Both factory livestock farming and extensive organic farming are dead ends for agriculture. The future lies in intensive farming that delivers food directly to the consumer. This was the message at a conference of the livestock students' society De Veeteelers on 11 March.
Upscaling is not the best business strategy in the current crisis in Agriculture, which faces low prices and ecological problems, said agricultural sociologist Jan Douwe van der Ploeg. Agriculture specialist Pierre Berntsen of the ABN Amro bank agreed with him: 'I can confirm van der Ploeg's conclusions. Dairy farms that grow gradually do better than companies that borrow extensively in order to grow fast.'
Agriculture is reaching certain ecological limits and, interestingly, this goes for extensive agriculture too. Production ecologist Prem Bindraban was very clear on this point: 'We need to deal with natural resources much more efficiently. Organic agriculture is not efficient or sustainable from an ecological point of view.'