Pesticides vs Farmers

Deciding if you want to eat foods grown on farms and pastures, some may recommend doing a fair share of research. In that case, according to recent research, an article from New York Times stated there is a pair of lists organizing the cleanest and dirtiest fruits and vegetables based on their levels of pesticides. Along with this, they mention the natural differences between them based on the outer layer of the food itself. How does this affect agriculture? The use of pesticides helps aid in the upkeep and growing of those crops on the farmlands.
When buyers hear the term, “Pesticide” they usually run for the hills due to the controversial reputation surrounding it. The main purposes for these chemicals are to maintain the fruits and vegetables grown on the fields and ensure they are grown to their ripest states. With many insects thriving on farmlands, it is difficult to keep the number of crops high enough to make a profit. Therefore, pesticides are used to fight off those bugs that feed off the fruits being grown, keeping the total number of crops high enough to profit. Caterpillars, for instance, maintain life by consuming these fruits, without those insecticides, there would not be enough foods to send off to the buyers. Meaning, the less they sell to consumers, the less money these farmers make.
Continuing, with the facts and opinions swirling around the use of pesticides, do they actually get into our fruits and vegetables? According to the article titled, “Do Pesticides Get Into the Flesh of Fruits and Vegetables?” from New York Times, they could! On the contrary, the thicker the fruit may be, the less likely it will be more contaminated than other fruits, such as a cantaloupe (cleaner fruits list)! Thin skinned fruits (strawberries and apples) tend to be on the dirtier fruits due to the amount of pesticide entering the flesh of the fruits. While these farmers grow and maintain the life of your foods, smart buying and thorough washing of the fruits begin your own journey!

Drones: Farm Implement Of The Future That Is Here Now

Farming has long been associated with machines like tractors, plows, cultivators and combines – but high-tech drones which fly over fields may soon become as indispensable to modern agriculture as traditional farm implements.

It starts with something called “precision agriculture.” This a farm management concept that relies heavily on observing crops, fields and soil from the air – from space-based satellite imaging — but now also increasingly using data gathered from low-flying drones.

Aerial sensing with drones can provide farmers with an amazing amount of information about what is going on with the make-up and content of soil, but also the progress of crops as they grow week-to-week.

Japan has already been using drones for years to manage rice crops. Farmers in the United States are just beginning to catch on to this way of gathering information about land and crops. The payoff can be truly astounding.

For example, the fertility of a given field of soil can vary widely in terms of where fertilizer is concentrated as opposed to where soil is depleted. Using remote sensing with enhanced drone imaging techniques, farmers can now stop wasting fertilizer application where it is not needed and concentrate on those areas that do.

The standard practice for farmers has been to simply spread the same amount of fertilizer across an entire field. But now a view from above can easily show how inefficient and wasteful the old “blind” way applying fertilizer has been.

That’s just one example of how sending drones out over fields can “harvest” vast amount of knowledge that enable operators to work more efficiently.

Other uses of drones include monitoring fields for areas of weed proliferation throughout the growing season. This allows pinpoint methods to attack weeds only where they are a problem. Another use of drone-enabled sensing it to keep track of insect predation and plants diseases, such as wheat scab or various other fungal infections common to crops.

Farming has always been a labor of the land — but now it’s taken to the air, as well.

Farming With No Insurance

Agriculture is a very important part of our society. It is what helps to create crops and many other things that we use every single day. Farming takes a lot of hard labor and a lot of time, and farmers expend a lot of their time and energy to conserve their farms. People who own farms use that as their source of income. They have an abundant amount of animals in which they take care of on the farm, and use in order to get food resources.

Because the farmers use this as their main source of income, it is hard for them to get and maintain health insurance. Most families obtain health insurance by working for a corporation full time, and because farmers are self-employed they carry the burden of purchasing health insurance on their own. This is the reason that most farmers operate without health insurance. They make sure to at least carry insurance on their farms, tools, and livestock.

With the life of a farmer being such a risk, the insurance is more expensive as well. Farmers have to work with very dangerous equipment every day. If a farmer gets severely injured or ill, it is very possible and likely that he and his family will lose the farm. Because this is a known issue among the farming community, the government created something to try and help called the Affordable Care Act. This act provided different and new options of insurance for the farmers to choose from, while being more affordable than it was in the past. However, the Affordable Care Act is still not as affordable as most farmers would like. This act is an excellent advancement towards what farmers need, and shows promise for the future that farmers will be able to obtain the coverage they need, and keep their farms.

US Farming Standards Bleed Over To UK

When you think of farming you most-likely get that perceived notion of wide open fields that pioneered the use of rearing livestock, but according to Reddit, an online report published on theGuardian, that vision you have has drastically changed.

Annually, more and more animal facilities are currently being built or existing ones extended. The argument for these mega-farms is that consumers can benefit from lower prices, but animal welfare groups say the devil is in the details.

