Green farming has changed our outlook on the environment. Protecting the environment has never been a core goal of agriculture. The notion of producing more on less land brings all sorts of harm to our environment.
Farmers believed that saving the environment meant harming their farming business. But, since green farming came on the scene, it’s now a win-win for farmers and the environment.
Do you think the UN SDGs to cut down carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 is an unrealistic goal? Our environmental indicators say so. If we continue on the same path, we may be unable to create a sustainable environment.
So, we need a holistic approach to deal with the climate change problem. We can’t do it unless we include green farming in our strategies. Almost one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases emission comes from agriculture.
Moreover, the increasing population puts extra weight on our carbon emissions.
One way to deal with the problem is to shift our focus to regenerative and eco-friendly farming. It brings some awesome benefits to our environment.
The hope for a greener future with less carbon emission and cleaner air and water isn’t a far cry. This article will help you understand how to create a green farm. What techniques can make your small family farm to make it sustainable.
What is Green Farming?
Green farming combines all farming techniques used to improve environmental indicators. Its goal is to grow food and protect the environment from the adverse effects of pollution. It uses regenerative techniques to save the soil for future generations.
Thus, we can say it uses regenerative farming techniques to achieve environmental sustainability. In a nutshell, it contains these three factors: environmental protection, economic viability, and social equity to sustain our environment. Thus it covers all the aspects of your agriculture, from tilling the soil to harvesting crops.
Why is there a need to create Green Farms?
We all know that the world is on the verge of drastic climate change. The average increase of the global temperature has reached the tipping point. It increased at the rate of 0.17 degrees Fahrenheit in 1880. It has alarmed the world of a major catastrophe in the upcoming years.
But, if you dissect the percentage of carbon emissions, you would know that agriculture is one of the major contributors. Almost one-fourth of the world’s carbon emission comes from agriculture. That’s why it’s high time to reinvent our farming industry in line with our mother nature.
It can only be done if we take strict measures to create green farms worldwide. Governments and international organizations can promote green practices to limit farms’ carbon footprint.
Effects of Agriculture on Climate:
In the US, the agriculture sector emits 10% of the greenhouse gases. The current US government has unveiled its farmers’ plans to cut the quota. Because the rising global temperatures affect our sustainability.
It can produce erratic climate conditions such as floods and thunderstorms. These disasters can decrease crop production. It means in the upcoming years. We will have less food to eat. Also, changing weather patterns can affect our habitats.
According to WHO, 250,000 more people will die due to airborne and waterborne diseases in 2050. Due to this, we must shift our focus to improving our agriculture sector through sustainable farms.
First, we have to circumvent the input of any synthetic pesticide, herbicide, or GMO in our food. We should apply regenerative practices to revitalize the soil. It helps us to align our resources and energies with nature.
Five Green Farming Techniques for a Sustainable Environment:
Produce-intensive techniques have wreaked havoc in our agriculture. The so-called green revolution focused on increasing production. It turned its focus from the sustainability of our environment.
That’s why we are now facing the chronic problems of arable land. Moreover, pesticides have disrupted the soil salinity, thereby increasing its pH. Each year we lose 14 billion tons of fertile land due to soil erosion.
That’s not the complete story. The loss of productive land has grim consequences. It causes biodiversity loss and forced migration of people. It causes severe societal and environmental pressures.
So we are more subjected to droughts, floods, and natural disasters. Besides, these five green farming techniques can overhaul the messed-up environment.
Green Farming Carbon Sequestration Technique:
Our Earth is the largest storage of atmospheric carbon. More than 80% of the carbon is present in the soil. Since the invention of agriculture, we have released billions of tons of carbon dioxide through our malpractices.
Thus, it’s the biggest contributor to global warming. How can farmers sequester the atmospheric carbon back into the soil? Green farming can be a solution to this problem. It uses regenerative techniques to capture atmospheric carbon into the earth.
Using it, we can also lower the emission of GHGs. One way to bring back CO2 is through conservation tillage. It is a technique that requires farmers to leave some residue of a crop on the soil while tilling the next crop.
Leaving the soil unaltered stops excessive carbon from leaving the crust. As a result, it limits the emission of GHGs. Farmers around the globe can use no-till practices. These are techniques where they won’t till any land and cover 30% of the land with residue.
