By Dave White, Ohio Livestock Coalition
A couple of months ago I attended two professional conferences about animal agriculture where they used the “S” word and the “T” word throughout both of them, the “S word being “sustainability” and the “T” word being transparency.
When you hear the term “sustainability” being used in agricultural circles, what comes to mind? Is there a definition that we can all agree upon? Are we all talking about the same thing?
When I “searched” for a definition for sustainable agriculture, I came across this: a practice of farming that uses the principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment, an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term to:
- Satisfy human food and fiber needs,
- Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends,
- Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls,
- Sustain the economic viability of farm operations, and
- Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.