Intensive farming involves various types of agriculture with higher levels of input and output per cubic unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, and higher crop yields per cubic unit land area. This contrasts with traditional agriculture, in which the inputs per unit land are lower. The term "intensive" involves various meanings, some of which refer to organic farming methods (such as Biointensive agriculture and French intensive gardening), and others that refer to nonorganic and industrial methods. Intensive animal farming involves either large numbers of animals raised on limited land, usually concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), often referred to as factory farms, or managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG), which has both organic and non-organic types. Both increase the yields of food and fiber per acre as compared to traditional animal husbandry. In CAFO, feed is brought to the seldom-moved animals, while in MIRG the animals are repeatedly moved to fresh forage.
Most commercial agriculture is intensive in one or more ways. Forms that rely heavily on industrial methods are often called industrial agriculture, which is characterised by innovations designed to increase yield. Techniques include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years, and improving cultivars. It also involves increased use of fertilizers, plant growth regulators, and pesticides and mechanised agriculture, controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions, including weather, soil, water, weeds, and pests. This system is supported by ongoing innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale, logistics, and data collection and analysis technology. Intensive farms are widespread in developed nations and increasingly prevalent worldwide. Most of the meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables available in supermarkets are produced by such farms.
Smaller intensive farms usually include higher inputs of labor and more often use sustainable intensive methods. The farming practices commonly found on such farms are referred to as appropriate technology. These farms are less widespread in both developed countries and worldwide, but are growing more rapidly. Most of the food available in specialty markets such as farmers markets is produced by these small holder farms.
Agricultural development in Britain between the 16th century and the mid-19th century saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn supported unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, and thereby helped enable the Industrial Revolution. Historians cited enclosure, mechanization, four-field crop rotation, and selective breeding as the most important innovations.
Industrial agriculture arose along with the Industrial Revolution. By the early 19th century, agricultural techniques, implements, seed stocks, and cultivars had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the Middle Ages.
The industrialization phase involved a continuing process of mechanization. Horse-drawn machinery such as the McCormick reaper revolutionized harvesting, while inventions such as the cotton gin reduced the cost of processing. During this same period, farmers began to use steam-powered threshers and tractors, although they were expensive and dangerous. In 1892, the first gasoline-powered tractor was successfully developed, and in 1923, the International Harvester Farmall tractor became the first all-purpose tractor, marking an inflection point in the replacement of draft animals with machines. Mechanical harvesters (combines), planters, transplanters, and other equipment were then developed, further revolutionizing agriculture. These inventions increased yields and allowed individual farmers to manage increasingly large farms.
The identification of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers, further increasing crop yields. In 1909, the Haber-Bosch method to synthesize ammonium nitrate was first demonstrated. NPK fertilizers stimulated the first concerns about industrial agriculture, due to concerns that they came with serious side effects such as soil compaction, soil erosion, and declines in overall soil fertility, along with health concerns about toxic chemicals entering the food supply.
The identification of carbon as a critical factor in plant growth and soil health, particularly in the form of humus, led to so-called sustainable agriculture, as well as alternative forms of intensive agriculture that also surpassed traditional agriculture, without side effects or health issues. Farmers adopting this approach were initially referred to as humus farmers, later as organic farmers.
The discovery of vitamins and their role in nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which in the 1920s allowed some livestock to be raised indoors, reducing their exposure to adverse natural elements. Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides.
Following World War II, synthetic fertilizer use increased rapidly, while sustainable intensive farming advanced much more slowly. Most of the resources in developed nations went to improving industrial intensive farming, and very little went to improving organic farming. Thus, particularly in the developed nations, industrial intensive farming grew to become the dominant form of agriculture.
The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in confined animal feeding operations by reducing diseases caused by crowding. Developments in logistics and refrigeration as well as processing technology made long-distance distribution feasible.
