Agriculture Isn’t All About the Money

I want to clear some things up and challenge readers’ thinking on the concerns and comments about agriculture and raising livestock being nothing more than a money-making sector of the economy. I’ve noted several comments about this in a number of sites, not to mention articles that claim that “farmers just raise their animals/crops because they’re looking for a profit.” I never exactly questioned the why’s and wherefore’s of these comments until now.

Why is it that people think and believe that farms and farming is merely a money-making venture, or that farmers (who I prefer to call producers) raise livestock like cattle just to make a profit off of them?? Also, why is there such negativity and bitterness surrounding the fact that producers growing crops and raising livestock do it to not feed themselves but to make money?? I don’t get it, coming from a farming background myself I just can’t get my head around the reason for people to carelessly throw that out there and expect everyone to take it as fact.

Producers in North America are focused on making money, not food, but

The problem is that it’s really only partly fact. And what most don’t realize, especially those who are generations removed from the farm, is that in most if not all agricultural enterprises, very little to no true profit has been made. Yes, the very thing that we producers end up with at the end is money in the pocket, because the farms we run are done so as a business (except for the urbanites’ hobby farms), but this money we get is gross profit or income, NOT net profit or just plain profit. To say that people farm or raise livestock just to make a profit is really an outright lie. It’s also a show of ignorance and misunderstanding about finances because there is far more to it than what people might think.

When a producer calculates profit, he cannot ever figure that he is making money simply by the check he gets from the barley grain or cattle he sold. This often-yearly cheque that he gets is what gross profit or income is all about. Net profit is determined when all of his expenses that he has incurred from the farm’s operations are subtracted to the income he received from what he sold. Income should never be confused with profit, because income is really the money that comes into a business after a product is sold, excluding expenses. Profit or Net Profit, however, is money that is left over after all expenses are deducted from gross profit. If no income is left over after all expenses are deducted, it is called Net Loss.

Expenses for the average farm are primarily fertilizer, fuel and feed. Fuel and fertilizer are the biggest costs to a farm, such expenses often exceeding $5,000 per acre per year. Most farms in North America that are not hobby farms are over 100 acres in size. So, expenses in total would and could be well over $500,000 per year. It’s not common for income in farms to exceed this amount. If it does, it’s not by very much, just enough to break-even.

Despite these figures the fire-storm in the media and non-agricultural people alike still continues about producers “doing it for the money.”

Farming in North America is indeed a business and thus a “money-making” venture. It is definitely not subsistence agriculture because the people who grow crops and raise livestock are not raising them to feed themselves and their families, but to feed others who cannot or will not grow crops or raise livestock to feed themselves. Thus instead it is known as “commercial” agriculture and consequently, a business just like any small businesses that do not focus on grain, milk, meat, wool, eggs, fruits and vegetables as the end product. So why does it seem like people think that agriculture should not be treated like a business and a money-making venture just like any other business?

And what other reasons are there that may be the cause for people to accuse those who farm to just “do it for the money”?

Answer: Misunderstanding could be part of the problem.

That has to be it. In Canada we have about 95% of the population who are so far removed from agriculture they have never seen a cow, horse, pig, chicken, goat, sheep, or donkey in real life before and have never had to experience the hard work that goes in to making a farm tick. It’s these people that are easily mislead by extremists and the media who put blame on the few people who abuse and mistreat their animals, and are lead to assume that it happens all across the country. This is no different south of the border where 98% of the population are urbanites and/or have no farm experience whatsoever.

I have been taught by close family and friends that there are people out there to get you. And that doesn’t limit those suburbanites who constantly worry about criminals sneaking into their home and stealing their jewelery, it’s a big problem for farmers who have to deal with the constant bureaucratic, politically correct, Disney-ized BS that comes from the media, animal rights extremist groups, environmental extremist groups, and the general population who get suckered in to this vortex of brainwashing, hypocritical misinformation and half-truths. No wonder it gets so confusing and overwhelming for those trying to sort the false truths from the REAL truths!

The thing many people don’t understand is that farming has never been nor will ever be a non-for-profit, must-rely-on-donations kind of thing. Farming doesn’t rely on having to warp and manipulate people by taking advantage of their emotions in order to open their pocket books like what PeTA and HSUS does in order for them to wreak more havoc on the very people who are relied on to make food for us. Farming relies on hard work, the weather, Mother Nature, and the fact that the sun will pop up on the horizon every morning or the clouds will dump enough rain to make the crops and pasture plants grow. It doesn’t rely on brainwashing the general public into believing the web of lies and half-truths spun by them to get more money out of gullible people. As a matter of fact farming has really minded its own business and kept help bringing food to the table to millions of families until these lobby groups showed up.(Not saying it’s a bad thing though, as I have to give credit to these lobby groups for pointing out the bad and helping improve the practices, management and care involved in producing crops and raising livestock!)

