Introduction to Agriculture


Dec 14, 2012 (8 years and 10 months ago)


What will we be covering?

Food Resources

Agriculture: How is food

Producing food by green
revolution an traditional

Food production,
nutrition, and
environmental effects

Increasing crop

Producing more meat

Sustainable agriculture

Checking our progress at
eradicating hunger

Introduction to Agriculture

Food and Soil Resources

Where is our food produced?

What systems provide us with food?

Croplands: produce grains and provide about 77%
of the world’s food.

Rangelands: produce meat and provide about 16%
of the world’s food.

Ocean fisheries: supply about 7% of the world’s
food supply.

Increasing Demand

Since 1950, huge increase in global food
production (think of our population!)

This occurred because of technological

tractors and farm machinery, high
tech fishing gear, inorganic chemical fertilizers,
pesticides, high
yield varieties of wheat, rice,
and corn, raising of cattle, pigs, and chickens,
and the booming industry of aquaculture)

Many Challenges!

Population is going to explode to 8.5 billion
people by 2050 (expected to at least).

We need to produce and distribute food to
support all of these people in an
environmentally sustainable way… can we do

Some say we can… some say we can’t!

One way…. Genetics!

Through genetic engineering we can manipulate
food and create new organisms… a lot faster than
through natural selection!!

BUT is it worth it…

We still will be faced with environmental
degradation, pollution, lack of water for
irrigation, overgrazing by livestock, overfishing,
and loss of vital ecological services.

Another challenge: Poverty

1 in 5 people do not have enough land to
grow their own food or enough money to buy
sufficient food

regardless of how much is

The great irony of food production is that
about 1 billion people in developing nations
do not have enough food to maintain good
health but about 1 billion people in developed
countries face health problems associated
with the overabundance of food!!!

Today, however, we still need food!

How do we produce our food?

Four major types of Food production:

Industrialized agriculture

Plantation agriculture

Traditional subsistence agriculture

Traditional intensive agriculture

Industrialized Agriculture

Also known as high
input agriculture, uses large amounts of
fossil fuels, water, commercial fertilizers, and pesticides to
produce single crops or livestock.

It makes up about ¼ of all croplands (most in developed

Includes: potato, corn, wheat, barley, rye, etc.

A lot of industrialized agriculture is used to support the
growth of livestock production as feed.

Plantation Agriculture

A form of industrialized agriculture used in
tropical developing countries.

Involves cash crops: bananas, coffee, soybean,
sugarcane, cocoa, etc.

Traditional Subsistence Agriculture

Typically uses mostly human

and draft
animals to produce only enough crops or
livestock for a farm family’s survival.

Traditional Intensive Agriculture

Farmers increase their inputs of human and
, fertilizers, and water to get a
higher yield per area of cultivated land.

Produce enough food to feed their families
and then to sell for income.

Croplands used for Agriculture

Croplands, like natural ecosystems, provide
ecological and economic services:

: help maintain water flow and soil
infiltration, provide partial erosion protection, can
build soil organic matter, store atmospheric
carbon, and provide wildlife habitat for some

: food crops,

crops, crop genetic
resources, and jobs.

Agriculture in Canada

Continues to be an important part of Canada’s
economy, but the industry is grappling with
environmental costs and emerging threats.

It is a $95 billion industry!

8.8% of its gross national product

14% of its employment

Farms have been switching from small private
farms to large corporate farms

The net result of farming has left the same
amount of land being farmed.

We export $26 billion worth of raw and value
added goods

including grains, oilseeds, fruits,
vegetables, and meats

to 200 different


Eat Real Eat

Portfolio Work…

Food Production, Nutrition, and
Environmental Effects

Section 14

Food Production

After increasing significantly since 1950, global
grain production has mostly

off since
1985, and per capita grain production has
declined since 1978.

Today, we produce enough grain to feed
everyone on Earth

The only problem is that it is not distributed
equally to everyone because of differences in soil,
climate, political and economic power, and
average per capita income.

Hunger and Malnutrition

The root cause of hunger and malnutrition are
and will continue to be poverty and inequality,
which prevent poor people from growing or
buying enough food regardless of how much is

Other factors include war, corruption, and
tariffs and subsidies that make it hard for poor
people to acquire food they produce.

