Crop diversification means growing more than one crop in an area. Diversification can be achieved by adding a new crop species or a different variety, or by changing the cultivation system currently in use. It can usually mean adding more crops to an existing rotation. Diversified agricultural systems are a set of methods and tools developed to produce food in a sustainable way by exploiting ecological diversity at the scale of plots, fields and landscapes.
Diversified agricultural systems and agroecological approaches can support the livelihoods of small farmers and reduce hunger and poverty in rural and urban communities. For more information on challenges, solutions, and an example of diversified farming systems at the farm level, see The Need to Diversify Food Systems. Diversification also spreads the risks associated with your farm or ranch business on a larger basis. In this case, agricultural diversification is supported by a change in technology or consumer demand, in commercial or government policy, and in transport, irrigation and other infrastructure developments.
Diversified agriculture is essential to feed the world's population reliably and perpetually, while mitigating climate change and preventing the collapse of the ecological systems on which human survival depends. The combination of these five regions suggests a one-word description of Virginia's topography, that is, diversified. The objectives of diversification are to protect against downside risk and against cash flow problems and to better use your land, labor and capital.