What is sustainable agriculture and what are the different sustainable agriculture practices? (A list) - Best meets reality (2023)

In this guide we have described the following:

– What is sustainable agriculture

– Areas and objectives of sustainable agriculture

– A list of some of the different sustainable farming practices and methods

– Some of the potential benefits of sustainable agriculture (althoughThis guide to the pros and cons of sustainable agriculture describes more about the potential benefits, but also potential drawbacks and challenges.)

Summary: What is sustainable agriculture and a list of different sustainable agriculture practices?

What is sustainable agriculture?

There may be different definitions of sustainable agriculture and different aspects of it.

We have outlined some of these possible definitions and some of these aspects in the guide below.

List of some of the different sustainable farming practices/methods

Sustainable agricultural practices and methods may include, but are not limited to:

cover crops

crop rotation


No-till, reduced-till or conservation tillage (and minimization of foot traffic)

green manure

Integrated Pest Management (and Biological Pest Control)

integrate cattle


Drip irrigation and more efficient irrigation systems

drains, dampers, terraces

Other practices and strategies

First of all, what is sustainable agriculture?

There may be differing views among different groups on what qualifies as sustainable agriculture.

One way to describe sustainable agriculture might be in terms of farming practices and systems that can be sustained over the long term.

However, wikipedia.org has a different way of defining sustainable agriculture: "Sustainable agriculture is farming in a sustainable way that meets society's current food and textile needs without compromising the ability of present or future generations to meet their needs, they also delve into the definitions, principles of sustainable agriculture, etc.

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Therefore, a key principle of sustainable agriculture could be to balance short- and long-term needs and objectives related to agricultural production.

Priorities for sustainable agriculture

It is worth noting that we previously wrote guidance on the potential negative impacts of farming.the environment and sustainable use of resources,people and economy, Yanimals and wildlife.

sustainable agriculture canplace more emphasis on environmental, resource management, social and wildlife indicators than in conventional agriculture.

You can still focus on making sustainable farming profitable and economically viable and having enough production to meet demand.

But there could be a much more balanced balance of these priorities, instead of making one much more important than the other.

In summary, sustainable agriculture can lead to sustainable results in the following areas:

- Environment

It may involve the prevention of general environmental degradation after a specific point (eg.ecological planetary boundaries, or past uncertain or unwanted pollution levels – locally speaking).

However, they can also be specific to individual environmental indicators, e.g. B. Air pollution, water pollution, land and soil pollution and degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, waste pollution, etc.

- Economic

It can refer to the economy or agribusiness as a whole.

But it can also refer to profit/revenue, production, consumer prices, etc.

- Social

It can refer to the needs of the population as a whole.

But they can also relate to the needs, working conditions and quality of life of farmers, farm workers and people involved in agriculture.

The independence and sovereignty of farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs could also be taken into account.

– Contribution to the sustainable use of resources

Like natural resources such as farmland, topsoil, and fresh water

But also non-natural and non-renewable agricultural inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers.

Possible objectives of sustainable agriculture

Different views on what sustainable agriculture should be can lead to different views on what the goals should be and how they should be pursued and managed..

Sustainable agriculture may have specific objectives that include, but are not limited to:

– Satisfy the population's demand for food, fiber and other agricultural products and consider how agricultural products can be made available in a healthy and affordable way to consumers.

– Use of less toxic/noxious (and less persistent) fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural chemicals

– Maintain topsoil depth, maintain topsoil health and fertility (soil structure, nutrients, etc.) and prevent soil erosion and degradation. Degraded land and soil can become unusable or lead to reduced yields

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– More efficient use of irrigation water and use of rainfed crops whenever possible. Essentially, it is about addressing water scarcity and water scarcity issues.

– Reduce energy consumption or meet energy needs with cleaner energy (possibly sourcing and selling locally and using more green energy sources)

– Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

– Achieve reasonable yields and production

– Generate reasonable income/profit for farmers

– Maintain the quality of life and working conditions of farmers and agricultural workers

– In some cases, where possible, use natural or regenerative processes (rather than processes involving synthetic chemicals and processes that rely heavily on man-made technology).

Cottonedon.org provides more information on what some of the characteristics of sustainable agriculture might be:

To maintain a production method in the long term (and therefore make it sustainable), healthy and climate-resilient soils must be preserved, seed and wildlife biodiversity promoted, and farmers' livelihoods protected.

The system must not depend on non-renewable resources such as artificial fertilizers and pesticides.

Any type of monoculture that uses non-renewable synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and genetically modified Bt seeds cannot be considered environmentally safe by any reasonable definition.

A list of various sustainable farming practices and methods.

Farmers can implement sustainable farming practices, or they could implement multiple practices in a holistic approach aimed at getting the different farming ecosystems to work together: soil, water, green compost and manure, agroforestry, crops, etc.

Below is a list of some of the different sustainable farming methods, a description of what they entail and, in some cases, the potential benefits of the method.

This is not an exhaustive list; there may be many more than are listed here.

cover crops

A crop or plant grown specifically to protect the soil from wind and water erosion and to enrich the soil with nutrients.