Nutrition Worksheet

Portfolio Work

Pages 302

Food Production

Good News:
We produce more than enough
food to meet everyone’s basic needs.

Bad News:
One out of size people in
developing countries is not getting enough to
eat because food is not distributed equally
among the world’s people.

Occurs because of soil, climate, political and
economic power, and average per capita income

Chronic Under

People suffer from chronic under
when they cannot grow or buy enough food to
meet their basic energy needs.

Children can suffer from mental disabilities and
stunted growth and will be susceptible to

Macro. and Micro. Nutrients

Macronutrients are important for maintaining
good health

proteins, carbohydrates, and

Micronutrients are important for helping
maintain good health

vitamins and minerals

Difference between Under
and Malnutrition

Children that suffer from under
cannot afford to feed themselves on a daily
basis and are missing a lot of the
macronutrients that are needed for growth
and body functions.

Malnourished children can afford to live on a
protein but high carbohydrate diet
consisting of grains (wheat, barley, rice, or

Nutritional deficiency diseases


occurs when a diet is low in both
calories and protein. Most victims are nursing
infants of women that are malnourished or
children that are malnourished.


a severe protein deficiency
occurring in infants and children age 1
usually after a younger sibling is born and
needs the breast milk.

Prevention of childhood deaths related
to Nutrition

Immunizing children against diseases

Encouraging breast feeding

Preventing dehydration from diarrhea by
giving sugar and salt in a glass of water

Providing family planning services to help
space births

Increasing education for women, with
emphasis on nutrition, drinking water
sterilization, and child care

Canada? US?

In Canada, 700 000 meals are handed out
each year to people that don’t have access to
enough food for good health.

In the US, 11 000 000 people do not have
access to food on a regular basis.

Micronutrient Deficiencies

Vitamin A

240 million children are deficient in
. A, 80%
die within a year,


1/3 women and children are deficient in tropical
regions, causes fatigue, infections may occur, and
women’s chances of dying during childbirth increase


Needed for thyroid gland function, helps regulate
body’s rate of metabolism, can lead to deafness if
continued not to be monitored.


Occurs when food energy intake exceeds
energy use and causes excess body fat.

Lower life expectancy, greater susceptibility to
disease and illness, and lower productivity and life

1 billion struggle from not enough food and 1.7
billion people have too much food…

¼ people in the world are overweight with 5% of
the world being obese… (stats may be skewed…)

Environmental Effects of Producing

Modern agriculture has the greatest
environmental impact than any other human

It affects air, soil, water, and biodiversity

all key
factors in sustaining a healthy human population.

Debate: Can we overcome the
negatives of food production

Some say we can, some say we can’t!

Some analysts say we can continue to produce
food and overcome the environmental effects.

However, others say that soil erosion, salt
buildup, and

of soil irrigated
lands; water deficits and droughts; and loss of
wild species will limit food production.

What has happened so far?

In a 2002 study by the UN Department for
Economic and Social Affairs, close to 30% of
the world’s croplands had been degraded to
some degree by soil erosion, salt buildup, and
chemical pollution.

As well, 17% was seriously degraded.

This can lead to limits in food production in
India and China

as well as other nations.

Increasing Crop Production

Section 14.6

Ready or not, the world is entering a new generation

the age of genetic engineering!

In North America, supermarket shelves contain
ingredients made from genetically engineered crops.

Bioengineers are working on and developing crops that
are resistant to heat, cold, herbicides, insect pests,
parasites, viral diseases, drought, and salty or acidic

They are also hoping on developing crops that can
grow faster and survive with little to no irrigation and
with less fertilizer and pesticides.

How safe are genetically modified
foods (GMF)?

There is much controversy over GMF

Many people see it as a way of solving the
world’s food problems, but critics consider it
potentially dangerous.

See figure 14
19 (page 308)

What is your

The risks…

Human health

Ecosystem damage

They cannot be ‘recalled’ if they cause
unintended harmful genetic and ecological

as some experts believe may occur.

Results could be catastrophic


Potential Benefits

Helping provide food for the poor

Need less fertilizer and water


Grow in new areas

One thing about GMFs

GMFs are not going to solve food shortages
and feed everyone.

The reason not everyone has food is because

As well,

using perennial crops can
produce higher crop yields than current green
revolution and genetic
revolution techniques.

What else can we do??

Increasing Crop Production