A systematic approach to farming intended to reduce agricultural pollution, enhance sustainability, and improve efficiency and profitability. Overall, alternative agriculture emphasizes management practices that take advantage of natural processes (such as nutrient cycles, nitrogen fixation, and pest-predator relationships), improve the match between cropping patterns and agronomic practices on the one hand and the productive potential and physical characteristics of the land on the other, and make selective use of commercial fertilizer and pesticides to ensure production efficiency and conservation of soil, water, energy, and biological resources. Examples of alternative agricultural practices include use of crop rotation, animal and green manures, soil and water conserving tillage systems, such as no-till planting methods, integrated pest management, and use of genetically improved crops and animals. Consonant with sustainable agriculture, alternative agriculture focuses on those farming practices that go beyond traditional or conventional agriculture, though it does not exclude conventional practices that are consistent with the overall system.
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