- Sustainable Cultivation
An integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
Sustainable farming practices commonly include: crop rotations that mitigate weeds, disease, insect and other pest problems; provide alternative sources of soil nitrogen; reduce soil erosion; and reduce risk of water contamination by agricultural chemicals; pest control strategies that are not harmful to natural systems, farmers, their neighbors, or consumers. This includes integrated pest management techniques that reduce the need for pesticides by practices such as scouting, use of resistant cultivars, timing of planting, and biological pest controls; increased mechanical/biological weed control; more soil and water conservation practices; and strategic use of animal and green manures; use of natural or synthetic inputs in a way that poses no significant hazard to man, animals, or the environment.
Source: USDA Agricultural Dictionary. For more information see http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902.shtml#toc2.