Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

The Stock of Belgium

Much like the majority of countries across the world, the Kingdom of Belgium’s agricultural industry has been declining for quite some time now. Currently, only about 2% of their population is engaged in agricultural pursuits. Although about 39% of the country’s land is used for agricultural purposes, only 1% is used for permanent crops.

The majority of Belgium’s agriculture is divided into two parts: crop production and livestock production. Sugar beets, potatoes, and barley are the staple products produced in the country, but they are accompanied by corn, wheat, and assorted fruits and vegetables. While these products are necessary to the continuation of the country’s economy, stock production is the dominating contribution to their agricultural system. A variety of livestock is raised across the country including veal, beef, poultry, lamb, and swine.

Belgium is also known for their wide-spread dairy production, and their self-sustained egg, butter, and milk productions. The soil types vary across the country, which is the leading factor as to why the crop productions vary throughout the different terrains.

In addition, forests cover approximately 22% of the Belgium land mass, leaving wooded areas to be used principally for recreational purposes rather than agricultural. Fishing is also crucial to the country’s exportation status, their largest part is in Oostende. The fishing fleet exploits the North Atlantic Ocean fisheries from the North Sea to Iceland.

Resources:

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Europe/Belgium-AGRICULTURE.html

http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Counprof/Belgium/belgium.htm

http://www.voyagesphotosmanu.com/agriculture_of_belgium.html

Image Sources:

http://www.sasas.co.za/sites/sasas.co.za/files/images/Angoli%20cattle%20-%20Kenia%202011.JPG

http://users.skynet.be/lave.belgique/Perso/Belgium_geol.jpg

http://www.dongo.org/pictures/potato_cultivation_in_belgium.jpg

Advertisements
Standard
Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

Jamaican Ag-ventures

 

Agriculture in Jamaica is very important to the country’s economy and has always given many jobs to the community. There are many different products that Jamaican farmers grow, but the most popular and demanded product is sugar. Sugar is the most dominant export of Jamaica alongside of the other fruits and vegetables such as coconuts, bananas, spices, pimentos, cocoa, citrus, and coffee. In 1996 Jamaica produced around 237,943 metric tons of sugar which is the highest amount since the 1980’s. 

            Also in 1996, the United Kingdom was Jamaica’s largest purchaser of sugar, buying approximately 86.5% of the sugar produced. Most of the sugar produced by this county has been grown by large privately owned plantations, though small farmers do produce a large quantity of the sugar grown. The other products that are produced such as coffee and cocoa are distributed to demanding countries throughout the world. Marijuana is also an important crop grown by smaller independent farmers. This cash crop is produced and sold by the farmers to willing buyers who then distribute and sell the product. 

            This island has many different climates and very fertile soil which gives this country an advantage with a slightly longer growing season than others. Though the growing of fruits and vegetables has been the main concern for the Jamaican farmers, the fishing industry has recently expanded over the years giving Jamaica another advantage over other countries. The Jamaican government has now made fishing apart of the agriculture sector. The inland fishing industry has recently shown an annual growth of around 4%. Due to the advice and the training that the Jamaican fishermen have received, they are now able to extend their fishing boundaries to around 300 miles outside of the country’s shoreline.  

 

 

Resources:

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Americas/Jamaica-AGRICULTURE.html 

http://www.discoverjamaica.com/gleaner/discover/geography/agriculture.htm  

Image Sources:

http://thetribune.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/photos/2013/04/26/DSC_0841.3_t670.jpg?b3f6a5d7692ccc373d56e40cf708e3fa67d9af9d

Standard
agricultural communications, agriculture

Agriculture: The Victim of Media Bias

While media bias exists in nearly all forms of media, and in stories told each day across the globe, you can probably count the amount of anti-agricultural stories that get credited with being based on biased information. There are numerous documentaries that have recently been bestowed their fifteen minutes of fame; however, have you ever noticed that although documentaries such as Food Inc. and GMO OMG have been considered esteemed films they have little factual evidence to emphasize their negativity towards agriculture. In fact, GMO OMG is publicly praised all over the internet for being “A documentary that is by turns exasperating, illuminating, and intentionally infuriating” and “eye-opening, compelling and accessible to the laymen”. Meanwhile, pieces like Food Inc. are considered astounding because of reviews that say things like: “Compelling, entertaining and illuminating documentary which makes you think twice, and then a few more times, about eating anything at all in U.S”.

