In general, , particularly genetic engineering, is not a
fruitful approach in the quest for a sustainable agriculture. Sustainable
agriculture solves problems by understanding and adjusting the elements of
the system to achieve its goals. The approach minimizes the use of off-farm
products, such as pesticides and fertilizers, for both economic and
environmental reasons.

is basically an industry that develops products,
often expensive products, priced to cover the costs of research and
development. In general, new products are of minor importance to
sustainable agriculture. Moreover, such products may pose risks, some
unique, to human health and the environment.

UCS’s Agriculture and Program promotes the transition of
agriculture into an economically and environmentally sustainable system. We
define a sustainable agriculture as one that is both highly productive and
protective of the natural resources on which future productivity depends.
Much of modern agriculture is based on an industrial model that is not
sustainable.

The key to a sustainable agriculture lies in a new approach that focuses on
farms as systems with elements whose relationships can be changed to
accomplish the goals of growing crops and raising livestock. Such systems
rely on fewer pesticides and fertilizers. They seek to accomplish multiple
goals: quality products, profit for farmers, minimal environmental
pollution. A fundamental change in agriculture of this scope requires
coordinated policies: a new research agenda, new education and information
transfer programs, properly targeted subsidies, sensible environmental and
health regulation, and balanced trade policies. Currently, the UCS program
focuses on research agendas, education, and regulation.

As we take on the challenge of transforming agriculture, UCS is paying
special heed to the impact of a new set of technologies
emerging from the fields of molecular biology and genetics, usually
discussed under the general rubric of . Our program attempts
to evaluate those technologies for their potential to advance a sustainable
agriculture and to ensure that the products of the technology are properly
regulated.

Sustainable Agriculture–A New Vision
What Is Industrial Agriculture?
New Policies for a New Agriculture
Risks of Genetic Engineering

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