Organic Food As a Fast-Growing Segment of US Agriculture

Lately organic food is gaining popularity, the trend being stable for at least five years. The recent research conducted by the Food Marketing Institute provides proof that majority of American citizens buy organic food at least once a month.

This segment of US agriculture shows rapid growth. Only in 2007 organic food retailers earned more than 20 billion dollars. The annual growth of organic dairy industry is estimated to be 18 percent by the year 2010.

Let us have a look at the main idea beneath organic food production, i.e. using materials and practices that could improve the ecological balance of natural systems. We cannot be absolutely sure that organic products are free of residues yet there are best practices involved in production that are directed at minimizing pollution from air, soil and water. And organic food production is controlled y strict state and federal standards, too.

Thus mostly people tend to treat organic food as that which is devoid of fertilizers or pesticides. Nonetheless the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) labelled food as organic if it is 95 percent pure.

Sometimes products contain only 70 percent of organic materials or even less. This kind of food cannot be called organic but it can be labelled “made with organic ingredients”. Thus you should differentiate between these forms of products at the supermarket.

De facto non-organic practices in the USA release more than one billion pounds of pesticides. The USDA’s tests prove that organic products contain three or four times less pesticide residues than in conventionally produced fruits and vegetables.

And conventional practices in agriculture can result in water contamination. According to Environmental Working Group’s research that was conducted back in 1955 across the Corn Belt, in Louisiana and Maryland, scientists concluded that tap water pesticide contamination was at health risk levels. The solution was in organic farming methods, as well as developing the soil.

It is important to notice that the term organic has another meaning than organic. Sometimes food producers seeking higher sales and good reputation make tricks by labelling their food as natural as it does not comply to organic food standards.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows using the term natural for food that does not contain any added colourings, artificial ingredients or synthetic substances.

That is why more and more non-organic producers try to present their products as good for health and thus, in 2008, about one third of all new US food and beverage products were labelled with the word “natural”.

Signs of Global Sanity? Sharing of Innovative Agricultural Solutions to Help Farmers and Consumers

Agriculture is the direct or indirect livelihood of three quarters of the world’s poor, who live in rural areas.

The 2008 food crisis and the subsequent global financial crisis, showed the extreme vulnerability of developing countries to fluctuations in food prices and supplies.

But the impact was not only on developing world farmers – it affected consumers world-wide in food scarcities, eg rice in Thailand, and higher prices.

In Nov 2008 Egypt – UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) sponsored the first ever international conference on Sharing Innovative Agribusiness Solutions – From Farms to Markets: Providing Know-how and Finance.

If the conference activities can be sustained it’s an initiative that would potentially benefit small farmers in developing world, consumers everywhere and the planet as a whole.

“Our vision is sustainable development”

In his opening speech Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, Founder of SEKEM said that Sustainable development could satisfy our needs and aspirations without decreasing the chances for future generations……but that we need to learn the basic principals of ecology.

“….. Being ecologically literate means understanding the principles of organisations of ecological communities including our educational com¬munities, political and business communities. So that principles of education, management and politics include the principles of ecology.”

A little about SEKEM

In 1977 the economic and social hardship of his countrymen galvanised Social Entrepreneur and medical doctor Dr Abouleish into buying 70 hectares of desert scrubland, 60 km north-east of Cairo and close to the River Nile.

He called the new experimental farm there SEKEM – from Ancient Egyptian: “vitality from the sun”.

SEKEM was able to transform the desert into a showcase example of sustainable agriculture and a healthy ecosystem through biodynamic farming methods.

Its efforts in organic cultivation led to the conversion of the entire Egyptian cotton industry to organic methods.

Starting off with a dairy and crop farm, SEKEM soon began to produce herbal teas and to market its biodynamic produce in Europe. This initiative helped other farms in Egypt to switch to biodynamic farming. A part of its mix of activities the farm uses bio-fertilizers.

The 2008 Cairo conference brought together over 400 agribusiness stakeholders from more than 65 countries, including representatives of private and public institutions (technical and financial), international organizations, donor countries, civil society, universities and research institutions to share innovative agribusiness solutions

Topics covered supply/value chains, market access and linkages, Compliance with standards and conformity assessment, Technology and value addition and Innovative forms of financing

Participants were enthusiastic about working together to achieve change. central to the debate were “Innovation and opportunity”, “partnerships based on trust” and “the need for commitment”, also the need for a holistic approach to agriculture taking into account the needs of specific groups, and avoiding the mistake of thinking that “one size fits all”.

Four key issues were identified:

1. Financial: small producers need finance to bridge the gap between initial costs and eventual benefits to help them enhance their productivity and agricultural product distribution.

2. Up to date information: small farmers and SMEs need access to up-to-date market information to enable them to compete effectively in local, regional and international markets.

One example cited was an Indian project, an e-Choupal (“choupal” means gathering place in Hindi) programme that places computers with internet access in rural farming villages; e-Choupals acted as both a social gathering place for exchange of information and an e-commerce hub.

