Misconceptions About Agriculture: Farmers are Destroying the Environment

As consumers, it is important for us to be actively involved in the constant searching and looking in to of information about where our food comes from. More importantly we have to think how that food is getting from where it is being produced to our kitchen table.it so turns our that’s some people that some people believe that during that process, farmers and producers are harming the environment. Many of these people who are concerned about it tend more likely then not to be environmentalists who fight to defend and have the environment. Don’t get me wrong it is important to preserve our environment and sustain it, but this statement about farmers destroying the environment is just false and is a misconception.

In order to back up my statement about this claim not being true, I make these references from animalsmart.org to demonstrate ways that farmers are working to conserve and sustain the environment. “Farmers engage in many different conservation practices that help to preserve the environment. Conservation refers to using less resources and having less of an effect on the land. Practices that farmers use on their farms might include no-till, putting fences around streams, planting cover crops, collecting water runoff, and integrating crop and pasture rotations. No-till on a farm refers to a practice where farmers do not use tillage methods, such as plowing to disturb the soil (Blanco et al., 2008). When farmers use no-till, they do not disturb the soil until the seed is planted. Things such as old corn stalks and leaves are left on the soil surface (Blanco et al., 2008). No-till helps farmers conserve the soil by not disrupting the soil and leaving it intact so that it cannot be washed away by water or blown away by wind. When soil is preserved, it remains healthier and is better able to support crop growth. Farmers are now putting up fences around streams, rivers and ponds on their property to keep livestock out of the water. It is important for farmers to keep livestock out of water sources because livestock can disturb the banks and cause the water to become muddy and full of dirt. Livestock can leave waste in the water, which adds excessive nutrients to the water like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. An overload of dirt and waste can pollute the water, making it unhealthy for fish and other aquatic species to live. It is extremely important to protect water sources because they serve as a vital source of drinking water. Water from polluted sources can also run into the ocean and harm sea life.” (www.animalsmart.org , 2014)

With all of this evidence stated, it is hard to believe that some individuals think that farmers are destroying the environment. So it is safe to say that this claim about farmers harming the environment is simply not true, and another misconception about agriculture has been debunked.

sources: http://animalsmart.org/animals-and-the-environment/farmers-stewards-of-the-environment

Misconceptions About Agriculture: All Farmers are Rich

As a young child, you dream as to what you want to be when you grow up, and at a young age some of these dreams can be quite outlandish. There are the plausible aspirations such as to be a cop or a fireman, or perhaps even a doctor. Of course there are also the crazy ones like wanting to be a dragon or the color blue, I’m guilty too as I wanted to be the blue power ranger (which eventually I learned the hard way that I could not be the blue power ranger.) One profession that I did not hear really as a child from any of my peers when that question was asked was the desire for someone to become a farmer. This of course may have to do with my geographical position as I live in the second biggest city in the United States. However we did of course learn briefly about farmers and generally what they do, yet never did I hear that they earned lots of money, in fact we were told that most farmers did not make much money at all. So why is it that it is actually a common misconception that all farmers are rich. This is pretty shocking to me so we are going to look at this in more detail.

In all actuality, farming is not a career path recommended for those wanting to become millionaires, or even to become fairly wealthy. If this is what you desire in a lifestyle, then farming is not for you. This is not to say that there aren’t wealthy farmers, saying that would simply be not true in the slightest. Yet at the same time the majority of farmers do the job for more of a noble cause, because they love the lifestyle and the idea of producing food for thousands, even millions of people and in essence feeding them. To further reiterate this point I reference Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He states this, “In Virginia it’s usually more like, “I hope I can make a decent living for my family.” If your goal is to get rich, frankly, there are many ways to accomplish that goal that are easier and quicker than getting rich through agriculture. We do have some wealthy farmers in Virginia, and I am proud of them. But even among those who are wealthy, I think the motivators for farmers tend to be of a more noble nature. We farm because we love it or because we love the lifestyle or we think it’s a good way to raise our children. We may farm out of a deep-seated desire to help, to make a positive difference in the world. Or we simply may realize that farming is not only the world’s oldest profession, but that it is the only one that is truly necessary. Bottom line, when we can’t feed ourselves, nothing else matters because we will be dead in four or five days.” (www.vdacs.virginia.gov, 2013)

From this quote we understand that being a farmer is not a position of wealth, but a position of nobility. Farmers are committed to serving us and providing food for our tables so we may eat. As Mr. Lohr stated “without that food we’d be dead in four or five days”, and this is true. Farmers don’t make a whole heck of a lot of money, but the difference that they make on our society is unimaginable. So there you have it, another one of those false misconceptions about agriculture, debunked.

Sources: http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/releases-b/031413agwk.shtml

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

http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/03/a-new-generation-of-farmers-young-educated-energetic/

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

http://animalagalliance.org/images/upload/Social%20Media%20Manual.pdf

http://janiceperson.com/blogs-i-read/total-list-farm-blogs/