Misconceptions About Agriculture: Animals Grown In Organic Systems Are Healthier

With the new wave of organic foods to hit the market for consumers to make the decision as to whether to buy them or not. People tend to believe that now because organic products are the next big and new things, they must be the healthiest and best for you. As it actually turns out this isn’t the case, just because something organic it doesn’t mean that it is a healthier alternative, the reason for this is because of the fact that people also believe that the animals grown in these systems are healthier when they are actually not. We are going to look at the health of these animals and see if it really is true that these animals are healthier, or if that is a myth.

Off the bat I reference animalsmart.org which speaks on this topic, “Based on analysis of farm conditions, a 2001 study predicted that almost 100 percent of organic chicken flocks in Sweden could be infected with Campylobacter bacteria, compared with only 10 percent in conventionally raised flocks. Another often cited example is the increase in intestinal diseases in turkeys and broiler chickens when Denmark ceased using antibiotics as growth promotants.” (www.animalsmart.org, 2014) With this said, our original question is answered unanimously, animals raised in organic systems are actually nowhere near as healthy as those raised in conventional systems.

The same website also states this, “In the United States, an increase in pathogens could also be related to the requirement that organic animals have access to the outdoors. In some cases, time outdoors is not beneficial. Poultry raised outdoors are at higher risk of predation and can catch avian influenza from wild birds. The USDA reports that pigs raised in outdoor systems are at higher risk of food-borne parasites. Pathogens in live animals can make their way to the market. A 2005 analysis of chicken for sale in Maryland supermarkets showed that 66 percent of organic samples were contaminated with Salmonella, compared with 44 percent in conventionally raised chicken samples.” (www.animalsmart.org, 2014) As far as this factual information goes its very obvious as to whether these animals raised in organic systems are healthier or not, they aren’t. So there you have it, another popular misconception about agriculture, debunked.

Source: http://animalsmart.org/animals-and-the-environment/organic-farming/misconceptions-about-organic-foods


Misconceptions About Agriculture: If You Take Calcium Supplements You Don’t Need Milk

As many of you know, it is very important to get your daily supply of vitamins and minerals for a healthy lifestyle and to strengthen your immune system. This is vital, and thankfully in this day and age we have vitamin supplements in order to obtain all of these nutrients that we don’t always consume on a daily basis. What is actually a common misconception about these supplements is just that, that they are supplements. This means that these vitamins and minerals are supplemental to your normal daily intake of other important nutrients. Many people believe that they can take these vitamins singular of anything else and that that satisfies there recommended daily intake. This of course is not true, and more specifically people like to believe that by taking a calcium supplements they don’t need to consume milk because it provides the same nutritional value, like the previous misconception is also false. So without further a do, lets attempt to take another common misconception and debunk it.

Taking a look at this myth about calcium supplements its really hard to imagine about how just one small pill can provide the nutrients necessary for a human being. Our bodies need so many things on a given basis, I just font believe that it could be true another little personal belief that I have, is that no artificial little pill van give you what something that the earth is produced can give, or that some natural organism could provide. This of course is just my personal belief. Anyways, in order to prove this misconception wrong I quote Zey Ustunol, a Food Science & Human Nutrition professor at Michigan State University. She states that, “Milk isn’t only a good source of calcium but it also provides other high quality nutrients such as high quality protein, vitamins A, D, B12, riboflavin; zinc; potassium and magnesium. Fermented dairy foods such as yogurt also serve as an excellent carrier of probiotic organisms and prebiotics, which are important for gastrointestinal health. Taking supplements does not provide the enjoyment of drinking a cold glass of milk; pouring cold milk on a bowl of cereal for breakfast; eating a creamy delicious bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day; or enjoying the pleasure of a creamy cheese sauce on nachos, or melted cheese slices on a hamburger.” (www.msu.edu, 2014)

So when looking at this reference, we actually realize that not only does milk provide loads of Calcium, but also a whole plethora of other vitamins that support healthy living. In order to sustain our bodies and provide it with the most natural and efficient source of calcium it is impossible to rely solely on just Calcium supplements. They are called supplements for a reason, they’re supplemental; so don’t try to take them as substitutes. So there you have it, another common misconception about agriculture, debunked.

