Wikipedia is the online authority for many readers. But does it have the definition of sustainability right for agriculture? First, I would encourage you to consider what your definition of sustainable agriculture would be. My reading of the wiki on this topic is that it tends to entertain the latest experimental efforts more than the accepted practices used on today’s farms. For me, sustainable farming is far more mainstream than the wiki experts would have you believe.
I happened to grow up in an era when conservation tillage went from a crazy experiment to an accepted agronomic practice. We struggled on our own farm to find the right equipment to plant through sod. Our county had no-till drills you could rent to get your crop planted in those early years. Persistence paid off.
Equipment evolved to overcome the issues of seed placement. Weed control with herbicides advanced so that we could consistently control the existing vegetation and get the crop up.
We eliminated the washouts on our hilly farm. The crops grew better during dry spells because we conserved moisture with our no-till approach. And we harvested more from our land. To me, that is sustainable agriculture. We improved our soil, saving it from erosion. We saved more water, by not tilling the land. While biochar and nitrogen fertilizer created from windpower are exciting experiments today, we have a host of sustainable agricultural practices that are mainstream. Those should be recognized.
So I ask you to consider contributing to the update of the wiki on sustainable agriculture as we prepare for the 2014 WCCA6 conference. Check out the link and add your expert opinions. We need all the world to know what successful sustainable agriculture can be.