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Exploring Integrated Farming Systems

by John Milton
Integrated Farming Systems

Farms and farmers are, in a very real way, crucial to the planet. Sustainability is hugely important to farming. Integrated farm systems (IFS) are how farms become truly sustainable. The engine behind IFS technology is the vision of humankind. In this late century, people want sustainable systems in every sphere. There is a worldwide effort underway to stem the production of harmful greenhouse gasses, to cut down on the use of herbicides and pesticides, and to produce excellent products, but not at the expense of the land or the environment. Integrated farming systems are an excellent modification to traditional farming operations.

What Is an Integrated Farming System (IFS)?

Integrated farming systems involve the methodological utilization of sustainable techniques designed to help a farm produce high-quality products while maintaining low cost and energy efficiency, and producing a small ecological footprint. On a farm that has become integrated, elements of one system that might be considered as waste are instead offered to a different system as fuel. A really basic version of this has been in use for centuries, as when the farmer takes food scraps out and to the sty and feeds the pigs with them. In this scenario, waste is eliminated and the pigs are ingesting healthy food, rather than some kind of chemically-altered type of mass-produced pig food.

What Are Techniques Employed by Integrated Farming?

When IFS techniques are applied, farms functions better. Using the land to ensure maximum production, but not overusing it is a central tenant. Crop rotation is a technique that ensures such a result. By rotating crops by season in different fields, leaving one field fallow, the land is able to rest and regenerate the important nutrients critical to growth. 

When Stefan Soloviev and his Crossroads Agriculture farming operation employ IFS, everybody benefits because crops are grown sustainably and in a more cost and energy-effective manner. Cover cropping is another feature of IFS.

Cover cropping is the practice of protecting the soil by planting plants not for harvesting, but to insulate the soil. It helps with soil quality, fertility and erosion, as well as with pests, weeds and diseases. Other techniques of IFS include utilizing crop residues, leaf nitrogen monitoring and the use of pheromone mating disruption technology.

Integrated farming provides farmers with holistic options when it comes to producing thriving crops while maintaining a healthy farm that can continue to perform at maximum performance, year after year. This type of thinking is good for the farm, the farmer, the community and the planet.

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