Existing Agricultural Methods May Threaten Access to Fresh Water

Conventional efforts to irrigate crops may be placing greater strain on regional water supplies than previously thought. Addressing the issues with an unsustainable food trade and ensuring that aquifers, rivers and other sources of fresh water at not being placed at greater threat is not a concern that should be taken lightly. Growing populations and the increased demand for specific crops that is currently being seen on a global level may lead to significant challenges in the days ahead. Additional research and greater awareness regarding this issue may be required in order to reduce the risk of regional droughts, loss of major freshwater resources or potentially avoidable food shortages.

 

Making the Shift to Sustainable Agriculture

 

From hydroponic operations and indoor farms that allow for more efficient control of moisture and water consumption to genetically-engineered crops, there are plenty of resources that may soon play a role in protecting freshwater resources from being depleted. Global trade is placing considerable stress on agricultural operations that are able to produce the most affordable crops and specific regions of the world are already beginning to bear the brunt of consequences stemming from unsustainable farming methods. New methods of cultivating crops that need the most water, reducing the scope of artificial irrigation and transitioning to more sustainable methods for growing food all have the potential to provide signification long-term benefits.

 

Higher Food Costs

 

Depletion and more restricted access to water can quickly drive up food prices, especially in drought-stricken regions and more arid environments. Ensuring more efficient use of water, especially for farms and agricultural operations, is of paramount concern for ensuring that rivers, aquifers and other natural resources at not being placed at greater risk. While more developed countries may have a number of different options regarding their efforts to grow or important certain foods, some developing countries are already beginning to see the impact that a long-term water shortage or loss of viable farmland may have.

 

Why Organic Farming is the Future

We’re living in a world now where it’s more common for our fruits and vegetables to be sprayed with chemicals than it is for our foods to be grown organically. Thankfully, there is a growing trend of people starting organic farms. Organic farming is still a relatively small industry, but it is growing because of the need and demand for cleaner food.

 

Organic farming means that all of the fruits and veggies that are being grown are not sprayed with chemicals or have artificial fertilizers used on the soil. In order for organic farming to be labeled as such, the farm needs to adhere to strict guidelines and regulations set by the USDA. If a food is labeled as being USDA organic, you can trust that it is as clean as it can possibly be. These farms have to be inspected regularly to ensure that they are still working under organic guidelines.

 

The reason organic farming is becoming so popular is because people are becoming aware of what their food is made of. Parents don’t want to be feeding their kids chemically-sprayed vegetables when they want to be introducing a healthier lifestyle into mealtimes. There have even been a variety of studies that show that even after washing the fruits and vegetables, the chemicals are still found on the foods and are being ingested by the people eating them.

 

Buying organic is easy and highly convenient now that it is becoming more popular. All you have to do is go to your local supermarket and look for the USDA organic seal. You will even find food products down the aisles that have this seal. When something is labeled as being organic, it means no chemicals were used during the growing and processing of that product. If a product says that it is natural, this does not mean the same as organic as anyone can label a product as natural without needing to follow any regulations. Switching to an organic lifestyle can be expensive, despite what you might have heard. Organic foods and produce are more expensive, but they’re a healthier choice for those interested.

 

Love Cooking? The Top Herbs Your Kitchen Garden Needs

If you enjoy cooking, you surely know the value of herbs and spices. But if you’re new to cooking, you may be unaware of just how powerful these can be to the final flavors and tastes of your dishes. For this reason, let’s go over the top herbs that you should use in your cooking to enhance the flavor and make your friends want to eat at your house every night.

 

The best cooking herbs for your kitchen garden

 

Before starting in on the best herbs to use in your cooking, let’s talk about having a kitchen garden. Every great cook and even amateur chefs should have a quality kitchen garden. The good news is that it’s not difficult to start one of these. All you need are a few organic herb seeds and some containers and soil. Pick a place that won’t be disturbed and that has lots of sunlight. Plant your seeds according to the directions on the packets.

 

In time you’ll have some great herbs growing, but the question remains as to which herbs you should choose for your garden and which you can subsequently use in your cooking.

 

First, let’s talk about basil. Basil is absolutely essential for any kitchen garden because it can be used in all types of Italian cooking. If you like to make lasagna, spaghetti, pizza and ravioli, basil will be your best friend.

 

Next, you’ll want to have cilantro unless you’re one of those people who hates it. Cilantro is the staple herb for Mexican cooking. You can add it to salsas, sauces, tacos, tostadas and other Mexican dishes. Cilantro is also great on hamburgers and in wraps.

 

Parsley is another good herb to grow. If you like to make falafel, you’ll definitely want to have a lot of parsley. It can also be good as a garnish on dishes that you want to look a little bit more fancy. At the end of the meal, if you chew on a bit of parsley, it will help your breath smell better.

 

Use all of these herbs in your kitchen garden and in your cooking for great food that is healthy and delicious.

