A Report on American Agriculture, Last Part

January 19, 2010

Hello, my friends.  It’s a wonderful day.  I can’t say it’s a new day, but a new day, if my inference skills are sufficient, is only a few hours away.  Perhaps the greatest thing about this life you were tossed into is that if you’ve been going through absolute crap, tomorrow is yours to do whatever the hell you wanna do.  I’m not sure why I said that.  Random inspiration moment, i’m soz.  Back to business.  Last week we looked at beneficial alternatives to 3 of our 5 agriculturally based problems, and they were high consumption of fossil fuels, water issues, and soil erosion.  Fun shiz, I know.  Today, we’re lookin at inorganic pesticides and loss of biodiversity.  So let’s dive in, shall we?  Yes we shall.

Inorganic pesticides are funky chemicals that some smart people started playing around with during WWII as a type of biological warfare.  One of these smart kids found that his funky chemicals, DDT, could effectively kill and/or repel most insect species.  Now back then when malaria was a more prominent issue to developed countries (because we had our boys in mosquito-infested places), DDT was a savior.  We applied it to everywhere.  But it was killing good things so now we use EPA/FDA-certified pesticides.  They’re still not good, I’m afraid.  Many of these inorganic substances kill non-target species including birds, spiders, bats, etc.  Here’s the kicker: all of those organisms eat the buggers we don’t like.  Also, it is a scientific fact that many pesticides used today find their way into groundwater reserves and on your dinner plate.  So how do we fix this?  The most obvious way would be to develop organic pesticides that decompose after doing their intended job.  Funding for these compounds has recently increased, which is good!  That’s one solution, here are the rest:

  1. Fool the buggers- rotate where crops are planted and at a time when the buggers aren’t ready.
  2. Provide homes for the beneficial species through polyculture and bee hives.
  3. Bring in the life-suckers!  Introducing biological control like viruses, bacteria, and parasites that prey on the baddies.
  4. Burn the Bugs.  That’s right, boil up some water and pour it on the suckers, nobody likes that. in fact i punched a kid for doing that to me, but if i were a bug, i’d just be dead.

A wasp laying its eggs in a pesky caterpillar; there's biological control for ya.

The rest of the solutions are quite boring and I don’t feel like harassing you with more than you care to know.  So let’s move on.

Problem Number 2: Loss of Biodiversity.  You’ve seen the ads: “Save the Rainforest!” and “Love trees like they love you!” and all that bullshiz.  Yes it is very corny and gives environmentalists a bad hippie rep.  I hate hippies with all my heart, I really do.  Well, only those from the 70s that were selfish douche bags.  I guess modern hippies are pretty cool.  But anyways, each year hundreds of thousands of acres of the earth’s forests and rangelands are burned and torn up for agriculture.  Basically, these farmers that need to make a living clear out these diversity-rich ecosystems and replace them with a monoculture.  Well crap, that’s not good for everyone else.  One solution is that genetically modified (GM) crops will be able to produce more food per acreage and be able to grow faster, on less nutrients, with poorer growing conditions.  Here’s the fifth grade equation: Land + Seeds + Sun/Water/Fertilizer = Food! + $Money$ + HIPPO (a topic for a later post).  If you decrease the amount of land and increase the efficiency of the seeds and growing stuff, then you’re left with a fun proportion of less loss of biodiversity and about the same amount of money.  You combine that equation with governmental regulation and you have a sustainable farmland.  And that’s the most basic way of saying it, take it or leave it.  I apologize if you’re not past the 5th grade, I just assume that most of my readers are and mabez that’s not fair. 

So there you go, my friends, that is my 3 part report on American Agriculture.  As always, if you have a question/comment/rebuttal leave it in the section below.  Have a great day, cupcake, and remember my little rant up there, your life is like modern agricultural: live it good and live it hard, there’s a lot to be gained, but if you do it carelessly, you’ll be out in the cold.  Next post we’ll finally take a look at Ms. Wangari Matthai, I know y’all can’t wait cuz neither can I. 

And I gotta give a shoutout to my boy JeffR, kid’s boss, check him out. http://www.noignorance.wordpress.com


4 Responses to “A Report on American Agriculture, Last Part”

  1. Rex Peterson Says:

    About 9 years ago, I looked at a soil sample and realized that here in the wheat belt, we were hydroponic gardening on a grand scale. If we wanted a crop, we had to supply fertilizer to feed the plants. All the nutrients had already been taken out by earlier farmers. The organic matter in the soil was a fraction of the original prairie condition.

    If you would like some really good studies on the alternatives, may I recommend the dakota lakes research farm (dakotalakes.com).

    So what have we done:
    Ten years ago we started planting about 30,000 trees.
    Eight years ago, we improved the watering system and starter pasture rotation and rest.
    Seven years ago we switched from a sideroll irrigation system to a center pivot and improved our pumped water efficiency 50%.
    Six yeaers ago we started using rye as a winter cover crop.
    Five years ago, ago we started no till farming including crop rotations of at least four years. Four years ago we started grazing crops in place and utilzing load control on the irrigation pumping system. Three years ago we started incorporating cover crops and grazing them in place.
    Two years ago we started using soil moisture meters to schedule irrigation.
    Last year we installed flow meters on the irrigation wells.

    The results:
    almost no soil erosion – most vulnerable time is after edible bean harvest.
    Reduction in annual irrigation from 24″ to 12″ or less.
    Improvement in organic matter by .05 to .1% per year – a 20% improvement in 5 years.

  2. Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

  3. Hello, it looks like your site is up and coming in the

  4. theenvirokid Says:

    oh hey thanks there public domain guy, i appreciate your comment!

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