Can Agriculture Become an Environmental Asset?

Daniel W. Bromley

Published: September 2000

Traditional treatments see agricultural practices as inimical to many environmental attributes in rural areas. In the policy arena, farmers and environmentalists often clash over land-use practices, crop monoculture, animal wastes, and the application of chemicals – the residues of which are said to contaminate the environment and threaten human well-being. The existence of agricultural abundance in the OECD countries provides an opportunity to rethink old beliefs and attitudes, as well as to reformulate traditional policy approaches to agriculture-environment interactions. This requires seeing agriculture as a land-management activity, with production of food and fibre taking a secondary role. Economic incentives and property rights issues will require reconsideration.

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