Between 1700 and 1980, "the total area of cultivated land worldwide increased 466%" and yields increased dramatically, particularly because of selectively-bred, high-yielding varieties, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and machinery. Global agricultural production doubled between 1820 and 1920; between 1920 and 1950; between 1950 and 1965; and again between 1965 and 1975 to feed a global population that grew from one billion in 1800 to 6.5 billion in 2002.:29 The number of people involved in farming in industrial countries dropped, from 24 percent of the American population to 1.5 percent in 2002. In 1940, each farmworker supplied 11 consumers, whereas in 2002, each worker supplied 90 consumers.:29 The number of farms also decreased and their ownership became more concentrated. In the year 2000 in the U.S., four companies produced 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs, and 50 percent of chickens, which was cited as an example of "vertical integration" by the president of the U.S. National Farmers Union. Between 1967 and 2002, the one million pig farms in America consolidated into 114,000,:29 with 80 million pigs (out of 95 million) produced each year on factory farms, according to the U.S. National Pork Producers Council.:29 According to the Worldwatch Institute, 74 percent of the world's poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs are produced this way.:26
Concerns over the sustainability of industrial agriculture, which has become associated with decreased soil quality, and over the environmental effects of fertilizers and pesticides, have not subsided. Alternatives such as integrated pest management (IPM) have had little impact because policies encourage the use of pesticides and IPM is knowledge-intensive. These concerns sustained the organic movement and caused a resurgence in sustainable intensive farming, as well as funding for the development of appropriate technology.
Intensive livestock farming, also called "factory farming", is a term referring to the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density. "Concentrated animal feeding operations" (CAFO), or "intensive livestock operations", can hold large numbers (some up to hundreds of thousands) of cows, hogs, turkeys, or chickens, often indoors. The essence of such farms is the concentration of livestock in a given space. The aim is to provide maximum output at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest level of food safety. The term is often used pejoratively. However, CAFOs have dramatically increased the production of food from animal husbandry worldwide, both in terms of total food produced and efficiency.
Food and water is delivered to the animals, and therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents, vitamin supplements, and growth hormones are often employed. Growth hormones are not used on chickens nor on any animal in the European Union. Undesirable behaviors often related to the stress of confinement led to a search for docile breeds (e.g., with natural dominant behaviors bred out), physical restraints to stop interaction, such as individual cages for chickens, or physical modification such as the de-beaking of chickens to reduce the harm of fighting.
The CAFO designation resulted from the 1972 U.S. Federal Clean Water Act, which was enacted to protect and restore lakes and rivers to a "fishable, swimmable" quality. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified certain animal feeding operations, along with many other types of industry, as "point source" groundwater polluters. These operations were subjected to regulation.
In 17 states in the U.S., isolated cases of groundwater contamination were linked to CAFOs. For example, the ten million hogs in North Carolina generate 19 million tons of waste per year. The U.S. federal government acknowledges the waste disposal issue and requires that animal waste be stored in lagoons. These lagoons can be as large as 7.5 acres (30,000 m2). Lagoons not protected with an impermeable liner can leak into groundwater under some conditions, as can runoff from manure used as fertilizer. A lagoon that burst in 1995 released 25 million gallons of nitrous sludge in North Carolina's New River. The spill allegedly killed eight to ten million fish.
The large concentration of animals, animal waste, and dead animals in a small space poses ethical issues to some consumers. Animal rights and animal welfare activists have charged that intensive animal rearing is cruel to animals.
Other concerns include persistent noxious odor, the effects on human health, and the role of antibiotic use in the rise of resistant infectious bacteria.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), farms on which animals are intensively reared can cause adverse health reactions in farm workers. Workers may develop acute and/or chronic lung disease, musculoskeletal injuries, and may catch ( zoonotic) infections from the animals.
Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG), also known as cell grazing, mob grazing, and holistic management planned grazing, is a variety of foraging in which herds or flocks are regularly and systematically moved to fresh, rested grazing areas to maximize the quality and quantity of forage growth. MIRG can be used with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other animals. The herds graze one portion of pasture, or a paddock, while allowing the others to recover. Resting grazed lands allows the vegetation to renew energy reserves, rebuild shoot systems, and deepen root systems, resulting in long-term maximum biomass production. MIRG is especially effective because grazers thrive on the more tender younger plant stems. MIRG also leaves parasites behind to die off, minimizing or eliminating the need for de-wormers. Pasture systems alone can allow grazers to meet their energy requirements, and with the increased productivity of MIRG systems, the animals obtain the majority of their nutritional needs, in some cases all, without the supplemental feed sources that are required in continuous grazing systems.
