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.

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.

Tennessee Banning Common Pesticide

Human exposure to certain pesticides can worsen health, and cause a number of diseases. A Reuters article, posted on Reddit explains how Tennessee has enforced new regulations on the use of a Monsanto pesticide, Dicamba. This pesticide is a weed killer, and also used for pest control systems, but unfortunately, should only be used on genetically modified crops.

Four states have now banned Dicamba, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and now Tennessee. Many farmers today plant genetically modified crops that can withstand pesticides, but one of the problems with spraying pesticides is the drifting to nearby communities. This drifting causes damages to neighbor crops that are not genetically modified, and farmers are now embroiled in lawsuits. And it’s not just farming communities, but residential neighbors are sustaining damages on their small vegetable gardens and lush landscapes. The results are that these small vegetable gardens are no longer viable, and create additional costs.

A Missouri farmer, Hunter Raffety says “We’ve sustained acres of damage across the soybeans we farm.” Monsanto’s spokesman and chief technology officer, Robb Fraley blames the problem on user error, explaining that farmers are not handling the dicamba pesticide correctly, or not following application instructions. He also commented that farmers could also be purchasing cheaper and older formulas of dicamba that are more likely to drift. According to Chris Chinn, the Missouri Director of Agriculture, the companies producing these weed killers with dicamba pesticide have agreed to new safeguards.

In the United States, there are approximately 80,000 registered chemicals utilized, but most of us have no idea about the amount of pesticides used. And in the real world,however, most of these pesticides are used in combination with other chemical compounds. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clue about the synergies between these chemicals, and how they can affect us in our homes.

Haitian Graduates Enroll in United States Universities to Better their Agriculture Skills

U.S. Feed the Future is committed to ensuring that there is sufficient food across the globe and it has an initiative in Hawaii that is called Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole. The foundation recently offered to support the training of more Haitian extension and research professionals by paying the tuition fees of 20 Haitian graduates to attend the University of Illinois, University of Florida (UF), and Louisiana State University for their master’s degrees in agriculture.

 

The Haitian students need to learn English before they enroll in the universities. Twelve of them left the country on May 20th to better their English skills before August 2017 when they will be joining the Louisiana State University and the University of Florida. Two Haitian students were sponsored by the organization to join the University of Florida. The units that the masters’ students will be studying include nutrient management, post-harvest technology for essential food crops, control of pests and diseases in sorghum and rice, increasing water use efficiency, and bettering crop productivity by utilizing climate-smart production methods. The remaining six graduates will be enrolling in universities by the end of the coming fall.

 

One of the U.S. Feed the Future sponsored students will work under the supervision of two Tropical Research and Education Center-based researchers. His primary field of study will be on the main factors that influence banana farming in Montrouis, Arcahaie, and Cabaret. The researchers had a meeting with the chair of MARNDR’s department of plant production and FAMV’s assistant dean for research when they visited Haiti in April 2017. They had extensive discussions about their research undertakings.

 

The students will interact a lot with the Haitian public and private agriculture sectors during their time in the United States. Their research work will be essential in the ensuring agriculture modernization and offering guidance that can assist farmers in ensuring that there is food security in the country. All the Haitian students will work under the supervision of an agriculture professional from their county until they complete their research.

 

Agribusiness Industry Welcomes Trump’s Focus on American Waterways

President Trump’s initiative to highlight America’s crumbling infrastructure this week has reminded the agribusiness sector on the importance of water for farmers. Not the water to grow the produce, but the water used to move crops to the world’s export market.

 

  1. S. farmers and agribusiness sector depend heavily on an aging river system to move grains and produce to the global export market. The nation’s river ways have not seen structural changes or updates to their lock and dam systems in over 50 years.

 

Agribusiness grain exports such as Cargill, Inc. and Archer Daniel Midland have experienced frequent breakdowns and idled boat crews which add to the transportations cost, reports the Wall Street Journal.

 

The Trump Administration is proposing to help finance $1 trillion in infrastructure projects for the nation’s airports, seaports, and bridges. American farmers are hoping some of this proposed spending will fix the 242 locks and dams along America’s rivers.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency charged with maintaining American riverways. The agency released its proposed 2018 fiscal year budget which includes $2.098 billion for “the study, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects. Small ports and riverways with the most active commercial traffic are a priority in the proposed budget.

