How Do Organic Farms Keep Production Efficient?

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.


How to Shop for Organic Produce in the Supermarket

Gone are the days when it was considered normal to spray our farms with hundreds of gallons of pesticides to keep the plants healthy and pest-free. Nowadays, most people are aware of the dangers that these chemicals impose upon our health and why it’s crucial we begin to avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, shopping for organic can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you can buy your organic produce at a supermarket for the same price as its pesticide-riddled neighbor. This simply isn’t true because organic farming is much more costly to farmers and workers, thus putting that price back into the produce that they yield.


To save money on your organic produce, you can look for sales in your local grocery store. Most stores have sales going from week to week and you’ll be surprised to find that many of these discounts include organic produce. If you’re able to find a great sale, you could essentially get organic at the same price as other pesticide produce. Another way to buy organic is to visit your local farmer’s market. If you live in a rural area, there should be no problem finding a great market that sells a wide range of homegrown vegetables and fruits. You may have to travel to get to the farmer’s market if you live in the country, but it is well worth it and you can stock up on all the produce you need to feed your family for months.


It’s important to note that not all organic products cost the same. You might find cucumbers that cost different prices because one type comes from a specific organic farm and the other comes from an entirely different GMO-free organic farm. Comparison shopping is yet another benefit when you’re looking to save money on healthier options. Even different stores charge varying prices for their organic produce, so it pays to look at shop advertisements before making your trip. When you switch to organic produce for your loved ones, you’re doing something great for your family and they’ll appreciate it because they’re living healthier lifestyles.


Why More People are Setting Up Their Own Organic Farms

Organic farming is a growing trend found all throughout the country. It’s estimated that for every five regular farms being established, there is at least one organic farm being created. This is an amazing shift in our way of farming, since there has been an enormous problem with the use of pesticides in recent years. Pesticides are hazardous to our health, making it difficult to feel safe consuming the fruits and vegetables that we buy from our local supermarkets. Thankfully, many people are forgoing supermarket produce shopping altogether and are choosing to set up their own organic farms in their backyard.


Setting up your own organic farm in the backyard is great if you’re tired of the high cost of produce and the insecurity of knowing where your food is coming from. The only disadvantage to having your own farm and relying solely on its production is that certain foods can’t be done all year and are specific to certain seasons. This limits the amount and type of produce you’re able to yield. Other than this minor inconvenience, organic farming in your backyard is a marvelous way to regulate what’s being put onto your foods before you chow down.


To set up your own farming spot, you’ll need an adequate area in the backyard that gets both sun and shade throughout the day. Most crops do best in partial sun and shade, allowing them time to heat up and cool down during the hotter months of the year. You need to keep your crops watered daily to prevent them from burning and drying out, especially if you’re living in a hot climate. If you can’t plant the crops directly in the earth, consider building a vegetable box and filling it with dirt and organic matter to encourage the plants to grow their best.


You should begin to see a yield of crops within the first couple of months after doing your planting. You need to read all directions for the specific plant you’re putting into the ground as some require more or less water and full sun to keep them healthy.


Why More People are Getting Into Chicken Farming

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.


The Rise of Organic Farming

We all know about the dangers of pesticide use in farming. If you’re not buying organic, chances are that you’re purchasing crops that have been sprayed with some type of pesticide. Large farms and corporations use these chemicals to yield more products. If they have less pests eating away at their plants, they will produce more crops and be able to keep their prices to a minimum. Unfortunately, we pay for it by receiving veggies and fruits that are literally riddled with chemical pesticides and fungicides that are difficult to wash off.


You’ll notice a significant growth in organic farming all across the country. Organic farming is more difficult because farmers need to resort to natural methods to keep their plants lively and pest-free, but it is healthier for the consumers when they do not need to worry about the chemicals sprayed onto their foods. In fact, you may notice that most foods in your local supermarket are going organic because there is a high demand for this type of product. No one likes that their food is dangerous to eat, so they are opting to pay a little more and buy organic and GMO-free.


One of the major cons of organic farming is the slow production and price. You might hear certain people say that eating healthy is cheap and easy, but it truly isn’t. Organic produce costs, on average, two or three times the amount compared to non-organic vegetables and fruits. This hike in the price is problematic for people who are on strict budgets and can’t afford to spend more just to avoid chemicals they can’t even see. Organic farmers are realizing this dilemma and are starting to slowly drop their prices to reflect the financial needs of their customers.


In order to go organic, you need to read labels carefully. If a product or piece of produce has the USDA seal for organic on it, it means it is organic. If something says it’s natural, it does not mean it is necessarily free of pesticides or other chemicals. Be cautious when purchasing anything if you’re trying to live a completely organic lifestyle as many products have chemicals in them without stating it on the label.


It’s Springtime: Time for Chicken Farming!