Pasture intensification is the improvement of pasture soils and grasses to increase the food production potential of livestock systems. It is commonly used to reverse pasture degradation, a process characterized by loss of forage and decreased animal carrying capacity which results from overgrazing, poor nutrient management, and lack of soil conservation. This degradation leads to poor pasture soils with decreased fertility and water availability and increased rates of erosion, compaction, and acidification. Degraded pastures have significantly lower productivity and higher carbon footprints compared to intensified pastures.
Management practices which improve soil health and consequently grass productivity include irrigation, soil scarification, and the application of lime, fertilizers, and pesticides. Depending on the productivity goals of the target agricultural system, more involved restoration projects can be undertaken to replace invasive and under-productive grasses with grass species that are better suited to the soil and climate conditions of the region. These intensified grass systems allow higher stocking rates with faster animal weight gain and reduced time to slaughter, resulting in more productive, carbon-efficient livestock systems.
Another technique to optimize yield while maintaining the carbon balance is the use of integrated crop-livestock (ICL) and crop-livestock-forestry (ICLF) systems, which combine several ecosystems into one optimized agricultural framework. These synergies between these systems provide benefits to pastures through optimal plant usage, improved feed and fattening rates, increased soil fertility and quality, intensified nutrient cycling, integrated pest control, and improved biodiversity. The introduction of certain legume crops to pastures increases carbon accumulation and nitrogen fixation in soils, while their digestibility helps animal fattening and reduces methane emissions from enteric fermentation. ICLF systems yield beef cattle productivity up to ten times that of degraded pastures, additional crop production from maize, sorghum, and soybean harvests, and greatly reduced greenhouse gas balances due to forest carbon sequestration.
The Green Revolution transformed farming in many developing countries. It spread technologies that had already existed, but had not been widely used outside of industrialized nations. These technologies included "miracle seeds", pesticides, irrigation, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.
In the 1970s, scientists created strains of maize, wheat, and rice that are generally referred to as high-yielding varieties (HYV). HYVs have an increased nitrogen-absorbing potential compared to other varieties. Since cereals that absorbed extra nitrogen would typically lodge (fall over) before harvest, semi-dwarfing genes were bred into their genomes. Norin 10 wheat, a variety developed by Orville Vogel from Japanese dwarf wheat varieties, was instrumental in developing wheat cultivars. IR8, the first widely implemented HYV rice to be developed by the International Rice Research Institute, was created through a cross between an Indonesian variety named “Peta” and a Chinese variety named “Dee Geo Woo Gen.”
With the availability of molecular genetics in Arabidopsis and rice the mutant genes responsible (reduced height (rht), gibberellin insensitive (gai1) and slender rice (slr1)) have been cloned and identified as cellular signalling components of gibberellic acid, a phytohormone involved in regulating stem growth via its effect on cell division. Photosynthetic investment in the stem is reduced dramatically as the shorter plants are inherently more mechanically stable. Nutrients become redirected to grain production, amplifying in particular the yield effect of chemical fertilizers.
HYVs significantly outperform traditional varieties in the presence of adequate irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers. In the absence of these inputs, traditional varieties may outperform HYVs. They were developed as F1 hybrids, meaning seeds need to be purchased every season to obtain maximum benefit, thus increasing costs.
Crop rotation or crop sequencing is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space in sequential seasons for benefits such as avoiding pathogen and pest buildup that occurs when one species is continuously cropped. Crop rotation also seeks to balance the nutrient demands of various crops to avoid soil nutrient depletion. A traditional component of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of legumes and green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. A related technique is to plant multi-species cover crops between commercial crops. This combines the advantages of intensive farming with continuous cover and polyculture.
Flood irrigation, the oldest and most common type, is typically unevenly distributed, as parts of a field may receive excess water in order to deliver sufficient quantities to other parts. Overhead irrigation, using center-pivot or lateral-moving sprinklers, gives a much more equal and controlled distribution pattern. Drip irrigation is the most expensive and least-used type, but delivers water to plant roots with minimal losses.
Water catchment management measures include recharge pits, which capture rainwater and runoff and use it to recharge groundwater supplies. This helps in the replenishment of groundwater wells and eventually reduces soil erosion. Dammed rivers creating reservoirs store water for irrigation and other uses over large areas. Smaller areas sometimes use irrigation ponds or groundwater.
