Challenges of Sustainable Agricultural Development in High-Income Countries
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The challenges of sustainable development in industrial countries are quite distinct from those of the developing regions. In these countries, the majority of food is produced on large commercial farms. Farm household incomes are relatively high and often equal or exceed incomes in the non-agricultural sectors for comparable skills and experience. A major economic issue is the financial viability of smaller farms and the ongoing consolidation of land into larger farms. Environmental concerns dominate the sustainability challenges of these systems, due to their reliance on chemical inputs and biotechnology, impacts on water quality and quantity, use of hormones and antibiotics in livestock production, and greenhouse gas emissions. Health and safety of farm workers, rural community viability, and animal welfare are important social challenges.
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