Life on the Farm Draws Well-Settled City Dwellers

While most people are flocking to cities to find jobs and increase their living standards, there are individuals who are leaving their lucrative day jobs to become small-scale farmers. What is even more interesting is the fact that these individuals do not get fat pay checks as farmers, nor they get huge support from the government. However, in France, Elisabeth Lavarde has done just that by accepting a job as a farmer that pays little more than the minimum pay in her country.

 

Ms. Lavarde has moved to a little town south of Paris, where she works as an apprentice farmer at a 24-acre farm that provides organic vegetables directly to local consumers. According to her, she wanted to get away from the rate race in the city. Working as a small-scale farmer has its challenges, but the peace of mind that comes seeing the blue sky over your head is a welcome reprieve. In fact, she is not the only person to do that. In France, hundreds of high paying individuals have gone to farming in a country which relishes country living and gastronomic treasures such as Camembert cheeses and Bordeaux wines.

 

However, the journey to become a successful farmer is not easy. France does not actively support small farmers. Instead, most of the advantages are usually restricted to large farms that can show experience and the probability of successful produce. This may seem justified as government authorities claim that locals living in villages do not want to sell their land for farming. In such conditions, the government has to use its limited resources, effectively. As for farmers, including Elisabeth Lavarde, they needed to get support from a non-profit organisation that hooks new farmers with veterans in the field. As new farmers gain experience, it is easier for them to apply for a farming land, which are often restricted to experienced individuals who have the resource to establish a successful business.

 

Even if everything goes according to the plan, experienced farmers in France claim that farming is not a very attractive alternative for new farmers. Most of these new farmers have to compete with large organisations and ever increasing costs of farming. Still, many find it irresistible to move away from the big cities to live their own version of a comfortable life.

 

The Agricultural Evolution

Farming and agriculture have come a long way since the ox and plow. Growing populations and greater demands for food have put the farming community on point. Turning the dirt in the old ways did produce quite a bountiful harvest, yet lately, it is not quite enough. An ever-evolving health-conscience society have created new demands that were never imagined before. What began as a basic hometown growing industry, suddenly found themselves looking for ways to double their production on the same parcel of land to meet the needs of a booming society. Since the land was going to get no bigger, the crops would have to.

Enter the age of fertilizers and growth enhancers. While producing the desired effect of a larger than normal crop yield, the chemicals were having an adverse effect on the consumers. Soon, the populace was calling for an alternative. This is when organic crops began to emerge. Growing crops with no chemicals of any type on certain farms was the popular alternative. Unfortunately, this has proven to produce smaller yields. Lesser crops lead to higher prices due to the high cost of producing less. While organic still has a grip in the market, it is still less productive for farmers in the long run.

Organic yields lag conventional by 20% in developed countries, 43% in Africa, meta-analyses find

Another option that has found popularity is hydroponics. This is growing crops in water, gravel, or sand with water and minerals fed into the growing medium. This method allows farmers to grow in totally new ways. By utilizing greenhouses, growers can produce crops all year long. Soil is not necessary with this method, only running water, a growing medium, and mineral additives the plants absorb.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/are-hydroponic-vegetables-as-nutritious-as-those-grown-in-soil/?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fask-well&_r=0

Organic growing takes nutrients from the soil, uses no chemical additives, and is the most natural, yet less profitable means of growing. Hydroponics uses water, a stabilizing material, and added minerals for growing year round, producing more crops. Both ways are tried and true as far as nutrition is concerned. While organic growing is most like grandmas garden, pure and simple, hydroponics may well be the best way to meet the new food demands of the times. No matter which way you prefer, there can be no argument that farming and agriculture have had to grow with societal demands.

 

A Look At Some Of The Ways New Technology Can Improve Agriculture

Advances in technology and the growth of the internet of things are making farming more productive and efficient. This is good news for the farmers and ranchers that produce our food as well as for the consumers that eat the crops and livestock they raise. By 2050 it is estimated the population of Earth could rise to almost 10 billion people. Here are some of the technologies that are currently being used by farmers and that are expected to see an increase in use over the decades.