In agriculture, systematic weed management is usually required, often performed by machines such as cultivators or liquid herbicide sprayers. Herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often based on plant hormones. Weed control through herbicide is made more difficult when the weeds become resistant to the herbicide. Solutions include:
In agriculture, a terrace is a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments, like contour ploughing, are a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines. In Peru, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by building drystone walls to create terraces.
A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice-growing countries of east and southeast Asia, including Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. They are also found in other rice-growing regions such as Piedmont (Italy), the Camargue (France), and the Artibonite Valley (Haiti). They can occur naturally along rivers or marshes, or can be constructed, even on hillsides. They require large water quantities for irrigation, much of it from flooding. It gives an environment favourable to the strain of rice being grown, and is hostile to many species of weeds. As the only draft animal species which is comfortable in wetlands, the water buffalo is in widespread use in Asian rice paddies.
Paddy-based rice-farming has been practiced in Korea since ancient times. A pit-house at the Daecheon-ni archaeological site yielded carbonized rice grains and radiocarbon dates indicating that rice cultivation may have begun as early as the Middle Jeulmun Pottery Period (c. 3500–2000 BC) in the Korean Peninsula. The earliest rice cultivation there may have used dry-fields instead of paddies.
The earliest Mumun features were usually in naturally swampy, low-lying narrow gulleys and fed by local streams. Some Mumun paddies in flat areas were made of a series of squares and rectangles separated by bunds approximately 10 cm in height, while terraced paddies were long and irregular in shape, following the natural contours of the land at various levels.
Like today, Mumun period rice farmers used terracing, bunds, canals, and small reservoirs. Some paddy-farming techniques of the Middle Mumun period (c. 850–550 BC) can be interpreted from the well-preserved wooden tools excavated from archaeological rice paddies at the Majeon-ni site. Iron tools for paddy-farming were not introduced until sometime after 200 BC. The spatial scale of individual paddies, and thus entire paddy-fields, increased with the regular use of iron tools in the Three Kingdoms of Korea Period (c. AD 300/400–668).
A recent development in the intensive production of rice is System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Developed in 1983 by the French Jesuit Father Henri de Laulanié in Madagascar, by 2013 the number of smallholder farmers using SRI had grown to between 4 and 5 million.
Aquaculture is the cultivation of the natural products of water (fish, shellfish, algae, seaweed, and other aquatic organisms). Intensive aquaculture takes place on land using tanks, ponds, or other controlled systems, or in the ocean, using cages.
Sustainable intensive farming practices have been developed to slow the deterioration of agricultural land and even regenerate soil health and ecosystem services, while still offering high yields. Most of these developments fall in the category of organic farming, or the integration of organic and conventional agriculture.
"Organic systems and the practices that make them effective are being picked up more and more by conventional agriculture and will become the foundation for future farming systems. They won't be called organic, because they'll still use some chemicals and still use some fertilizers, but they'll function much more like today's organic systems than today's conventional systems."
Dr. Charles Benbrook Executive director US House Agriculture Subcommittee Director Agricultural Board - National Academy Sciences (FMR)
The System of Crop Intensification (SCI) was born out of research primarily at Cornell University and smallholder farms in India on SRI. It uses the SRI concepts and methods for rice and applies them to crops like wheat, sugarcane, finger millet, and others. It can be 100% organic, or integrated with reduced conventional inputs.
Holistic management is a systems thinking approach that was originally developed for reversing desertification. Holistic planned grazing is similar to rotational grazing but differs in that it more explicitly provides a framework for adapting to four basic ecosystem processes: the water cycle, the mineral cycle (including the carbon cycle), energy flow, and community dynamics (the relationship between organisms in an ecosystem) as equal in importance to livestock production and social welfare. By intensively managing the behavior and movement of livestock, holistic planned grazing simultaneously increases stocking rates and restores grazing land.
Pasture cropping involves planting grain crops directly into grassland without first applying herbicides. The perennial grasses form a living mulch understory to the grain crop, eliminating the need to plant cover crops after harvest. The pasture is intensively grazed both before and after grain production using holistic planned grazing. This intensive system yields equivalent farmer profits (partly from increased livestock forage) while building new topsoil and sequestering up to 33 tons of CO2/ha/year.