Source: https://www.msu.edu/~mdr/vol15no2/myths.html

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Corn Isn’t a Good source of Any Nutrients

Eating healthy is always of great importance to many citizens in America in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By avoiding unhealthy foods that contain lots of calories and trans fat it’s easier for these people to be in better shape then most. They tend to depend on healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables. Although this is the case many people tend to believe that corn doesn’t have as many nutrients, if not at all, as other vegetables. This is just another of those pesky misconceptions about agriculture. We are going to look deeper into this question in order really determine whether or not it is true that corn does not have any good source of nutrients.

Many vegetables that are agriculturally produced hold a lot of nutrients including potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, etc. for those who question the nutritional value of corn, is say to you that is the blatantly incorrect. I reference Amanda L. Chan in order to make a statement about the nutritional value about corn, “Vegetables like kale and spinach may have better reputations as nutrition all-stars, but corn has something to contribute, too. Corn contains certain B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium. Yellow corn is also a good source of two antioxidants, zeaxanthin and lutein, which are good for eye health.” (www.huffingtonpost.com, 2014.) With that said we understand now that corn does in fact have nutritional value, and it should be used as a solid part of a healthy diet for a healthy lifestyle. Therefore it turns out that another one of those pesky and common misconceptions about agriculture has been debunked, so go ahead and finish off that cobb of corn.

Sources : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/26/corn-health-myths-nutrition_n_5591977.html

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Does Turkey Make You Sleepy? (Thanksgiving Edition!)

First off I just want to wish everyone and their families a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, hoping that you all have enjoyed your Thanksgiving dinners. I know that I had a great turkey day, filled with all kinds of amazing food like rice, stuffing, dinners rolls, several different options of Puerto Rican cuisine (because I am of Puerto Rican descent), and of course a nice big juicy turkey! Of course I also had my wonderful family to share this meal with because I couldn’t finish it on my own of course, actually I probably could have. So after this huge feast, as it may go with many of you and your families out there, one by one my family members dropped like flies. They slipped into eternal slumbers, perhaps even food comas. Usually this is how it always happens after Thanksgiving dinner, my entire family just takes a group nap in my grandmother’s living room, but then I think to myself, If this always happens after Thanksgiving is it something that we all eat to make us fall asleep? I think maybe it’s the turkey, since I’ve heard before the idea tossed around that turkey makes you sleepy. I decided to look into whether or not this was actually true, whether or not turkey makes you sleepy.

It turns out that this idea seems to be relatively widespread, that eating turkey really does make you sleepy. When I heard this though, it seemed a little off, how can something as natural as a turkey make you sleepy. Actually while researching this question I found that this is just a common misconception, eating turkey actually does not make you sleepy. How do I know this? It’s actually due to a natural amino acid found in turkeys called “L-typtophan”. To explain more about what this amino acid is and what it does I reference Linda Yerardi, R.D., a diabetes nutrition educator at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. “Turkey alone will not make you sleepy. It’s true that L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in turkey and many other protein foods, can have a sedative effect in some people. But its effects are blunted by the presence of other amino acids in turkey, which compete for the same binding sites in the brain, she notes. “You’d have to take L-tryptophan alone (with no other amino acids present) and on an empty stomach to produce any drowsiness. “Lots of other foods, including ground beef and chicken, contain L-tryptophan, too, and don’t have this reputation.” (www.eatingwell.com, 2014)

With that said, it’s actually true that there is something in turkeys that could perhaps be a sedative, but is negated, by other amino acids and has no true effect. Therefore all my family members after dinner tonight weren’t falling asleep because of the turkey, but solely because of all the food we ate. So there’s another misconception about agriculture, debunked. Have a wonderful rest of your thanksgiving and sleep well with all that turkey in your tummy.