 

Self driving tractors also known as autonomous tractors are a new development released in 2016 by the company, New Holland. Combined with Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS), farmers can program tractors to till and harvest plots of land on their fields that they have programmed. The self navigating tractors can maneuver more accurately and lets farmers perform or manage others tasks from the tractor’s cab. Expect to see some more developments and additions to self driving tractors in the future.

 

Another agricultural technology innovation is fit bits for dairy animals such as cow. People use fitness trackers to track their health via calories burned and distance covered during a job. A fit bit for a cow would be able to measure the animal’s temperature and report on what the animal is currently doing. For example, a rancher could see whether his cows are eating, sleeping or resting. Problems with cows can also be detected quickly such as sickness, lameness and pregnancy.

 

GPS technology has been utilized in agriculture for a while now. Some companies have installed GPS systems on tractors. Farmers can use GPS to help them farm their lands when visibility is poor. They can also use GPS to help check soil samples and to help them decide which crops to plant in an area based on GPS info.

 

Motion sensor technology can also help farmers be more productive and help them conserve resources at the same time. For example, sensors in the ground below crops can tell farmers the moisture of the soil. This way, farmers can know whether they need to add more water or if there is a sufficient amount already present. Combing moisture sensors with underground pipes or drip irrigation can reduce water consumption significantly while still letting farmers get maximum productivity from their lands. This technology would be especially useful for dry climates.

 

Jose Borghi – One of the Most Reputed Advertising Gurus of Brazil

Jose Borghi is one of the most experienced and highly influential advertising professionals in Brazil. He has been associated with the advertising world for over 25 years and has worked with major marketing and advertising firms such as Standard Ogilvy, FCB, Talent, Leo Burnett and DM9DDB. Many of his work has won prestigious awards across the globe, including 15 New York Festival, 20 Cannes, 16 Abril Awards, 12 Clios, 7 London Festival, 11 One Show, and more. In 1999, he was named as the most awarded copywriter by Archive Magazine.

In 2009, Brazilian Advertising Professionals Association named him the “Agency Professional,” and in the same year, he was chosen as the Advertising Professional of the year at the highly reputed Columnist Awards. In 2002 and 2013, he was the Brazilian representative in the Press Jury at the highly regarded Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Jose Borghi has been interested in the advertising world from the very beginning of his teenage years. The interest in advertising was triggered when he visited the Cannes Advertising Festival with his sister and watched some of the award winning Ads. Jose was so moved and inspired by the Ads that Jose decided then and there to pursue a career in advertising. Moving forward, he studied marketing at the Pontifical Catholic University that opened doors of the advertising world for him. As soon as he graduated, he joined Standard Ogilvy, which is one of the most reputed advertising agencies in the world.

Jose Borghi’s advertising campaign regarding wildlife conservation has been applauded the world over. His ad named “Mammals of Parmalat” has received many awards and helped him get global recognition. It is an ad that is still considered as one of the best advertisement ever made and continues to be an inspiration for many advertising professionals across the globe. He currently is the co-CEO of Mullen Lowe Brazil, which is one of the most reputed and sought after advertising agencies in the country today.

Using Food Hubs to Optimize the Marketing and Distribution of Farm Produce

The rising demand for food produced locally, coupled with the need to assist small and mid-size farmers meet market demand and sales targets has seen several states in the US embrace the idea of food hubs. According to an excerpt published on Huffington Post on 17th January 2017, the demand by shoppers in New York for Northeast farm products has led Greenmarket to act as the link between shoppers and farmers. The state of New York took notice and allocated some $15 million out of the targeted $20 million to help build a new 20,000 sq-ft food distribution center or food hub for Greenmarket.

 

The regional food distributor will raise $5 million from public and private investors in the venture. Once the project is completed in 2019, Greenmarket will use the new premises to sell various products, including maple syrup, grains and honey to the tune of $18 billion annually. Some of the states following New York’s lead include Vermont, Michigan, Ohio and the federal government. Michigan has already set up a $30 million private-public fund to develop food hubs along with regional economic councils and enterprises to help underserved communities and small scale farm holders in the state.

