Immigration Reforms Poosible Impact on Agriculture and Farming

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.

 

World Could Potentially Survive on Organic Products Alone

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 Climate Change For Nut Lovers Coming To California

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.

 

Enjoy Spicy Foods And Live Longer

In the United States of America, farmers chose what to grow on their arable lands based on what the commodities market will pay and what product can be produced most effectively. In many cases the product of choice is corn. Corn can be kept in silos for long periods of time without rotting and corn can be used to produce corn syrup that is used in almost all processed food in American supermarkets. Corn is also the main ingredient used in the production of animal feed. The sweet corn we all enjoy eating comes from local farmers who try to keep the time between picking and the dining table as short as possible for full flavor.

A recent finding offers the small farmer another vegetable option to plant. According to a new finding from China spicy foods and especially peppers are good, very good for health. The finding examined the life expectancy of those eating peppers in one study (See the results here: Your text to link…). In short, the study found a 13 percent reduced risk of dying early if peppers were a part of a person’s diet. The study took 23 years, and its findings are remarkable. This should make everyone run out to their grocers and whole foods stores to purchase bell peppers and the myriad of hot peppers that flavor chile recipes and Mexican foods.

In a separate report, 485,000 people’s diets were analyzed, and spicy foods were found to be conducive to overall health and produced a longer lifespan. Read the report here: Your text to link…

These two reports should be a clarion call for the bland American diet to change its ways before it is too late. Spicy foods are good for our health. From a health point the diets of the French, English, and German immigrants, who make up the bulk of the citizens of the U.S., should be changed or modified. We should as a nation adopt the flavorful Mexican cooking with its reliance on chiles to spice up all food. Throw out those French recipes with tasty, rich sauces and purchase Mexican cookbooks. Better yet travel to Mexico City and enjoy the spicy cuisine at the local “restaurantes.” Do not sample resort foods when in a foreign country they are Americanized and lose much of their flavor. Eat locally and enjoy the adventure of hot and hotter flavorings. It will let you live longer and happier.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Swithing to Sustainable Agriculture Could Create Great Wealth

Modern agriculture prides itself on the fact that it “feeds the world.” That’s no easy task considering world population surpassed 7 billion people in 2012.

 

The problem, however, is that scientists and industry observers warn that the way we grow food today is not sustainable. We rely too heavily on fossil fuels, artificial fertilizers and put enormous pressures on land, water and soil resources.

 

Another huge problem is waste. In the United States, for example, the USDA estimates that more than 30 percent of all food is never consumed. It’s simply thrown in the trash!

 

The answer is sustainable agriculture. The good news is that switching over to eco-friendly and renewable food production may result in the creation of vast wealth in the form of millions of new jobs and technology.

 

That’s according to a report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, an international think tank that explores innovative ways to create smarter business models.

 

In a recent report, the BSDC estimated that $2.3 trillion (that’s trillion with a “T”) in new business opportunities could be created and 80 million new jobs would result from an all-out effort to radically change the way we grow food.

 

Better yet, all these benefits could be realized by year 2030, less than two decades from now.

 

Getting started would be expensive, but from great investment would come even greater profits, the BSDC says. They recommend an expenditure of about $320 billion a year.

 

The methods to get it done are many, from no-till cultivation methods and reducing food waste, to developing new forms of fuel to power farm equipment.

 

it’s more than a matter of money. however. If we don’t change the way we grow food, a planetary food crisis may result in just a few decades.

 

 

 

 

How does your Garden Grow? Does it Matter?

With recent advances in agriculture, you may find yourself scratching your head in the produce aisle. What’s the real scoop on GMOs, and is organic really better for you? Let’s explore the different choices you have when it comes to growing and purchasing fruits and vegetables.

 

Hydroponic

 

Hydroponic vegetables are grown in a liquid solution of water and nutrients. Of course, they’re nutritive value depends on the levels of nutrients they receive, but hydroponic vegetables have been found to have nutrient levels equal to or higher traditionally grown vegetables.

 

Organic

 

Organic vegetables are free from pesticides and artificial fertilizers. However, they are still exposed to environmental toxins if grown outdoors, and guidelines are relatively loose. You may be doing just as well to thoroughly rinse conventional produce.

 

Genetically Modified

 

GMOs are finally waning from the spotlight. After a large uproar and fears that changing a crops genetics could cause health problems and reduce taste, studies have shown the opposite. In fact, GMO crops are hardier and may be the answer to world hunger.

