Historically, agriculture has always moved forward through technological innovation. The current moment is no different. Look for remote sensing, genetic engineering and CRISPR, robotics, and drones to continue to push agricultural productivity forward in 2017.
Suzy Friedman, Senior Director of Agricultural Sustainability for the Environmental Defense Fund lays some basic principles for bring farmers and environmentalists into partnership.
Despite contributions made by African Americans, the most recent Census of Agriculture found that of the 2.2 million farms in the United States, 83 percent have white males as principal operators; African Americans constitute only 1.4 percent of principal farm operators
If cash transfers replace in kind contributions in development, will essential services be lost? Can the development community transition to a fee for service model?
Reagan Waskom, Director, Colorado Water Institute and David Cooper, of Colorado State University discuss the ins and outs of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule change and what it means for agriculture.
” I farm about 55ha (136 acres) of good ground. I am in a partnership with my mother, Kathleen, and my father, Ned. We have a 10-unit Dairymaster parlour for milking. We have 90 cows milking at the moment. They are a mix of Norwegian Red, Jerseys, Montbéliarde X and pedigree Holsteins. “
Kevin Folta explains how a report on pesticides from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food inadvertently makes the case for modernizing agriculture in the developing world.
Environmental Defense Fund’s David Festa lays out why a steady, consistent approach to environmental regulation is better for the economy and an expression of democratic values.
Stuart Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry at the University of Westminster lays four key challenges to global food security: drought, emerging diseases, salty soils, and fertilizer dependence.
Stuart Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry at the University of Westminster lays out three areas; disease resistance, improved photosynthesis, and improved nutrition; where breakthroughs in biotech crop breeding could go a long way to improving the impact of agriculture.
The dysfunction of Uganda seed markets and aid efforts gives a number of lessons on ways that markets, regulation, and aid efforts fall into familiar traps over and over. They also point the way past those traps.
University of Wyoming professor Andrew Kniss addresses the issues of intimidation and chilling effects of the USRTK’s FOIA campaign against researchers active in communicating about biotech in ag.
There are certain requirements that agriculture must meet to produce food and to keep producing food. We should view them as a hierarchy, such that if the top requirement is not attained, the lower requirements do not mean much, but once the top requirement has been met, we can move to the next one, provided that how we do it does not threaten any of the requirements above it. Each component is required, but not sufficient; all of them are needed.
As rents rise and independent businesses in Minneapolis lose their leases to large national chains, a first-of-its-kind co-op found a solution. They created the economic space for a cooperative brewery and brewpub and other co-ops in their neighborhood.
There are tremendous opportunities to increase yields throughout South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Increasing yields through new farming practices could triple maize production in sub-Saharan Africa and increase wheat and rice production in South Asia by about 50 percent. Gains on this scale could dramatically reduce hunger and food insecurity in some of the most vulnerable nations in the world.
It’s been a good winter for drought-stricken California. Record-breaking precipitation in January has raised reservoir levels and added to the essential Sierra Nevada snowpack. It will take many years of consistent, above-average rainfall to fully recover from the drought, and that seems unlikely given the variable nature of the state’s climate. California’s water problems are not only the result of historically scant rainfall. Convoluted water policies, patchwork regulations and burdensome water politics perpetuate the problems, causing imbalances in the way water is managed.
“In all, the impact of adopting slow growing birds is a 34% increase in feed per lb prime meat, a 40% increase in gallons of water and a 53% increase in the manure per bird marketed, and a 49% increase in costs per bird marketed.”
And to what end is this big step backwards in terms of sustainability being undertaken? Theoretically for animal welfare. But what is absent in this discussion is – why slower growing = better welfare?
How have the farm animals of today been shaped by centuries of domestication and selective breeding? Sujata Gupta investigates.
. . . The Pig Adventure, housing 3,000 sows and producing 80,000 piglets per year, sits alongside a 36,000-cow Dairy Adventure, with murmurings of further adventures for fish and chickens. This is “agro-Disneyland”, a place where rides have been replaced by adorable pink piglets and 72-cow robotic milking parlours (or cow “merry-go-rounds” as our guide calls them).
If nature has not been optimized by any process that we know of, and therefore consists of mostly random mixes of species dictated primarily by natural disturbances, then there is no reason to “follow nature’s lead.” But if we don’t, what are we left with?
We are left with an agriculture based on human ingenuity.
New research has revealed that Tanzania’s official statistics on irrigation often don’t include initiatives set up and run by individual farmers. This is either because they’re not aware of it, or because they don’t consider it to have much potential.
Compared to formally engineered projects, this ‘farmer-led’ irrigation is often small-scale and interspersed among non-irrigated fields. This makes it harder to record. It also takes diverse forms. These range from watering via pumps, wells, flooded valley bottoms, or even via stream diversions or small dams.