Sources: http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/5_nutrition_myths_busted

Misconceptions About Agriculture: Pesticides are Not Used In Organic Foods

They way that food is produced is both very important and crucial to consumers simply because most if not all of us are concerned about what goes into our bodies. Though we are for the most part well informed when it comes this subject in terms of agriculture, many consumers have an issue with the use of pesticides in their food. Since the use of pesticides is wide spread in the world of agriculture, many turn to organic food options in order to avoid the risk of consuming pesticides, since of course no pesticides are used in the production of organic foods right? Wrong. It turns out that contrary to popular belief, pesticides are in fact used in the production of organic foods.

First off lets take a step back and talk about what exactly a pesticide is and what constitutes a pesticide, as well as why farmers use them in the production of their crops. By definition a pesticide is “a substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals.” (www.dictionary.com, 2014) These pesticides can also be broken down into separate categories such as insecticides, killing several species of insect, fungicides, killing species of fungi that harm specific crops, etc. With this in mind we take a look at why farmers use these potentially harmful pesticides. The reason for this use of pesticides is actually to protect the crops themselves, by the use of pesticides many crops in each harvest are save due to the extermination of harmful insects, fungi, etc. that can potentially kill the crops. Since these pesticides sound so extreme, it is also important to question just how safe these things are, the answer to that question may perhaps be unsettling. Pesticides can cause some rather severe health problems, “Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time. However, these effects depend on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed.” (www.epa.gov, 2014) This of course is not good at all and makes you question the use of pesticides, though this is true these pesticides prevent many other harmful bacteria from infecting the crops.

Finally we return back to the issue of pesticide use in the production of organic foods, particularly crops. As stated before pesticides are in fact used in organic farming, though there is a slight difference. That difference is stated here in this quote, “organic farmers do use pesticides. The only difference is that they’re “natural” instead of “synthetic.” At face value, the labels make it sound like the products they describe are worlds apart, but they aren’t. A pesticide, whether it’s natural or not, is a chemical with the purpose of killing insects (or warding off animals, or destroying weeds, or mitigating any other kind of pest, as our watchful commenters have correctly pointed out). Sadly, however, “natural” pesticides aren’t as effective, so organic farmers actually end up using more of them!” (www.realscience.com, 2014) So in principle, organic farmers actually end up using more pesticides then normal farmers, just using a different pesticide. So there you have it, another common misconception in the field of agriculture, debunked.

Sources: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/risks.htm




Misconceptions About Agriculture: Farmers Are Uneducated

As far as farming goes, it is quite the tiring and backbreaking profession, many farmers wake up in the early hours of the day and don’t go to bed until well after the sun sets. There is no doubting that the work of a farmer, though some challenge the intellect of those that do the work. Many believe that its just mindless work, and though it is physically challenging, it lacks the mental challenge. Along with this, many farmers face several hurtful and just outright incorrect stereotypes. Some of these stereotypes include being hillbillies, uneducated, having a big straw hat with overalls, missing teeth and even being unhygienic. Well it turns out none of these are true, and maybe after reading this your perception of a modern day farmer will change for the better.

If you haven’t already guessed from the title and what has been previously stated, we are going to try and debunk the myth of the thought that all farmers are uneducated. It turns out now that many people across the United States are going to college and receiving a four-year degree in order to enter the field of agriculture, specifically farming. Individuals not involved in agriculture, or who seem not to know anything about the field, believe that farmers don’t have any credentials or sense of a formal higher education. This can easily be proven incorrect, as “Nearly 30 percent of today’s farmers and ranchers have attended college, with over half of his group obtaining a degree. A growing number of today’s farmers and ranchers with four-year college degrees are pursuing post-graduate studies.” (www.cals.ncsu.edu, 2014) This shows a growing trend over time that the number of farmers that are educated in any sort of higher learning is steadily increasing, and will only increase as farming continues to evolve.