 

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food hubs are a crucial subset of food value chains. The hubs are designed to help ranchers and farmers operating small or mid-size farms find capacity to independently access the retail, commercial and institutional food service markets. The role played by food hubs in aggregation, distribution and marketing farm products at affordable prices also helps producers target the lucrative local food market. The Huffington Post reports that locally sourced food sold in 2014 hit $12 billion.

 

The sales volume is expected to rise to $20 billion by 2019. Although food hubs have always existed in other forms, their re-emergence about a decade ago is largely attributed to growing food demand from consumers, grocery stores, institutions and restaurants. The other defining factor is the need by consumers to serve healthy, sustainable and locally grown food. Greenmarket, whose parent company is called GrowNYC, has grown steadily from a wholesale market of 9 farmers in 2009 to a food hub with 75 farmers in 2012. The sales also increased from $400,000 to $12 million during the same period.

Former Governor Sonny Perdue is Secretary of Agriculture

The former governor of Georgia has selected by President Donald J. Trump to be his secretary of agriculture. Sonny Perdue is a former veterinarian who was selected in 2003 to be governor of Georgia. Perdue has discussed his views on agriculture and trade and how he can ensure American producers can become front-runners in international competition. Perdue has spent most of his working career in the grain and fertilizer business and was one of the first candidates President Trump interviewed for the post.

 

While being governor of Georgia during a record-setting drought in 2007, Perdue set strict water usage restrictions and led hundreds of people in a prayer for rain at the State Capitol. Perdue is praised by President Trumps cabinet members with them agreeing that his experience in agricultural policy and business is key to the position. The Agriculture Agency has a $150 billion budget and oversees farm policies, food safety, food stamps, nutrition programs, and the forest service.

 

Perdue has a past in fertilizer sales and will look to help chemical companies and large agriculture conglomerates with federal farm subsidies. Perdue has stated that he understands the challenges facing today’s farmers and has said that he considers himself an asset with his past work in ag-business and governmental responsibilities. With Trumps move to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade, there is potential for U.S. farmers’ profits to rise. But small local farmers have questioned the move stating that international tariffs play an important role in the trading equation.

 

This year there will be a new Farm Bill put in place. It sets the food policy and states how the bill will cover crop insurance, commodity price supports, and labor needs. Perdue will have his hands full in this new world of modern agriculture and farming techniques. Many farmers nation wide are going to be looking to Perdue to be their voice in congress and will need his expertise in the new administration.

 

 

BovControl Builds Application That Helps Rural Farmers

BovControl is a company that is trying to help farmers in Brazil, the United States, and around the world to reduce hunger. They are trying to do this by helping farmers maximize meat production.

 

This company that is only five years old was started by Danilo Leao. He began farming and taking care of the land that his family owned by tracking farm animals. He tracked them with a spreadsheet and ear tags manually. The BovControl application makes it easier for farmers to speed up production in meat and dairy on farms.

 

To use the application the farmer must put the cow’s vital statistics into the data base. This means birth date, vaccinations, medications, and weight. When information is entered offline it is saved and later uploaded to the cloud. This app allows users to log information in with the technology they have available from ear tags to Bluetooth collars that record information instantly.

 

The application eventually analyzes the information entered and makes predictions about the cow. The BovControl app can predict the date of the birth of a calf if the cow is pregnant, or tell the farmers when a cow is not producing as much milk as it should. A farmer can then decide whether to keep or remove the cow from the herd.

 

The app runs better with up to date technology. When the farmer uses a Bluetooth connected device it can sync up faster and provide more detailed information. It can keep track of a cow’s weight so that a farmer knows when its ready for slaughter or should be sold. It is used on farms all over the world.

 

The applications was first used in Brazil. It changed the way farmers collected data and made decisions about their livestock. Most farms that use this app are small to medium in size. The base of users continues to grow every year. When the company first tried to introduce the app in Brazil in 2015 it was hard to find qualified applicants to work for the company. That was because most Brazilian wanted to work for a larger company.

 

When the company started they had 10 employees now they have 16. They recently signed a deal with Alianca da Terra a nonprofit that certifies sustainable farms in Latin America. They are building an app using BovControl platform that let’s dairy farmers analyze the history of their milk sales. BovControl continues to expand its business around the world.