The Twelve Aprils grazing program for dairy production, developed in partnership with the USDA-SARE, is similar to pasture cropping, but the crops planted into the perennial pasture are forage crops for dairy herds. This system improves milk production and is more sustainable than confinement dairy production.
Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) is an example of a holistic approach. IMTA is a practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (fertilizers, food) for another. Fed aquaculture (e.g. fish, shrimp) is combined with inorganic extractive (e.g. seaweed) and organic extractive aquaculture (e.g. shellfish) to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction), and social acceptability (better management practices).
Agroforestry combines agriculture and orchard/forestry technologies to create more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems.
Intercropping can increase yields or reduce inputs and thus represents (potentially sustainable) agricultural intensification. However, while total yield per acre is often increased dramatically, yields of any single crop often diminish. There are also challenges to farmers relying on farming equipment optimized for monoculture, often resulting in increased labor inputs.
Vertical farming is intensive crop production on a large scale in urban centers, in multi-story, artificially-lit structures, using far less inputs and producing fewer environmental impacts.
An integrated farming system is a progressive, biologically-integrated sustainable agriculture system such as IMTA or Zero waste agriculture, whose implementation requires exacting knowledge of the interactions of multiple species and whose benefits include sustainability and increased profitability. Elements of this integration can include:
The challenges and issues of industrial agriculture for society, for the industrial agriculture sector, for the individual farm, and for animal rights include the costs and benefits of both current practices and proposed changes to those practices. This is a continuation of thousands of years of invention in feeding ever-growing populations.
[W]hen hunter-gatherers with growing populations depleted the stocks of game and wild foods across the Near East, they were forced to introduce agriculture. But agriculture brought much longer hours of work and a less rich diet than hunter-gatherers enjoyed. Further population growth among shifting slash-and-burn farmers led to shorter fallow periods, falling yields and soil erosion. Plowing and fertilizers were introduced to deal with these problems - but once again involved longer hours of work and degradation of soil resources (Boserup, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth, Allen and Unwin, 1965, expanded and updated in Population and Technology, Blackwell, 1980.).
While the point of industrial agriculture is to profitably supply the world at the lowest cost, industrial methods have significant side effects. Further, industrial agriculture is not an indivisible whole, but instead is composed of multiple elements, each of which can be modified in response to market conditions, government regulation, and further innovation, and has its own side-effects. Various interest groups reach different conclusions on the subject.
Between 1930 and 2000, U.S. agricultural productivity (output divided by all inputs) rose by an average of about 2 percent annually, causing food prices to decrease. "The percentage of U.S. disposable income spent on food prepared at home decreased, from 22 percent as late as 1950 to 7 percent by the end of the century."
Industrial agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy, and industrial chemicals, increasing pollution in the arable land, usable water, and atmosphere. Herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers are accumulating in ground and surface waters. "Many of the negative effects of industrial agriculture are remote from fields and farms. Nitrogen compounds from the Midwest, for example, travel down the Mississippi to degrade coastal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. But other adverse effects are showing up within agricultural production systems—for example, the rapidly developing resistance among pests is rendering our arsenal of herbicides and insecticides increasingly ineffective." Agrochemicals and monoculture have been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder, in which the individual members of bee colonies disappear. Agricultural production is highly dependent on bees to pollinate many varieties of fruits and vegetables.
A study done for the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment conducted by the UC Davis Macrosocial Accounting Project concluded that industrial agriculture is associated with substantial deterioration of human living conditions in nearby rural communities.
A Cow at My Table is a 1998 documentary film examining Western attitudes towards farm animals and meat.
It covers the conflict between animal rights advocates and the meat industry, and their respective attempts to influence consumers. It was directed, shot, and edited by Jennifer Abbott, who spent five years travelling across Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand to interview representatives on all sides. The film intercuts these interviews with images of farm animals and industrial farming operations. It explores what is sometimes popularly called factory farming.The filming of A Cow at My Table drew early criticism from the Canadian meat industry, with both the Ontario Chicken Marketing Board and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario publishing articles warning of Abbott's actions.Music for the film was performed by Oh Susanna.Agribusiness
Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production. The term was coined in 1957 by Goldberg and Davis. It includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. All agents of the food and fiber value chain and those institutions that influence it are part of the agribusiness system.