It is also believed that farming solely constitutes manual labor, and that in order to do this type of work there is no real necessity for a college education or degree. This also isn’t true, farmers nowadays are sticking to education in order to become more efficient, learn how to run the “business” end of a farm, become handymen and technologically capable to fix a machine that malfunctions, veterinarians for their sick animals, and even weatherman to attempt to make judgments on weather in regards to their crops and live stock. Another quote that also solidifies the legitimacy of the growing intellect of farms is this from cornucopia.com. “Today’s farmers are highly educated and many are experienced in fields that may, at first glance, seem unrelated to the business of farming. They come to farming prepared with life experience, advanced or technical degrees, and business skills.” (www.cornucopia.com, 2011) So with this given information it is safe to say that farmers are, in fact, educated and this myth is debunked. So the next time you think about a farmer, think less of a common stereotype, and more of the college degree that many of them hold in their hands.

Sources: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/CollegeRelations/AGRICU.htm


Misconceptions About Agriculture: Small Farms are Unimportant and Irrelevant

With the industry of agriculture being the main provider of food and resources for so many millions of people, it can be seen as somewhat of a booming factory industry. Many people tend to believe that the industry of farming is solely factory based, with large-scale operations running like a “conveyer belt” and pumping out good and services with little to no disregard about anything else. With this common misconception, it is hard to imagine why no one would stop to think about the small-scale operation, the little man, who puts in the work and gets no credit. Small farms are seen as unimportant and irrelevant, when in fact that really shouldn’t be the case.

When it comes to he issue of where our food comes from, the question is quite obvious, but we tend to get the idea of that farm confused. Many people seem to believe, as previously stated, that most if not all farms ten to be large factory farms that produce mass amounts of product at a fast pace in order to maximize profit. This is actually not true, and this claim holds no validity whatsoever. To prove this false claim wrong we turn to the United States Department of Agriculture, which states “Ninety-one percent of U.S. farms are classified as small—gross cash farm income (GCFI) of less than $250,000. About 60 percent of these small farms are very small, generating GCFI of less than $10,000.” (www.ers.usda.gov, 2012) So according to the US Department of Agriculture about ninety one percent of our farms here in America are considered to be small farms. With that fact stated, how is it that small farms can be considered to be unimportant or irrelevant? That question can be answered by another misconception of the community of consumers of agricultural goods. Most consumers simply don’t understand where their food is coming from, and since small farms are non-commercialized, they do not here about them at all, which means the only farms that they are aware of are the large commercialized farms that are only a microscopic percentage of farms in America.

Furthermore we look at a specific statistic regarding small farms in agriculture from Cornell University’s website. According to data collected in 2009, “There were 1,921,058 small farms in the US in 2009, which translated to 90.1% of the total farms in the US at that time.” (www.smallfarms.cornell.edu, 2014.) With that said, the point that small farms are unimportant only continues to become further from the truth. Given the fact that small farms make up so many of the farms in America today, they also produce a substantial amount of the agricultural food and services consumed today. So there you have it, another agricultural misconception debunked, and I think its safe to say that America’s agriculture wouldn’t be where it is today with out the little man, the small farm.

Sources: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib63.aspx


Misconceptions About Agriculture: Are Brown Eggs More Nutritious Then White Eggs?

Sometimes the world of agriculture is unclear due to a copious amount of professional opinions floating around about different topics with in the field. With this confusing, sometimes contradicting information, your opinion and view tends to become a little skewed away from the truth. This creates misconceptions, which are plainly just “incorrect views or opinions due to faulty thinking or understanding. “ (dictionary.com) These of course are rampant in the field of agriculture and for the next couple of weeks we are going to be looking at some of these misconceptions and see if we can debunk a few.

When it comes to the issue of food, it seems as if people are trying to find the newest and healthiest thing, which there is nothing wrong with don’t get me wrong, but I feel as if sometimes people like to believe that what they are consuming is healthier when in all actuality it isn’t. For example we take a look at eggs, eggs of course are already a healthy day starter, providing protein with just the right amount of fat to get our days going. Though this is true, there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not brown eggs are healthier than white eggs. This idea has materialized after the false advertisement of brown eggs as the healthy alternative to white eggs. So with this debate in mind we are going to see if in fact this is true or not and how they stack up against each other.