But you know what? Despite giving some credit to PeTA, HSUS, Sierra and a few other extremist groups out there, I would really love to know what these groups do with all that money they get from people who want to “support the cause.” Where does it go? Does it just get pocketed, or does it get used up by operational expenses, or is it used up for something more sinister that these groups (or at least some of them) wish to never disclose? Hmmm…

I know one thing though: I certainly know what farmers and producers do with the paycheck they get at the end of every year.

Nothing is for Free

Now for those of you who are still chomping at the bit to challenge me further with this monetary issue, let me throw something out there for you to chew on, just to put things into perspective. If you had no outside job and could not rely on donations nor could set up a trust fund or donation package where you could rely on people to practically give you the money, how would you run a farm and take care of your animals? How would you be able to pay for veterinary bills, fuel for the tractor, fertilizer, supplemental feed in the form of loose mineral or salt blocks and/or feed grain for those animals that won’t gain much on hay, feed like hay, repair bills on machinery, building new buildings, fences or corrals? Or what about paying taxes, personal expenses, electricity, water and heating bills? The answer is you would not be able to farm nor take care of your animals at all. You’d have the SPCA knocking at your door with a request to surrender your animals over to them because you don’t have enough money to feed or water them and they’re getting thinner by the day.

That money producers get after selling their crops, selling their cattle has to go back into the expenses that are generated by farm operations. Someone with half a brain can figure that out. Farmers cannot produce food for free because… ready for it? NOTHING IS FOR FREE. I mentioned above how much money that should be expected to come out of a producer’s pockets just to raise some grain; similar thing applies to those who raise animals, whether it’s on a ranch or in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). It’s pouring more salt in the wound when you get people assuming that their food, especially animal products like meat, milk and eggs, can be produced for free, or in other words the farmers and producers get nothing in return for producing and taking off and essentially selling the end product off their farms or ranches. I don’t get that. Why would anybody be stupid and foolish enough to think up something like that?? Can’t folks understand that anything that goes into a farming operation is NOT for free?? Feed, fuel, fertilizer, and a whole host of other expenses, really add up!! Those things are not for free, not in any way, shape or form! And yet people are so belligerent and hateful about the fact that a farmer makes a ton of money on their end product. It’s bad enough that people are so frickin’ negative about agriculture and farming, but to turn around and imply that food should be produced for free or for nothing in return just makes it worse.

And you know what, I think farmers have the most thankless job in the world. You rarely get any random person stop by at a farm and thank them for keep their tummies full every day, if ever. Instead you’re more likely to get some nosy person tell you that your dairy cows are starving to death out on fresh green pasture or wanting to give you heck for leaving a “dead” horse or cow out on the “field” (which is actually just sleeping away in the sun.) Or even worse, some new cityslicker wannabe-country-bum neighbor threatening to sue you because of the smell and noise that’s coming from your farm and fields surrounding their little acreage. And you think that farming can survive without getting anything in return–even monetarily? Not a chance. Sometimes I like to tell people who get too carried away with their little rants about agriculture something to the effect of: “If you hate agriculture that much, why do you even eat? Why do you even bother putting food in your mouth if you’re going to be that spiteful to those people who worked so hard to put food on your plate?” or, “Why don’t you start producing your own food if you think you can do it better than the farmers that have done it for a millennium?” Really, it’s true: Farmers don’t get much thanks, if at all, so the only “thanks” they can really get is the yearly income they receive when they sell the grain, livestock, eggs or milk they’ve worked so hard to produce. And where does all that income go? Right back into the farm and its operations, of course!!

You know it’s really funny how people can be so prejudiced, belligerent and convoluted about this very topic, and yet these same people that have jobs and make a lot of money never get to see their money getting put into things to help produce food. Instead they spend it on vehicles and RVs, huge houses, house parties, expensive decorations and furniture and many other things that don’t give a dime right back at the end of the year. Instead they put more of their money into things that take more of their money away. And then you get the other end of the spectrum where you get people who rely on welfare cheques from the government because they can’t move their lazy rears to work and earn money for themselves!! How hypocritical!! And these people, I find it amazing that they are able to sit there and bash farmers with their mouths full of the very food that those farmers busted their asses and saved every penny–never spending any of it on the expensive junk that this person with a high-paying office job was able to get, nor even relying on the monthly welfare cheque to sustain them–to produce the food that gets put on that person’s plate. What a shame. And these people expect farmers to produce food without making a “huge profit” at the end of every year?! Boy I would love to have one of these folks try to produce food or raise livestock (and raise them more humanely than what they see the average farm do) without spending a single penny!!

