Organic farming is becoming all the rage nowadays. You can’t go into any supermarket without finding information and products specifically made using organic methods. Organic farming is far different from any other type of production available. If the farm is certified USDA organic, they must follow strict regulations and guidelines in order to achieve and maintain that seal of approval. This means that the farm cannot use any type of chemical pesticide that is harmful to the environment and consumers’ health.
The problem with organic farming is that production can be slow and the yield of crops can be small because chemicals are not being used. The farm cannot use growth hormones or chemical growing agents because they will lose their USDA organic seal. Because of this, many farmers are using natural methods to grow their crops and keep the plants in good shape. There are many natural methods to get crops to grow stronger and for longer periods of time. Greenhouses are often used in organic farming because they use the natural sun to encourage growth and vitality. Because the plants are protected in a greenhouse, pests are often not an issue for these particular farmers.
Organic farming is more expensive to those working on the plants and this price is reflected in the product you’ll find in your local supermarket. It’s not uncommon to pay two or three times the price for organic produce than you’d pay for the chemical-riddled crop next to it. However, you can save money by visiting farmer’s markets and looking for supermarket sales and discounts specific to organic produce. Once you get in the habit of buying only GMO-free and organic products, you’ll find that going back to your old way of shopping seems “off”. You just won’t feel right buying chemical-produced items that you know are not healthy for your loved ones. While buying organic is more expensive and can be frustrating because crops are generally much smaller in size, it is well worth the price of admission when you look at all the health benefits of going on an all-organic diet.
People are starting to realize that it is better for them to live off the land and be able to provide for themselves. Because of this, you’ll notice a growing trend around the country of people doing their own chicken farming. Chicken farming is a relatively easy hobby to get into and it doesn’t result in near the amount of work as typical livestock farming demands. In fact, most areas allow for chickens to be kept on your property, so unless you live in a very city-like urban environment, you shouldn’t have to worry about any laws governing the ownership of chickens.
Chicken farming isn’t just a fun and relaxing hobby, it is also a great way to produce eggs that you can use in your own home for cooking. The typical hen will lay one or two eggs each day, allowing you to have a fresh supply of eggs at any given time. Not only will this save you a lot of money, but you will know where your eggs are coming from and that they are completely organic and laid by free range chickens.
Most farm supply stores sell all of the necessary equipment that you’ll need to start your own coop. Certain stores, such as Tractor Supply, even have chickens and ducks for sale in the early spring months for people who would rather buy their birds locally as opposed to ordering them online. When you order your chickens online, they’ll be shipped next-day to ensure that all of the animals arrive healthy and alive. If you live in a cold area, it is imperative that you provide the chickens a warm place to stay when temperatures drop.
Once you’ve set up your coop, you should maintain it on a daily basis to keep your chickens happy. Provide the chickens with warmth, water and plenty of food and they’ll reward you by laying eggs daily. It’s crucial that you keep your chickens away from predators and other animals that could eat the eggs, especially if you live in an area that deals with a lot of wildlife.
If you plan on growing plants anytime this year, there’s one trick that you’ll want to know about. Namely, you’ll want to remember to soak your seeds before you plant them. Soaking your seeds before you plant them will decrease the time it takes for your seeds to germinate and make growing times faster overall for whatever plants you plan on growing.
The reasons that you should soak seeds before planting them
Many people skip the step of soaking their seeds before planting them in soil. They do this because they think that it doesn’t make any difference whether they soak their seeds or not, but it definitely makes a difference.
It may be surprising, but the reason that it’s necessary to soak seeds before planting them is because that’s what Mother Nature does. Mother Nature doesn’t necessary soak them, but it beats them up pretty well.
The truth is that before a seed germinates and grows, it is battered and experiences all types of conditions, and for this reason, it has built up defenses to repair itself for the harsh cruelties of Mother Nature. In response, it is the gardener’s job to make sure that these defenses get broken down purposefully. Otherwise, it will take an extra few days to a week to break down these defenses, and if you’re planning on planting your garden quickly and reaping the rewards from your garden as soon as possible, you won’t have this kind of time.
How to soak seeds before planting them
If you are a gardener who is starting a garden soon, you’ll definitely want to soak your seeds before planting them. This is relatively easy and painless process. You’ll only need your seeds and some water.
First, put water in a small bowl. You’ll want it to be quite hot. You can even use boiling water. Put the seeds in your bowl of water. All seeds can be soaked, so it doesn’t matter what kind they are. Leave the seeds and the bowl until your water cools off. Leave them for one to two days.
Whoever said that you had to have a garden in your back yard to have fresh herbs? It is easy to start your very own kitchen herb garden in your home. But the question surrounding what types of herbs to grow in your garden still remains. If you are unsure of the herbs that you’d like to grow in your garden, consider the following options that can be great for your cooking and baking needs.
Sweet Italian Basil
Basil is an herb that is integral to Italian cuisine, but you’ll be sure to find other great uses for this sweet smelling herb as well. Sweet Italian basil is the most typical type of this herb, and you can easily grow it in your kitchen herb garden. This type of basil produces large lush green leaves that you’ll be dying to chop up and put on top of your lasagna or soup.