Health wise these eggs seem to stack up pretty similarly, “Both brown and white eggs contain 70 calories and 7 grams of fat. Both brown and white eggs contain 210 mg of cholesterol and 12 grams of protein, and finally both are rich in B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus and choline.” (www.fitday.com,2013). So there you have it, when it comes down to the nutritional content of each individual egg, it does in fact turn out that they are identical in value. So if this is the case we question, “Why exactly are the shells of the eggs different colors if there’s nothing actually different between them?’ That question can also be answered with factual evidence. It turns out that the color of the egg’s shell is determined by the color of the hen that is laying that particular egg. So for instance “an egg with a brown shell would come from a brown hen, and an egg with a white shell would come from a white hen.” (www.fitday.com,2013) So, with these two questions about eggshell color answered, that totally debunks this misconception right? Actually not quite, there is one more questions that separates us from the truth. Why, if they are completely identical except for color, do brown eggs tend to cost more than white eggs? Many believe that this difference in price is due to brown eggs having more nutritional value, but since we’ve already proved that to be false, why is it that they cost more? Much like the other questions, this too can be answered, like we mentioned before there is a difference in the colors of the shells due to the difference in look and breed of the hen that lays it. This is also the reason for different prices in the eggs, it turns out that brown breeds of hen are actually larger in size, therefore consuming more feed, which makes them more expensive to care fore. This in turn raises the price of the eggs once they hit the stores, in order to make up for that extra cost for food and up keep.

So there you have it, the misconception of brown eggs being healthier than white eggs has been debunked. So the next time that you go to the grocery store you wont have to worry as much about what the difference of these two types of eggs are because there really aren’t any large differences in particular.

Sources: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/brown-eggs-vs-white-eggs.html#b



Its interesting to think about truly how many people there are in this world, the number is quite remarkable, Do you know what it is? Its “7.125 billion people” (Syngenta.com, 2013). No, not million, billion, that’s pretty remarkable if you ask me. Then we think about how ever single one of those people is different in their own specific way, yet we still know that the they belong to either a group or society that shares several things in common with them. I like to think of it this way, though there are so many people on earth and they are all different, they all have unique personalities, and though these personalities are unique to them they also fit in specific personality groups that identify similar traits in all of them. Some believe of course that personality test are all mumbo jumbo, but I beg to differ.

During my time this semester while taking a class that for the first time exposes my to agriculture, I knew for sure it wasn’t for me. Though I thought this, I began to realize just how broad and interesting the field was. It wasn’t just all about planting crops, feeding the pigs, and milking the cows. Yes this perception may perhaps be quite ignorant, but in my defense I was born and raised in the second largest city in the United States. Anyway, unbeknownst to me agriculture involved all kinds of things that I had no idea it even touched upon. It involves of course farming, which is a major component, but also advertising, marketing, public relations, and even aspects of journalism etc. You can see some more professions in the field of agriculture here. Finally I understood that even though I feel that I have a very exuberant and fun personality, I could tie myself into the field of agriculture when I though that my personality did not pair well with this career path.

