Agricultural Modernization and Its Environmental Impacts

Agriculture modernization has made incredible strides in creating a more efficient ad sustainable agricultural landscape across the globe. Farmworkers are not subjected to such rigorous working conditions, therefore lessening chronic musculoskeletal pain, all thanks to agricultural modernization.

However, there are negative environmental impacts associated with modern agriculture, such as chemicals, ecosystem interruptions, and limited resources. But there is also good news, especially for people with anxiety. Read on.

Chemicals

Using chemicals like herbicides and pesticides was a massive modern step in farming and proved to be quite effective for years until we realized the negative effects. Chemical fertilizers contain high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and have become a crucial tool for modern farming.

Without these chemicals that promote growth and kill pests and diseases, farmers would not be able to feed the entire population. But as more research about these chemicals surfaces, farmers and scientists realize this is not a sustainable practice. 

Whole bodies of water have been contaminated and ruined by the runoff of these chemicals. Although they double the amount of food produced, they increase the nitrogen levels in the atmosphere tenfold, causing more harm than good. 

As the consequences of these chemicals come into focus, new organic fertilizers and harmless pest killers become available to modern farmers. While the harsh chemicals have an impressive result, the farming world knows it needs to look toward sustainability to be successful in the future. 

Water

A whopping 70% of all freshwater consumed by humans irrigates crops and water plants. Experts say this percentage could rise to 85% in the next few years if farmers produce enough food for the growing world population. 

Water is not a limited resource, but because of modern agriculture, we consume it at an unprecedented pace. This immense consumption rate threatens to replenish aquifers, river systems, and downstream groundwater. All of which keep smaller, local communities hydrated and healthy.

Researchers are closely studying the effects on rainfall and air moisture in locations with irrigation. They’re looking for a way to disperse water without depleting the world’s freshwater supply.

Livestock Consumption

While we consume livestock and their byproducts such as milk and eggs, the livestock consumes plenty of grass and emits greenhouse gases, harming the atmosphere. Raising livestock was a turning point in agricultural practices when humanity went from hunting to farming. Moreover, farming today has become a massive industry with downsides. Cattle and other livestock emit methane through their fecal matter and flatulence, increasing the pollution in the air and weakening the earth’s ozone layer. 

But farmers and researchers aim to increase efficiency in livestock farming. Their goal is to speed up the processes of breeding, feeding, and health programs. There are new cattle feeds and varieties of grass that are more sustainable and will cause the cattle to produce less methane. 

Conclusion

Despite these negative environmental impacts, there is hope for modern agriculture. Scientists work in tandem with farmers to develop more sustainable practices. Those that worry over the sustainability of our agriculture, can find solace in the progress of modern agriculture. 

Scientists and farmers continue to work together to find more sustainable farming solutions. They aim to treat the plant with care while providing food to the global population.