Agriculture… it’s a Way of Life

Have you ever wondered why only 2% of the population in the US and 5% of the population in Canada are directly involved in agriculture? It’s because it’s something that can’t be made easily like it can in an air-conditioned office, and it’s something that most people don’t like: little profit and hard work, respectively. Most people choose to live in the cities and have an “easy-paying job” because they would rather have it easy than have to spend a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get something that accounts for 10% satisfaction in the end. Yes, my friends, agriculture and farming is hard work, it is the ultimate definition of hard work, just like any other primary-industry job is. On a farm, especially one with livestock, you are working 7 days a week 365 days a year, with no holiday pay, no benefits, and definitely no chance for a holiday-getaway.

Is an office, white-collar job considered a way-of-life as a career? I know most of you would answer no; most who work as a white-collar worker do it for the money. I wouldn’t doubt that even most blue-collar workers who don’t take their job with a passion do it just to gain a bit of income and because they don’t like being stuck in an office all day. But of course you get those blue-collared workers who love their job and do it because they wouldn’t have it any other way, regardless of the pay. But are those blue-collared jobs considered a way of life in the same way that farming is? My biased and opinionated answer is no.

Why, you may ask? Basically it’s this: no other career or job involves working with the land and the environment in such a way that agriculture does. Forestry involves mainly cutting down timber to be made into wood products. Mining and quarrying involve taking minerals, rocks and stones out of the earth. Silviculture is merely planting trees and watching them grow. Agriculture, however, is seeding, growing and harvesting grains, caring for and raising livestock in such a way that you help with bringing newborns into the world, making sure they are healthy as they grow and watching them grow into big, strong animals, and feeding them and treating them if they get ill. You quite literally get to work along side Mother Nature every day, helping do what she does best in the wild, doing it because you have a compassion for seeing things grow and watching the life cycle play itself out right before your very eyes. Now tell me: how can that not get into your blood?

I know I may be romanticizing things a bit and I apologize for doing so, but my point in all of this is that agriculture is more than a sector of the economy, it’s a way of life for those few people who are lucky enough to experience it. You get a different perspective of the world when you’re sitting up high in a tractor or on a horse, and you get to be a part of what makes the natural, un-urbanized part of the world tick.

So what really makes agriculture a way of life? It’s the passion, the 10% satisfaction in the end after having to go through the 90% hard work, the risks and rewards, the gamble and payoffs, the mistakes you make and how you learn the hard way from them. It’s Nature, the ability to own and raise animals that are otherwise illegal to have in most cities and towns, the pride you feel when you get to where you want to go, the hardships you experience that almost brings you to your knees, and the heartache you feel when you lose something you’ve worked so hard to gain. It’s a life less, really, that teaches you a lot about patience, stubbornness, humbleness, peace, death, hard work, how life’s never easy, how the animals we raise perceive us and see the world, if we’re lucky enough and wise enough to see it. I could go on, really, as the list is endless. It can be so hard to fully describe to the average person on the street who have never been directly involved in agriculture how it isn’t just about the money and how it’s a way of life. I guess that should be left up to us producers to explain that to folks to the best of our ability.

Money is important for everyone, regardless of their career, background, ethnicity, religion, race or gender. So there’s really no reason why people must think that agriculture should not be any different. Producers have to spend money to make money; they’d don’t make money to spend it.

A Final Word

Most people in North America take buying things for granted so much that they often lose sight of how businesses like farms are run and why things must be “done for the money.” People can be so cruel and yet so gullible it’s sad and frustrating at the same time. It’s always due to misinformation, propaganda from extremist groups dictating how we should run our lives or what we should put in our mouths, half-truths, and the media displaying things–such as inhumane treatment of animals like dairy cows–in such a way that makes people think it’s a common thing when in most cases the opposite is true. These same people are able to spout out how farming is so cruel and inhumane and it should be this and should be that. And yet, when you put them in a real-life farming environment and get them to see how things are done and why they are done, they suddenly get their eyes opened up, hopefully enough that they wouldn’t dare shoot off their mouth about how bad farming is ever again.

It’s so easy to lay blame on something we’ve created when it’s ourselves we need to be pointing at. We’ve created our own monster being civilization and urbanization that helps lose sight of what the real world is all about, where our food really comes from and how it gets to our plate. There is so much misunderstanding about the fact that farmers can’t produce food for free because nothing is for free. It’s time to put a halt to this misunderstanding and get people to wake up and really start to see what agriculture is really about. That can start by getting people, like you my readers, to make an effort to thank a farmer for producing the food your are able to eat, because without them, without those people that have the most selfless job in the world, we wouldn’t exist on such a grand scale as we do today.

Why Sustainable Agriculture Remains Relevant in the New Economy

Allan Savory and Bren Smith, who spoke in the 35th Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures that was entitled Cattle & Kelp: Agriculture in a New Economy, suggested that a new approach should be taken towards agriculture.

This was in view of the fact that the current approach is not sustainable in the long run due to the prevalent issues of declining soil fertility, soil erosion, drought and super pests.

