Look around and you will see many different small-scale farming operations. Whether they be "hobby farms" or small family farms handed down for generations, it is increasingly difficult for any small-scale farm to be profitable. It is simply not possible for a small farm to compete with giant industrial operations, who have made mass production with not-so-natural methods the industry standard.
But there is hope-- increasingly people are rediscovering the benefits of "real" food-- the kind of food that has been around for generations, without any chemicals or genetic modification required. People are also realizing the satisfaction of supporting small local businesses rather than franchises and large corporations. People are willing to spend a little more for food and products they have watched grow, from people they get to know.
This movement is imperative for the success of small-scale farming, but it is not enough to maintain profitability in farming. Farmers are at the mercy of mother nature (and she has been brutal the last few years!), commodities price fluxuations and seasonal availabity. How can a farm make any profit with all the overhead? In many cases the cost of production exceeds the revenue. In order for a farm to be profitable, it needs to be sustainable... it also needs to be criative!
So what exactly does sustainable mean, anyway? Sustainable agriculture ultimately seeks to accomplish the following: . Sustainable agriculture . It . It . It .
Sustains farmers, resources and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities;
Fits into and complements modern agriculture;
Rewards the true values of producers and their products;
Draws and learns from organic farming; and
Works on farms and ranches large and small, harnessing new technologies and renewing the best practices of the past. Additionally, it must also be:
Economically Viable: If it is not profitable, it is not sustainable;
Socially Supportive: The quality of life of farmers, farm families and farm communities is important;
Ecologically Sound: We must preserve the resource base that sustains us all;