Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 1 (2):109-121 (1988)
|Abstract||The necessity of incorporating societal and environmental concerns into publicly funded agricultural initiatives in research, extension, and practice is increasingly evident. Agriculturalists are urged to acknowledge and respond to societal concerns before an insensitive and largely ill-informed urban majority assumes a dominant posture in agricultural policy. In recent history, the availability of unrealistically cheap energy encouraged the evolution of a form of commercial agriculture unfettered by sound ecological principles. At present, external, resource-intensive intervention of increasing magnitude is needed to compensate for the apparent ecological instability generated by practices such as intensive cereal management or conservation tillage practices. Polarization of the enterprises of plant and animal agriculture to enable centralized, concentrate-intensive, confinement feeding has disrupted the natural cycling of nutrients and carbon in the soil, encouraged the withdrawal of perennial forages from crop rotations, and invoked a widely ramifying network of agricultural and societal problems. Solutions to these problems must evolve from a holistic and far-reaching appraisal of causes, rather than from a piecemeal approach to individual symptoms.|
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