Many innovative companies have also been using agricultural technology to make agriculture sustainable, and have acknowledged the fact that this sector plays a crucial role in the new economy.

Agriculture remains relevant today for several reasons. It is widely perceived as the key to feeding the estimated nine billion individuals in the world by 2050, and will also help to increase the number of jobs.

1. Sustainable agriculture may be the solution to prevent a looming food crisis.

Price volatility and high food prices will result in a food crisis, which places food production issues and agricultural growth back on the development agenda.

Both Savory and Smith have developed agricultural models that are based on natural systems. Smith pioneered the development of restorative 3D ocean farming; this farming model was designed with the aim of mitigating climate change, restoring ocean ecosystems and creating jobs for fishermen while also ensuring that communities were supplied with healthy, local food.

There are also several companies who are using agricultural technology to prevent a food crisis. According to The Economist, the products and services that these firms are developing will significantly contribute to increasing food yields and quality, which is needed to feed the nine billion individuals living on this planet by 2050.

2. Sustainable agriculture will be able to create jobs in the new economy

According to Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, the agricultural sector has four times the power to create jobs and reduce poverty in Africa as compared to other sectors.

Essentially, agriculture can help countries to diversify their economies, be less dependent on food imports, increase jobs, and revive rural areas.
In the United States, despite the fact that agricultural revenue and export opportunities have been high, rural areas have been losing their population. If this were to continue, these areas will lose their economic stability and many of its national assets.

However, if the trend is reversed successfully, the economy as a whole can benefit from long-term growth. Rural areas will also prosper. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is therefore investing in the perceived areas of opportunity for agricultural growth; these include supporting new and beginning ranchers and farmers, local and regional food systems, as well as the economy.

In conclusion, it is crucial that countries place greater importance on their agricultural sector. Africa, which is currently leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has more than 70 percent of its farmers utilising information and communications technology. Additionally, its agricultural and agribusiness industry is projected to hit a net worth of US$1 trillion by 2030.

This highlights the need for other countries to improve their agricultural sector, as it can help to decrease food imports and increase job opportunities for their citizens, as well as improve the state of its economy overall.

Utilization of Foreign Investments in Agriculture of China

As a very important role of world economy, China has made a tremendous achievement of utilizing foreign investment since the reform and opening up. China’s agriculture began to utilize foreign investment in the end of 70’s, when the reform and opening up just started. Agriculture is one of the earliest industries to utilize foreign investments. The new government has been paying unprecedented attention to agriculture due to its strategic position in the development of economy in China. Then Documents about agriculture has been issued again by the authorities in 2005. Solving the problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers has been the most important task for the government. Therefore, under the background that more and more attention has been paid to agriculture, it has both theoretical and practical significance to study how to expand, introduce and utilize foreign-investment effectively and efficiently to promote agricultural modernization, industrialization and internationalization.

This article is composed of four parts to discuss the central topic “Utilization of Foreign Investments in Agriculture of China”.

1. The background, purpose, significance, content and methodology of this study are introduced and an overview of the past and current studies and researches is presented. Besides, the basic theories of agriculture utilizing foreign investments are summarized.

2. The characteristics of agriculture utilizing foreign investments in China are summarized according to its development, status quo and problems existing in the developing process. Moreover, the model of FDI’s contribution to agriculture economic growth is set up to analyze relations between agricultural GDP and FDI in agriculture. Also, we sets up a multivariate regression model of FDI and its influence factors such as the level of agriculture economic development, human capital, the extent of agricultural internationalization and investment climate, etc. The quantitative analysis can provide the data support for government policy.

3. Through introducing the international experiences and lessons of agriculture utilizing investment in developed countries (America and Korea) and in developing countries (Thailand, India, Brazil and Indonesia), some inspirations have been drawn for investment utilization in our agriculture.

4. Based on the theoretical and empirical analysis of the status quo, problems and the influence factors of agriculture utilizing foreign investments, learning its international experiences and lessons, we comes up with some concluding remarks and policy suggestions as follows: agriculture in China should further strengthen the development and exploit market potential; improve agricultural investment climate and upgrade the superiority of introducing foreign capital; intensify high-quality foreign investments introduction and increase the utilizing efficiency; enhance the supervision and control of both domestic and foreign markets as well as establish and consummate rules and regulations.

Diversification in Agriculture Sector: A Catalyst For Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria

Agriculture involves the cultivation of land, raising and rearing of animals, for the purpose of production of food for man, feed for animals and raw materials for industries. It involves forestry, fishing, processing and marketing of these agricultural products. Essentially, it is composed of crop production, livestock, forestry, and fishing.

Agriculture is the mainstay of many economies. All over the world, the development of an enduring economy goes hand in hand with agricultural development thus, there is a need for Nigeria to exploit her various agricultural resources to full potential in order to accelerate her quest and efforts to achieving sustainable economic development.

