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John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Sustainable Agriculture

"Sustainable agriculture is a model of social and economic organization based on an equitable and participatory vision of development which recognizes the environment and natural resources as the foundation of economic activity. Agriculture is sustainable when it is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, culturally appropriate and based on a holistic scientific approach. " - NGO Sustainable Agriculture Treaty


The goal of achieving a sustainable planet, one that will accommodate the basic needs of its present inhabitants while preserving the resources that will enable future generations to flourish, has gained increasing acceptance. Although certainly not mainstream at this point, sustainable agriculture is now being addressed by the agricultural community in significant ways.

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Farming in the United States experienced sweeping changes in the Twentieth Century.  Where in 1900 over 40% of the workforce in the United States was employed in agriculture, only 100 years later less than 2% were.  While these numbers in part reflect the shift from an agrarian society to an industrial society, they also reflect fundamental changes in agricultural practices and the growing movement towards globalization and commoditization.

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"Let's take the Buffalo as an example," he went on.  The audience sat with rapt attention as Dr. Joe Snyder talked about natural control of parasites in livestock at an Oregon Tilth conference.  Much of what he spoke about is directly applicable to sustainable practices in general.

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Diversification is one of the most obvious things when one looks at nature.  From the smallest drop of pond water to the sweeping temporal rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, nature is filled with wondrously diverse, yet closely interdependent systems.  If one is to use nature as a model for sustainable farming practices, then diversification is an obvious place to begin.

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Rotational Grazing

Pasture rotation is a great way to maximize use of available forage while improving overall condition of the paddocks. The idea is to force livestock to consume forage in a limited area, and then move them on before that area is overgrazed or damaged.

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Other Resources

Information about Alpacas and farming is becoming more widely available on the Internet. The following web sites provide a great deal of practical information about alpacas, farming, sustainable agriculture and other relevant subjects.

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"The llama is the domesticated descendant of the guanaco, and the alpaca of the vicuna...we know that these animals were systematically bred and selected many centuries ago..."

- Charles Darwin
The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication
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