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Farmers have been pressured to increase production to meet the demand of a growing population. This may require employing more efficient measures to ensure maximum output. Unfortunately, efficiency doesn’t always mesh with sustainability, so commercial operations have had to make some modifications to find a balance between serving the public and protecting the planet.
Green farming utilizes different technology and practices in order to decrease detrimental impact on the environment. According to the farming resource NuFarming, agricultural operations have a significant impact on climate change. Simply adopting some new practices can lessen that impact.
Growing plants are not the only thing on a farm that can benefit from the sun. Farmers can convert a portion or all of their power needs to solar. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are benefits when solar companies and farmers work together. Solar developers reduce installation costs and upfront risk by placing solar modules on previously tilled agricultural land. Vegetation under modules also can contribute to lower soil temperatures and increased solar performance. Agricultural land managers can reduce energy costs and diversify their revenue streams with solar. Plus, they can market products to sustainability-minded customers.
Solar is not the only renewable energy option. Farmers can incorporate wind and hydroelectric power as well.
This farming technique has been used for thousands of years and involves growing different crops in different seasons over a period of time. Farmers reduce the chances for pests and diseases becoming problems in the soil because frequent crop changes prevent invaders from gaining a foothold. Farmers use fewer fertilizers and pesticides as a result.
Hydroponic and Aquaponic Strategies
Farmers can improve productivity while also reducing environmental impact with these two growing methods. NuEnergy states that hydroponic systems grow plants in mineral solutions or in materials like perlite or gravel. Aquaponics involves raising aquatic animals in addition to growing crops. The waste from the fish and other marine life is used to offer nutrients to the plants by growing them in this nutrient-rich water. Both methods remove the need for soil.
Drip irrigation methods deliver water to the roots of plants through a series of pipes or tubes. Because water is not being sprayed into the air through sprinklers and other methods, less is lost to evaporation, and less water overall may be needed to provide for crops.
Plastic seems like it may not have a purpose on the farm, but recycled plastic, which is used in plastic mulch, can help produce plentiful crops with less water. Plastic mulches raise soil temperatures and insulate against evaporation so plants can grow faster and mature sooner. Invasive weeds also may be less likely to take root in plastic mulch or when crops are grown on black plastic.
Farmers can introduce plants that pests tend not to like to reduce reliance on chemical pesticides. For example, interspersing crops with natural bug repellants, such as basil, lavender and lemongrass, may keep insects at bay. Alliums, chrysanthemums, marigolds and other flowers planted nearby also may deter bugs.
Green farming is something more agricultural operations may want to adopt.