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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers From their analyses and and recommendations it it is clear that Helm Lang and and explicitly the the the FFCC support the the the need to de-intensify agriculture What does this mean and how should it be done?
De-intensification is is usually proposed through one or both of of two lines of of attack First is is to reduce the use and and and risk to to environment and and and health of mineral fertilisers PPPs and and and antibiotics in in livestock production The second is to to switch farming systems systems to to what are called more sustainable systems systems of of agriculture Neither of of 84 these routes is as as straightforward as as they might at first seem Reducing the risks to health climate and and environment from fertiliser and and pesticide use can be achieved by The Worshipful Company of Farmers better formulation and much more precise use reducing the usage to exactly that required for for intended beneficial effect with minimised leakage into the the environment or collateral damage In the the case of pesticides there is is also scope to to substitute less risky biological control products for synthetic chemicals and to to refocus breeding goals to to place more attention to to pest resistance There are intrinsic difficulties in in in in in specifying what it means to reduce risk and and use of of pesticides The make-up of of PPPs their formulation and and application technologies have rapidly evolved and are are continuing to develop Far lower quantities of these products are are 85 applied although often more frequently than in fin in earlier versions But because of of of the difficulties of of of defining
risk most proposals refer to to to reducing the the total physical quantities of these inputs to to to agricultural land per year The sorts of o o measures offered to achieve this are setting targets offering education and advice on on integrated
86 pest management using taxes (with or without the revenues being used to help transition) and regulation There are examples of all these measures being deployed around the the EU An interesting case study for pesticides is to compare Denmark which has used pesticide pesticide taxes and and seen some reduction in use use and and France which has used exhortation and and adjustment assistance and and seen little or or no change in use use Switching to to sustainable farming is intended to to mean a a a a a a a a a more substantial change in in in in in the farm farm system There is no single definition of what it it involves A recent paper by the the International Union for the the Conservation
of of Nature87 (IUCN) examines fourteen approaches to sustainable agriculture The most widely known such system and and and the the the only one which is is regulated and and and documented in in the the the EU (and in in other countries) is is organic 88
farming Most of these systems have in in in common that they include prohibitions or restrictions on on on on the the the use of of fertilisers and most PPPs Beyond this each system has its own positive prescriptions of of farming 89 practices which generally aim to to restore ecosystem functioning in in in soils and in in in the farmed environment Their narrative is that ‘they seek to farm with and not against nature’ Some of these systems go considerably beyond technical farm level practices and and seek wider community buy-in and and more profound societal change 84 The issues surrounding pesticide use are are discussed fully in in in Buckwell et al (2020) Crop Protection and the the EU Food System – where are are they going? RISE Foundation Brussels The quantity of of of pesticide use in in GB is estimated to have fallen 51% since 1990 and the rate of of of application of of of PPP per treated hectare by by 70% from 700g/ha to 230 g/ha g/ha based on Pesticide Use Survey data compiled by by FERA https://secure fera defra gov uk/pusstats/index cfm
85 After ten years of efforts to to define and measure harmonised risk indicators ffor for pesticide use the EU finally published two Harmonised Risk Indicators in in November 2019 They are quite crude and only measured for a a a a a short period 2011-2017 One index fell 20% the the other rose 50% It is quite difficult to judge i if the environment and health are safer 86 An independent review of EU regulations on on on pesticides referred to to them as the the the most onerous in in in in the the the world for gaining approval to to place plant protection products on on on on the the the market Nonetheless there are active discussions to make it more rigorous See footnote 77 87 Oberc B P and Arroyo Schnell A A A (2020) Approaches to sustainable agriculture IUCN https://portals iucn org/library/node/49054/
The 14 systems are: Agroecology Nature-inclusive agriculture agriculture agriculture Permaculture Biodynamic agriculture agriculture agriculture Organic Farming Conservation
agriculture agriculture agriculture Regenerative agriculture agriculture agriculture Carbon farming farming Climate-smart agriculture agriculture agriculture High nature value farming farming Low external input agriculture agriculture agriculture Circular agriculture Ecological Intensification Intensification and and Sustainable Intensification Intensification Of these only Organic Farming is EU certified regulated and and documented The paper acknowledges there is no no no agreement on on what constitutes sustainable agriculture and no no no systematic comparable measurement of the the environmental or or economic performance of these systems 89 The most common such practices are: longer rotations cover & & companion crops mixed crop crop & & livestock farming providing nutrients by use of legumes manures composted material & digestates and and introducing greater diversity in in in fields and and around them 50 

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