Redirecting technology to support sustainable farm management practices
Agricultural technology has increased farm production to unprecedented levels. However, return on investment is diminishing and environmental concerns conflict with current input intensive farm practices. Conventional technologies and their application such as crop breeding and management practices have focused on monocultural systems that are dependent on chemical inputs to produce optimum yields. Current profit margins are low or non-existent with these conventional non-sustainable practices and must be changed if the family farm is to survive. We propose an ecologically based approach to farm management that strives to reduce reliance on chemically intensive inputs through better use of multiple attributes inherent within agroecosystems. This approach requires a redirection in the development and application of current and emerging technologies. Examples of redirections in research and development programs for pest management practices, genetic engineering, and precision agriculture necessary to provide a more ecologically-based and sustainable farming approach are illustrated.
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