The rapid adoption of new technologies was a major factor in the significant increase in agricultural outputs during 1900s. The agricultural industry began using of pesticides, antibiotics and hormone treatments to improve yields and prevent disease in food resources, such as crops, livestock and poultry.
The trend to larger farms created various problems. These include issues with soil fertility, inhospitable conditions for animals, environmental pollution (by improper handling of pesticides and farm waste), and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant microbes.
People are more aware of the importance of sustainable agricultural practices than previously. As a results, consumers now demand and many farmers are working to provide:
- stringent safety practices
- low or no pesticide use
- humane treatment of animals
- limited environmental impact
- high quality and safe foods
Globalized food distribution systems have the potential to spread "bad bugs"--microorganisms that cause foodborne illness--and other hazards on a large scale.
In Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is the federal department primarily responsible for development of agriculture, policies, research and technology to maintain the security of Canada’s food supply and environmental health, while promoting sector growth.
Date modified: 2012-03-26