Four Types of Agriculture: Which Path Would You Take?

Extractive agriculture

The first type of agriculture, “extractive agriculture”, aims to extract value from the surrounding environment in order to achieve personal, family and social progress. A common effect of modern extractive agriculture is that the production capacity of the agricultural system declines over time, requiring increased mechanization and non-agricultural inputs to maintain high yields. In many cases, the huge financial cost of mechanization and high non-agricultural inputs will lead to increasing farm debts, while the ownership of agriculture and infrastructure is controlled by fewer and fewer large companies.

Conservation agriculture

Conservation agriculture aims to protect natural resources and reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. Although maintaining a high level of agricultural productivity is important, the practice of respecting nature and reducing yield is sometimes seen as a necessary balance. Conservation agriculture is committed to preventing soil erosion, minimizing water consumption, and reducing the level of pollution on the farm. These are usually achieved by reducing the input of non-renewable resources, reducing environmentally harmful practices and innovative agricultural technologies. In this mode, efficiency is paramount. Practices such as precision agriculture, integrated pest management, and efficient irrigation have enabled farms to do more with less, and agricultural machinery is used to grow and manage crops more efficiently. Combined with digital monitoring and more targeted application of fertilizers, farmers can reduce input and cost.

Positive agriculture

Positive agriculture aims to improve the quality and function of natural resources, and ultimately restore the agricultural ecosystem to a “healthy” state. The goal of this approach is to build soil, improve the health of the water cycle, increase biodiversity, and at the same time produce food for the community and provide economic well-being for farmers. The biggest goal of positive agriculture is to create wealth for humans and other species, and to make life “prosperous”, rather than simply “survival.”

Regenerative agriculture

In regenerative agriculture, each farm is considered based on the unique life systems and interrelationships in its environment. All the life and natural elements on the farm are regarded as a whole, rather than separating “something” from it.

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