 

The Waterways Council, Inc., which has been advocating for infrastructure spending on inland waterways, has estimated that $8.7 billion is needed immediately to begin to address the poorly maintained lock and dam system.

 

“Our majestic waterways deliver grain, construction material, and energy products,” states the WCI. “They power commerce, provide jobs, and are a farmer’s lifeline.”

 

Terracing Techniques Retaught on Italy’s Cinque Terre Coast

Lying on the northern coast of Italy, the region of Cinque Terre has become one of the most famous tourist sites in the country. Recently, this area has been attracting more than just tourists. A UNESCO-funded program to help teach the art of terracing has been developed in the region. Led by Margherita Ermirio, the goal is to not only teach the traditional method of farming to the next generation, but also to secure the future of the Cinque Terre region. Because of its unique placement on the side of mountains set against the sea, the terracing in Cinque Terre not only yields crops but helps to maintain soil structure and prevent erosion.

 

Mrs. Ermirio spent several years abroad before returning to her hometown in order reteach the process of terracing. Essentially, terracing is the method of planting crops on step-like platforms that have been carved into the mountainside. This form of agriculture helps to prevent heavy erosion associated with falling rainwater. In a sense, reteaching this method of farming not only helps to carry on a sense of cultural historical significance but also to secure the future of the Cinque Terre landscape itself.

 

Starting in the 1960’s farmers began to leave their plots of land in order to search for better work in the cities. This abandonment has left many of these terrace steps in need of repair and reuse. Through the UNESCO-sponsored program, Mrs. Ermirio has been working with several local landlords to help rebuild the terracing structures and continue this old practice of agriculture in order to secure a future for Cinque Terre. The work conducted by Mrs. Ermirio has received support and attention at both a global and an international level.

 

Farmers Leading Conservation Efforts

Many farmers in the United States are leading conservation efforts, according to a recent Huffington Post article. They are using different farming techniques than generations before them used to get better crops while protecting the ground that they love.

One common technique that is used is no-till farming. With this technique farmers do not plow the ground in the spring before putting their crops in the ground. This allows farmers to save about half of the fuel that they burn annually which has an immediate impact on the environment. Numerous studies show that not plowing decreases the number of weeds. Therefore, farmers do not have to apply as much fertilizer.

Farmers are also choosing to plant different crops than they have historically. For example, they may plant a low ground cover crop that grows quickly amidst a crop that grows taller to help control weeds naturally. They may also plant a crop that has deep roots among a shallower rooted crop so that the deep roots help to keep the ground open to capture rain.

Farmers are also planting more acreage than ever before. The corners of fields are left as buffer strips that are not harvested. These areas then attract natural pollinators like monarch butterflies and honey bees. The buffer strips are also great at attracting beneficial insects that help control bugs that harm a farmer’s crops.

The largest change, however, comes in the fall when leftovers from the harvest are left on the field. The leftovers from the crop depends on what is grown, but it may include corn cobs, husks, and stalks. Following this technique helps to prevent wind and rain erosion. It may also help to stop damage from the searing heat of summer if the residue does not disintegrate. Leaving residue on fields also helps to promote better soil because worms and organisms have a place to live. In exchange, they create holes in the ground that helps the ground retain water. Finally, leaving residue on the field helps microbial communities to thrive which increases oxygen and phosphorous levels needed by growing plants.

 

 

 

Changes in Agriculture Good for Consumers

If you step back in time to the 1900, then 40 percent of America’s population lived on farms and almost everyone lived in a rural area. Today, only one percent of people live on a farm and only 20 percent live in a rural area. Yet, thanks to innovative technology, those farmers are growing more food than ever before and using less natural resources to do it, according to an article recently published in the NY Times.

Today’s farmers are planting about 80.5 million acres of corn. In order to grow the same amount of corn in 1950, it would have taken 228 million acres. Today, farmers are planting 81.8 million acres in soybeans. In 1950 in order to get the same crop they would have had to plant 101.7 million acres. Wheat is planted on 47.1 million acres today compared to 56.9 million acres in 1950. Yet, the same amount of wheat is harvested by farmers.

The same can be said for farmers that are raising livestock. Today, 29. 3 million beef cows are raised to produce the same amount of food that farmers had to raise an additional 15.3 million in the 1950s. On farms across the United States, farmers are raising 9.3 million milk cows that provide the same amount of milk as 39.3 million milk cows in 1950.