Modernized farming or “factory farming” opened the doors to lots of problems like mass breeding, growth promoters, and the overuse of antibiotics given to animals. According to a spokeswoman for Compassion in World Farming, Emma Slawinski, “Antibiotics are regularly fed to livestock via food and water to decrease the risk of disease.” In fact, antibiotics became more of a prophylactic use to wipe out any diseases among livestock, however, its overuse made bacteria more resistant. Over the years, multi-resistant bacteria has popped up. And problems can fall through the cracks, like sick livestock, because rarely are individual animals treated. If a chicken, pig or cow falls ill in the pen, with a resistant disease, it may not show obvious signs of illness which can be transferred.

Now, European countries are worried that foreign trade pressures could force British farmers to adopt US farming practices, opening the door to lower standards. The Guardian reports that there are approximately 789 factory farms in the UK, and most are owned and operated by foreign multi-corporations. After Brexit, the UK agricultural businesses were open to customs rules of the World Trade Organization. This caused a disruption to the 800 or so European laws covering wildlife, water quality, agriculture, and fishing, that must be transposed into national law. The removal of farming subsidies and labor shortages have contributed to the UK adopting many US agricultural standards. And while the British government maintains they will protect animal welfare to uphold public confidence, things have already begun to change.

The Role of Technology in Battling Agricultural Issues

The notion that farming has been exploiting resources as a worldwide practice has been an issue of debate for several years. Signs of imbalance have been seen in the form of general alteration of a natural flora and fauna, wildlife population decline, pollution, and soil erosion. A parallel and unnatural phenomenon has been the exponential human population growth with related demands for shelter and food that have always exceeded the land’s natural carrying capacity. However, redefined advances have led to the emergence of modern technology in the agricultural industry.

The use of geographical location devices, computational technology, and remote sensing developments in agriculture has significantly changed the way the crops are managed. Integration of information has also created the management of knowledge as a way of achieving the production goals. Although uncertainty will always be a primary issue in agriculture, it can be controlled as an environmental problem using risk management strategies. This may call for the use of genetics on some soils in specific climatic conditions.

With new technologies, breakthroughs have continually been seen in the world food production. In addition to the increase in productivity, technology is used to renew the land that has been misused or overused through poor farming methods. In this case, sustainability is a survival issue, but it is far broader than the situation of soil erosion and habitat destruction. It includes food producers’ welfare, the goal of food production, and preservation of nonrenewable resources. Hence, any technology in agriculture is an enabling made-made component that can successfully bring these overriding objectives together.

Going Towards Ecological Farming

A majority of the food today is created through the means of industrialized farming. Industrialized farming fundamentally shapes our farms into factories. The farms are run like factories due to the requirement of artificial composts, biochemical insecticides, hefty quantities of irrigation H2O, and vestige fuels that help create innately altered harvests and cattle. As a result industrial farming is diminishing the country’s topsoil at a dangerous rate. Due to the dangerous rate experts are declaring that the nation has less than 60 harvests remaining if there is not a change towards more ecological agriculture practices. The constant use of insecticides on pastures is killing our soils, water structures, and our air we inhale daily. A study has been done that indicates about 93% of Americans are glyphosate positive. Glyphosate is a prominently squirted herbicide. There are some basic ways to maintain ecological agriculture rather than agriculture that is factory based.

Organic Farming

Making farms more prolific by increasing more sustenance per acre is a beneficial step towards organic farming. A change towards more organic techniques for farming can help a farm to increase in profitability. Organic farming is also beneficial because it can generate greater nutrient condensed harvest that is not innately altered. Generating greater nutrient condensed harvest is a fantastic benefit for our atmosphere.

Usage

Using lunar power-driven wireless devices can provide harvests with great exactitude when being watered. This enables huge savings on water usage. Dry farming is also a technique being practiced. Dry farming enables plants to be nourished without using water.

Soil

Organic farming helps to stimulate vigorous soil. Healthy soil promotes several functions to occur such as cycling, water purification, and water preservation. For more information regarding farming and soil follow this link.

In conclusion, organic farming provides an ecological prospect for the environment.

Technology Is Making A Positive Difference On Agriculture

America’s food supply is incredibly important and has become synonymous with orange trees and wheat farms. Almost one third of all food produced is wasted each year translating to a $940 billion global hit. There are too many inefficiencies in planting, trucking, the use of water and harvesting. This is compounded by pests, weather and consumer demand. Inadequate labeling and packaging are leading to waste and illnesses are being caused by pathogens in the food. Emerging technologies can provide solutions for these problems. As big data takes its place in agriculture the food chain is being revolutionized.

Sensors used on crops and fields can provide soil conditions, fertilizer requirements, information on the wind, the availability of water and any infestations by pests. GPS units used for trucks and tractors are a vital factor in the determination of the best usage of heavy equipment. Spoilage can be prevented by using data analytics so products can be moved more efficiently and quickly. Fields can be patrolled by drones and unmanned aerial vehicles so farmers are alerted of potential issues or ripened crops. RFID traceability systems provide data streams on a farm products as they go through the chain of supply. The growth rates and nutrients of individual plants can be monitored. Analytics help determine the crops that should be planted and take profitability and sustainability into consideration. For more details about the future of agriculture please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/timsparapani/2017/03/23/how-big-data-and-tech-will-improve-agriculture-from-farm-to-table/#6fe5ae0e5989.