As the staple of Mexican cuisine, if you enjoy tacos, fajitas or any other type of Mexican dishes, you’ll definitely want to have someone cilantro in your kitchen herb garden. With that being said, some people have a distinct aversion to this herb, and they may feel that it tastes like soap. If this is the case with you, don’t have cilantro in your herb garden. It’s as easy as that.
Chives are an allium plant and are a variant of green onions. These onion-flavored herbs are great on top of an omelette or in a wrap or sandwich. Chives are easy to grow, and they taste great and look pretty on lots of different types of meals.
Parsley is in a lot of different types of cuisines as well, and it’s definitely in many soups and Italian dishes like lasagna and spaghetti. You can basically sprinkle it on anything. It’s also a great garnish, and it can even make your breath smell better if you don’t have anything like a mint after dinner or lunch.
These are the best herbs to start with. As you gain more experience with kitchen gardening, you can certainly add more herbs.
Growing a garden often sounds like a great idea, but when it comes down to it, many people don’t realize how much work creating a garden entails. With that being said, anyone can garden and enjoy it, and it’s simply up to you to teach yourself the basics of this fun and useful task.
The first thing that you’ll need to do when planting a garden is buy your seeds. Remember not to buy too many seeds if you’ve never had a garden before. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself on your first go of it.
The second thing that you’ll need to do when you get ready to plant your seeds and after you’ve purchased them is soak your seeds. This is absolutely essential, but many new gardeners forget to do this or avoid doing it altogether.
The reason that you need to soak your seat before planting, is so that they will check any faster. In the wild, all types of seeds are battered and soaked before the germinate. This is why they have natural defenses built up and they don’t germinate immediately. For example, you’ll notice that if you plant seeds without soaking them first, they won’t start to peak through the top of the soil for a few days. If you soak your seeds, however, they will start to peak through the soil after just one day.
You’ll only need a little bit of hot water in a container and your planting seeds to soak them effectively. Make the water in your container as hot as possible. You can even boil it for some types of seeds. Put the seeds inside the container and allow them to soak there as the water cools off. This is all you need to do!
You may be wondering how long your seeds should soak in your bowl of hot water. Most of the time, you’ll only want to soak them for half a day to a full day. You should never soak your seeds for more than two full days as this could over-soak them, and in that case, they may not grow.
The United States Department of Agriculture is one of the most important government divisions that the country has. This division is responsible, at a high-level, for all agricultural development in the country. The division also puts for a significant amount of time into researching agricultural topics including food and environmental concerns. While the USDA has historically made their finding public, without going through a higher level of approval, the Trump Administration has announced that this process will be changing.
The new presidential administration has announced that they will be forbidding the USDA from publicly sharing any information that they find without receiving prior approval. This includes any work that is already in process by one of the 2,000 scientists that the USDA has hired. The information that will no longer be able to be released will include full studies, photos, fact sheets, social media content, or updated new feeds.
The USDA is not the only wing of the government that has received notification of the gag order. The US EPA has also received notice that they are no longer able to release information without prior approval from a higher level. The EPA’s restrictions include limitations on press releases, blogs, and social media blasts. The EPA is also no longer able to make additional purchases, hires, or any other decisions that could increase the annual expenditure.
The decisions and restrictions set forth on the USDA and EPA are consistent with what is going on in other areas of the government. As the Trump Administration continues to appoint more committee and cabinet members, the organization is asking that most government spending be controlled. This will give the organizations a time to gather and organize before developing a new strategy to expand or contract the scope.
The EPA and USDA were both very highly used under the Obama Administration. Both organizations were involved to find ways to make food and the environment healthier and stronger. The organizations also recently have released reports that make it clear the global warming is continuing as the prior few years have been among the warmest on record.
In 2012, North Dakota approved the right to farm amendments as voted by citizens. Missouri approved the same in 2014. The report, sourced from http://huffingtonpost.com/ indicated that in 2016, Oklahoma sixty percent of voters casted their ballots to reject the amendment of the right to farm by approximately 300,000 counts. The Oklahoma revision included an additional requirement for lawmakers in the State to appear in court for legislations on farming, water quality, animal cruelty or GMOs. The long process was deemed by voters.
The win was also supported by animal welfare enthusiast, unions of environmentalists and other organizations in opposition of the amendment. According to these opponents, the revision would have disabled any amended laws os the state’s farmers in future.
The right to farm amendment would have had a couple of restrictions on the farmers under the Oklahoma State constitution. The farmers and ranchers would be restricted from utilizing farming technology, practicing livestock keeping or ranching until the state justified the practices.
As a result, the statehouse voted in mass agreement to put the regulation question on the ballot for voters to decide. The director of Oklahoma Sierra Club, Johnson Bridgewater, that the amendment would have adverse effects on farmers and the connected community parties. He noted that the new regulations would override the law and a right to farm law that was passed decades ago in Oklahoma as well as in other 50 states. Johnson explained that the pre-existing first right to farm laws protected small scale farmers from overwhelming court charges. He however added to say that large scale farmers and businesses have taken advantage of the protection to avoid following regulations.
