The Importance of Domestic Agriculture

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What would happen if the US didn’t have a domestic agriculture system? We as US citizens would be dependent on foreign countries much in the same way that we are for oil that comes from the Middle East. We have our own oil in the US, but rely on outside sources it is similar to what would happen without domestic agriculture. There would be some that would produce crops and livestock, but it would not be enough to feed the masses if foreign reliance on agriculture shut down.

The market on food without such a system would become unstable from year to year. Prices would fluctuate depending on the availability and imports of food. The agriculture program we have is set up to assist farmers with finances when market prices fall too low for them to make a living. When market prices are high they don’t need that kind of assistance, but either way they keep our food prices reasonable and stable.

Because of such a system we can rely on food grown and raised in the US to be safe. There is already a growing problem of the food imports coming from China into the US. They are not as safe to eat as we might like to believe. There is concern that we could become sick from food imported from China, but nothing has been done to ban imports considered unsafe from coming into the US. If nothing continues to be done frequenting farmers markets for healthy homegrown food is one way to support our farmers and avoid some of the potentially unhealthy imported food. Local farmers do sell to local stores. Many times you can find homegrown products in garden stores.

The US domestic agriculture system plays an important role in keeping currency value from dropping because of foreign trade. Through foreign trade agriculture can balance the deficit of the US trade. If the US falls short of what it owes another country it can use agriculture to balance the shortcomings.

Domestic agriculture keeps property taxes from drastically increasing by possibly half of one percent in some school districts where the main source of funding comes from ad valorem taxes.

Domestic agriculture insures that poor families can afford to buy food, food that is healthy. Nutrition programs paid for by farm programs to the sum of over half of its total spending budget also aids poor families. By learning about nutrition they can learn what to eat to maintain their health for fewer trips to the doctor.…

How Governments Can Promote Agriculture

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Reluctance by governments to award agriculture a wider nod in their national budgets has already yielded the bad results we are already noticing. The global food shortage-just one of the many bad results has been geared by the failure to support farmers at the grass roots. Something there fore has to be done if planet earth must succumb to more of food production as opposed to the little currently on the markets. Here are some ways we can do it.

The structuring of farmer organizations can be another great idea .it’s working wonders in some countries in Africa. Most of these organizations operate on a value-chain phenomenon. The perfect example is Uganda. In Uganda, funds channeled in their national agricultural advisory services program reach the farmers at the grassroots. this money aid them in acquiring a grain miller for say a certain farmer organization concentrating on maize growing and a honey extractor for the bee keepers. This methodology enables farmers put more products on market.

Many of our crops on the planet will continually perish if we fail to write off ignorance. Taking thirty minutes off, I paid the nursery bed of another Were-a peasant farmer in my village a visit. He shocked me when he explained he was demising the bacteria that had attacked his nursery bed by the use of extreme hot water. He in fact made me notice his nursery was positioned under a big mango tree which he claimed was shielding his “babies” from the scorching sun. Don’t you many of our farmers still need in plenty agriculture information and advice?

It therefore necessitates not governments to incline to only industrialization and modernization when we are still not sure of the disappearance of the current food crisis. I believe if our governments remember and help out the prodigal son-agriculture through the above actions, trust me-this state of quagmire can be history.…

The Houlton Maine State Agriculture Fair is a Four Day 4th of July Celebration

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Each year the event gets bigger. The Houlton Maine Agricultural Fair has grown and by 2012, the entire fairground should be on over one hundred acres purchased on the north side of US route 2.5 miles west of town. The event kicks off with street dancing, Midnight Madness downtown retail sales, food sales and a theme to make it fun for merchants and shoppers. A parade that lasts two hours, carnival rides, animals exhibits, concerts, 4H competitions, beano, demolision derby, antique car shows, talent contests and the largest fireworks display north of Portland Maine.

See last years Houlton Fair celebration video. Read about this years event to get an idea of what is in store.

In rural Maine, volunteers all contribute to the party and make the fair the success it is. Fair committee members say if it was not for the volunteers who donate time, and business that contribute money, the fair would not be as long, as successful as it is today. The midway rides from Bud Gilmore who is 74, is the last of a Maine based carnival and like the hoola hoop and the drive in, the carnival coming to Houlton Maine on the 4th shows this event is worth the trip and the local Northern Maine crowd is supportive, appreciative.

The folks who grew up in Southern Aroostook County come back to the Houlton Fair 4th of July celebration. They plan their summer vacations around the event and catch up with old friends, visit with family and enjoy their hometown that they grew up in. There are fifteen fair members that organize, streamline and improve the event each year and is a big big part of living in Houlton Maine.…

Agriculture Versus Industry in West Bengal

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Kolkata, India — Recently I was going through a large number of newspaper articles on the incident of Singur and the issue of Tata factory being built up there! I wonder how selfish the industrialists have become. The capitalism is everywhere and exploitation is the basis of survival in modern society. The fact may not be directly related with Tata Nano but let me tell you one thing human being needs to eat food and that comes from agriculture.

