The Global Farmer Network recentlyaskedsomemembersabouttheir views on sustainability in agriculture. For the second consecutive weekwe’re highlighting aresponse from aGFN Board member.Roberto Peirettifrom Argentinafarms along with his wifeCintiain theCordoba Province. Roberto is internationallyrecognized as aleader in No-Till, or zero tillage, farmingand is afoundingmember ofAapresid, theArgentinian NoTillFarmers Association.

*English is a second language for most GFN members and responses may have been lightly edited.


Global Farmer Network Board member RobertoPeiretti, Cordoba Province,Argentina

Question: What is your definition of sustainablefarming?

Answer:A farming systemcan beconsiderededas a sustainable one ever since itshows anddemostratesin practice itsabilitytosimultaneouslymatch and satisfy the three main axis for which the concept of sustainability is pillared on: the economic; the social; the environmental. In practice it is normally related to conservation agriculture principles implemented as the No-TillSystem, integrated pest and weed management, soil health concept, Carbon Farming,efficentwater management, etc.

Question: Whatfarmingpractices are you using on yourfarmtoday that helps the sustainability of yourfarmingoperation and the soil that you arefarmingon?

Answer:I am farming my soils under the NoTillSystem, along with crop rotation, cover or service crops, and all type of modern technologies as far as they offer apositiveand reliable ROI [return on investment] not only in the short [term] but also in the medium and long range been which isclosellyrelated to the concept of adding to the system sustainability.

Peiretti has spoken world-wide on soil and no-till.

Question: Where do you get information about sustainablefarmingpractices that are appropriate for yourfarm?

Answer:Mainly from farmers organizations; by sharing through farmers to farmerscommunication, also “Field Days”or demonstrations. Experimental Stations deliveredinformationand experiences as well as basic information derived from universities and researchpeople. Privatecompanies many times play a significative role in this process. To change or introduce any major new technology or change on my farmingoperation, I normally test them in small areas, and once I feelconfortableand confident with thebenefitsof the change or the new technology(akind of? trial and error process) I gradually start scaling it up within my farm.

Question: How do you determine what practices work best on yourfarm?

Answer:Interacting with other farmersand alsopermanently searching on the existing and offered new technologies and alternatives ways to do things within experimental stations, private companies, experimental stations, Universities, etc. and once I detect them I somehow follow the process described onprevious[question and answer].

Question: Are there specific technologies that will support the sustainability of yourfarmingoperation?

Answer:Since farming is equal to manage a very Complex System to evolve and make progress wealwaysneed several different new technologies derived from many different type and areas of knowledge and science fields. The No Till system, the biotechnology, the discovery and development of newmoleculesfor differentpurposes thatprotect our crops from insect,deseasesetc., as well as new strategies to feed the soil as the best way to fertilize a crop(thislater is linked to the concept of soil health), constitute just some of the examples.

While traveling for speaking events, Peiretti also takes time to learn from other farmers worldwide.

Question: Do you share sustainablefarmingpractices that you use with otherfarmers? If yes, how?

Answer:Yes,I frequently offer my knowledge and experienceacquiredfrom my farm andalwayshave received a lot from partners. I very frequently received farmers anddelegationsfrom my country as well as from other countries.

I am convinced that this is the best, quickest and safest way to avoid errors when adopting new technologies. I have participated many times as presenter in all types of meetings related to agriculture - nationally and internationally – offering my knowledge and experience andalwaysacquiringand learning a lot from my partners by interacting, discussing and interchanging with them.?

Private companies related toagricutureas well asGovernmentsor official institutions in some cases, play an important role at promoting, financing, organizing or partnering or supporting farmers initiatives, meetings, field days,demostrationplots etc. These mechanisms regularly become a very effective way to facilitate farmer to farmer connections and hence to widespread knowledge and alternatives related with thesuccesfulladoption of new technologies.