Professional Development Program






PAGE 76 / 102

Unit 2: Applying Ecological Principles


(Todd Johnson)
Prior to the Second World War, most farms included a mix of crops and livestock. Trends toward specialization and larger farms have changed this picture drastically, so that today crop and livestock production systems are separated. True, there are still connections between the two (e.g., livestock producers depend on crop producers for animal feed, crop producers may use animal manure as a soil amendment), but that usually happens at a higher level, between farms, rather than within a single farm. Despite these trends, there are still many farmers in the U.S. that do include both, notably livestock producers who grow their own feed, or graze their animals on pasture. Such integrated systems present management challenges due to increased complexity, but in return farmers may be able to improve the efficiency of their production system by keeping nutrient and energy cycles more tightly integrated within the farm itself, rather than having to depend on outside inputs.
PAGE 76 / 102