Using and Losing Soil ●Earth’s land area - how much for farming? ●Arable land ●Many different causes of soil and land loss
Effects of Erosion ●Desertification ●Mississippi Dead Zone
Water and Irrigation ●Agriculture accounts for the largest share of global water use ●How much of fresh water do you think is used for irrigation (%) ? ⅔ ●How much cropland (%) do you think is irrigated worldwide? 15%
Water and Irrigation ●Efficiency (20% - 95%) ●Over-irrigation -Water-logging -Salinization ●Minnesota Department of Agriculture focus -The Clean Water Fund (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/protecting/waterprotection.aspx)http://www.mda.state.mn.us/protecting/waterprotection.aspx austinirrigationgroup.com
Nutrients ●Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur ●N, K, P (limiting nutrients) -- fertilizer ●20 kg av. (1950) to 91 kg av.(1990) ●Increased crop yields ●Environmental issues extension.entm.purdue.edu
Nutrients ●Runoff (eutrophication) ●Minnesota Department of Agriculture austinirrigationgroup.com - monitoring, training, fees, austinirrigationgroup.com soil and water quality testing, nitrogen fertilizer recommendations and regulations [how, when, where, how much to apply (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/fertilizers/nutrient-mgmt.aspx)
Alternatives to synthetic fertilizers ●manure ●green manure -crops grown with the purpose of adding nutrients to the soil (nitrogen-fixing bacteria on legumes) ●crop rotation ●organic farming at STOGROW, local farms (Spring Wind Farm, Open Hands Farm) ●use less fertilizer: Europe vs. North America www.vgavic.org.au www.vgavic.org.au
Energy ●conventional farming is energy intensive ●reliance on fossil fuels with machinery ●nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas ●food processing and transportation ●this energy can add up to being much more than the energy the food actually provides us ●MN Dept. of Ag. -- promotes biodiesel, ethanol (http://www.mda.state.mn.us/renewable/biodiesel.aspx)
Pesticides = a chemical that kills pests -biocides ⇢ wide variety of living things -herbicides ⇢ plants -insecticides ⇢ insects -fungicides ⇢ fungi
Other Pest Controls -salt -smoke -certain plants -sulfur -mercury -arsenic -ash -oil sprays -lime -acids -fermented alcohols -predatory ants -spices
Fun Facts According to the EPA, total pesticide use per year in the US amounts to about... 5.3 billion lbs. Chlorine/ Hypochlorites 49.1% Conventional Pesticides 23.3% Other (sulfur, petroleum) 6.2% Wood preservatives 15.1% Specialty biocides 6.4% Source: EPA 2000 _______ of all American homes use some sort of pesticide. 3/4 Jeebus!
Types of Pesticides -organic (!) -toxic metals & halogens -...Roundup Ready… -atrazine -fumingants = gas for fungus -natural organic pesticides = extracted from plants -inorganic pesticides = use compounds of toxic materials -microbial agents & biological controls = living organisms or toxins from them
Another Fun Fact The United Farm Workers of America claims that 300,000 farmworkers in the US alone suffer from pesticide-related illnesses every year. Worldwide, the WHO estimates that 25 million people suffer from pesticide poisoning, and 200,000 die each year from improper use of storage of pesticides.
Negative Effects -exposure to nontarget organisms -pest resurgence = rebound of resistant pop. -pesticide treadmill -some pesticides don’t break down easily
For example... -Canadian researchers found the levels of organochlorines in the breast milk of Inuit mothers in remote arctic villages compared to women from Canada’s industrial to be 5 times higher. -Canada’s beluga whales suffer from pesticide-related illnesses, and their carcasses have to be treated as toxic waste.
So Many Fun Facts 12 banned pesticides in other countries, but not in the US, made their way back (after we shipped them out to countries with lax regulations) to us in bananas and other crops. Only 8 of them were banned after the fact. Unfortunately, other compounds just as toxic as the banned ones are replacing them.
Organic and Sustainable Agr. What’s your food’s story? ●Lack of harmful chemicals ●Local farming ●Substitutes for common pesticides ●Purely organic vegetables and meats
Organsmic Foods The rules Plants ●No hormones ●No antibiotics ●No pesticides ●No synthetic fertilizers ●No genetically modified crops Animals ●Animals must be raised on organic feed ●no steroids ●antibiotics only for sickness Result ●Happy farmer ●Happy animals ●Happy stomach
Benefits and drawbacks of Organic ●Lower energy costs ●Less erosion ●Proven to provide more cancer fighting foods ●crop rotation reduces pests ●Local organic farms ●More expensive ●More difficult to start ●Takes a while to get certified Does anybody here pay attention to organic vs. inorganic foods? Brain twister: What if anti GMO arguments are being made by organic food industries??
How to farmify and preserve yo land -Crop rotation to reduce pests -IPMs (integrated pest management) - An alternative to pesticides - Introducing pests to eliminate other pests - Plants to eliminate pests Did you know that!?: In Costa Rica the use of IPMs removed pesticides entirely from banana plantations in one region.
Farming methods ●Contour planting o Plowing across a hill instead of up and down ●Strip farming o Different crops in strips, Terracing- different levels of land ●Perennial species o Plants that grow more than two years (To keep soil in place) ●Cover crops o To preserve the soil and its nutrients ●Mulch o Protective soil cover ●Reduced tillage systems o Less tillage equals more organisms left on the soil to provide nutrients How does Minnesota farm?
Contour FarmingTerracing For your viewing pleasure Minnesota Department of Agriculture Promoting the change to No-till, Ridge-till, and Mulch-till. All conservation tillage practices.
Local farms -CSA -Community Supported Agriculture -Spring Wind Farm -Locavore -A person who eats locally -Economic Threshold -Potential economic damage justifies expenditures Pros and Cons of CSAs? Why are there not more CSA farms around?