 

Moving Farming from Corporate Farmers to Small Scale Farmers

There is a need for the US government to make a progressive movement to the interior communities. For that reason, it needs to stop subsidizing corporate farms and rather return the land to the small family farmers who work on the farms. Farming should not be restricted to farmers who owns 20, 000 acres of the rented land just to make a living. It is also important that everyone including the city dwellers be enlightened about the basic literacy regarding agricultural shifts that have encompassed the United States and what needs to be done regarding moving agriculture from corporate agriculture on a mass scale.

 

 

Farming business has not changed for over 200 years. We have cultivated two types of crops that are soybeans and corn. For some time, this system has benefited farmers. Over the years, there have been strong established markets for the product, and proven farming techniques. Improvement of machines over the years has improved efficiency. Well developed seeds and planting methods that have increased the yield with time. The greatest transformation that has happened to farm is the rise of large farms. Along with the two crop system, the big farms are a problem to the agriculture and the economics of agriculture.

 

 

One of the significant challenges with the big corporate farms is that, for instance, if there are just 12 of us for the 20,000 acres, we earn an average income. For us it is a better living compared to others in the field; we are happy. That may seem good until you consider that no more than 30 years, 20,000 acres provided a living for over 100 families. Is there any solution to this problem?

 

 

There is a solution to these challenges. The initial solution is that we need to stop subsidizing the current business model of large farms and the two crop system that it supports. Another solution is to create a system that would return the farms to the small family farmers who work on the rented land. Through this, we will be taking full advantage of the most valuable resource that we have; land. We must do it in a way that refrains from corporate exploitation and invests money to our farmers.

 

Is The U.S. Facing an Economic Downfall in the Poultry Agricultural Industry?

Could the United States be facing an economic crisis in the agricultural industry similar to the farmers’ debt crisis in the 1980s? There is the possibility that it may happen when we observe the events that occurred during those times. Farmers were consumed in debt which caused them to lose their land, equipment and homes. It affected global economies because of incurred loan debts and decreased assets value. The same thing happened in the mortgage industry beginning in 2007, which resulted in homeowners and entrepreneurs losing their assets.

 

 

 

 

In the 1980s, farmers relied on bank loans to purchase new equipment and inevitably increased prices for their farm products, such as chickens and turkeys. The profitability margin increased for many farmers, but only lasted for a little while. The agricultural debt in the U.S. increased to more than $350 billion by the end of 1981. Farmers were heavily in loan debt with low value of assets. According to The Huffington Post, over 60,000 farmers lost their farm and homes between 1981 through 1986.

 

 

It appears that farmers who raise poultry, including chickens and turkeys are subjected to loan debt compared to large chicken factories. Companies, such as Perdue and Tyson contract with farmers to produce the products. The poultry farmers obtain loans and put their whole possessions up for collateral without knowledge of the outcome. Just because the interest rates are low during the time of the loan, the Federal Reserve can interest rates at any time.

 

 

But, what happens when farmers have to refinance at a higher interest rate? It causes financial stress, risk, and burden on the farmer and his or her family. To start a chicken farm business, the entrepreneur needs approximately $1 million or more in capital. That’s an enormous debt for farmers considering one chicken is sold at approximately five cents per pound. So, who’s really bringing in high revenue, the chicken companies and manufacturers.

 

 

Farmers incur mostly financial debt and risk, rather than profits when they use their assets as collateral to receive loans from banking institutions. The banks are protected by federal government agencies, including Farm Service and Small Business. Who is protecting the farmers when they are encouraged to get loans and eventually default? Maybe the government can do something to start protecting the farmers who do all the hard work to raise chickens and turkeys.

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.

 

Scientists Asked To Help Eliminate Chicken Suffering

In October 2016, Jonty Whittleton developed an article that was posted on Huffington, depicting the suffering that chicken go through in the cages. In the post titled, Another Level of Suffering for Chicken, Whittleton explained how caged chicken are denied the opportunity to behave naturally.

 

 

Apparently, out of the 60 billion chickens that are reared annually, nearly 67 percent of them are factory farmed. It means that the majority of these birds spend their entire lives enclosed in large warehouses that have no windows, yet filled with tens of thousands of them. While the conditions in these farms are already sufficiently bad, the situation is worse with the use of cages to grow chickens.

 

That aside, the poultry industry has yet another concern and is hoping that the scientists will find a way to wipe it out. For the longest time, big poultry companies have been struggling with various mass-production practices to make the chickens they breed for meat purposes happy, without causing a negative interference to the profits.

 

According to a post appearing on Grub Street, some players in the industry claim to have found a solution. The answer does not involve causing any changes to the chicken-rearing practices, but rather, a lot of science. Big Poultry is in the process of genetically engineering a chicken capable of experiencing minimal suffering. It all has to do with determining the “most appropriate” bird size, as well as the growth rate.

 

About half a century ago, the industry developed a breed of chicken (chicken 2.0) which grows twice as big in half the usual time. From a biological viewpoint, this strategy reaped no benefits especially because it resulted in fat, yet boneless birds, highly prone to heart diseases and a wide array of other health problems. Players in the poultry industry, therefore, feel that the wisest move is to breed out these birds and genetically re-engineer chickens that behave like chickens. On this, Perdue is in the process of exploring numerous ways capable of making the birds grow at almost the same rate as nature intended it, and the top breeding firms are offering as much support as they can.