 

Research Shows That Kid Gardeners Become Healthier Adults

There are numerous benefits to getting outside and planting a garden. First of all, not only will you be able to reap the benefits of your herbs, veggies and fruits in your own kitchen, but you’ll also be able to spend time in the great outdoors and away from screens and technology, which have worked their ways into almost every part of our lives. Gardening can even save you money on foods that would otherwise be expensive or hard to get at the supermarket.

 

These may appear to be the main reasons why people enjoy gardening and find it to be a worthwhile activity, but there may be one more reason too. It’s related to teaching children to garden.

 

New research from the University of Florida suggests that teaching children to garden and cultivate their own vegetables and fruits can help them to be healthier as they grow into young adults and adults.

 

The study specifically looked at college students who were taught to garden at a young age. Researchers examined how likely these students were to have healthy eating habits in college versus those college students who did not take part in gardening when they were young.

 

Overall, the study surveyed 1351 students at the University of Florida. In the end, it was found that those students who had been taught to garden as children ate approximately 15 percent more vegetables and fruits than those students who had never gardened when they were younger. This was true even when students were only eating at the dining hall and not preparing their own foods.

 

It seems that getting your hands dirty early on can be great for your health later in life. If you have children, consider cultivating their preference for homegrown vegetables and fruits, and you’ll see the benefits right now as well as down the line.

 

Ways to Deal With Shortage of Water in Farms

Oil and gas have been the primary concern for many environmentalist groups. However, there is a new concern that needs urgent attention. The world is slowly running out of clean water. Many places in the world suffer from severe water shortages such as Nepal. The residents in such areas have to buy water from private vendors. It has caused a major headache for a majority of the population. Many developing countries struggle with the same problem.

 

It is estimated that more than a billion people have no access to fresh water. The population of the world is growing rapidly. Therefore, it means that we need more water to cultivate more crops to feed the population. It has been suggested before that we could remove the salt content from sea water and use it on plants. Australian greenhouses use solar energy to desalinate seawater and grow crops. The farmers in those areas have had to come up with new ways to support agriculture in their region.

 

Plant scientists are researching on plant genes that would do well in arid conditions. They aim at introducing the key cells of drought tolerant plants to crops through genetic engineering. Traditionally, farmers have used pollination to try and crossbreed different species of plants to come up with more draught-resistant breeds. However, this process is slow.

 

There have also been studies on root architecture systems in different chickpea plants. Scientists are trying to identify the gene that makes the plant’s roots efficient in capturing nutrients and water from dry soils. Most of the draught-resistant plants have abscisic acid (ABA). The acid increases the plants’ water retention capacity. However, it also reduces the efficiency and rate of photosynthesis. It is vital that we come up a way to cultivate draught-resistant plants for our survival.

 

 

High-Tech Farming with FarmLogs

A young start-up company just raised $22 million to help farmers monitor their crops with satellite images and high-tech computation. FarmLogs is the company and, according to TechCrunch, it plans to compete with Monsanto’s Climate Corp. to revolutionize farming.

Many problems that farmers face are difficult to detect from a ground-level perspective. For example, a failing irrigation system might go unnoticed for weeks, until a human worker happens to pass by the affected area. Few farmers can afford to use drones or private airplanes to spot such problems. Fortunately, though, aerial images of every farm in the United States already exist.

Satellite images capture an aerial view of the entire United States, including America’s farms. The data farmers need to protect their operations already exists. Unfortunately, most farmers do not have access to it. Even if they had access, most of them would lack the analytical tools necessary to use the images and prevent agriculture problems.

Companies like FarmLogs aims to bridge the gap between farmers and satellite imagery. Already, their services have helped farmers spot trouble areas and act quickly to save their crops. With sophisticated data analysis, though, FarmLogs and others will also provide farmers with advanced analytics.

Farmers of the future will know when, where, and how to plant their crops, thanks to computer analysis of historical data and new satellite images. For farmers, this technology will one day prevent mistakes, reducing the cost of food and ensuring that farms can optimize their businesses. As farmers face pressure to increase yields and prevent losses, the tools provided by FarmLogs may become critically important.