Within the agriculture industry, "agribusiness" is used simply as a portmanteau of agriculture and business, referring to the range of activities and disciplines encompassed by modern food production. There are academic degrees in and departments of agribusiness, agribusiness trade associations, agribusiness publications, and so forth, worldwide.
In the context of agribusiness management in academia, each individual element of agriculture production and distribution may be described as agribusinesses. However, the term "agribusiness" most often emphasizes the "interdependence" of these various sectors within the production chain.Among critics of large-scale, industrialized, vertically integrated food production, the term agribusiness is used negatively, synonymous with corporate farming. As such, it is often contrasted with smaller family-owned farms.Agway
Agway of DeWitt, New York, is an American agricultural business that offers feed for livestock and poultry, as well as seed, fertilizers, and herbicides.An American Trilogy (book)
An American Trilogy: Death, Slavery, and Dominion on the Banks of the Cape Fear River is a 2009 is a non-fiction work by Steven M. Wise about the pig industry in North Carolina. Wise is an American legal scholar who specializes in animal protection.Animal product
An animal product is any material derived from the body of an animal. Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products, such as isinglass and rennet.Animal by-products, as defined by the USDA, are products harvested or manufactured from livestock other than muscle meat. In the EU, animal by-products (ABPs) are defined somewhat more broadly, as materials from animals that people do not consume. Thus, chicken eggs for human consumption are considered by-products in the US but not France; whereas eggs destined for animal feed are classified as animal by-products in both countries. This does not in itself reflect on the condition, safety, or "wholesomeness" of the product.
Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. These products may go through a process known as "rendering" to be made into human and non-human foodstuffs, fats, and other material that can be sold to make commercial products such as cosmetics, paint, cleaners, polishes, glue, soap and ink. The sale of animal by-products allows the meat industry to compete economically with industries selling sources of vegetable protein.The word animals includes all species in the biological kingdom Animalia. For example, insects, shrimp, and oysters are animals.
Generally, products made from fossilized or decomposed animals, such as petroleum formed from the ancient remains of marine animals, are not considered animal products. Crops grown in soil fertilized with animal remains are rarely characterized as animal products.
Several diets prohibit the inclusion of some animal products, including vegetarian, kosher, and halal. Other diets, such as veganism and the raw vegan diet, exclude any material of animal origin.In international trade legislation, the terminology products of animal origin (POAO) is used.Chick culling
Chick culling is the process of killing newly hatched poultry for which the industry has no use. It occurs in all industrialised egg production whether free range, organic, or battery cage—including that of the UK and US. Because male chickens do not lay eggs and only those on breeding programmes are required to fertilise eggs, they are considered redundant to the egg-laying industries and are usually killed shortly after being sexed, which occurs after they hatch. Many methods of culling do not involve anaesthetics and include cervical dislocation, asphyxiation by carbon dioxide and maceration using a high speed grinder. Asphyxiation is the primary method in the United Kingdom, while maceration is the primary method in the United States. By 2020, US producers expect to sex the eggs before they hatch, so male eggs can be culled.Due to modern selective breeding, laying hen strains differ from meat production strains (broilers). In the United States, males are culled in egg production, since males "don’t lay eggs or grow large enough to become broilers".Ducklings and goslings are also culled in the production of foie gras. However, because males put on more weight than females in this production system, the females are culled.Eating Animals
Eating Animals is the third book by the American novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, published in 2009. A New York Times best-seller, Eating Animals provides a dense discussion of what it means to eat animals in an industrialized world. It was written in close collaboration with Farm Forward, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture.The book was adapted and extended into a 2018 documentary film with the same name, directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn and co-narrated by Foer and Natalie Portman.Erosion
In earth science, erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that removes soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth's crust, and then transports it to another location (not to be confused with weathering which involves no movement). This natural process is caused by the dynamic activity of erosive agents, that is, water, ice (glaciers), snow, air (wind), plants, animals, and humans. In accordance with these agents, erosion is sometimes divided into water erosion, glacial erosion, snow erosion, wind (aeolic) erosion, zoogenic erosion, and anthropogenic erosion. The particulate breakdown of rock or soil into clastic sediment is referred to as physical or mechanical erosion; this contrasts with chemical erosion, where soil or rock material is removed from an area by its dissolving into a solvent (typically water), followed by the flow away of that solution. Eroded sediment or solutes may be transported just a few millimetres, or for thousands of kilometres.