Second, farmers can apply the cover crops technique to maintain the soil width. These crops also feed the microorganisms in the soil. People use alfalfa for cover crops. Since these crops have a higher capacity to sequester carbon, they can be used to remove CO2 from the air.
An experiment on cover crops reveals that green cover crops planted on 8.1 million hectares can offset CO2 equal to 12.8 million vehicles.
Innovative Green Farming Irrigation Technique:
Do you know that 40% of the global supply of water given to agriculture is wasted? Isn’t it a bad sign for the future? As we know, water is a non-renewable resource and will deplete if we do not put some restraints on its use.
The USA is a low-water stressed country, with its freshwater depleted. How can we have freshwater reservoirs? The answer is green farming. As a major chunk of water goes to irrigation, we can use innovative techniques to save a huge amount of water.
Green farming doesn’t take care of the soil; it also deals with managing resources. Instead of flooding the whole field, you can install drip irrigation. This regenerative technique maintains the perfect balance of water supply based on demand.
The drips would provide the water required for the specific field area. Thus it saves access to water. Too, the soil particles remain bound to the roots creating a sponge-like structure. In conventional techniques, the soil minerals get washed away due to access to water.
Less use of groundwater also saves energy costs and reduces carbon emissions. A case study in Iran shows that limiting old irrigation decreases energy consumption by up to 40%.
Crop Rotation/ Polyculture:
Since the dawn of agriculture, people have had the technique of crop rotation. They were mindful of the soil’s natural capacity to produce a single crop every time. That’s why they used to switch crops on the same soil to get the max out of it.
To make sense of it, you first need to know the connection between plants, pests, and nutrients. Plants take up the soil nutrients to grow, and pests eat plants to survive. In contrast to green farming, people sow the same crops in the fields.
It brings pests to the fields because they find their food. And the same crop takes up the same nutrients every time you sow it into the soil. Thus, it depletes the nutrients from the soil. As a result, you need to use excessive fertilizers to cope with the demand for minerals.
You can end excessive fertilizers and pesticides through crop rotation and polyculture.
When you till different crops on the same soil, you increase biodiversity. It makes the crops more resilient to diseases.
Smart Farm Analysis with GIS and AI:
Remote sensing and AI, when combined, can do wonders. When you apply data science to your farm, you can optimize your farming techniques. If you are running your farm, you know how much guesswork and outdated knowledge is involved.
On the flip side, detailed satellite data can show you the real picture of your farm. This smart use of AI also comes under green and farming because it helps you stop energy wastage.
For instance, when you know the part of your farm that needs water, you can irrigate it without flooding the whole field. Some satellite imagery can also show the nutrient deficiency in your crops. Different bandwidths of light can open up some useful insights into you.
You can even track the growth of your fields and pre-empt any disease beforehand. It contains machine learning models that help you track various data from the images. Suppose you don’t know how much weed is present in a plot. One way to find it out is to visit each row of plants yourself.
It wastes a lot of time and energy. Instead, you can use the GIS models to find the location of weeds in your fields. This way, you can remove unnecessary plants from your field without getting into the farm.
Organic Farming of Animals and Crops:
Domestic animals reared on natural grass are the best nutritional source. Likewise, the crops grown on manure have the best nutritional value. When you allow the animals to graze on your farm, you provide them with mental and physical health.
But, animals reared on a congested farm are a hotbed of diseases. Also, using hormones like estrogen to build mass in animals creates health problems. EU scientists say that growth promoter hormones in animals can cause human cancer.
Thus, organic farming is the hallmark of creating a sustainable environment. In the case of crops, the excessive use of chemicals affects the soil’s natural ability to produce crops.
Also, it creates several other problems, like soil erosion.
As far as the environment is concerned, the chemical run-off contaminates the groundwater and adulterates the natural reservoirs of water. The speedy growth of algae and mosses is the result of water contamination.
As a result, conventional ways of farming affect the environment. We must shift towards organic and green farming practices to save nature and sustain our environment.
Resorting to green farming is one of the ways to save nature. The eco-friendly farming practices help you create a sustainable green farm. If you apply these techniques on a mass level, you can see their effects on the environment.
These techniques have the potential to fulfill the SDGs of having a net zero carbon emission in 2050. This article entails some of the best green farming techniques for you. We will like to know your feedback at the end of this article.