I have really enjoyed having my own blog and writing about agriculture topics. It has kept me updated on all of the latest news in agriculture when trying to find a topic and has improved my research skills. Also, it is so cool to get notifications of new followers of my blog and people that have “liked” it. It makes you feel like people care about what you are saying and hopefully can take away something from the post. Additionally, the commenting was a great way to interact with other bloggers and see what they were writing about. I did not realize all of the people that blog that have other professions, but use it for marketing tactics. It gives us all a way to share our opinions or share about what is going on in our lives. Blogging allows us all to form our own style and how we choose to relay the messages that we feel are important. I really like how informal a blog is but still gets the point across. I don’t know why but I was shocked when the blogger commented back to my comment. It showed how dedicated they are to their blog and how important their readers are to them. I have really enjoyed this assignment and plant to continue.
Carrie Mess, aka “Dairy Carrie” is a Wisconsin dairy farmer that is in her second year of blogging. She lives on a 300 acre farm and runs 100 head of cattle with her husband. She is the first to tell you that she hasn’t always been heavily educated on the dairy industry, but she was determined to be. She would use social media, such as Twitter to ask questions and learn about farming. She then decided that she wanted to help educate people on what is going on in the dairy industry and why they do some of the things that they do. Her first project was a hay drive that was generated by social media. She ended up gathering 7 semi truck loads of hay to send south during the terrible drought. Carrie also blogged about Panera’s antibiotic free chicken and how it made famers look lazy. By bringing this to Paneras attention, they took the ad down and wrote an apology because it was not their intention at all. Additionally, she blogged about the atlas blizzard in South Dakota and how the ranchers did all they could with it being so unexpected. It was picked up by the UK Newspaper and distributed to the mass. If she hadn’t of voiced her option and told her story then many would have only read false assumptions. Dairy Carrie’s intention is to let her stories help people to learn more about the industry. She points out that many people simply don’t know any better and are not educated on the subject, so that opens the door to help inform them. Also, she uses comments to get additional information out there and maybe change peoples’ minds if they have negative perceptions about her blog topics. Carrie is not afraid to be personal and share her life and day to day adventures of being a dairy farmer. She also thinks that it is important to be transparent and have nothing to hide from her followers. Furthermore, being over polished would seem fake and the followers would disregard what she has to say. Carrie is an inspiration to the agriculture world and lets us new bloggers think about the best way we can reach followers and tell our story.
Feral hogs have been moving into the state of Missouri and causing many problems. The damage property and can even spread disease to humans, pets, and livestock. These animals have been known to carry diseases such as swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, trichinosis, and leptospirosis. They are the source of serious problems that land managers face. Feral hogs root and wallow on the ground which causes severe destruction in small periods of time. Their feeding behaviors contribute to soil erosion, decrease water quality and damage crops and hayfields. Additionally, they destroy sensitive natural areas such as glades and springs. Because these wild hogs are not native to Missouri, they should be eliminated quickly. There have been sightings across the state along with established populations in several Missouri counties. Feral Hogs can breed any time of the year which enables them to produce efficiently and increase in population rapidly. The females can mature at 6 months and will produce two litters a year and averaging six piglets per litter. Furthermore, this allows feral hog populations to double in as little as four months. These animals can reach up to three feet in height at the shoulder and five feet in length. They can reach up to 400 pounds, but an average sow is 110 pounds and boars 130 pounds. The feral hog problem arouse in the 1990s when hog hunting for fun began to gain popularity. Groups began raising European wild boars to hunt on licensed shooting areas. Not long before many of these hogs escaped or were released intentionally on public land. Since hogs are highly adaptable and breed so rapidly, the Conservation Department was receiving damage complaints from landowners. Although it is not suggested to hunt specifically for feral hogs, hunters should shoot them on sight. No permit is needed to kill them except during deer and turkey season.
Here is a link to the University of Missouri that explains more about feral hogs and what we can do to reduce their population and destruction of our land.
