This paper is about the environmental impacts of modern agriculture on the background of the challenges for sustainable development raised by the Anthropocene. We argue that the Anthropocene makes it necessary to sharpen the notion of sustainability in order to get a clearer picture of the most serious problems and for this reason we relate agriculture’s source and sink problems to the notion of planetary boundaries. It is also important to develop an environmental ethic that relates to the Anthropocene. In order to discuss policy options, we take departure in the so-called IPAT (Environmental Impact = Population × Affluence × Technology) equation and address the issues of population growth, increased material well-being and technological change. We conclude that it is not lack of information, goals or instruments that prevent effective policies to be implemented. The reasons are rather structural and systemic.