While issues like GMOs, organics, and conventional farming continue to make their way into household conversations, it is crucial to U.S. agriculture that the correct information is spread to consumers, not uneducated attempts at corrupting the face of agriculture. Both videos are a small sector of media bias, but are a prime examples of videos that make many controversial claims, yet show little attempt to certify where they received their information from.

In this instance, these video’s central concern is to shed light to the so-called “truths” about modern agriculture and commercial farming; however, in what seems like an attempt to promote  transparency to consumers, these individuals only end up committing media bias.

The GMO OMG documentary took the nation by storm when its director Jeremy Seifert set out as a concerned father in search of the truth about the foods he was feeding his family. While, this was his stated objective in the video, it quickly became clear to many individuals whom served as his temporary audience, that Seifert’s true goal was to display his knack for troublemaking humanist inquiry to the world. In fact, through some research I soon discovered that much of the idea she stated as facts throughout the documentary merely proved to be ideas formed from his misfired opinions.

Throughout Seifert’s documentary displays a variety of statistics, much of which have little scientific evidence to support them. A large portion of the documentary focuses on the Monsanto donation to Haiti, and only shows the Haitians that believe that the donation was provoked by alternative motives. Additionally, the entire focus of the video is to determine whether or not GMOs are harmful or not. Seifert provides specific data that represents the amount of GMOs that are currently present in today’s most dominating crop productions. The directer also explicitly states false accusations about the difference between organic and non-organic farmers when stating “unless you are an organic farmer, you’re going to purchase chemicals.” To the untamed ear these accusations may seem accurate; however, after further examination and research it is clear that much of these “facts” are far from being factual. There are little statistics  to prove whether or not many of the allegations against American agriculture are accurate; however, most points only increase validity by showing both sides of the matter.

Food Inc. was directed by Robert Kenner, and while it features interviews from “reliable sources,” the documentary blames large corporations for the lack of individuals that were willing volunteers for interviews to contribute to the video. A large portion of the video focuses on mass poultry production farms in the U.S. The video also puts an emphasized focus on various meat packaging and the care of the animals that are being placed in the packaging confinements. It has been said that if you like hotdogs, don’t watch how they are made. If you like meat, don’t watch an animal be killed so you can eat it. However, it would be an understatement to say that this video visits the extremes of agricultural operations and tests the limits of human emotions to see if they will continue to consume these products.

Much like Jeremy Seifert’s documentary, Food Inc. was not designed to show America the truth about the agricultural industry, but to persuade their opinions about the people that are producing the foods to feed them. As media has increasingly became a principal form of communication across the globe, media biases have been quick to follow as a dominating issue within the trend. As news reports get scolded for omitting information and carefully selecting what they share with their viewers, videos that misinform the public about where their food comes from receive little to no negative attention. In fact, they oftentimes go unnoticed while the agricultural operations that they degrade become victims of media bias and their reputations quickly become damaged beyond repair.

References:

http://www.pbs.org/pov/foodinc/film_description.php

http://www.gmofilm.com

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/gmo-omg

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/gmo_omg/

http://www.metacritic.com/movie/food-inc

http://www.gmofilm.com/about-the-filmmakers.aspx

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/gmo-omg

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/pages/haiti-seed-donation.aspx

Standard
Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

Vacation Spot or Agricultural Entity?

The Dominican Republic is a perfect place to spend a vacation, but what most people that visit this country do not realize, is how rich and demanding the agriculture sector can be.  Throughout this country there are many different areas that great soil to help produce quality crops, but the Cibao Valley produces the best crops year after year. Each year approximately 1,186,000 acres is being worked and farmed by the people of the Dominican.

Though Cuba has the Dominican Republic beat in the production of sugar can, the Dominican comes in at a close second.Sugar cane is the country’s largest crop being farmed and exported each year. During 1989-1991 the sugar cane production was around 7.1 million tons but quickly fell during 1999 to around 4.4 million tons.  One of the other main agriculture products is coffee. Coffee is distributed around the world to many other demanding countries.The government is attempting to get the local farmers to diversify to nontraditional products such as fresh fruits, flowers and fresh vegetables. The country primarily grows rice and sugar can which grows great with the climate and the fertile soil. These products are mainly produced and exported to demanding countries. The tropical storms and hurricanes that continue to hit this country seems to only hurt the smaller famers which makes up around 72% of all the agricultural farmers in the Dominican.