Agriculture is considered a catalyst for the overall development of any nation; development economists have always assigned the agriculture sector a central place in the development process, early development theorists though emphasized industrialization, they counted on agriculture to provide the necessary output of food and raw materials, along with the labour force that would gradually be absorbed by industry and services sector. Much later thinking moved agriculture to the forefront of the development process; the hopes for technical change in agriculture and “green revolution” suggested agriculture as the dynamo and magic wand for economic growth and development.

The industrial revolution of the Nineteenth century which catapulted the agrarian economies of most countries of Europe got their stimuli from agriculture; the sector in recent history has also worked a tremendous miracle in countries like Mexico, India, Brazil, Peru, Philippines and China where the Green Revolution was one of the great success stories. Indeed, the importance of agriculture in any nation’s economy cannot be over emphasized, for instance, in United States of America, agriculture contributes about 1. 1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The above statistic indicated that the more developed a country is the lower the contribution of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product. Economy diversification is an economic development strategy characterized by increasing the numbers of the revenue base of an economy. The Nigerian economy is a mono-cultural economy depending on crude oil as the main source of her revenue, it is crucial that government should not keep on believing that oil provides an endless source of revenue.

As a matter of priority, Nigeria government must encourage the rapid diversification of Nigeria’s economy as this is the only sustainable way to survive the current environment of global economic uncertainty of international oil price volatility and shocks, unfavourable quota system and depletion.

Diversification in the agriculture sector is therefore suggested for Nigeria as a developing economy to ensure food and nutritional security, income and employment generation, poverty alleviation and to encourage industrialization, ease pressure on balance of payment, reliable source of government revenue and overall economic development of the country.

Prior to the political crisis of 1967-1970, agriculture’s positive contributions to the economy were instrumental in sustaining economic growth and stability. The bulk of food demand was satisfied from domestic output, thereby obviating the need to utilize scarce foreign exchange resources on food importation.

Stable growth in agricultural exports constituted the backbone of a favorable balance of trade. Sustainable amounts of capital were derived from the agricultural sector through the imposition of several taxes and accumulation of marketing surpluses, which were used to finance many development projects such as the building and construction of Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria) and first Nigerian skyscraper-cocoa house in Ibadan. The sector, which employed 71% of the total labor force in 1960, employed only 56% in 1977, the number stood at 68% in 1980, falling to 55% in 1986, 1987 and 1988; and 57% annually from 1989 to 1992, and has continued to nosedive into 2000s as the result of the neglect of the sector.

To channel itself on the path to modern development, Nigeria should examine what factors hindered the development of its agricultural sector, which was the backbone of the Nigerian economy before the era of oil boom. It should rectify the mistakes it made in over 54 years by immediately putting these strategic plans into action. The people of Nigeria can uplift themselves from poverty and distress by eradicating corruption and devoting themselves to strive for progress.

The 2020:20 initiative will keep Nigeria focused on improving their economy and combined with a significant effort to reducing food imports and to increase food production within their own country, Nigeria can witness a timely turn around in their investment. Nigeria has the necessary components in place to return to an agricultural-based economy. Research has demonstrated that a return to an agricultural economy is not only possible, but will greatly benefit the entire country of Nigeria.

To achieve sustainable economic development and to lift the dormant and continuously dwindling contribution of the agriculture sector, Nigeria needs to have some recommended pre-requisites diversification policies such as provision of financial resources to sector to get it up and functioning; a combination of government provision of subsidies, improved and high yielding seedlings and breeds for private companies and small scale farmer producing as large as 85% of the sector’s agricultural output are needed to boost the agricultural market.

There also need to revise the current import and export regulations to make it more convincing for other countries to accept agricultural products from Nigeria. It is an established fact that with the population of over 170 million, vast cultivatable farmland, a conducive climate and soil, Nigeria has the necessary productive resources required to have a strong welcome back of the agriculture sector as an engine to achieving sustainable economic development.

It is therefore plausible for Nigeria to diversify into the agriculture market in their effort to become more self-sustainable and be recognized as one of the world economic power.

The Economic Role Of Agriculture In China

The “Chinese economic miracle” seems to have captured the whole world’s attention, especially when it comes to production, manufacturing, sourcing, FDI inflow to China etc’. But do we know about the biggest sector in the Chinese labour market – the agricultural sector?

The PRC inherited a ruined country, exhausted from both man made disasters such as warlords, civil wars, occupation, and natural disasters, droughts, famine, and floods.

During the Mao era, the Chinese government carried out a wide ranging land reform in the rural areas. Farmers with little or no land were given land of their own, significantly arousing their enthusiasm for production. Overall in Mao’s period, China’s agriculture developed slowly, with some golden times such as 1953-57 when the yearly gross output increased by 4.5% on average.

Under Mao, the conceptual role of agriculture was imperative. The Chinese farmer was basically the equivalent to the Soviet blue collar proletarian, thus the importance of the farmers in the class struggle was fundamental.