Natural rates of erosion are controlled by the action of geological weathering geomorphic drivers, such as rainfall; bedrock wear in rivers; coastal erosion by the sea and waves; glacial plucking, abrasion, and scour; areal flooding; wind abrasion; groundwater processes; and mass movement processes in steep landscapes like landslides and debris flows. The rates at which such processes act control how fast a surface is eroded. Typically, physical erosion proceeds fastest on steeply sloping surfaces, and rates may also be sensitive to some climatically-controlled properties including amounts of water supplied (e.g., by rain), storminess, wind speed, wave fetch, or atmospheric temperature (especially for some ice-related processes). Feedbacks are also possible between rates of erosion and the amount of eroded material that is already carried by, for example, a river or glacier. Processes of erosion that produce sediment or solutes from a place contrast with those of deposition, which control the arrival and emplacement of material at a new location.While erosion is a natural process, human activities have increased by 10-40 times the rate at which erosion is occurring globally. At well-known agriculture sites such as the Appalachian Mountains, intensive farming practices have caused erosion up to 100x the speed of the natural rate of erosion in the region. Excessive (or accelerated) erosion causes both "on-site" and "off-site" problems. On-site impacts include decreases in agricultural productivity and (on natural landscapes) ecological collapse, both because of loss of the nutrient-rich upper soil layers. In some cases, the eventual end result is desertification. Off-site effects include sedimentation of waterways and eutrophication of water bodies, as well as sediment-related damage to roads and houses. Water and wind erosion are the two primary causes of land degradation; combined, they are responsible for about 84% of the global extent of degraded land, making excessive erosion one of the most significant environmental problems worldwide.Intensive agriculture, deforestation, roads, anthropogenic climate change and urban sprawl are amongst the most significant human activities in regard to their effect on stimulating erosion. However, there are many prevention and remediation practices that can curtail or limit erosion of vulnerable soils.Extensive farming
Extensive farming or extensive agriculture (as opposed to intensive farming) is an agricultural production system that uses small inputs of labor, fertilizers, and capital, relative to the land area being farmed.
Extensive farming most commonly refers to sheep and cattle farming in areas with low agricultural productivity, but can also refer to large-scale growing of wheat, barley, cooking oils and other grain crops in areas like the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. Here, owing to the extreme age and poverty of the soils, yields per hectare are very low, but the flat terrain and very large farm sizes mean yields per unit of labour are high. Nomadic herding is an extreme example of extensive farming, where herders move their animals to use feed from occasional sunlight.Farmageddon (book)
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat is a 2014 non-fiction book by Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott. It surveys the effects of industrial livestock production and industrial fish farming around the world. The book is the result of Lymbery's investigations for which he travelled the world over three years. Isabel Oakeshott is the political editor of The Sunday Times, Philip Lymbery is CEO of Compassion in World Farming. The book was published by Bloomsbury.Feedlot
A feedlot or feed yard is a type of animal feeding operation (AFO) which is used in intensive animal farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) in the United States and intensive livestock operations (ILOs) or confined feeding operations (CFO) in Canada. They may contain thousands of animals in an array of pens.Grain trade
The grain trade refers to the local and international trade in cereals and other food grains such as wheat, maize, and rice.Green Revolution in India
The Green Revolution in India refers to a period when Indian agriculture was converted into an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as the use of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides, and fertilizers. It was mainly found by M.S. Swaminathan. This was part of the larger Green revolution endeavor initiated by Norman Borlaug, which leveraged agricultural research and technology to increase agricultural productivity in the developing world.The Green Revolution within India commenced in the early 1960s that led to an increase in food grain production, especially in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Major milestones in this undertaking were the development of high-yielding varieties of wheat, and rust resistant strains of wheat. However, agricultural scientists like M.S.Swaminathan and social scientists like Vandana Shiva are of the opinion that it caused greater long term sociological and financial problems for the people of Punjab and India.Hatchery
A hatchery is a facility where eggs are hatched under artificial conditions, especially those of fish or poultry. It may be used for ex-situ conservation purposes, i.e. to breed rare or endangered species under controlled conditions; alternatively, it may be for economic reasons (i.e. to enhance food supplies or fishery resources).Horticulture industry
The horticulture industry embraces the production, processing and shipping of and the market for fruits and vegetables. As such it is a sector of agribusiness and industrialized agriculture. Industrialized horticulture sometimes also includes the floriculture industry.
