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Soil quality

The ability of a soil to perform functions that are essential to people and the environment. Physical, chemical, and biological soil properties affect the soil function and therefore quality.

Minimise energy use

Agriculture uses energy directly as fuel or electricity to operate machinery and equipment, to heat or cool buildings, and for lighting on the farm, and indirectly in the fertilizers and chemicals produced off the farm.


The variety and variability of animals, plants and micro-organisms, at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels, which are necessary to sustain key functions of the agro-ecosystem, its structure and processes.

Minimise water pollution

Agricultural processes can produce water and runoff that pollutes the environment such a nitrate fertilisers causing algal blooms.


The ability of a farm to produce a profit through the sale of produce.

Total costs

A combination of the variable and fixed costs for a farm. Variable costs include such things as feed, feeder animals, seed, fertilizer, chemicals, etc. Fixed costs include such things as buildings, equipment, and land.

Ecosystem services

The benefits to humans from nature or, direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human wellbeing. For example, the land management practices adopted by farmers can improve soil condition which provides a range of ecosystem services including water purification, breakdown of wastes and toxins, regulation of atmospheric gases (including carbon and nitrogen) and water flows, regulation of weather and climate and maintenance of genetic diversity.

Employment of workers

The agriculture industry represents 2.2 per cent of all employed people in Australia. Organic farming often requires additional manual work and has been shown to lead to a greater employment of farm workers.

Reduce worker exposure to pesticides

Pesticides may cause undesirable effects to human health. Farmers who mix, load, and spray pesticides or who perform manual labour in areas treated with pesticides can face major exposure to pesticides. Pesticide exposure can be reduced through less use of pesticides and through the correct use of the appropriate type of personal protective equipment (PPE) in all stages of pesticide handling.

Nutritional quality

The diversity of nutrients provided by a foods produced on a farm and the complementarity in nutrients among those foods - in relation to the variety of nutrients needed for human health.


A measurement of the amount of agricultural production harvested (crop) per unit of land area.

Minimise pesticide residues

Pesticides that may remain on or in food after they are applied to food crops can detrimentally affect human health.