F.Cardoso - Sustainable Farming -
Fernando Penteado Cardoso*
The dictionaries say that sustainable means “that which sustains itself”, which persists, is permanent, which perpetuates itself. Sustainable farming is agricultural or livestock activity that provides stability and continuity. To achieve this stability, agriculture needs a suitable climate and fertile ground. Crops and livestock need to adapt to the local climate, which can occasionally be changed through irrigation and adjustments to crops in greenhouses. When the soil is infertile, it can be improved by adding nutrients. This new fertility can be maintained by continuously replacing the carbon dislodged by biological activity and the exported or leeched nutrients. Environmental changes must be controlled, especially erosion and dust. Runoff damages the relief, wastes nutrients, silts lowlands and contaminates water. It also undermines water sources because of a lack of infiltration. Clouds of particulates transport pesticides to unwanted locations and spread nematodes. No till planting improves and maintains fertility, avoids environmental damage and protects water sources. Agriculture needs to be efficient in order to be profitable. Producers need technology, inputs, machinery, energy sources and service contractors, alongside financing, and the knowledge to use them properly. In addition to production and environmental factors, farming also depends on transport and markets, as well as social issues such as comfort, education, healthcare, security for persons and property, life insurance and a community environment that engenders satisfaction with life in general. Natural, technological, economic, social and human factors operate together to drive sustainable farming. *Senior Agronomist, USP-ESALQ 1936 - Founder and former chairman of Manah S.A. (fertilizers and beef cattle). President of the Agrisus – Sustainable Farming Foundation.

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