So the priority is food crop then industry! With an empty stomach, you cannot move in a Tata Nano. I think I am in the right path and telling the damn truth. Yes, I support Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Trinamul Congress Leader’s stand for the farmer and I think her voice is gradually being heard and it will be heard in the near future! I really appreciate a voice among the crowd! In case of industrialization, the state is earning a bad reputation due to the recent Singur incident.

Agriculture is important due to the following points:

  1. Think of the corn flakes and fruits you eat in breakfast.
  2. Think of the mango you eat in summer.
  3. Think of the vegetable you take in lunch.
  4. Decrease in production due to increasing number of factories in agricultural lands will lead to price hike.

Farmers should not be deprived due to the following:

  1. They go to the field in the morning and I have seen in my field work how hard is the life of a farmer. I have seen in Maharashtra. I went Mulgawan village which is far away from Nagpur.
  2. I have seen the hardships of a farmer and the profit made by the middle men. So these people remain poor.
  3. Please do not deprive these people of their lands.
  4. A farmer’s land is the food for your future children.
  5. Depriving a farmer is a sin and there can be no salvation to this sin. They produce the crops that help the techies in cities to survive!

Now the issue of Tata Nano factory…………..

The recent issue of Singur shows how cruel the bureaucrats can be just for their personal gain. It shows clearly that industrialization has gained importance because of money. But do you think they will gain further in the long run? The answer is “No!”

How many people can affort a Rs. 1 lakh car?

It may be cheap but it is a fact that the job market is tough and those who are getting good salaries they will go for better cars than TATA NANO. They will say “TATA GOOD BYE” to such a small car!! They will try to purchase a solid car at a higher price thinking of the longevity. Always remember a cheap thing does not survive very long.

Let’s take this example:

I bought a black t-shirt with the hologram “Nike” from Yashoda in Shyambazar. But the quality of cloth is so good that the t-shirt remained as it is and to this day whenever I wear the t-shirt in my office, my friends appreciate. I like that and I do not buy garments from shopping mall because “CHEAP THINGS DO NOT LAST LONG.” Buy better quality clothes at a little higher price than the malls and that will last longer! Because…….It is “YOUR” hard-earned money. You have earned it “by the sweat of thy brow.”

Agriculture provides the nutrition to industrialists to survive. It brings the food that we need every day and putting a factory in an agricultural land is a wrong step. A factory should be set up in a barren land. The land should be returned to the farmers and a part of it should only be used but at a good price!

Life is hard for a farmer. Listen from the fieldworker’s mouth who worked among the Kolam tribe in Maharashtra. They take dal and rice as their food and live in a house which shows that they just take 2 square meals a day! We have surveyed and found the level of sacrifice they do for us. They work all the day in the scorching sun and at the end of the day, they get a sum of Rs. 30 to 40. We surveyed their households and found how miserable their life is. All the tribal welfare money goes in the pocket of the bureaucrats and very little goes to them!

Thank you for reading this article. Some opinions expressed in this article might be controversial but I have tried to put down the “harsh facts” in an elaborate way!…

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

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How old is that tomato in your hand at the local super market? A few days? A week? How long until it will begin rotting once you get it home? What types of pesticides were used on the crop? All of these questions are impossible to answer as a shopper looks at fresh produce at a local grocery store. The only way to know for sure how your produce was grown is to get it straight from the farm– a complete reality for shoppers living in cities and suburbs with community supported agriculture (CSA).

Community supported agriculture is not a new idea, but it is gaining in popularity as families become more vigilant about the foods they eat. Plus, with the affordability of online communication such as websites for farms, and emailing to send out crop lists and delivery times, CSA is easier than ever for everyone's participation.

Just like buying shares in a company, community supported agriculture allows families to buy shares of the farm crop for a season. Now, this doesn't mean a share of the entire crop a farm grows, but rather CSA farms have set fields or rows dedicated to CSA crop yields. Share prices range based on the number of people you expect to feed.

Each week the CSA farm designates a variety of vegetables and fruits as a share. For example, one week in spring for a farm in the Southeastern United States a share could include various amounts of beans, carrots, beets, corn, strawberries, peas, squash, lettuce and greens, cabbage, tomatoes, and turnips. Once the farmer sets the amount of produce one share equals for the week, families receive produce amounts based on the number of shares purchased.

CSA is not without risks. Families buying shares will not get a refund if poor weather or other problems affect the CSA crop yield. However, the chances of not getting anything are very slim. Also, shoppers are not protected from poor weather conditions or crop blights at the grocery store either. When adverse growing conditions affect regions, the prices on produce at the local grocery store increase accordingly.

Delivery of CSA produce is handled differently by each farm. CSA farmers may elect to have share buyers pick up the produce at the location, or at a centralized location between the farm and urban living areas. Many CSA's are managed in a grass roots style, so families can also arrange to "carpool" the vegetables with other CSA participants and switch off pick up weeks. A rarer option is personalized delivery of CSA produce, and when available there is an extra cost.

A final benefit of participating in a CSA is taking the family to the farm. CSA farmers are glad to show families where the crops are grown and teach children how their favorite vegetables and fruit go from seeds to snacks. Additionally, there may be pick your own days where CSA participants can bring their own containers and pick strawberries or beans directly from the fields. Ask about pick your own days near the end of growing seasons for specific produce, or gleaning opportunities.