Terraces and temporary "cover crops" have helped reduce soil erosion by more than 40 percent over a period of several decades in some cases, according to one source.

crop rotation

Planting different crops in the same area (instead of the same crop) season after season.

This exposes the soil to various nutrients, increasing soil health and reducing the risk of certain pests and diseases.

According to an ongoing study, complex crop rotation systems can outperform traditional monocultures in both yield and profitability.


Polycultures differ from monocultures.

Polyculture involves growing different crops in the same area at the same time, as opposed to just one type of crop.

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Polyculture can have benefits similar to crop rotation.

No-till, reduced-till or conservation tillage (and minimum tillage)

The logic behind tillage is that the more frequent and intensive the tillage, the more the health and structure of the soil can be compromised (and the more erosion can occur).

Reduced or conservation tillage or tail-less practices preserve the soil.

It can include sowing seeds by machine, using plants that tolerate compacted soil, and using biological pest control, so you don't need to disturb the soil as often.

According to one source, no-tillage combined with the use of cover crops can reduce economic or cost loss from soil erosion.

A similar principle to no-till or reduced-till is to minimize foot traffic on the soil; this has a similar effect as the ground does not break.

green manure

The use of more environmentally friendly fertilizers such as manure, compost, and recycled or decaying organic matter to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.

This is compared to usingsynthetic fertilizers, which can have their own production footprint and environmental issues.

Integrated pest management and biological pest control

Biological or mechanical control of pests and diseases.

This is compared to usingsynthetic pesticides and herbicides, which may have their own production footprint and environmental issues.

But that should be notedPesticides derived from natural ingredients or compounds are not always safe, as described for organic cotton..

integrate cattle

The integration of livestock into arable agriculture can be advantageous.

They can provide manure as a natural fertilizer, but also by rotating between soils, their hooves can naturally till and stir the soil without eroding it.


The practice of integrating trees into agricultural systems.

Trees can have many benefits.

Planting trees can be very beneficial for already degraded land or poverty-stricken agricultural areas.

Trees provide the soil with protection from the sun and rain, but they also add nutrients to the soil, can be used for timber, and sequester carbon.

Some trees also grow fruit and other food that can be sold or eaten.

LookExamples of land restoration from around the world may provide further evidence of how planting trees can promote land and soil health..

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Drip irrigation and more irrigation systems that save water

Drip irrigation is a way to conserve water and nutrients by dripping water directly into the root zone.

In addition to using water more efficiently, this can have the side effect of using less fertilizer.

Beyond drip irrigation, other irrigation efficiency improvements can also help conserve freshwater resources.

drains, dampers, terraces

Soil erosion by water can occur when crops and fields are not drained properly

The top layer of soil is discharged into rivers, streams, etc.

Drains, buffers, and terracing are tools for sustainable crop growing: they can help divert water and keep soil in the crop field where it's needed.

Other practices, principles and strategies

Other resources that mention practices, principles and strategies that contribute to sustainable agriculture are listed below:

Grassland strips (natural ecosystem strips), buffer strips, no-till beneficial microbes, and continued research on ecosoils can contribute to more sustainable agriculture(See the bbc.com resource in this guide for these specific examples)

In this guide, we cite soils.org and list the land management practices they have identified that could reduce the likelihood of land/soil desertification

– a nivel individual,Sustainable food production can also include urban gardens where people grow some of their own vegetables and food in their backyards., or in community gardens)

– Some people have also suggested being clear about which agricultural products are the most resource intensive and least polluting, and reducing production of those that are most unsustainable and polluting. some kinds ofBeef production could be an example of a resource-intensive food product with several potential environmental impacts to consider.

Sustainable farming compared to other farming methods

keep readingon sustainable farming practices compared to other types of farming in this guide


1. https://theweek.com/articles/554677/america-running-soil

2. https://www.farmprogress.com/soil-health/economics-soil-loss

3. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2013-09-30/soil-erosion-tasmania-high-rainfall/4988140

4. https://www.ucsusa.org/food-agriculture/advance-sustainable-agriculture/what-is-sustainable-agriculture

5. https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/why-soil-is-disappearing-from-farms/

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_agriculture

7. http://www.cottonedon.org/FAQS

Heim»information guide»What is sustainable agriculture and what are the different practices of sustainable agriculture? (A list)

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What is sustainable agriculture? ›

“Sustainable agriculture” as legally defined in U.S. Code Title 7, Section 3103 means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long term: Satisfy human food and fiber needs.

What is the definition of sustainable agriculture quizlet? ›

sustainable agriculture. Farming methods that preserve long-term productivity of land and minimize pollution, typically by rotating soil- restoring crops with cash crops and reducing in-puts of fertilizer and pesticides.

What is an example of a sustainable agriculture practice? ›

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in water rather than soil. Vertical farms stack crops vertically in trays or towers rather than planting them low along the ground.

What are 10 sustainable practices? ›

Keep reading for 12 sustainability practices you can do at home.
  • Avoid Disposable Items. ...
  • Reduce Your Food Waste. ...
  • Make Your Own Cleaning Products. ...
  • Grow a Sustainable Garden. ...
  • Buy Products with Less Packaging. ...
  • Recycle Properly. ...
  • Take Meat Off the Menu. ...
  • Buy Less, Buy Better.

