Agriculture is humanity’s single biggest industry and utilization of soils, beginning a few thousand years ago along with technological advances, allowed agriculture to become an enormous success. Along with these advances, it is now recognized that agriculture is an important contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and impacts our changing climate.
“There is a consensus among scientists that we need to double food production in the next 50 years and accomplish this by moving away from current agricultural technologies. For example, nitrogen applied in fertilizers and manures is not always used efficiently by crops. Improving this technology can reduce emissions of N2O, generated by soil microbes largely from surplus N and it can indirectly reduce emissions of CO2 from N fertilizer manufacturers,” said Dr. Gene Kelly, Professor of Pedology at Colorado State University, as he addressed the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) General Assembly. GFRAS is a global network of agricultural extension/advisory programs around the world (of which NAAAN is one).
According to Dr. Kelly and other scientists, we will continue to exacerbate the climate crisis if we do not advance our current production methods and systems thinking. In late 2022, Dr. Kelly shared his Agroecology expertise and insight with GFRAS to provide a pathway for sustainable, regenerative, and resilient agriculture with GFRAS.
At the meeting, Dr. Kelly shared that Agroecology is a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies sustainable agriculture, food systems management, and ecological concepts. This form of agriculture requires a system-thinking approach to address complex and interdependent challenges around soil, water, climate, health, and more. There is no single way to apply an agroecological approach as it depends on many factors, including local contexts, regions, constraints, and opportunities. However, according to Dr. Kelly, 21st-century agroecologically sound approaches to agriculture must include:
- Strategic Utilization of Soils
- Improved Infrastructure
- Demand-Side Approaches
- Reframing the Nature and Scope of the Problem
View Dr. Kelly’s presentation to the GFRAS General Assembly here to learn more about Agroecology.