Respecting Food and Agriculture Vol. 2
Anywhere near marestail, soybean cyst nematode and sudden death syndrome outbreaks will be a region where the right crop choice is hard to make. Already farmers in Michigan are struggling with this issue.
Quoting from the piece, “One of the challenges with using Peking soybeans to manage soybean cyst nematodes and sudden death syndrome is that there are far fewer varieties of this type that are either Liberty Link, GT 27 (liberty and glyphosate resistant) or Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (dicamba resistant). This can leave growers with relatively few options when tracking down Peking source varieties with the traits to be able to manage multiple herbicide resistant marestail effectively with a post emergence program. MSU Extension nematologist Marisol Quintanilla shared that the yield advantage from using Peking tends to go away if Peking varieties are used back to back for two years or more.“
Expect seed companies to react.
Multiple Resistant Pests Make Soybean Management Difficult
There have long been strong agricultural ties between Australia and North America, but as some regions are predicted to go into potential drought conditions, the Australian science on water conservation and heat tolerance may offer significant value to North American farmers.
Despite already being the third most common legume, agricultural science hopes chickpeas can become an increasingly important crop as the world seeks viable ways to feed a world with 9.5 billion or more people. The challenge with that solution is that heat stress is predicted to impact 70% of the world’s chickpea yields. By checking the tolerance levels of various strains from around the world, scientists are homing in on the traits that will simultaneously provide increased yield, more tolerance to heat and a better ability to survive on less water.
This is the sort of quiet, background work that is done in universities the world over, and it’s discoveries and applications like these that have allowed the world to largely do what seemed impossible in the 1980’s: feed our current planet
Australian Researchers Make Key Discoveries in Chickpea Resilience
In crops it makes sense that we seek the seeds that best match a plant’s genome to any given set of environmental circumstances. And better crops can help by supplying society with some of its much-needed protein. But many people today falsely believe that there are environmentally easy answers for fully replacing animal protein, when any massive food source will obviously demand a huge environmental impact because the universe has laws about something never being created from nothing.
Additionally, changing longheld cultural dietary habits is extremely difficult. Due to these and other very understandable supply chain challenges, farming animals will continue to contribute enormously to supplying the world with protein for a very long time.
Fortunately, the same ideas around maximizing the usefulness of a plant’s genome can also hold true for an animal’s genome as well. This science is about how to make that process more environmental, more cost effective and more profitable for the farmers, distributors and retailers.
A Blueprint for Genomics in Animal Agriculture
There is no way to create food for 7.5 billion human beings every day without economies of scale that make the food both affordable and environmentally viable. While most consumers presume that large areas of mono-cropping are automatically detrimental to the environment, in the cases of the world’s largest crops –the few that provide 90% of the calories that humans eat– monocropping large areas can in fact be the least detrimental approach when it comes to the environment.
Even outside of those staple crops, uniformity does not necessarily run contrary to environmental efficiency. Papaya trees come in three sexes; male, female and hermaphrodite. Since we need both sexes to create the fruit, it makes more sense for farmers to have hermaphrodite’s because then every tree can play both roles and bear fruit, thereby increasing production on the same geographic footprint –which is good for the environment, the farmer and an increasing population. But without modern technology, farmers plant five seeds to get one hermaphrodite tree.
With a high production rate, that could really help greenhouse growers around the world as well as those outdoors, like at the Kamiya’s, where this was filmed.
How a Sex-Changing Papaya Can Help
Both Farmers and the Environment
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing
Green certifications have become increasingly important in the food industry, as consumers look for confirmation that their food is being produced and processed in an environmentally friendly manner. In Canada, there has been a recent movement of concerned consumers looking for more transparency within the food industry. Organizations like Food Secure Canada advocate for a better food system that improves the connection between health, sustainability and agriculture.
In February 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stated that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture would invest in a new sustainability initiative. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the largest farm organization in Canada, representing over 200,000 farms. The organization has played a critical role in advancing environmental sustainability practices within the food industry.
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will work with farmers, manufacturers, food processors and retailers to improve transparency in the Canadian food system. The initiative will promote sustainability through an integrated process that depends on data and collaboration to transform the food industry and improve relations with consumers.
The Canadian Food System
Canada is one of the top five exporters of food in the world. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food system generates over $100 billion in sales annually and employs over 2 million people. The agricultural food system is a significant player in Canada’s economic wealth and stability. However, like other large agricultural exporters — such as the United States — Canada has faced recent scrutiny over their production practices. Many large-scale and industrialized agriculture productions are harmful to the environment and detrimental to human health.
With such a large proportion of Canadian food exported, many domestic consumers distrust the public policies that lack transparency over the industry’s environmental impact and unsafe production practices. With the creation of the Candian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative, the federal government hopes to facilitate improved sustainability throughout the food industry.
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative
The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative includes a federal investment of $560,000. These funds will go toward the creation of an online forum that advances the analytic capabilities of producers and farmers. By creating a new network around sustainability, the project hopes to track the progress of sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry.
The initiative will also help producers and processors work together to certify products with sustainability labels that consumers are looking for. The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative will rely on data analytics and real-time analysis of food production and processing to find solutions to unsustainable issues. From a consumer standpoint, it will increase trust in the use of food labels and regulate claims regarding the quality of various products.
Sustainability in the Agri-Food Industry
Canada’s agricultural system relies on the production of corn, potatoes, soybeans and commodity grains like wheat. Western parts of Canada have a higher production of beef, while the Eastern side focuses more on poultry. Unlike other top food exporters, Canada has been steadily growing the organic aspect of their production processes at a rate of 20% per year.
However, the percentage of land utilized for organic farming is meager — around 1.8 percent in 2017. Despite this, organic products still valued around $5.4 billion in both domestic and exported goods.
With such an economic reliance on the agricultural industry, the farm community, consumers and other concerned citizens are working together to ensure they manage Canadian soil more responsibly. According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, solutions like climate change research, bioeconomic strategy and the continuation of research and innovation within the industry will be key to future success.
Improving the Future of Canadian Agriculture
With this new initiative in place, agriculturists can have more confidence in growing organic products. Consumers, too, will be able to put their trust in the food industry, knowing the food they’re purchasing was grown sustainably.
Watch: Edible Cotton and GMO Science Improve Agricultural Sustainability
Too many people see GMOs as anti-environment when they were produced to do the exact opposite. By doing things like reducing spraying or crop losses due to pests or weather, GMO cotton offers significant advantages over Non-GMO forms. Now that scientists have found ways to make the seeds edible by silencing cotton’s natural pesticide production in the seeds only, and now that this technology has been approved by the FDA, the sustainability advantage of GMO cotton will be improved even further.