What are the 5 sustainable practices activities? ›

Below are five sustainable practices that can become habits to make your lifestyle greener.
  • Reuse Paper and Plastic Bags for Shopping. ...
  • Opt for Paperless Documents. ...
  • Avoid Disposable Kitchen Items. ...
  • Use Eco-friendly Bathroom and Household Cleaning Products. ...
  • Recycle Old Sneakers.

What is sustainable agriculture Why is it important? ›

By adopting sustainable practices, farmers will reduce their reliance on nonrenewable energy, reduce chemical use and save scarce resources. Keeping the land healthy and replenished can go a long way when considering the rising population and demand for food.

What is sustainable agriculture answers? ›

What is sustainable farming? Sustainable farming is the practice of incorporating initiatives into farming and agricultural work that allow farms to maintain their productivity and usefulness to society indefinitely. Throughout the process of sustainable farming, it is important not to compromise production output.

Why is sustainable agriculture so important? ›

In addition to preserving the earth's natural resources, sustainable agriculture benefits the environment through helping maintain soil quality, reducing erosion, and preserving water.

What is an example of a sustainable agriculture practice quizlet? ›

Planting different crops on a given plot of land every few years to maintain soil fertility and reduce pest outbreaks. Alternating different crops in adjacent strips, several rows wide; helps keep pest populations low.

What are sustainability practices What are some examples? ›

Life below water: Avoiding the use of plastic bags to keep the oceans clean. Life on land: Planting trees to help protect the environment. Responsible consumption and production: Recycling items such as paper, plastic, glass and aluminum. Sustainable cities and communities: Biking, walking or using public ...

What is the best method of sustainable agriculture? ›

Crop Rotation In Sustainable Agriculture

Crop rotation implies planting different crop types in a specific sequence, ensuring crop diversity in sustainable agriculture and being a more rational approach to farming than monoculture.

What is the best sustainable agriculture? ›

Crop rotation leads to healthier soil and improved pest control methods besides promoting diversity. Intercropping and growing cover crops prevent soil erosion and also helps replenish nutrients along with minimising weeds. Managing irrigation to reduce runoff is another practice that helps prevent soil erosion.

What are the key factors of sustainable agriculture? ›

Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

What are 3 sustainability practices? ›

Sustainability's three main pillars represent the environment, social responsibility, and the economic. (These three pillars are also informally referred to as people, planet, purpose, and profits.)

What are the best sustainable practices? ›

  • Think twice before shopping.
  • Make sure your big purchases have big environmental benefits.
  • Go #PlasticFree.
  • Boycott products that endanger wildlife.
  • Pay attention to labels.
  • Be water wise.
  • Drive less, drive green.
  • Green your home.

What is the most sustainable practice? ›

Consider Renewable Energy

One of the most ambitious sustainable business practices is investing in renewable energy. Using renewable energy can significantly lower your company's carbon footprint, depending on the dominant power source in your region.

What are the five 5 importance of sustainable development? ›

Importance of Sustainable Development

All Countries should meet their basic needs of employment, food, energy, water, and sanitation. Everybody is rightful to a healthy, safe, and clean environment. This can be easily achieved by reducing pollution, poverty, and unemployment.

What are the six 6 basic environmental sustainability principles? ›

These include social equity, economic viability, and environmental protection. Similarly, there are six factors involved in this concept, which are climate change, environment, innovation, technology, people, and ethics. Examples of environmental sustainability are all around us.

What are sustainable practices? ›

Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.

What are the 7 agricultural practices? ›

The 7 steps involved in agricultural practices are mentioned below:
  • Ploughing.
  • Sowing.
  • Adding nutrients.
  • Irrigation.
  • Protecting plants.
  • Harvesting.
  • Storage.

What is the most common agricultural practice? ›

The most abundant type of agriculture practiced around the world is intensive subsistence agriculture, which is highly dependent on animal power, and is commonly practiced in the humid, tropical regions of the world.

What are the important agricultural practices? ›

The common agricultural practices include the following: Preparation of soil. Sowing. Addition of fertilisers and manures.

What are the different methods of sustainable agriculture? ›

Elements of sustainable agriculture can include permaculture, agroforestry, mixed farming, multiple cropping, and crop rotation.

What is sustainable and example? ›

The foundations of environmental sustainability are: safeguarding water, saving energy, reducing waste, using recyclable packaging, limiting or eliminating the use of plastics, using sustainable transport, reusing paper and protecting flora and fauna.

What are the different types of sustainability? ›

The four main types of sustainability are human, social, eco- nomic and environmental.

What is sustainable agriculture and why is it important? ›

Sustainable agricultural practices are intended to protect the environment, expand the Earth's natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility. Based on a multi-pronged goal, sustainable agriculture seeks to: Increase profitable farm income. Promote environmental stewardship.

What is the goal of sustainable agriculture? ›

Sustainable agriculture must nurture healthy ecosystems and support the sustainable management of land, water and natural resources, while ensuring world food security.


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