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Agriculture and the Food Supply

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Presentation on theme: "Agriculture and the Food Supply"— Presentation transcript:

1 Agriculture and the Food Supply

2 Top 20 agricultural commodities
Rank Commodity Production (Int $1000) Production (MT) 1 Cow milk, whole, fresh 2 Rice, paddy 3 Wheat 4 Hen eggs, in shell 5 Soybeans 6 Buffalo milk, whole, fresh 7 Vegetables fresh 8 Maize 9 Cotton lint 10 Potatoes 11 Sugar cane 12 Grapes 13 Tomatoes 14 Apples 15 Groundnuts, with shell 16 Cassava 17 Rapeseed 18 Garlic 19 Onions, dry 20 Bananas

3 Top 16 Food Crops by Mass Rank Commodity Production (Int $1000) Production (MT) 1 Sugar cane 2 Maize 3 Rice, paddy 4 Wheat 5 Potatoes 6 Vegetables fresh 7 Cassava 8 Soybeans 9 Tomatoes 10 Bananas 11 Onions, dry 12 Apples 13 Grapes 14 Rapeseed 15 Groundnuts, with shell 16 Garlic

4 World’s Top 9 Agricultural commodities by mass

5 U.S. Commodities by Mass

6 Pastoralism Ranching and nomadic herding
Growing animals on land that is unsuitable for crops.

7 Traditional Intensive Agriculture
Agriculture that uses high levels of muscle power, whether from humans or animals, manure, and labor-intensive methods of tilling and pest control; also plants monocultures. Compare to traditional subsistence agriculture

8 Shifting subsistence Agriculture
Also called Slash and burn and Horticulture. For bigger plants and extended growth periods

9 Plantation Agriculture
Large monocultures of cash crops in tropical settings intended for export. Bananas, coffee, tea, dates.

10 Industrial Agriculture
Agriculture using machines and high inputs of fossil fuels, fertilizers, and pesticides—also large monoculture fields.

11 A Flow Chart of Industrial Agriculture

12 The First Green Revolution
The first green revolution involved the replacement of intensive traditional agriculture in the industrialized world with industrialized agriculture. replacement of animal power with machine power. replacement of manure and compost with synthetic fertilizer. replacement of labor-intensive pest control with pesticides. breeding of special strains of crops adapted for high inputs of fertilizer and high outputs of crops.

13 Replacement of animal power with machine power

14 Replacement of compost and manure with synthetic fertilizers.

15 Synthetic Pesticides

16 Specially Bred Crops (biotech.)

17 Second Green Revolution
Second green revolution involved the breeding of special varieties of crops that would increase the yields of intensive traditional agriculture in Asia. Also involved adding application of synthetic fertilizers as part of intensive agriculture. Production of multiple crops in one year (multicropping).

18 Components of Green Revolution Infrastructure
Specially bred crops. Fossil fuels and machinery. Fertilizers and pesticides. Food distribution system America Revealed: Food Outlets America Revealed: Pizza Delivery

19 Pros and Cons of Industrial Agriculture
Pros—increased production, more efficiency, more income, more people off farm and into industry. Cons--high uses of fossil fuels, lots of toxins, lots of waste, and surprising amounts of pollution; also, unintended effects of monoculture. High throughput agriculture

20 Pros of the Green Revolution

21 Cons of the Green Revolution

22 Environmental Problems from Agriculture
Soil Erosion Desertification

23 Causes of Desertification
Desertification is the conversion of grassland to desert. Causes include: climate change. overgrazing. inappropriate planting of crops salinization (salt contamination) of farmland from irrigation.

24 Water Pollution Manure lagoons Overflow

25 Eutrophication and Dead Zones

26 Rural Air Pollution Dust, smoke, and odors

27 Pests A pest is any organism that competes with humans for food, destroys shelter, invades lawns and gardens, spreads disease, invades ecosystems, or is simply a nuisance is a pest. crop pests include: -- insects. -- nematodes (roundworms). -- fungus (blights, rusts, smuts). -- viruses. -- birds. -- weeds. -- mites.

28 Insects and Mites

29 Nematodes in corn

30 Diseases of Plants Fungal Viral

31 Weeds Weeds are the number one crop pest in terms of lost production.

32 History of Pesticides

33 Natural Pesticides

34 DDT Broad-spectrum insecticides used to kill all kinds of insect pests after World War II— DDT the most notorious.

35 The Case for Pesticides
Save lives. Increase food supplies. Increase profits for farmers. Used properly, they pose minimal health risks compared to benefits. Modern pesticides safer and more effective than older chemicals.

36 Why Pesticides?

37 The Case Against Pesticides
Resistance University of Georgia video on parasite resistance

38 DDT and Biomagnification

39 Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, and DDT
Michigan State University video: On Earth Day, take time to celebrate Silent Spring's 50th anniversary

40 Pesticides travel, kill other organisms besides pests, and threaten humans and wildlife
Example: Brown Pelicans on Anacapa Island

41 The Ideal Pesticide Kills only the target pest.
Does not cause resistance in the target pest. Disappears or breaks down into harmless chemicals after doing its job. Is more cost-effective than doing nothing.

42 Biological controls

43 Mongoose introduced to control Black Rat in Hawaii in 1883

44 Extinct Birds the Result

45 History Repeats with Snails

46 When giant, imported African snails threatened the fragile ecosystem of Hawaii, Tahiti and other pacific islands, the rosy wolf snail was deliberately imported and released against all better judgment as natural pest control Unfortunately - and to many biologists, predictably -  these ravenous cannibals had a bigger appetite for the defenseless native tree snails. Within a decade or two, the colorful tree snails of Hawaii and Tahiti were reduced from over a hundred species to only a dozen, most of which are nearing extinction themselves...and the African snails? Still at large.

47 Integrated Pest Management

48 Contour Plowing and Strip Cropping


50 No till farming combats climate change

51 Pheromone Traps

52 Screw worm fly eradication

53 Transportation, food cost, poverty, and conflict all contribute to current food shortages

54 All World Transportation

55 High Food Prices

56 Poverty and Conflict

57 Poverty and Conflict are a self-reinforcing cycle—positive feedback

58 Increasing Food Production
Add more land—not all land is suitable and doing so decreases biodiversity. Increase productivity—leads to pollution and higher energy demand; also requires GMOs. Aquaculture—marine environment not as productive as terrestrial environment and techniques not as refined. Make agriculture local and sustainable—not all places are suitable for agriculture and the culture will have to change. Book is still most positive about that last choice, which includes urban farming.

59 The Increasing importance of Aquaculture

60 The Promise and Perils of Urban Agriculture
Michigan State University video: MetroFoodPlus Innovation Cluster Look for the People, Planet, Profit sustainability diagram and note that this is an integrated approach that considers food, energy, and water. WXYZ video: Oak Park vegetable garden controversy The struggles of Julie Bass to keep her front yard vegetable garden in the face of opposition from the city of Oak Park.

61 Human-Dominated vs. Natural Ecosystems
Human-dominated ecosystems are: Much “flatter” (fewer trophic levels) Less diverse. Have most of primary productivity directed to human consumption. Regularly disturbed (plowing, construction, etc.)


63 Screw worm fly eradication

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