The spring season is a perfect time to start a new hobby and there is nothing more interesting and innovative than chicken farming. Unlike livestock farming that requires a lot of money and time, chicken farming is ideal even for the suburban dweller. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your chickens and they’ll produce eggs on an almost daily basis. This gives you the chance to have fresh eggs every day and know where those eggs are coming from.


Chicken farming is incredibly popular because of the low maintenance and high yield. People are becoming wary of buying regular eggs from their supermarket because of the problems that come with the food and livestock industries. Being able to grow your own chickens at home and have them produce delicious eggs is a great way to still enjoy eggs without giving them up for ethical reasons. You also have the advantage of knowing what your chickens are eating to know that the eggs are all-natural and won’t have any antibiotics in the yolk.


Getting involved in chicken farming is easy and fun. It’s important to first find out the different laws and regulations in your area concerning keeping chickens. Most areas are lenient with chicken farming, but more urban and city environments will be strict and may not allow residents to keep chickens on their properties. Once you’ve found out if you can have a chicken farm, you’ll need to buy all of the necessary supplies to keep your birds safe, well-fed and watered all throughout the year. Next, you’ll need to buy your birds either from a local farmer or supply chain.


To keep your chickens happy, the coop needs to be well-maintained throughout the year. You must make time for your chickens in order to prevent your birds from becoming sick or unhappy. You’ll find that with a properly maintained coop and a basic knowledge of bird keeping, you’ll be the owner of content chickens who all yield a large amount of eggs for you and your family. Chicken farming isn’t difficult and it can be one of the most rewarding hobbies you ever get involved in.


The World of Technology Meets Farming and Agriculture

With the help of technology, farmers are able to handle a lot more than 30 acres of farmland. No longer is a mule, a pitchfork, a tractor, chickens, and a cow sufficient enough to run a farm. From the dawn of farming, it has gone through a lot of changes. Originally, the farmers used plow horses to plow the land before they got mechanical plows. Today, the GPS is improving farming even more than the tractor and the plow ever did. GPS technology that most people use to navigate while driving their vehicle can also help a farmer run his farm in a mistake proof manner. Many people would be surprised to know thatthe GPS system was used to help American soldiers during the Gulf War. There is a GPS that will tell the farmer exactly how much fertilizer to use on the crops.


The GPS can help the farmer navigate the tractor because the GPS can replace the human eyes and help the farmer plow the fields straighter than ever before. The GPS comes in handy when plowing the fields are completed. The GPS can help the farmer apply just the right amount of seeding to the furrows. The GPS system has replaced mechanical seed spreaders that did not always plant a sufficient amount of seed to adequately grow the crops. Farmers can now test the soil properly to learn which areas need fertilizer and which areas don’t. This will save a lot of precious time and money and allow the farmer to get more work done farming than his ancestors did. It not only saves time and allows the farmer to get more work done in the day, it also saves the farmer money. Saving money will help drive up the profits the farmer makes from the crops. Not only will the GPS help the farmer harvest his present crop, he can also make plans for future crops.


The farming industry is not dead. It has joined the age of technology along with the rest of us. The GPS is not only revolutionizing the way people drive to certain destinations, it is also helping the farmer use agriculture more efficiently and effectively to get more out of farming than ever before.

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.

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.”


Strict Regulations on Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is a topic that is constantly talked about in the farming and agricultural industry, based on the fact that there is so much controversy surrounding genetically modified crops. Like many issues that are heavily debated, there are two sides to the fence when it comes to GMOs. Opponents of the use of GMOs in our food believe that there are inherent risks to ingesting food that has been genetically modified. On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits that come with producing genetically modified food, primarily on the side of those that are producing the crops, as it is much easier and more predictable to tend to crops that have been genetically engineered. A great deal of guess factor is removed from the process when genetic factors have been modified, which is why it is so attractive to producers of various crops.

While it may provide a great advantage and be desirable to companies that would like to produce their food more efficiently and effectively, there are also a huge amount of regulations that come with producing genetically engineered crops. Over the last few months there’s been quite a bit of talk of draining the swamp, and this has been directly applicable to the discussion over genetic engineering. Many people are now calling to drain the swamp when it comes to erasing in eliminating laws that prevent genetic engineering, based mostly on the fact that it cost so much money to get over all the hurdles that come with working with genetically modified foods. Proponents for genetically modified food would like to see regulations dropped, which they feel would then put them in a great position to make more money and give a great boost to the agricultural industry. While it has been documented around the globe that genetically modified foods are for the most part completely safe for consumption, there’s no denying the fact that there is likely going to be a rocky road ahead when it comes to altering regulations that currently stand. As is with many industries, many of the bigger producers of crops are able to still get by with such regulations, while smaller producers are finding that the hurdles too great and are closing down their operations.