Packaging sensors will be used by consumers to detect spoiling food and verify freshness and integrity. Algorithms will create new recipes based on a pantry’s contents. There are already several startups creating a scanner the size of a finger to describe the composition of your dinner including the nutrients and ingredients. New technology will help consumers who are health conscious or have allergies or sensitivities.

The Plight Of The Family Agricultural Farmers

American consumers require food and they want to know where it came from, who made it, and how. They will pay extra if their purchase promotes the local economy, creates jobs, helps safeguard the environment, preserves farmland, protects the groundwater, and supports the humane treatment of animals. Investors in the farming and food enterprises are able to receive good financial returns, create value other stakeholders can use, strengthen local economies, improve environmental resilience, and make a positive impact on the support needed by healthy communities. The potential of agriculture has been recognized by some investors.

Although food processors and farms are not considered trendy for investment purposes they are areas requiring hard work with very little room for error. Quite a few of the traditional family farms and agriculture businesses have already received hits while others have disappeared. According to the USDA farm income is expected to decline for the fourth straight year in 2017. This coincides with the demand for food that is locally grown and healthy. The sale of local foods in the United States went from $5 billion to $12 billion between the years of 2008 and 2014 with projected sales for 2019 at $20 billion. For more information on agricultural statistics please visit http://www.businessinsider.com/the-demand-for-local-food-is-growing-2017-4.

One of the main problems is the infrastructure designed to connect the family farmers with the demand for locally grown products is no longer able to serve the regional markets. The aggregators, distributors, processors, and marketers are simply no longer there. Both urban and rural markets have seen their access to health foods continue to dwindle. The gaps are being placed in the hands of the modern food entrepreneurs who have the commitment and passion necessary to make a difference. What they require is the strategic assistance and financing so they can accelerate their companies growth and achieve success over the long term.

The Impact of Technology in Agriculture

The United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance indicated that technology is not specifically about faster and better ways of doing things, but also about sustainability. Farmers have not been left behind when it comes to technological development. Innovations such as terrain contour mapping, moisture sensors, self-driving tractors and smart irrigation are gaining popularity among ranchers and farmers. The developments will positively impact farming, leading to sustainable farming for the ever growing population.

Investments in agriculture technology are continuously on the rise, with AgTech companies earning over $1.75 billion in the first six months of 2016. Farmers of today apply a heavy mix of math, data, software, and hardware in developing analyses that are beyond what the eyes can see. The wellness of the crops can also be assessed through multispectral analysis, where the rates at which plants absorb different wavelengths of sunlight are used to form conclusions.

A survey by USFRA indicates that 56 percent of consumers expect ranchers to employ innovations that help conserve the environment. The CEO of USFRA, Mr. Randy Krotz, added that most consumers understand the impact of innovations in the improvement of lives. He also noted that the U.S agricultural sector is applying technology to create more sustainable and smarter versions of the family farm.

Agriculture can be the joining factor between the benefits of using technology and the acceptance of innovation that is part of the day to day lives of consumers. SMART farms use technology and data to become more equipped and efficient in protecting the planet’s limited resources while ensuring adequate food supply. This is the very definition of sustainability and continual improvement.

Will Aquaculture Farming Take Over Wild-Sourced Fishing?

Then, the majority of fish and seafood that consumes the world’s population every day, no longer come from wild specimens but from aquaculture. Aquaculture means the fish are fattened in ponds, breeding ponds, net pens or cages in the sea instead of being at-large in the wild sea.

According to a Reddit sourced article, there is a great demand for seafood. Salmon, carp, catfish, clams or shrimp, among the others from the water livestock fill our refrigerated shelves in supermarkets, but most of them will never experience the wild. Many argue that sustainable fishing is dwindling and the seas are not what they use to be to fish farms are the solution.

30 years ago, just six percent of the consumed fish came from fish farms worldwide. Today, there are nurseries for freshwater fish, and unbeknownst to most consumers, nearly 50 percent come from aquaculture. Marine fish and seafood are there to mainly become bred and fattened before being shipped off. Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that approximately 80 percent of seafood for sale will derive from aquaculture. The World Bank says no food sector has recently taken such a boost in development as fish farming.

Greenpeace says with enormous technical effort and considerable growth rates, the industry now produces more than half of the world-consumed fish. About 600 different species are now bred in captivity. Africa and Asian continents have been using the controlled rearing of aquatic organisms for decades, and now the industry is really changing. The trend is towards intensive cultivation in huge cages off shore or in closed circuit systems, which allow breeding, regardless of natural water resources, in almost any place on earth.

Whether using closed recirculating aquaculture systems that are independent of natural water sources, or caged pen cultures, how healthy is this type of breeding and can it eventually affect the quality of fish we consume. That question will rest on intensive independent studies.