question: what are small farms, how do they contribute to society, and what challenges are they faced with?

Producing a vast amount of the world's food, small farms are valuable assets that contribute to long-term economic sustainability and food security. What actually constitutes a small farm is hard to specify as there are extreme variations in societal structure, ergo many definitions exist. In the United States, a small farm is defined as any … Continue reading question: what are small farms, how do they contribute to society, and what challenges are they faced with?

environmental management defined

It is not difficult to argue that the environment can manage itself in the event that humans are not available to intervene. However, humans are at present an integral part of the natural environment and our interactions with the environment often negatively impact the environment by altering its normal functionality, subsequently resulting in the emergence … Continue reading environmental management defined

question: what is the difference between plant resistance and plant tolerance?

Plant tolerance is the characteristic of a plant that allows a plant to avoid, tolerate or recover from attacks from insects, among other things, under conditions that would typically cause a greater amount of injury to other plants of the same species. These inheritable characteristics are what influence the ultimate degree of damage caused by … Continue reading question: what is the difference between plant resistance and plant tolerance?

biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

Entomopathogenic viruses are those that infect and kill insects.  They are superior to regular pesticides in that they are not harmful to humans or other vertebrates. Furthermore, each viral strain attacks only a limited number of insect species which helps to mitigate unpredicted damage. There are two types of entomopathogenic viruses: Baculoviridae (ds DNA) Nucleopolyhedrovirus … Continue reading biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a long-term pest prevention program that focuses on ecosystem-based strategies for the control of pest related issues. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques including biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and the use of resistant cultivars. The use of chemical pesticides is then restricted to applications only … Continue reading an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)

the importance of annual grasses

The family Poaceae is considered the most economically important plant family due to the fact that they produce the world’s food staples including domesticated cereal crops such as maize (corn), wheat, rice, barley and millet.  Poaceae plants also provide forage, building materials (bamboo, thatch, straw) and fuel (ethanol).   Agricultural grasses grown for their edible … Continue reading the importance of annual grasses

crop wild relatives – what they are and why we need them

Nature has been doing her thing for billions of years (maybe longer, I'm not sure).  It is only since about 200,000 years ago that humans entered the picture and it is only since about 15,000 years that humans have figured out agricultural production.  It is safe to say that nature may have a few tricks up … Continue reading crop wild relatives – what they are and why we need them

question: what is the difference between intensive and extensive agricultural systems as they relate to livestock production?

Intensive livestock production systems are those that use higher amounts of labor and capital relative to the land area.  The best-known examples are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) which house large numbers of animals in small spaces.  These operations are dependent on food that was likely produced thousands of kilometers/miles away which increases demand for … Continue reading question: what is the difference between intensive and extensive agricultural systems as they relate to livestock production?

the green revolution

There is no doubt about it - there are a lot of people in the world: more than 7 billion. The sheer number of humans is probably even too much for our brains to process. Still, we're all here and more people are coming joining the global population and every day. Feeding so many people … Continue reading the green revolution

8 essential questions to ask before installing an irrigation system

Irrigation systems offer a variety of benefits.  They allow for the growth of a wider variety of crops.  They can be timed so that the hands-on portion of crop production is a little less cumbersome.  They protect crops from irregular and dry weather conditions.  They support leaching, which can remove harmful, crop-damaging salts within in … Continue reading 8 essential questions to ask before installing an irrigation system