After 1978 and under the reforms, China introduced the household contract responsibility system, linking remuneration to output, and started to dismantle the people’s commune system, eliminating the links between organizations of state power and economic organizations. Contracting land out to farmers altered the distribution form of land and mobilized the farmers’ enthusiasm for production. As a result, for six years following 1978, agricultural output grew more than twice as fast as the average growth rate over the previous twenty five years.

The reforms made the market play a basic role in adjusting supply and demand situation for agricultural products and allocating resources, and aroused the farmers’ creativeness and enthusiasm for production.

On the whole, the reformist thrust of China’s economic policy since 1978 has benefited agriculture, as it has benefited the economy in general. Nevertheless, after 30 years of reforms, the sector is still behind most of the other sectors in the Chinese economy.

The economic and political role of agriculture in contemporary China –

1. Food security. In an extremely large and populated country like China, the concept of food security is fundamentally important. The task of feeding its people has been perhaps the first priority of its rulers throughout history.

2. Political and social stability. The farmers of China are known to have a “rebellious spirit”, which is well documented in the history books. When famine, war, or other extreme conditions took place, the farmers of China, whom use to be the majority of the population, and remain to be the largest group of China’s people, chose to strike. Thus, there is a consensus that there is no stability without the farmers / agriculture, and in order to avoid “da luan” – big chaos, the farmers must be kept quiet and content. At present still, the farmers of China are the largest, yet under-represented group, which holds the keys to stability in China.

3. Employment tool. The concept of agriculture as an employment tool in China is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand there is a massive scale of labour surplus in the agricultural sector, resulting in underemployment or even unemployment. On the other hand, agriculture remains to be the biggest sector responsible for the employing feeding, and consequently keeping social and political order of around 60% of China’s population.

4. GDP share. The reforms in the early 1980s initially increased the relatively share of the agricultural sector. The share of agricultural output in the total GDP rose from 30% in 1980 to 33% in 1983. Since then, however, the share of agriculture in the total GDP has fallen fairly steadily, and by 2003 it was only 14%. These figures indicate a relatively small share of the agricultural sector, nevertheless a noteworthy one in the overall performance of the Chinese economy.

What are the main obstacles to the agricultural sector in China than?

1. Natural resources and disasters. At the beginning of the 21st century, China has still to face and deal with a number of severe ecological / environmental problems, some are the consequences of human mistakes, and some are simply a result of “mother nature’s” course. The main problems are water supply, i.e. shortage, wastage and quality. In the agricultural context, irrigation is likely to be the most important factor.

2. Education. Chinese policy documents state that national modernization depends on accelerating quantity-quality transition in the countryside, because a large “low quality” rural populace hinders progression from tradition, poverty and agrarianism to modernity and prosperity.

3. Technology. The standard of a country’s agriculture is appraised, first and foremost, by the competence of its farmers. Poorly trained farmers are not capable of applying advanced methods and new technologies. Deng Xiaoping always stressed the prominent of science and technology in the development of agriculture. He said – “The development of agriculture depends first on policy, and second on science. There is no limit to developments in science and technology, nor to the role that they can play….in the end it may be that science will provide a solution to our agricultural problems”.

Accordingly, China is seeking technology transfer in the agricultural sector, formed by joint ventures with international collaborators.

4. Limited investment from government. Between the Second and Fifth five-year plan periods (1958-1962 and 1976-1980), agriculture’s share of capital construction and other relevant forms of investment made available by the state remained a little over 10%. In 1998 agriculture and irrigation accounted, respectively, for less thsn 2% and 3.5% of all state construction investment.

5. Limited inflow of FDI – foreign direct investment. Most sectors in China enjoy an enormous inflow of FDI, which particularly helped in 2 dimensions – technology transfer and capital availability. The lack of an outside funding, accompanied with a reduced local funding contributed to the deterioration of the agricultural sector.

In conclusion, the agricultural sector in China, unlike other sectors in the Chinese economy, is still rather under developed, and requires a substantial boost from both the local and the international community. It is my prediction than, that more and more foreign investors will discover its enormous potential and act accordingly.

Other Agricultural Equipment Financing

Agricultural equipment has become sophisticated and machine powered nowadays. They are vitally important for many agricultural activities. There is certain agricultural equipment like tractors, planting machine etc. Many banks and financial institutions are ready to finance for such agricultural equipment. Yet there is other agricultural equipment like food processing equipment, milking equipment etc which requires financing from some experienced equipment financing companies.

Other agricultural equipment financing is provided by certain legitimated financing companies in order to carry out some agricultural activities efficiently and quickly. Dairy machineries are important in today’s dairy farms. These machineries are modernized and improved to suit the demanding requirements. These machineries help in dairy farms where large numbers of milking animals are reared. Dairy farms find the dairy machineries easier to handle large volume of milk. Due to their functionality and sophisticated nature, they are quite pricey. Therefore many dairy farm owners look for other agricultural equipment financing to acquire them.

