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Crops

Pesticide Overuse in Wheat Examined

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2 minute read

Early Wheat

There are many pervasive myths about agriculture, but some of the most dangerous to society are those that impact the world’s three most important crops, including wheat.

Precisely because they are myths there is often little motivation by professionals to do costly science to clear up perceptions versus realities. But when those perceptions merge with well-intentioned but poorly informed public sentiments, they can lead governments to consider banning critical agricultural (or medical) tools.

These new forces –created largely by social media– make the science of re-proving old facts increasingly important.

For this reason, the University of Queensland recently conducted a study around one of the myths most likely to affect grain farmers. Published in the highly respected journal, Nature Plants, the study investigated the modern belief and assertion that intensive modern breeding has weakened wheat strains and lead to increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

In reality, the study demonstrated that modern cultivars are much more environmentally efficient. Lead author Dr. Voss-Fels noted, “Quite a few people will be taken aback by just how tough modern wheat varieties proved to be, even in harsh growing conditions, such as drought, and using less chemical inputs.”

A previous Todayville piece referred to the important agricultural contributions of the namesake of Justus Liebig University, which lead seven other German Universities along with the University of Queensland in the study of the 200 wheat varieties that have provided the highest yields over the last 50 years of farming in Europe.

On top of lower inputs being required, machine learning also demonstrated that there is currently enough diversity in modern wheat to see close to a 25% rise in productivity going forward.

Despite the popularity of the myths of wheat fields being doused in chemicals, science demonstrates that the exact opposite is in fact true.

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Uncategorized / 3 years ago

What Is Dirt Anyway?

Agriculture

The next 30 harvests are the most important in history… An urgent message to the world from US Farmers and Ranchers

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US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance

US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Launches Short Film as Start of Movement to Create Sustainable Food Systems

The Challenge of a Generation: “30 Harvests” Takes a Look at Farmers’ Role in Combatting Climate Change

The US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has unveiled a new film that highlights the urgency needed in the fight against climate change. Despite uncertain economic times, farmers are front and center as the agents for change in “30 Harvests.”

“The next 30 years are the most important in the history of agriculture. Food production will need to increase by 70% to feed the world by 2050. How do we nourish a growing population while our farmable land is shrinking?” said Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, USFRA. “30 Harvests captures the passion and hope that our farmers have in providing a dependable source of healthy food while addressing economic and environmental concerns for current and future generations.”

The docudrama follows the plight of farmer Jay Hill of Dell City, Texas, and farmer and soil scientist Meagan Kaiser of Bowling Green, Missouri. In the short film, they articulate the challenges farmers face while embracing the opportunity to meet the increasing demands for food, and ultimately help solve one of the greatest challenges of this generation: climate change.

“As farmers, we need to let the world know that we’re on the front lines of climate change,” said Hill. “If you think that we’re not scared of a changing environment, then you’ve got it wrong.”

Thirty harvests quantifies the crop cycles left before 2050, the year the global population is expected to be 9 billion people. According to American Farmland Trust, the U.S. loses 175 acres of farmland every hour, mostly to urban encroachment. Additionally, the U.S. Global Change Research Program reports that the effects of climate change are already being felt, with increases in average temperature, extreme heat conditions, heavy rainfall, droughts and extreme weather events contributing to excessive runoff, flooding, and soil erosion, loss of soil carbon and reduce the availability and quality of water. However, agricultural soils have the capacity to capture and store carbon, making every acre of farmland more important than most ever believed, and putting farmers and ranchers in a position to be the change makers.

“30 Harvests is just one story. There are hundreds – thousands – of other stories about how farmers are continually innovating and evolving with climate smart agricultural practices, even in a tough economic environment,” said Kaiser.

USFRA is convening leaders in the agriculture and food value chain to create a strategic roadmap to meet the challenges of the next decade of nourishing an unprecedented population while enhancing the environment on which we all rely and benefit from.

“This is a call to leaders in food, finance and science to be part of the solution to co- create sustainable food systems with U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re starting with climate change and how we can pull down carbon on our farms. Our hope is that one day soon, we can be the first sector in our country that is carbon neutral and over time, helping offset for other sectors.”

“30 Harvests” is available to view at www.usfarmersandranchers.org.

ABOUT USFRA
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) represents farmer and rancher-led organizations, and food and agricultural partners, with a common vision to further our global sustainable food systems. We believe farmers uniquely contribute to nourishing our planet, people, and natural resources. Our focus is creating a proactive collaboration between the best minds in food, agriculture, science, and technology to co-create solutions that will result in environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Learn more at www.usfarmersandranchers.org.

“Farmers and ranchers are on the front lines in the battle against climate change, providing a dependable source of healthy food while addressing economic and environmental concerns for current and future generations. This is a call to leaders in food, finance and science to be part of the solution with U.S. farmers and ranchers.”

– Erin Fitzgerald,
Chief Executive Officer

The docudrama follows the plight of farmer Jay Hill of Dell City, Texas, and farmer and soil scientist Meagan Kaiser of Bowling Green, Missouri. In this film, they articulate the challenges farmers face while embracing the opportunity to meet the increasing demands to create sustainable food systems through the next 30 harvests, and ultimately help solve the greatest challenge of this generation: climate change.

This film is inspired by true events in the lives of farmers Jay Hill and Meagan Kaiser.

 

 

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february, 2023

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