Feeding The Future: Organic Agriculture Essay

2567 words - 11 pages

Having lived in rural America all of my nearly twenty-two years in life I take pleasure in sitting down to dinner and knowing exactly where the food I am about to partake in came from and am hopeful that we continue to produce enough to feed ourselves. The steak was from an Angus steer fed out on our farm, the potatoes and corn a family friend grew in his garden, and the apples in dessert are from a local orchard. Granted, not everything I put in my mouth comes from a source that I have direct contact with, but I least have knowledge of the food industry. However, your average American is clueless about where their food comes from. They travel to their local supermarket and furnish themselves with the plastic wrapped meat in the freezer section or to the local fast food drive thru for a burger. My agricultural background makes me proud to understand where my food comes from and that I possess the ability to sustain myself and not wholly depend on a trip to the grocery store if possible. With this knowledge I chose the topic of whether the world can tackle it’s exponentially expanding population and be able to feed itself in the foreseeable future.
Considering that the first humans who interacted with agriculture were hunter-gathers, I believe the industry has come a long way in domestication of plants and animals and with technology that has made farming easier. Advancing from hunting and gathering, crops would only be planted near a water source for irrigation. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that farming itself really changed, when mechanization, where once beasts of burden were used, could increase production. New implements meant less time could be spent on the fields and they could focus on introducing tacts such as crop rotation and better prepare the soil. Some trends of today go far beyond what our ancestors could have fathomed. Crop technology such as precision farming, using a GPS for planting and the like, has become huge in helping cut waste for those tech-savvy young farmer. Genetically Modified Organisms, mostly in terms of crops, have been a rising player in the agriculture market, and the biggest controversial topic in whether the increase in production is beneficial in terms of other possible consequences. In 1935 there were 6.8 million farms, today, that has dropped to 2.2 million (USDA, 2007, p. 1). That being said, because of the aforementioned changes and trends, those farms are more efficient to make up for the drop in number, in fact farmers are producing 262 percent more food with two percent fewer inputs, which are things like labor, seeds, fertilizer, etc., than in 1950 (AFBF).
Our future problem lies in the ever increasing global population which is expected to reach 9.5 billion people by the year 2050 (FAO, 2009, p. 1). This slow three percent growth is comforting compared to the last four decades in which the population expanded by nearly ninety percent to our current population of about 6.8...

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