Milking machine plays a vital role in many dairy farms. It speeds up the milking process. The automated milking machine replaced the manual process which requires more time and effort. Hence it is indispensable in any dairy farm. It has great investment value and many farms wish to acquire this machine. However it is priced very high and so other agricultural equipment financing is the desired option.

Green house equipment is very essential to grow plants safely in an enclosed area where climatic conditions can not affect the growth of plants. They are highly sophisticated buildings and they come in different sizes and shapes. The equipment includes fans, mat, seed sheets, generators and UV paneling. Since these extra features add to the cost, other agricultural equipment financing is often desirable to acquire them.

Food processing equipment is also important form of other agricultural equipment. It takes the raw material and converts them into easier meals for human and livestock. It can be used to remove the dirt and any unwanted growths in the farm products. This equipment provides valuable service to city people who live far away from the farms by satisfying their food needs. The food processing equipment also helps in easy preparation and transportation of food products without spoiling. Since the equipment helps in multiple tasks, they can be expensive. Hence other agricultural equipment financing is desirable to acquire them.

There are some reliable financing companies that have experience in agricultural equipment can help farm owners by financing agricultural equipment at better interest rates. They accept online application forms and take immediate steps to provide fast approval. Hence the farm owners can acquire the desired amount to buy any of the agricultural equipment.

Many traditional financial institutions may not be ready to finance other agricultural equipment other than tractor and harvesting machinery. But there is some other agricultural equipment that provides invaluable service in the field of agriculture. Some reliable financing companies understand the need for such equipment and are willing to provide other agricultural equipment financing without any embarrassing procedures. Hence it is possible for any farm owner to acquire any agricultural equipment easily.

The Need for Sustainable Agriculture

The green revolution was a period of extreme innovation that occurred in agriculture predominantly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, although commenced in the 1940’s. During this period huge amounts of research and development were undertaken that increased agricultural productivity significantly, the benefits of which we continue to enjoy today. Initiatives included the development of higher yielding crop varieties, the introduction of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides as well as improving and modernising farm management.

It was these innovations that enabled more food security in the developed world than previously possible. Huge yields were achieved from relatively small areas of land, making food easy to come by in the developed world for most people. As modern farming practices developed, the need for sustainable agriculture was broadened from economic and food sustainability to environmental and social sustainability. While the level of investment in agricultural research and development has been substantially reduced since the green revolution, the knowledge within the sector has greatly increased and agricultural businesses have adjusted their practices to deliver agriculture sustainability.

Sustainable agriculture program

Today all agricultural industries including grains, horticulture, fisheries, sugar and meat are concerned with sustainable agriculture. Agriculture land is not as plentiful as it was during the green revolution and to ensure the sustainability of the industries and importantly the global food supply, sustainable agriculture practices have to be at the forefront of everything the food industry does. In Australia research and development corporations, that represent farmers, invest in research and development to improve the sustainable agricultural practices. Often this is jointly funded with the federal government.

There are also plenty of agriculture schools, primary and secondary as well as sustainable agriculture courses that equip people for careers agriculture. Agricultural jobs are a lot more varied than often thought, with fields in science, engineering, exporting, international relations and e-commerce.

Sustainable agriculture is not just a buzz phrase in countries like Australia, but rather is essential business. With limited arable land, limited water and increasing climatic variability and extreme weather events improving sustainable agricultural practices is fundamental to the future success of the industry and to the worlds food supply.

Without an increase in investment in research and development the advances of the green revolution might not be enough to ensure that people continue to enjoy food security.

Sustainable farm

A sustainable farm has to be able to produce food without depleting the natural resources required to grow more produce in the future. As practices have evolved and knowledge about sustainable farming practices have expanded farmers have become aware that they are responsible for much more than their crops and animals. Where once farmers grazed animals, today sustainable livestock farmers think about themselves as managing three living ecosystems: their animals; the grass and groundcover that animals need to eat to survive and the soils which ultimately is the most important element to manage. Without good soil health sustainable farming can not exist. If soil health is depleted the grass or crops won’t grow as well. Environmental degradation on the farm and in the surrounding areas is also a reality if soil health is not a focus of sustainable farming. Without good soil health the structure of the soil can be compromised leading to dust storms and also run off of top soil in heavy rains into waterways.

Agriculture irrigation

Some sectors of agriculture rely heavily on irrigation, such as rice and cotton. Other industries like soy, horticulture, grains and cattle grazing also use some irrigation. Modern irrigation spread widely with the green revolution as a way to produce food in areas that didn’t have natural or adequate rain flow to support crops, although irrigation can be traced back to early Egyptian times.