I know what you are saying, “wow those first two paragraphs could not be more different, what is he trying to say?” Onto you I say, do not worry; I am about to tie them together right now. As stated previously I mentioned something called a personality test, and when I say this I am talking about one in particular; “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”, which I highly encourage you to research. Recently in class we took an abbreviated form of this test and our professor revealed the results to us aloud and asked if we thought this personality was accurate or not. Being of course skeptical I wasn’t exactly sure how legitimate this test was or if it truly worked. So we had two choices for each letter of a specific personality and I ended up with ESFP, the four letters being Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Perceiving. After we all came up with our four letters our professor began to go through the sixteen different personalities and describe what they entailed to students who raised their hands for the ones that they got. Finally my professor came to ESFP, and I was the only one amongst my peers who raised their hands. The results of the personality test astounded me, I felt as if this test had completely pinpointed exactly what my personality was like. Some details included exuberance, loving life, making work fun, enjoying working with other, and watching three plus hours of television a day, the last being extremely accurate. Fitiaspoor created a wonderful piece in her blog depicting the ESFP personality traits in depth, which out can check out here. One other thing that I found quite interesting is that with all the individuals in my class, I was the only ESFP among them, and I felt unique and special as an individual. Yet at the same time I felt as If I was part of a specific society shared with those who have the some personality type as myself.

Finally, tying this all into agriculture I began to realize as I take my personality type and the professions in this field we’ve learned about, that I do have a place in agriculture. I’m so interested in working with people; with this I can pursue a career in agriculture with a focus in advertising or public relations. I also love to write, and love to make writing fun so now I can work in the realm of Agricultural Communications. A career path I’d never even considered now holds all kinds of opportunities for me, and my eyes have been opened to this due to the fact that I see my personality, and more importantly myself in all these professions.

Sources: http://www.syngenta.com/global/corporate/en/goodgrowthplan/challenges/Pages/challenges.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=challenges&utm_campaign=good-growth-plan&gclid=CjwKEAiA4rujBRDD7IG_wOPytXkSJACTMkgasgXuQOU5fP_1Sthp1GSy39lUTMqEukSsbFnBbytIpBoC4QLw_wcB




Agriculture and Social Media

The practice of agriculture has been around for thousands and thousands of years. Ancient Civilizations used agriculture to be one of their main sources of food for centuries, which is similar to now as modern society uses agriculture for that same purpose. Agriculture has always been a life line for thousands of people, whether it is a food source or a source of income, and though this craft has been around for so long it lacked certain aspects that could make it perhaps more efficient. This of course changed with the emergence and wide spread use of social media. Social media shapes our entire society, but more specifically it has also noticeably changed agriculture and what I think is for the better.

There are so many forms of social media out there, social networks, blogging sites like this one, and social websites that are more conversational in nature such as forums. More specifically some examples of these sites are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pintrest and many more. Another great thing about these sites is the ability to share the information that you find interesting or insightful. Therefore if you find something that in some way helped you, you can share that same bit of information in hopes that you will have the same effect on someone else. Here is a guide to the use and “Power of Social Media in Agriculture.”

This brings us to the important question of how does social media effect agriculture? And is the effect positive or negative? It does in fact turn out that social media positively affects the realm of agriculture in many ways across all the different platforms of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all do a great job of sharing and relaying information to both the producers (the farmers), and the consumers. For example many farms have accounts for these social networking sites and post things related to the production and development of their crops and or livestock. This seems pretty interesting to me even with my limited knowledge with in the field of agriculture. I often see advertisements about a specific farms production layout as well as crops and livestock they provide. I’ve also seen retweets of people I am following on twitter referencing a farmer/blogger who blogs consistently about his own experiences as a farmer and the things he does on a daily bases as related to agriculture. The three of these sites also utilize the function of posting pictures of things related to their organizations and the things that they produce.

Moving on from the more popular social networking sites, there are also less popular ones that hold great importance in the field of agriculture. This includes many different sites but two of the most important of which are WordPress and LinkedIn. WordPress allows for farmers to creates blogging sites and write about their farms, the things that they produce, and the status of many things occurring on the farm at once. This is also a good tool for readers to become more familiar with the individual that is supplying their food, which in many cases provides a sense of knowledge and ease for many consumers, especially with the use of genetically modified organisms. Many of these blogs are quite interesting; here are some cool ones to check out.

Agriculture has evolved over thousand and thousands of years, and though something remain the same it continues to evolve. With the continued climb of social media agriculture will become more and more efficient, and an ancient practice will become modern.

Sources: http://outthinkgroup.com/tips/the-6-types-of-social-media