Among the most important fruits are:
semi-tropical fruits like lychee, guava or tamarillo
soft fruits (berries)
stone fruitsImportant vegetables include:
cabbageIn 2013, the global fruit production was estimated at 676.9 million tonnes (666,200,000 long tons; 746,200,000 short tons). Global vegetable production (including melons) was estimated at 879.2 million tonnes (865,300,000 long tons; 969,200,000 short tons) with China and India being the two top producing countries.Hybrid seed
In agriculture and gardening, hybrid seed is produced by cross-pollinated plants. Hybrid seed production is predominant in modern agriculture and home gardening. It is one of the main contributors to the dramatic rise in agricultural output during the last half of the 20th century. The alternatives to hybridization are open pollination and clonal propagation.All of the hybrid seeds planted by the farmer will produce similar plants, while the seeds of the next generation from those hybrids will not consistently have the desired characteristics. Controlled hybrids provide very uniform characteristics because they are produced by crossing two inbred strains. Elite inbred strains are used that express well-documented and consistent phenotypes (such as high crop yield) that are relatively good for inbred plants.Hybrids are chosen to improve the characteristics of the resulting plants, such as better yield, greater uniformity, improved color, disease resistance.
An important factor is the heterosis or combining ability of the parent plants. Crossing any particular pair of inbred strains may or may not result in superior offspring. The parent strains used are therefore carefully chosen so as to achieve the uniformity that comes from the uniformity of the parents, and the superior performance that comes from heterosis.Intensive crop farming
Intensive crop farming is a modern form of intensive farming that refers to the industrialized production of crops. Intensive crop farming's methods include innovation in agricultural machinery, farming methods, genetic engineering technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production, the creation of new markets for consumption, patent protection of genetic information, and global trade. These methods are widespread in developed nations.
The practice of industrial agriculture is a relatively recent development in the history of agriculture, and the result of scientific discoveries and technological advances. Innovations in agriculture beginning in the late 19th century generally parallel developments in mass production in other industries that characterized the latter part of the Industrial Revolution. The identification of nitrogen and phosphorus as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers, making more intensive uses of farmland for crop production possible.Similarly, the discovery of vitamins and their role in animal nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which in the 1920s allowed certain livestock to be raised indoors, reducing their exposure to adverse natural elements. The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in larger numbers by reducing disease. Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides. Developments in shipping networks and technology have made long-distance distribution of produce feasible.Monoculture
Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time. Polyculture, where more than one crop is grown in the same space at the same time, is the alternative to monoculture. Monoculture is widely used in both industrial farming and organic farming and has allowed increased efficiency in planting and harvest while simultaneously increasing the risk of exposure to diseases or pests.
Continuous monoculture, or monocropping, where the same species is grown year after year, can lead to the quicker buildup of pests and diseases, and then rapid spread where a uniform crop is susceptible to a pathogen. Monocultures of African palm oil, sugar cane, pines, and soybeans can all be particularly aggressive to environment. The practice has been criticized for its environmental effects and for having possible long term effects on agriculture and food supplies. Diversity can be added both in time, as with a crop rotation or sequence, or in space, with a polyculture.
Oligoculture has been suggested to describe a crop rotation of just a few crops, as is practiced by several regions of the world.WH Group
WH Group (Chinese: 万洲国际; pinyin: Wànzhōu Guójì), formerly known as Shuanghui Group (Chinese: 双汇集团; pinyin: Shuānghuì Jítuán), is a publicly traded Chinese meat and food processing company headquartered in Luohe, Henan, China. Sometimes also known as Shineway Group in English-speaking countries, the company's businesses include hog raising, consumer meat products, flavoring products, and logistics. It is the largest pork producer in the world, and the largest meat producer in China.