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   Water Quality
The most important issues related to water quality involve salinization and contamination of ground and surface waters by pesticides, nitrates and selenium. Salinity has become a problem wherever water of even relatively low salt content is used on shallow soils in arid regions and/or where the water table is near the root zone of crops.

Another way in which agriculture affects water resources is through the destruction of riparian habitats within watersheds. The conversion of wild habitat to agricultural land reduces fish and wildlife through erosion and sedimentation, the effects of pesticides, removal of riparian plants, and the diversion of water. The plant diversity in and around both riparian and agricultural areas should be maintained in order to support a diversity of wildlife. This diversity will enhance natural ecosystems and could aid in agricultural pest management.

Modern agriculture is heavily dependent on non-renewable energy sources, especially petroleum. In sustainable agricultural systems, there is reduced reliance on non-renewable energy sources and a substitution of renewable sources or labor to the extent that is economically feasible.

Many agricultural activities affect air quality. Pesticide drift from spraying; and nitrous oxide emissions from the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Soil erosion continues to be a serious threat to our continued ability to produce adequate food. "Healthy" soil is a key component of sustainability; that is, a healthy soil will produce healthy crop plants that have optimum vigor and are less susceptible to pests. While many crops have key pests that attack even the healthiest of plants, proper soil, water and nutrient management can help prevent some pest problems brought on by crop stress or nutrient imbalance. Furthermore, crop management systems that impair soil quality often result in greater inputs of water, nutrients, pesticides, and/or energy for tillage to maintain yields.

Efficient use of inputs. Many inputs and practices used by conventional farmers are also used in sustainable agriculture. Sustainable farmers, however, maximize reliance on natural, renewable, and on-farm inputs. Equally important are the environmental, social, and economic impacts of a particular strategy.

Growers frequently ask if synthetic chemicals are appropriate in a sustainable farming system. Sustainable approaches are those that are the least toxic and least energy intensive, and yet maintain productivity and profitability.

Consideration of farmer goals and lifestyle choices. Management decisions should reflect not only environmental and broad social considerations, but also individual goals and lifestyle choices. Management decisions that promote sustainability, nourish the environment, the community and the individual.

   The Economic, Social & Political Context
In addition to strategies for preserving natural resources and changing production practices, sustainable agriculture requires a commitment to changing public policies, economic institutions, and social values. Strategies for change must take into account the complex, reciprocal and ever-changing relationship between agricultural production and the broader society.

Food and agricultural policy. Existing federal, state and local government policies often impede the goals of sustainable agriculture. New policies are needed to simultaneously promote environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. For example, commodity and price support programs could be restructured to allow farmers to realize the full benefits of the productivity gains made possible through alternative practices. Marketing orders and cosmetic standards could be amended to encourage reduced pesticide use.

By helping farmers to adopt practices that reduce chemical use and conserve scarce resources, sustainable agriculture research and education can play a key role in building public support for agricultural land preservation. Educating land use planners and decision-makers about sustainable agriculture is an important priority. The close proximity of newly developed residential areas to farms is increasing the public demand for environmentally safe farming practices.

   Consumers and the Food System
Consumers play a critical role in creating a sustainable food system through their purchases. Consumers send strong messages to producers, retailers and others in the system about what they think is important. Food cost and nutritional quality have always influenced consumer choices. The challenge now is to find strategies that broaden consumer perspectives, so that environmental quality, resource use, and social equity issues are also considered in shopping decisions. Source: http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/concept.htm

The argument can be supported that ecoAgra™ Bio Plant Protect is efficient at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by lowering carbon dioxide levels, as plants sprayed with ecoAgra™ Bio Plant Protect make more sugar. As a final bonus, the use of ecoAgra™ Bio Plant Protect can lower carbon dioxide output and should be eligible to be traded for Carbon Credits, around the world.

Worldwide, about 3 billion kgs of pesticides are applied to crops each year at a cost of almost $40 billion. Of this amount, approximately 500 million kgs of more than 600 different pesticides are being applied in the U.S. alone at a cost of $10 billion. Paradoxically, despite the vast increase in the volume of toxic pesticides used over the past 30-40 years globally to control crop diseases, the amount of crop losses due to pests has increased from 31% to 37%. Shockingly, despite a 10-fold increase in pesticide usage in the U.S. from 1945-2000, crop losses from insect damage have doubled from 7% to 13%.(Pimental, Pan-UK 2003).

This ever increasing use of toxic petrochemical based pesticides is taking its toll on personnel as well as the environment. The EPA estimates 300,000 farmers and workers were poisoned last year in the U.S.  Worldwide, pesticides cause 26 million reported cases of non-fatal poisoning each year (Richter, 2002) of which 3 million require hospitalization, 750,000 come down with chronic illnesses and 220,000 are fatally afflicted.(Hart and Pimental, 2002). The unreported case numbers are believed to be much higher.
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