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NEW EU POLICY WOULD SLASH USE OF PESTICIDES, FERTILIZERS, ANTIBIOTICS
Agri-Pulse reports:

Agriculture in Europe and the United States may be diverging even more sharply in coming years. The European Union has adopted a series of sweeping goals for slashing the use of pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizer - and converting at least 25% of EU agriculture to organic over the next decade.

The 2030 goals are to cut in half the nutrient losses from farmland, the use of more hazardous pesticides and the use of antibiotics in farm animals.

Keep in mind: Less than 8% of EU farmland was organic as of 2018.

Why it matters: USDA this year launched an initiative to halve the "environmental footprint" of U.S. agriculture by 2050 - 20 years later than the EU targets - while increasing production by 40%.

The USDA effort is focused on reducing carbon emissions and improving water quality and is guided by the concept of "sustainable intensification." That broadly means producing more food without using more land and other resources, and that will require increased use of technology and precision agriculture.

Purdue University economist Jayson Lusk says the EU policy appears to be focused on reducing inputs rather than achieving outcomes such as lower carbon emissions, better water quality and reducing food insecurity (the aims of the USDA initiative). "It seems the politically popular actions are prioritized over those that are actually most sustainable according to scientific outcome measurement," he said.

Take note: The EU policy also calls for all rural areas to have high-speed internet service by 2025.


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