Agriculture must strive to find a balance between doing business and its effects.Ways to Increase Affordability
One way of ensuring how agriculture is affordable is through integrated pest management (IPM). Pests are part of the agricultural landscape, making chemical use unavoidable. However, the IPM approach can offer ways to reduce pesticide use to make agriculture more affordable while increasing profit.
Prevention is one part of IPM. Simple practices such as rotating crops can reduce pest control costs while improving soil quality. For example, pests specific to corn crops can be eliminated by replacing the host plants like corn with non-host plants such as soybeans.A farmer can plant corn one year, and then follow up with soybeans. Without corn planted, the pests specific to these plants will die off. The nitrogen-fixing properties of soybeans will enrich the soil with nitrogen so that the farmer does not have to fertilize. The farmer benefits by saving costs, and the environment benefits because chemical use was avoided.
Other ways include proper use of pesticides when needed. Using a pesticide specific to the pest species can prevent economic loss of non-targeted plants. Correct timing of pesticide application can increase their effectiveness and reduce costs associated with spraying during less effective times of the year.
A farmer can also choose pest-resistant varieties to reduce costs.
Transportation CostsTapping into local markets can help farmers reduce costs associated with transportation. Consumers are better educated about the benefits of local produce and see their value.
Innovative Ways to Increase Profit
Alternative energy also offers ways for farmers to reduce their costs and benefit the environment. Leasing land for wind turbines provides farmers with an extra source of income. Federal and state tax incentive programs can further improve agriculture’s affordability.
Planning and assessment of current farming operations can determine agriculture’s affordability. In a nutshell, the farmer’s task is to prevent economic loss while finding ways to increase their income.