Participating in a CSA not only helps farmers and urban families, but also give a greater environmental impact. By supporting locally grown produce at nearby farms, CSA participants are cutting down on the amount of produce shipped via truck across the country.

If you ever wanted to support your local farms, buy fresh produce free of pesticides and artificial enhancements, and reduce green house gas emissions, then participate in a community supported agriculture program in your area. You can save money on produce, and bring the freshest food to your family's table. There is a reason the top restaurants rely heavily on locally grown produce– nothing tastes just quite as good.…

Urban Agriculture: Raising Pigeons

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Pigeons are seen by many as the rats of the sky. As a bird that is well adapted to human interaction, pigeons tend to flock in cities and urban environments where they become a messy nuisance. On the other hand, the ability to interact closely with people has made them an excellent animal for raising, and their ability to live in close quarters has made them a primary agricultural product for city dwellers.

Pigeon Background

Pigeons are Columbidae. This family of birds is madeup of both the pigeons and the doves. Were you to ask the difference between a pigeon and a dove, the honest answer is "the name." Pigeons and doves aren't different at all, but people seem to call them pigeons when they dislike them and doves when they like them.

They are a diverse and adaptable family, living in almost any climate and having a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Some, like the crown pigeons, are quite large and intimidating. Even the common pigeon we think about comes in many colors and sizes, and if you dig into the bred lines, they become even more diverse.

Pigeon Fanciers

Keepers of pigeons are called pigeon fanciers. Like many agricultural pursuits, this can be done for food or for pets, and many keep the pigeons as a combination of both. They breed easily, eat cheap food, and are largely simple to keep. These pigeons are domesticated from the Rock Pigeon, and since they have been kept for so long, they have a variety of interesting traits to choose from.

For instance, pigeons have a natural homing instinct. This allows them to return to their origin over distances of up to 1000 miles. This was used in wartime to carry messages from armies to the city, and today it is a sport. Competitors bring doves which are released at great distances to see which doves can return home the fastest. As strange as it may sound, it is a popular sport and people breed and train pigeons for just this purpose.

Another skill some pigeons have is "tumbling" in which the pigeon randomly begins a freefall with rolling motions before recovering only moments from hitting the ground.

Finally, there are pigeons bred for show or food. These are almost always the pretty ones shown in competition, and like dogs or cats, breeding is a serious endeavor. No matter what you want to pursue, there is a pigeon fancier for you.

Keeping Pigeons

Among the advantages of pigeons is that they require minimal space. A small shed can be turned into a coop with some effort and some wood, and their food requirements are pretty simple. Learning to keep pigeons isn't a hard task. In fact, in many cities people kept pigeons on the roof, interacting minimally with the ground below. This is also a good way to keep your neighbors happy.

If you like eating bird, or simply want a hobby with an affordable livestock, pigeon keeping may be for you. Be sure to check out my sources for more information on becoming a pigeon fancier.

Sources:

PigeonWeb: http://www.pigeonweb.net/pigeon-fanciers

National Pigeon Association: http://www.nationalpigeonassociation.co.uk/…

All About Community Supported Agriculture

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Most of us are aware of the many difficulties farmers have, within recent years, encountered. Many farmers have been forced to shut down the farm for good; others are following closely on their heels. We won't discuss the reasons behind all of that right now; let's concentrate on how we can help our own local farmers. Have you heard of Commuity Supported Agriculture (CSA)? It's a way that we, as normal food consumers, can pay in advance for some of our foods and that money goes towards supporting your regional farmers. In exchange, as the crops come in, you're first in line to receive the goods.

There are good and bad elements involved with CSA. For example, some farmers save their best produce to sell at farmers markets and other places while providing CSA members the smaller or inferior produce. Not fair. Should you try a CSA group, ask for referrals so you can talk to others who are involved with that particular group. See if they've been satisfied with their memberships. Or, participate in a CSA group which breaks down the farmer's categories, like produce, meat, and dairy, and try out one category before joining others.

Some CSA groups make you sign up for every category as a total package. Others allow you to choose categories. You pay a certain amount for the entire package, or for the chosen categories, in advance. This money will go to help the farmers plant, tend and harvest. Later, when the crops come in, you will receive 12 or 24 weeks of those foods – depending upon the group and/or subcategories. Some groups have a pickup once a week. Others have two per week. Most seasons run from June through August. Make sure you understand the entire program before signing up with a Community Supported Agriculture group.

Some foods will be chosen by you whereas others are pre-selected and you simply pick them up. Amongst foods that you select yourself are fruits and vegetables. Others which are chosen for you include most any meat, fish or foul. Some packages offered by the CSA groups include meats, fruit, vegetables, beans, grains, milk and eggs.

The amount of each food you receive is dependent upon the share package you sign up for. Half-shares feed one to two people. Full shares feed between four and five people.

Check to see if you have a CSA group in your town – many large cities have them. It's also possible to start your own CSA. Read more about the groups, how to volunteer, prices on the packages or how to start your own CSA by visiting Local Roots, NYC.…