America does not need as many farmers today as it did in the past. Large farmers produce 80 percent of all food sold to grocery stores today. In fact, 4 percent of farmers each making over $1 million in sales account for 66 percent of all food sold to grocery stores.

These large farmers use technology so that they can produce more food on less land. They rely on technology to provide them with information about soil nutrients, soil moisture and productivity to make wise decisions on what to plant and how much fertilizer needs to be applied to a particular area in a field. They use GPS driven tractors to plant a variety of seeds in the sane field so that harvests can be maximized.

The future is bright for growing food in the United States. The largest land owner in the United States is John Malone who currently owns over 2.2 million acres. Most of it is in Kansas where he just purchased additional acres that had belonged to the Land Trust Preservation. This land was used to test plants that could produce crops perennially instead of farmers having to replant each year.

 

 

 

Peaches: From Orchard to Table

If you love to eat peaches brought at local farmer’s markets, then you already know that they often have more fuzz than those brought at major retailers. The reason is that before peaches are shipped to major retailers, a wet knife is used to remove most of the fuzz. The equipment needed to do this is very expensive so it is normally not done to peaches sold at farmer’s markets, according to a Huffington Post.

If you are repulsed by the fuzz on peaches, then you might consider eating a nectarine instead. The difference between a nectarine and a peach is just one gene. That gene is the one that produces the fuzz. It is a recessive gene.

While no one knows for sure rather the nectarine or the peach came first, prominent pomologists suggests that it was the nectarine. They believe that peaches were created by crossing almonds and nectarines.

Growing peaches is big business in some areas of the United States. Over 60 percent of the commercially available peaches are grown by farmers in California. About 15 percent comes from South Carolina with the remaining peaches coming from Georgia.

A variety of commercial peaches are grown by California farmers. Consumers who want to buy the best ones will buy the ones that have just ripened before being shipped to your local grocer. The earliest of these is the July Flame which growers try to start picking in the San Joaquin Valley by the end of June. This peach has a red skin and deep orange flesh. The next peach to ripen is the white fleshed Nectar peach which starts to be available in mid-July. The last commercially available peach to ripen is the Elegant Lady.

In order to give shoppers peaches throughout the year, many peaches are commercially processed. About 85 percent of them are canned with another 15 percent being frozen.

Peaches brought in the grocery store are usually grown in the United States. It is cost prohibitive to ship them in from other locations. Many people, however, believe that the very best peaches are found in a valley in China.

 

 

Genetic Engineering Could Turn Agricultural Virus Into Useful Weapon

An agricultural virus that was once feared by citrus farmers may turn out to be the best hope for an industry that is desperately trying to tackle an even more serious problem. It is through the marvels of genetic engineering that one virus has been modified for the purpose of destroying the other one.

The citrus tristeza virus, or CTV, had previously caused trouble for citrus farmers, but the disease has been eclipsed by the problem of citrus greening. Produced by a specific type of bacteria and spread by certain flying insects, citrus greening causes trees to produce fruits that are greenish and misshapen in appearance and bitter in taste. Although the disease had been reported in other parts of the world, citrus greening was first observed in the United States in 2005 and has since ravaged the fruit-growing regions of the South.

In battling greening, one produce company plans to graft tree limbs containing the modified CTV virus. The firm has requested permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to employ this technique, which will have to be reviewed to determine whether it poses any environmental risks. If approved, this will be the first commercial use of CTV as a sort of inoculation to deal with another type of agricultural disease. More information about the CTV technique is available at www.reddit.com/agriculture.

Using other types of genetic engineering, farmers have been able to provide some protection to their citrus products. One method allowed growers to produce a reasonable number of sweet and round oranges, provided that the trees were properly maintained. An engineered form of spinach has also shown success in dealing with citrus greening. If successful, the CTV technique may help reduce the stigma that has in the past been associated with genetic engineering. Since the method does not actually alter the fruits that are produced from the modified trees, some farmers could in fact claim the final products are not in themselves genetically engineered, which could be an important selling point.

The entire process could take at least two years to yield results, with time being the greatest enemy to citrus farmers. Many hope that the technique will prove successful in wiping out citrus greening before the disease wipes out the industry.