Chapter 10 Farming Henry Dhonau, Josh Becker, Kristen Eiswerth, Kristin Benusa Introduction ● Agriculture has drastically changed the environment Brazilian Cerrado (opening case study) o Humans have been farming for a long time o Landscapes vary in sustainability o Soil ● A renewable and nonrenewable resource ● A very complex substance ● Many different varieties Soil Fertility ● Many different organisms help to fertilize soil ● Health depends on environmental factors as well Soil Layers 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) 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, 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 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 - sulfur - mercury - arsenic - spices - certain plants - fermented alcohols - predatory ants - acids - oil sprays smoke - ash - lime Benefits vs. Problems WTF DDT Eagles Fun Facts According to the EPA, total pesticide use per year in the US amounts to about... 5.3 billion lbs. Wood preservatives Other 15.1%Specialty biocides (sulfur, 6.4% petroleum) 6.2% Conventional Pesticides 23.3% Source: EPA 2000 Chlorine/ Hypochlorites 49.1% Jeebus! 3/4 of all American homes _______ use some sort of pesticide. 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. Health Effects - poisoning & illnesses cancer birth defects neurological problems Parkinson’s endometriosis blurred vision nausea & headaches rashes asthma conjunctivitis stillbirths & miscarriages 12 Most Contaminated Foods 1. Strawberries 2. Bell peppers 3. Spinach 4. Cherries (US) 5. Peaches 6. Cantaloupe (Mexican) 7. Celery 8. Apples 9. Apricots 10. Green beans 11. Grapes (Chilean) 12. Cucumbers 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 ● More expensive ● Less erosion ● More difficult to start ● Proven to provide more cancer fighting foods ● Takes a while to get certified ● crop rotation reduces pests ● Local organic farms 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? For your viewing pleasure Contour Farming Terracing 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?