Resources:

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Dominican-Republic-AGRICULTURE.html 

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2013/04/26/Agricultura-Republica-Dominicana-desastres-naturales

Sources:

http://www.acercandonaciones.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Agricultor.gif

http://www.counterpart.org/images/uploads/100714_DO_0011.JPG

Standard
Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

Greenland Climate

Though Greenland sounds like a great country to produce outstanding agriculture, one may be sadly mistaken. As the climate tends to become warmer year after year, this country can now grow crops that would have never had a chance of surviving a growing season. With the warmer climates and longer summer days, farmers can now grow hay to feed their livestock. The production of hay has also had a large influence  on the sheep farmers. These farmers can now feed more livestock with the amount of hay that is being produced. The Greenland government has been working with the farmers, studying the climate changes in order to produce more crops in hopes to reduce the amount of expensive imported goods. 

This country also commercially grows potatoes in the southern region. During 2012 Greenland produced 100 metric tons of potatoes and nearly doubled that in 2008. Farming in Greenland is extremely difficult due to the fluctuating  temperatures. Many small villages have decided to use greenhouses in attempt to grow their own fruits and vegetables in a controlled environment. The soil for the greenhouses has to be shipped from Canada. The maintenance for this soil and the fees that come along with that totals up to around $90 a year. 

Resources:

www.reuters.com/…/us-greenland-climate-agriculture-idUSBRE9…

modernfarmer.com/2013/10/arctic-farming/

Image Sources:

https://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/0102069136500.jpg

http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article8555220.ece/alternates/w620/greenland-warming-getty.jpg

 

 

Standard
Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

The Evolution of Australian Agriculture

Being the only continent on the globe that doubles as its own country as well, Australia differs from many of the systems across the world in many ways. For instance, their agricultural sector in particular sets itself apart in many ways. Generally, throughout the majority of Australia’s history, the country’s economy was seen to be extremely dependent on sheep production. Agriculture, especially the wool industry, established Australia’s relevance as a thriving economy across the globe. Since the mid 1900’s Australia has become one of the leading exporters of fine foods, grains, and meats.

Methods have changed drastically for the country’s agriculture over the last 200 years. To begin with, the challenges that fresh water access, fertilizer amounts, overgrazing, and transportation costs have forced farmers to innovate new and effective ways to get their jobs done. Things like the implementation of irrigation, increased soil fertilizers, and fencing improvements have all assisted in the evolution of Australian agriculture.

As far as crops go, Australia is known for their production of sugarcane, fruits and nuts. To reach these heights, famers first had to overcome the poor soil fertility the continent was known for. With some assistance from the introduction of super phosphate and nitrogen, the problem was minimized. However, down the road this has began causing issues such as soil erosion and salinity. 

Approximately 2/3 of Australian lands are used towards agriculture and of that amount around 90% of the land is designated for cattle and sheep grazing. This type of livestock production is known as pastoralism and it has been a dominant element throughout the history of Australian Outback agriculture.

Additionally, rabbits have been constant pests that have outlasted the test of time on the continent. They have caused significant reduction to the amount of production and have forced farmers to come up with new methods to prevent their destruction to their crops.

Resources:

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/crops

http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/295108/agriculture+land+law/2013+food+and+agriculture+in+numbers

http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-farming-and-agriculture

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pastoralism

Image Sources:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b9/Murray_Grey_cows_and_calves.JPG

http://econews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/farming-investment-Australia.jpg

Standard
Ag Around the World, Holly Spangler's 30 Day Blog Challenge

From Pyramids to Sugar Crop

The lands of Egypt are principally made up of desert and semi-arid terrains. Egypt is made up of four parts: The Nile Valley, Western Desert, Eastern Desert, and Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is globally known for one of the oldest agricultural civilizations in history. Unlike many parts of the world, the population is generally rural dominated– nearly 60% of the latest census were said to take part in agricultural pursuits.

Being largely filled with dessert terrains, Egypt receives little to no rainfall along the northern coast. As a consequence, the country’s sole source of water supply is the Nile; therefore, Egyptian agriculture relies heavily upon irrigation systems. Cereals are Egypt’s principal commodity; however, they are coupled with sugarcane, legumes, fibres, sugar crop, fruits and vegetables to account for the agricultural sector of the country’s economy.

While Egyptian agriculture has seen drastic developments over the last couple of decades, the progressions have created downfalls, as well. The changes have impacted farmers more than anything, it has affected their cropping patterns, technologies, incomes, and has generated dramatic changes among the markets. Since the 1980’s many reforms have been attempted by liberalizing agriculture through the elimination of crop area controls.

Resources:

http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Counprof/Egypt/Egypt.html

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Egypt-AGRICULTURE.html

Image Sources:

http://file.scirp.org/Html/18-2800342%5C9d10db9e-b9e6-4869-b4af-917abfba0b15.jpg

Standard