Irrigation is somewhat of a polarising subject, particularly in areas of water scarcity. There are concerns that water is being diverted from its natural course, which has environmental impacts downstream. However others argue that without irrigation in some parts of the world that sustainable agriculture would not be possible. The debate is slowly moving towards finding a point where both objectives can be met to deliver sustainable agriculture and sustainable river and water systems downstream from where the agriculture irrigation is occurring.

Introduction to Agricultural Science

Agricultural science is the study of the practices involved in the field of agriculture. Agricultural science and agriculture, although related to each other, are essentially very different from one another. Agriculture is the art of growing plants, fruits and vegetables for human consumption. Agricultural science, on the other hand, deals with research, improvement and development in techniques of production like irrigation management, pest control etc. It includes the processes necessary for improving the quality and quantity of agricultural products.

Agricultural science deals with transforming the primary products to finished, consumption-ready products. It also involves the prevention and correction of adverse factors hampering productivity. It has been referred to as a local science because of its strong relation to the local areas. It is often considered to be a science dealing with eco-regions as it depends largely on climate and properties of soil in a particular area. These factors vary largely from one place to another. Many individuals are of the opinion that agricultural science depends on the local weather and local soil characteristics, so specific crops need to be studied locally.

History

The path breaking work of Gregor Mendel in the field of agriculture made its study very popular around the world. However, in the modern era the chemical fertilizer industries in Germany revolutionized the field of agriculture in the eighteenth century. In USA, a revolution in agricultural science began with the passing of the Hatch Act in 1887. The driving force behind the Hatch Act was the need of the nation to empower the farmers so that they could improve productivity and feed the growing population. Since the early nineteen sixties, agriculture has gained a lot of importance in developing and developed countries.

This process was known as the Green Revolution and was linked to the process of selecting and substantially improving crops for maximum productivity. Even today, a lot of research is being conducted in this field of study, which has led to the emergence of various new areas of study like waste treatment, pest management, agricultural philosophy and others that focus essentially on food production. With the growth in world population, agricultural science is the one science which will play an important role in ensuring the continuity of the human race.

Agricultural Science Degree

Agricultural science is a multi-dimensional approach to understanding and practice of various economic, social and natural sciences that are involved in agriculture. Students who graduate in the field of agricultural science have a fair understanding of the relationship between farmers, ecosystems and end-consumers through the intensive study of economics, animal husbandry, botany and everything else which is involved in the field of farming and food production. Since more than half the population of the world is indirectly or directly involved in agriculture and production of food, degrees in agricultural science provide a broad spectrum of career choices ranging from education to agronomy.

The degree consists of a curriculum that prepares the students for entry level jobs in this field. They are trained in animal and plant biology, horticulture, animal agriculture, soil science, sustaining agriculture, basic chemistry, production of food and the economics of agricultural production. These varied subjects ensure that the student is well prepared for any challenge that he or she might come across in this field.

Degree

The degree courses focus on an intensive and focused study of specialties in agriculture. The classes include advanced level chemistry, economics, management of water, computer application required for management of agriculture, environmental design, biological engineering, application of pesticides and insecticides, education and biotechnology etc. The degree also requires extensive laboratory and field work. The student can then opt for specialization courses in any of these subjects studied earlier. They can go for either online or campus based degrees in agricultural science.

Options

Since agricultural science revolves around field and laboratory work, students cannot opt for master degrees in this field of study, through online education. However, many online schools offer advanced courses in various fields like environmental policies, environmental studies and also environmental management. These three fields are very important in the study and management of food production. The courses are very similar to that of agricultural science. There are many private and state universities all over the world which offer basic and advanced level courses online.

Many universities in the US are known for offering various degree and diploma courses in this field. In the last few decades, universities in India and Australia have emerged as heavyweights in this particular field of study by undertaking revolutionary research and successfully implementing techniques in the various areas of production in agriculture. Hence, agricultural science students are highly in demand, in countries around the world.

Diploma Courses

It is not always possible for an individual to pursue full time degree courses, due to lack of time and money. In such cases, the individuals can opt for diploma courses. Any student who has completed high school education can apply for these diploma courses. Such diploma courses are also available in the field of agriculture. The courses are designed in such a way that they provide the students with a thorough introduction to horticulture, animal husbandry and agriculture. Agricultural diploma courses are highly recommended for students who want to pursue a career in Horticultural management or Management of Agricultural Farms.

There are many types of diploma courses like Basic Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses. These courses offer the students with the knowledge of different aspects of agricultural science. These courses also cover some elementary subjects like human resource, physical and financial management.

Agriculture diploma courses are offered by almost all the top universities since around the world. In fact, there are some colleges which specialize in agricultural diplomas. Diploma courses can also be completed online through distance education. However, this is not a very popular choice as the students have a very limited opportunity for field work and practical application. In the present situation, agricultural diploma has emerged as a very powerful tool for people who want to pursue a career in the agricultural sector.