 

Your Garden, Your Choice

 

Absolutely continue researching healthy options, but don’t panic if you ingest produce of unknown origins. There’s no significant reason to scrutinize the fruit salad at the next barbecue you attend, or to spend extra money on your grocery bill. If you’re eating any sort of produce, you’re doing just fine.

 

Remember to wash your vegetables and fruit well, especially those that grow underground, as E.Coli can live in soil. You should also inspect produce for possible contamination by insects or mold prior to purchase.

 

While homegrown and wild produce may taste superior, don’t fret. You’ll still get the nutrients you need if you buy rather than grow.

 

Statistics Showing Increase In Crop And Pasture Land In Northwest And California

According to a recent survey and report by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, agriculture land values have appreciated this year in the Northwest and California area. Evidence shows that there is an extremely tight regional supply of available land despite the fact that low commodity prices are bringing down the value of land in other areas.

The average value of land has decreased by $40 from last year. According to the report, the value of cropland this year is $4,090. In Idaho, the average cropland value increased by $100. It was a 3.1 percent increase to $3,300. In California, the average cropland price rose to $10,910 per acre. The new figure represented a 2.1 percent increase. Other regions that recorded a higher percentage increase in farmland value are Oregon and Washington. Oregon was up by 5 percent, while Washington rose by 4.9 percent. Their cropland value was $2,730 and $2,760 respectively.

The increase in cropland value was also consistent with the pasture values. Nationally, the average pasture value is $1,330 per acre. In Idaho, the pasture value is up by 4 percent, at $1,300 per acre. California recorded an increase by 3 percent as the pasture value was $2,700 per acre. The price per acre in Oregon and Washington increased by 3 percent and 2.4 percent in the two regions.

Ben Eborn, an economist at the University of Idaho Extension, said that the high commodity prices that inflated the market caused the first dip in national land values. The buyers were paying higher prices than they could generate from their land. Eborn predicted that the land values would probably go down in the coming years. Idaho farms did not inflate values at the rate that Midwestern farms did. Eborn said that many investors were leasing the land back to the growers who owned them before.

The Senior Vice President for Western Idaho, Doug Robson, stated that the employer’s internal data proved that the land values in the region have strengthened over the years. He attributed this to the state’s ability to attract investors, who could not find better alternatives to farm land. Doug anticipates that Idaho’s core growing areas will remain stable in the coming years.

 

 

Scientists Discover Gene That Increases Wheat Harvest By 20%

Oxford University research scientists have formulated a crop spray which will increase a farmer’s wheat harvest by twenty percent. What’s unique about the formulation is that the spray does not require genetic modifying. A molecule discovered in plants, fosters efficient use of sugar fuel-like substance, during photosynthesis. With more of this fuel-like substance, plants can generate larger grains.

 

The sugar, in the plants, that has its capacity increases, to stimulate growth is sugar trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P). Trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) regulates how wheat utilizes sucrose, a key component in wheat grain development. With such a beneficial discovery, the Great Britain Department of Environment is contemplating a closely monitored field trial. The trial would be for GM wheat grains in Hertfordshire.

 

Though the discovery is good news, this isn’t the first time agricultural crops are being modified or manipulated to produce greater yields. While greater yields are embraced, genetic modification has its share of controversy over the last 20 years. Opponents to genetic modification and manipulation can bring harm to the human body and disrupt the eco-system.

 

With the new technique discovered, as described in the journal Nature, proponents contend it is much safer and cost efficient for farmers. Farmers would apply the formulation with a crop sprayer. Field research demonstrated that crop yields increased after just one spray application.

 

Department of Chemistry at Oxford, professor Benjamin Davis, commented, “The tests we conducted show real promise for a technique that, in the future, could radically alter how we farm not just wheat but many different crops. By now developing new chemical methods based on an understanding of biology, we can secure our food sources and add to this legacy.”

 

Worldwide, rice, corn, and wheat are the three most popular staple crops harvested. With anticipated population growth, agricultural crop yields must increase 70%, in the next 35 years. While contemporary technology with fertilizers and plant breeding have stimulated an increase in harvest yields, scientists think natural growth capacity has reached its limit.

 

Dr. Matthew Paul, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Rothamsted Research, Senior Scientist, remarked: “This study is a proof of concept, showing us that it is possible to influence how plants use the fuel they produce for agricultural benefit.”