Joe Maxwell, the Director of HSUS Legislative Fund was impressed by the effort of united organizations such as HSUS, InterTribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, non Profit organizations and other farming unions. He said that the unity raised awareness to farmers to cast their votes. He expressed his wish for future caution in attempts to change the legislative rights of farmers. The Oklahoma Farm Bureau President commented that the bureau’s effort will not cease leading the amendment efforts until the farmers and ranchers earn protection from the revised laws. Recently, increasing number of States such as West Virginia and Indiana are introducing the ballot option for voters to decide on the right to farm regulations.
During the upcoming United States presidential election one of the most hotly contested items will be immigration reform. While all parties tend to agree that there are a significant amount of illegal immigrants in the United States, how to handle the issue seems to be a big center of disagreement. While some politicians and citizens would prefer to limit immigration, a recent news article (http://www.tribdem.com/news/immigrant-workers-are-key-for-agriculture-patton-farmer-says/article_bd584ed0-6366-11e6-9e7a-87eace147f59.html) has stated that some of the core industries in the United States rely heavily on immigrants and even illegal aliens.
One industry in the United States that continues to rely heavily on immigrant labor is the farming and agriculture industry. There are many reasons why this industry times to rely on immigrants. One key belief is that the amount of hard labor that goes into farming dissuades many people from going into the field. Furthermore, tight operating margins in the agriculture and farming industry prevent most farmers from offering wages much higher than minimum wage.
While there is a clear need for the labor from immigrants in the United States to help with the agriculture and farming industry, there are still many concerned that those working in this field could be undocumented. In state and local town hall meetings across the United States a wide variety of suggestions have been raised to help control this issue. One issue is to help increase the likelihood and efficiency of the immigration process to ensure those that are here to work are able to do so.
Another group that has been concerned about the use of immigrant labor in the agriculture and farming industry have been civil rights activists. These groups are concerned that immigrants are not provided with the same rights as far as having a safe place to work and fair benefits. Those civil rights groups have suggested coming up with a uniform set of requirements regarding unionization or basic compensation and benefits for those who work in the agriculture and farming industry.
Due to the potential health ailments that can come with ingesting unnecessary pesticides, hormones, and other chemicals, many people today are trending away from traditional crops to consume only those that are certified organic. While many agree that organic crops are healthier and pose less health risks, the amount of crops grown per acre tend to be up to 20% less than traditional crops. This has led many to wonder whether the world could survive if all farmers started growing crops organically, especially considering the expected population growth in the next 50 years.
According to a recent study and news article (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/aug/14/organic-farming-agriculture-world-hunger), it is certainly possible that the world could survive on only organic crops. Earlier in 2016 researchers completed a variety of models that predicted 500 different food production scenarios and compared them to food needs in the year 2050, which assumed nearly 10 billion in global population.
The models predicted that with near certainty that full organic farming would be sufficient if all people followed a vegan lifestyle. If all people followed a vegetarian diet, than there is a 94% chance that organic farming would be sufficient. However, if people continued to eat high levels of meat then the chances of success are far less. The reasoning for this is due to the considerable amount of grain and corn that farm animals consume on a regular basis.
While organic farming may not produce the same quantity of food when compared to traditional farming, there are some advantages that come with organic farming. One advantage is that organic farming tends to be better on the soil. This means that soil over time will be more productive and over the course of several decades, this could lead to much higher levels of efficiency. Further, a considerable amount of energy goes into the production of chemicals, which will no longer be necessary.
Due to studies such as these, it is likely that the consumption of organic products will continue to grow in the coming years. Today, less than three percent of all produce is organically grown.
Big change is on the way. The nation’s climate has been changing for the worst, according to the NPR. California holds the monopoly on growing pistachios and almonds. California grows 99% of America’s pistachios and 100% of the nation’s almonds and according to NPR those amounts that are grown every year are in danger of being seriously cut down.
For these nuts to successfully grow every year, the trees need “chill hours” or in non agricultural speak, the trees need a certain number of cold hours to reset for the next growing year. This process requires the winter months to reach a range of freezing to 45 degrees for an extended time, so that the tree goes dormant in preparation for budding of the flowers the next spring.
Studies have found that this process is becoming incomplete for up to 50% of the whole harvest in some farming areas, which means a drastic drop in nut production. This warming trend has been happening for the past four years and according to studies the pistachio and almond crops may be on their way out of certain areas in California for good as soon as the middle or end of this century.
Agricultural experts stated that these types of crops may have to move north to maintain their current output. With warmer weather settling in year after year, farmers may have to move their entire operations north or switch to a different kind of crop, such as tomatoes, which thrive in warmer fall weather.
You can’t help but feel concern for the nut farmers as this has been their way of life for many generations. It would cost money to move their whole operation further north, but what choice do they have? Move north and continue farming the same crop on which they know the yield and market prices or switch to a whole different crop with an unknown yield and the hopes of making the same amount of money. In plain English, global warming sucks for the farmers growing the crops and the consumers who will experience a shortage and end up paying more for less.
To read the whole article about the nut farmers pending plight, please click here.