U.S. Farmers Need Help with Challenges

WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) — New challenges and expanding needs mean pressure on U.S. farmers who will need new agricultural policies and research to sustain them, a report says.

Asked to produce more, pollute less, predict consumer preference and still make a living, farmers will need help from national agricultural policies that look beyond just low costs and high production, a National Research Council report released Tuesday said.

“If farmers are going to meet future demands, the U.S. agriculture system has to evolve to become sustainable and think broadly — past the bottom line of producing the most possible,” says Julia Kornegay, chairwoman of the committee that wrote the report and professor of horticultural science at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

The report identified four goals considered necessary for sustainable agriculture: satisfying human food, fiber and feed requirements; enhancing environmental quality; maintaining the economic viability of agriculture; and improving the quality of life for farmers, farm workers and society as a whole.

Reaching those goals will mean long-term research, education, outreach and experimentation by the public and private sectors in partnership with farmers, the report said.

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