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Showing posts with the label Agriculture

Nitrogen Fertilizer: New Report Takes Big-Picture Look

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A farm fertilizer plant in Brandon, MB. Photo by Larry Powell. SASKATOON, Sask: The National Farmers Union (NFU) recently released a report entitled Nitrogen Fertilizer: Critical Nutrient, Key Farm Input, and Major Environmental Problem.   The report takes a big-picture look at nitrogen fertilizer, details its many benefits and also its negative impacts, and makes the case for optimizing rather than maximizing tonnage.   The report examines the path governments and farmers must navigate as we make our way toward Canada’s 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-reduction commitments.  The report is the NFU’s submission to the federal government’s consultations on its target to reduce fertilizer-related emissions by 30%. GHG emissions from Canadian agriculture and farm input manufacturing are up by one-third since 1990.  The primary cause is rising emissions from nitrogen fertilizer production and use.  Darrin Qualman, NFU Director of Climate Crisis Policy and Action, commented: “The

Deforestation is driven by global markets

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PHYS ORG The conversion of forests into agriculture has been flagged as one of the major causes of deforestation. A PinP photo. The world is at a crossroads, as humanity tries to mitigate climate change and halt biodiversity loss, while still securing a supply of food for everyone. Story here. RELATED: Illegal clearing by agribusiness driving rainforest destruction

Ivory Coast without ivory? Elephant populations decline rapidly in Côte d'Ivoire

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Science Daily UN officials take part in the production of manioc (cassava) in Ivory Coast. It's believed large tracts of forest have been cleared there to make way for crops like this.   UN Photo/Abdul Fatai Adegboye Recent years have witnessed a widespread and catastrophic decline in the number of forest elephants in protected areas in Côte d'Ivoire, according to a new study.  Story here.

Agricultural expansion could cause widespread biodiversity declines by 2050

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                              Journal: Nature Sustainability       A Colombian farmer working on his "finca". These patches of forest are given away at a low price by the government to farmers who then clear them up to grow crops. Photo by  LAIF . Almost 90% of terrestrial vertebrate species around the world might lose some of their habitat by 2050 as land is cleared to meet the future demand for food. However,  according to a modelling study  published in Nature Sustainability ,  proactive policies focusing on how, where and what food is produced could reduce these threats while also supporting human well-being. Slashing is a common site on the Canadian prairies. Farmers cut and burn trees and shrubs to make way for more farmland. In this case, it's along the fringes of the Boreal forest in west-central Manitoba. A PinP photo. Habitat loss driven by agricultural expansion is a major threat to terrestrial vertebrates. Projections based on human population growth and diet

Concentration Matters. Farmland Inequality on the Canadian Prairies

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The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives    by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan and Mengistu Wendimu A scene typical to the Canadian prairies - a big farm at harvest time. A public domain photo by cj berry. The ownership and control of Canada’s food-producing land is becoming more and more concentrated, with profound impacts for young farmers, food system security, climate change and democracy.  On the Canadian prairies, small and medium-sized family farms are often portrayed as the primary food production units. Yet, the reality of farming in Western Canada is quite different. In fact, a small and declining number of farms are operating the lion’s share of Prairie farmland and capturing the lion’s share of farm revenue and net income.  The authors analyse the extent of farmland concentration in Canada’s three Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), where over 70 per cent of the country’s agricultural land is situated. They find that 38 per ce

Agriculture replaces fossil fuels as largest human source of sulfur to the environment

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PHYS ORG A PinP photo. Historically, coal-fired power plants were the largest source of reactive sulfur, a component of acid rain, to the biosphere. A new study shows that fertilizer and pesticide applications to croplands are now the most important source of sulfur to the environment. Details here.

Global agriculture: Impending threats to biodiversity

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SCIENCE NEWS Wine crops in Chile. A dreamstime phot o. A new study finds that expanding cropland to meet growing food demands,  poses a far greater threat to biodiverity in the tropics than intensification.  More here.

Corn-farming fouls the air to fatal effect

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Nature - Agriculture Harvesting corn in Canada. A PinP photo. The dominant US crop plant has a voracious appetite for fertilizer, which leads to air pollution and health problems. More here.

Farmed Out

George Monbiot's view from the U.K, here.

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

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Yale Environment 360 Producing charcoal in the rainforest. By User Kelberul on de.wikipedia  A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest. Story here.

Drought predicted for Alberta this summer

The Western Producer Farmers in central and northern Alberta should brace for drought this summer, according to AccuWeather. Story here.

Crop destroying caterpillar rapidly spreading across Africa; maize production endangered

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AgroNews New research announced by scientists at CABI (Center for Agriculture and Bioscience Information) confirms that a recently introduced crop-destroying armyworm caterpillar is now spreading rapidly across Mainland Africa and could spread to tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, becoming a major threat to agricultural trade worldwide. Story here. Manitoba "crop-duster." PinP photo.

Are the Days of Some Farm Fertilizers Numbered, in The Battle to Fight Global Warming?

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Manitoba Co-Operator But soil scientist Mario Tenuta says there are things farmers can do to help themselves. More here.                                                      PinP  photo.

Seeds of Corporate Power vs Farmers’ Rights

Foreign Policy in Focus We need to start tilting the playing field back in favour of farmers and the environment. Story here.

Hutterite Colony in Alberta, Canada Blazes Antibiotic-Free Trail

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AlbertaFarmer A hog barn in Israel.  Shpernik088 You don’t have to sacrifice productivity or compromise health standards by going antibiotic free, say swine managers at Spring Creek Hutterite Colony. Story here.

First Nations Were First Farmers in Manitoba

MANITOBA CO-Operator U of M students search site for historical artifacts. Story here. RELATED: " Is Modern Agriculture Threatening Traditional First Nations Food and Medicine?"(Story & Video)

NFU To Be Part of Climate Change Solutions in Manitoba

National Farmers Union National Farmer Union (NFU) is working with the Manitoba government to develop new ways for the province’s farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and to reduce the impacts of climate change on our farms. More here.

Get Ready For More ‘Weather Whiplash’

Manitoba Co-Operator Unlike other regions, Manitoba may be able to benefit from climate change.  Story here. These were the soggy fields we drove by on Victoria Day last year, on the Trans Canada Highway west of Portage La Prairie (smack-dab in the middle of planting season): torrential rains most likely made worse by climate change. Does this look like the kind of weather that will "benefit" farmers? PinP video.

Free Trade Places the Future of Rice Farming in Japan in Doubt

bilaterals .org Rice has been at the centre of Japan’s economy and culture for centuries. But changes are afoot. There is growing concern among Japanese farmers that the country’s rice-producing capabilities are diminishing in the face of international trade pacts such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In fact, all local agriculture is in the spotlight as pressure mounts to increase local imports of overseas produce. Details here.

Want to Find Out How to Invest in Sustainable Agriculture? Read On!

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Earth Institute Increased investment in agriculture is critical. In a world confronting anticipated increases in food demand arising from a growing world population and changing diets, as well as potential decreases in food supply due to climatic changes and water scarcity, agricultural investment will prove crucial to addressing food security needs in the future. Story here.                     Two huge tractors and seeders,  probably worth about $2M, stand ready to begin work in Manitoba, Canada. PinP photo.