Agriculture has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Food productivity soared due to new technologies, mechanisation, specialisation and government policies that favoured maximising production. Whereas in the early 1920s a farmer fed three people, in today’s developed countries a farmer may feed up to 140 people. These changes have allowed fewer farmers, with reduced labour, to create food self-sufficiency in a number of western countries.
“We made great strides in the first Green Revolution by bringing improved agricultural techniques, seeds, and technology to poor underdeveloped and developing countries. But in the next 50 years we are going to have to produce more food than we have in the last 10,000 years, and that is a daunting task.” Norman E. Borlaug, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, father of the ‘Green Revolution’, ”credited by The Economist with saving hundreds of millions of lives, more than any other person who has ever lived”. (Source: CAST)
Sustainable agricultural practices can allow us to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:
HealthforAnimals supports efforts to produce safe, quality food at an affordable price in a manner that maintains both the environment and animal welfare in the following ways:
Improved animal health products and technologies. Animal health greatly influences reproductive success and growth rate, two key aspects of successful livestock production. Unhealthy animals often waste feed and require additional labour inputs. The OIE has reported that diseases in food producing animals globally amount to a loss of 20% in production.
Increased livestock productivity. Optimised genetics and animal health programmes enable farms to produce more food with reduced natural resource inputs (feed, water, energy, soil) and less waste outputs (manure, CO2 production).
Rural Community Development. Rural communities are commonly characterised by economic and environmental deterioration. The reasons for the decline are complex, but changes in farm structure have played a significant role. Sustainable agriculture practices, including optimised animal health, may improve the economic viability of farms and rural communities presenting an opportunity for environmental improvements.