Either we have bought land of our own or know someone who has; we all know how the prices of land have been continually increasing over the past decade. Many experts say that the price of land is going to start leveling off from the increase in values. Farms incomes is the most important element to the fluctuating farm land values and what happens to those will have a direct affect. With the incomes being so unpredictable lately, we have had to look at previous land booms to try and forecast what could unfold. From 1990 to 1920 the rising corn prices sent some land up almost 500%. The State Historical Society described this first boom period: “For agriculture this was prosperity piled on top of prosperity.” The second land value boom was from 1973 to 1981 increasing some land by 345% causing the price to jump from $482 to $2147 an acre. This was fueled by the rapid increase in commodity prices caused by the opening of major export markets. There are three factors that are happening now that has similarities of the past booms. One is the fact that the booms are driven by increasing prices and returns. Also, the idea that land’s value little to no downsides. Additionally, the way the general economy and society as a whole with the Great Depression and the financial hit that caused the farm crisis. Ultimately, the relationship between the past farmland boom periods and today are features that help us to look into the future of the land prices. Farm income is still the deciding factor on if the land market will rise or fall.
For the past fifteen years my dad has traveled to South Dakota to hunt pheasant. He goes with a group of about thirty men and some of them have been going on the same hunt for thirty-three years now. It has evolved into a tradition and these men have become more like family each time they go. Additionally, my brother got to attend for the first time three years ago and has been going ever since. They just got back last Friday and they had a great time as usual but they mentioned that they didn’t see as many birds as in past years. So I did some of my own research to find that the pheasant population has indeed fallen 64 percent statewide and has decreased even more in other areas, according to the Game, Fish, and Parks Department.
The town that they hunt in, Chamberlin, SD, showed that their annual brood count survey has declined 83 percent below the 10-year average. It has been said that the causes for the reduction in numbers is from a combination of weather and habitat loss. Furthermore, the Pheasants Forever Foundation has announced that the loss has been declining for years due to the habitat loss due to conversion of grasslands to row crops. They also indicated that reports have shown 1.52 pheasants per mile, down from 4.19 pheasants per mile just in the last year. Also, the drought in 2012 and a cold, wet spring in 2013 has contributed to the problem. Although the numbers are down, the South Dakota Conservation Department claim to still offer the best pheasant hunting experience in the country, providing more than 1.1 million acres of public land available for hunting.
With all the concerns with the food supply and not being able to keep up with the world’s rapidly growing population, Japanese homebuilder, Daiwa House, may have found a solution. He has constructed a complete indoor greenhouse that is said to be the first step into the industrialization of agriculture. They are a new line of prefabricated hydroponic vegetable factories that produce safe and secure food called Agri-Cubes. They can be easily moved with a heavy-duty truck and measuring 8×16 feet, which can fit in the space the size of a parking spot! Additionally, a concrete foundation measuring 108 square feet has to be poured, plumbing, and electrical utility hookups have to be installed to prepare for the house. It creates an atmosphere, using heavy insulation to separate the environment from the elements of outside.
Also, the Agri-Cube uses air-conditioners and fluorescent light to create the ideal environment that is appropriate for cultivation. There is no soil used inside, but a hydroponic culture and vegetables are growing on aqueous solution water with a nutrient ingredient. Theses cubes allow locations that do not have the accommodations of farm or garden land to produce fresh produce all year around, such as rooftops, apartment community areas, and other urban areas. Daiwa claims that the Agri-Cube can grow about ten thousand servings of fruits and vegetables every year and would end up costing about $4,500 per year, which calculates into 45 cents per head of lettuce. These miracle inventions are being sold to housing complexes, hotels, retirement homes, nursing facilities, top-end restaurants, and schools in Japan. Currently an Agri-Cube will cost you between $70,000 and $100,000 and with the growing popularity we can only hope that the price will reduce. Daiwa will also take custom orders and export these Agri-Cubes to other countries and is developing his product to meet the need of the countries conditions.
As the government shutdown continues this week, there are several agriculture programs that are starting to take a hit. The limited funding is starting to impact the Supplemental Nutrition Program that is known as the food stamp program. The Congress’s Recovery Act provides funding until the end of this month but after that the assistance will vary in each state. They are encouraging participants to use their food stamps as soon as possible before the financial support runs out. Another $6 billion program, Women, Infants, and Children program, will be not being operating at all. It is partially funded within the state but could run out of funding in days or weeks. Additionally, the Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue to employ 87% of their people to continually keep food in stores safe to eat. The FDA has been laid off which is a scary thing to think about because they oversee majority of America’s food inspections. We may not be seeing the effects first had, but a longer shutdown could result in more serious penalties.