THE FARM BILL IS NOT JUST ABOUT FOOD AND FARMING
The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the Farm Bill, “is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs.” On the contrary to most opinions, the farm bill is not just about farming. In fact, there are twelve separate titles included in the legislation that receive funding. These programs focus on commodities, conservation, trade, nutrition, food assistance (food stamps), credit, rural development, research and extension, forestry, horticulture, crop insurance, and miscellaneous spending.
ORGANIC V. NATURAL
Organic and natural are two separate terminologies. Organic is a defined and regulated process in which food is produced without synthetic fertilizers. In comparison, natural is not defined by the FDA, which allows so many companies to use the term for their products. It is generally believed that natural foods are ‘minimally synthesized.”
There is no evidence that organic foods are healthier than conventional food products, but many people have this belief. Therefore, the price of organic food products is higher, compared to natural and processed foods.
THE GLOBAL POPULATION HAS A LIMIT – WE WILL BE ABLE TO FEED EVERYONE.
The Malthusian Catastrophe is the theory that, while food production sees linear growth over time, the global population experiences exponential growth. This means that the population will outgrow our food supply. However, this theory was proven inaccurate due to technological innovations that have greatly expanded our food production process. Additionally, while the global population continues to grow, the growth rate is decreasing. This is due to a decrease in birth rates for developed countries, like the United States. As the world becomes more developed, the birth and death rates will begin to even out. Eventually, the population will stabilize, or perhaps even slightly decline.
FARMERS GROW WHAT THEY WANT
The false belief that farmers cannot grow what they want probably originated from the idea of subsidies. A subsidy is an incentive, which can be used to encourage farmers to plant certain seeds, but it certainly does NOT require it. There is no statute that controls how farmers operate. In fact, there are many other factors that influence a farmer’s decision on want to plant. This includes yield potential, soil type, seed availability, seed pricing, geography, how long it takes to be harvested, resistance to drought and pests, etc.
MOST FARMS ARE RUN BY FAMILIES
While there are many who believe that the agriculture industry primarily features corporate farming, the truth is that “97 percent of US farms are operated by families.” In other words, those views could not be farther from the truth.
One of the reasons that the United States is a global agricultural exporter is because of our family-farm setup. These farmers know how to utilize their land much more efficiently than just some corporate entity. Farming is a privilege for families and individuals to make a living by providing food for the world. It is not just about making a profit.
FARMERS GET WATER FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
For water, farmers rely on springs, rivers, creeks, ponds, wells, and municipal options. Accessing groundwater from wells is a popular technique, as farmers can protect its high quality more efficiently.
Additionally, farmers used various practices to preserve their water resources. Rotational grazing and mulch, for example, allow soils to contain higher volumes of water. Such practices are beneficial to farmers, as they do not have to rely on other water sources.
THE CAREER POSSIBILITIES WITHIN AGRICULTURE ARE NOT LIMITED
With huge agricultural-based companies like Cargill, ADM, DuPont Pioneer, and Monsanto, it’s hard to understand why this even needs to be discussed. There are endless career opportunities within the agriculture sector involving marketing, sales, economics, finance, consulting, nutrition, soils, food science, advertising, engineering, insurance, research, animal care, management, policy making, etc.
University of Illinois