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Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century
FIGURE 2-1 Agricultural productivity in the United States.
SOURCE: USDA-ERS (2010).
within-farm biogeophysical (ecosystem) services. For example, farming systems have been using crop rotations that could reduce pests and disease incidence so that pesticide use is reduced. Some farms use livestock manure to fertilize crops so that use of synthetic fertilizer is reduced. Precision agriculture for nutrient and pesticide application holds promise for reducing input use and maintain yield.
Despite such advances, much progress in agriculture focuses on primarily one goal—satisfy human food, feed, and fiber fuel needs—and secondarily on the goals of enhancing environmental quality or resource base and of sustaining the economic vitality of
FIGURE 2-2 Total farm output per unit of energy use over time.
NOTE: Energy input use if total farm output was 1 in 1996.