let us discuss these differences one by one.

Health

Industrial Farming: Industrial crops contain more or an increase in the number of nitrates and are often sprayed with pesticides.

Unsanitary conditions on factory farms and in industrial slaughterhouses cause a high level of meat contamination, which can lead to food poisoning.

According to a study, in the US, food-borne illness sicken about 76 million people and causes 325,000 hospitalizations, and kills approx. 5,000 people every year.

health

Sustainable Farming: In this type, farmers grow food with minimal or no use of pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.

It can be healthier and more nutritious than industrial farming produce.

Organic food has been found to have high levels of antioxidants, which eventually help to fight certain types of cancer.

Some types of organic crops contain Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.

Antibiotics and Hormones

Industrial Farming: In this type of farming, farmers give a low dose of antibiotics to the animals daily.

In order to ward off illness and diseases and can develop from unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.

Moreover, this contributes to creating problems like antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans.

Both antibiotics and hormones are used in this type of farming to make animals grow faster.

hormones

Sustainable Farming: In this farming, they give antibiotics to animals only when they are sick, however, they do not give them hormones.

Environment

Industrial Farming: Industrial farming techniques and methods are responsible for massive topsoil erosion, depletion.

As well as pollution of underground water supplies, and the reduction of genetic diversity.

These farms also pollute the air, surface water, and soil with animal waste, hazardous gases, toxic chemicals, and harmful pathogens.

environment

Sustainable Farming: This farming technique protects the natural environment, with farms managed in responsible ways.

They also maintained the fertility of the land and preserve resources for future generations.

They also use organic waste as fertilizers and do not raise more animals than their land can handle.

Water

Industrial Farming: This method pollutes groundwater i.e. aquifers, and underground springs, and surface water.

These include streams, lakes, and oceans from the excess application of fertilizers and pesticides and mostly affects small areas.

Furthermore, due to confinement in one area, farmers need to use excess water to clean the area in which the animals stay.

water usage

Sustainable Farming: These convert the scarce water resources and protect local water systems.

Moreover, animals are raised on pastures and provide hay floor covering if indoors in a barn, so that the massive amounts of water are not necessary for cleaning.

Pesticides and Fertilizers

Industrial Farming: In this type, they use, large amounts of chemical pesticides to eliminate bugs and insects.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about one billion tons of pesticides.

This is an attempt to nourish the soil because growing one crop in the same soil destroys soil fertility.

pesticides and fertilizers

Sustainable Farming: These farms utilize no or less amount of pesticides and only when they are necessary.

Sustainable farmers will plant different crops together to discourage destructive insects and plant flowers and other plants that attract beneficial insects.

Moreover, diverse planting also helps to maintain excellent soil health so that they require less chemical fertilizers.

Animal Welfare

Industrial Farming: In this type, farmers tend to keep the family in the farms alone, in which they stay in tight spaces.

Furthermore, they are unable to carry out normal behavior. They suffer from different illnesses, deformities, and stress.

animal welfare

Sustainable Farming: Animals have more space to move and carry out their natural behaviors on this type of farm.

Moreover, farmers let the animals move freely and they do not stay in just one place.

Climate Change and Fossil Fuel

Industrial Farming: Industrial farms and factories use large amounts of fossil fuels to process, pack and transport food, as well as for machinery and as ingredients as fertilizers.

Therefore, the excess use of fossil fuels contributes to the increased changes in climate.

climate change

Sustainable Farming: In this type, farmers are able to sell food locally

Which helps to cut down on long-distance travel and needless processing and packaging.

Moreover, the use of chemical fertilizers is less, and if used, is because the farms tend to grow different types of crops closely together, and they carry out harvesting by hand.

These responsible manners keep the carbon in the soil, thus, not contributing to climate change.

Conclusion

When you consider side by side Sustainable Agriculture and Industrial Agriculture, it becomes obvious that sustainable food production is a better choice than industrial farming.

The point of this article is to help make a better decision for you and your family and there are many factors to take into account, like price, taste, quality, access, and so forth.

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