3. Investment in supply-chain infrastructure: Governments, the food industry, agribusiness and consumer goods retailers need to invesr in supply-chain infrstructures, which have a long economic life.

e-Choupal had a role here too: Out of an initial effort to re-engineer the procurement process for soy, tobacco, wheat, shrimp and other cropping systems in rural India grew a highly profitable distribution and product design channel for the company – an e-commerce platform and also a low-cost fulfilment system focused on the specific needs of rural India

4. Use of technology: using technological know-howfor improving yields, includingbio-fertilizers applied as soil or seed inoculants and foliar spray, reduction of post-harvest losses through better product preservation techniques, quality preservation processes and innovative ingredients to reduce microbial and toxin contamination, increased cost-efficiency related to local production, collective brands and quality criteria enhancement to strengthen small-scale producers, packaging technology and efficient logistics.

A range of follow-up activities was reportedly initiated, including a new project (supported by the Italian Development Cooperation) to extend ETRACE(UNIDO’s Egyptian Traceability Centre for Agro-Industrial Exports) activities and help other developing countries to establish similar centres.

Further follow-up initiatives will focus on promotional and outreach activities such as the development of an interactive networking and matchmaking platform for agribusiness practitioners, which will allow continuous sharing of more innovative solutions and best practices with more participants and thus foster more business and development partnerships

If the momentum from this conference can be sustained the future could be brighter for all of us, consumers and farmers alike.

Copyright (c) 2010 Alison Withers

Online Agriculture Career Preparation

Becoming a part of the agriculture industry is a process that requires students to complete schooling and meet specified qualifications. Students can enter a degree program online where they learn all of the integral parts of the field. Many colleges provide online education to help students prepare for a career.

The field breaks down essential key areas that need to be learned in connection with business principles. Students can prepare for a career by completing key steps.

Key Step One: Research the Career Possibilities

Students can enter many careers in agriculture. Before enrolling in an online program it’s recommended that students consider what area of agriculture they would like to work in, as this decision often dictates what educational level and concentration to pursue. Online information can be found on the various careers to help students pin point their preferred area of interest. Greenhouse manager, plant and soil technician, ranch manager, soil composition specialist, policymaker, and educator are a couple of career options students can pursue.

Each field has students conducting different tasks and overseeing multiple aspects of their area. For example, a greenhouse manager will oversee the support structures and operation of several greenhouses. This includes being responsible for the growing of plants and where they are sold, whether it’s locally or nationally. Another possibility is becoming a soil scientist. Professionals examine the chemical, physical, biological, and mineral makeup of soil in direct relation to plant and crop growth. Students can enter these careers after first completing education.

Key Step Two: Complete Education

Once students know which area of the industry is for them, they will be able to complete the correct level of education. Online accredited schools and colleges offer students programs from the associate’s to master’s degree level. Each level presents specific career related knowledge that allows students to step into the industry with confidence. Each educational program offers students the same general coursework. Specific courses will be taken according to the specialization that students have chosen. General courses may include:

  • Soil Fertility
  • Agribusiness Management
  • Horticulture
  • Livestock Science

Students can expect to study biology, the science of soil, plant cultivation, and how to operate farming equipment. Skills are adapted through online coursework that gives lessons through video and audio demonstrations.

Completing a degree program is the best way to enter the field. Students can enter a career in approximately two years when they earn their associate’s degree. Further study at the bachelor’s level, which is often required, takes four years. Students that pursue a master’s degree can expect to earn advanced training in a two-year program.

Begin preparing for a career in agriculture by learning about the career possibilities. Online education is a great way to learn and students can begin training by enrolling in an accredited program. Full accreditation is given to agriculture schools and colleges that offer the best quality education by agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges ( http://www.accsc.org/ ).

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Starting Out in the Bu$ine$$ of Agriculture

There are five things to seriously consider when starting up a farm, no matter if you are pursuing an interest in crop farming, raising livestock like cattle or sheep, for instance, or growing fruit:

1) There’s tough, hard work involved

If you want to farm, it’s tough, hard work with little satisfaction in the end. It’s no wonder 90% or more of the young people that come off of farms don’t want to go back to it. No money in it, comprised mostly of blood, sweat and tears, with a little reward in the end. No benefits, no health coverage, no labour unions to say when you should start your day, have your lunch break and end it. That’s all for you to decide. And your hours in your day depend on the weather and how many things you have to have done in a day.

2) Start small (a must!!)

Never go off the deep end if you don’t know how to swim. You could drown in bankruptcy or personal injury if you have no idea what you are getting into. The thing that I have learned over the years and from talking to other veteran farmers is to start small. Especially if you have no prior experience. Unlike those farmer’s sons and daughters that want to continue to farm by taking over their parent’s operation and can go into or continue, a newbie needs to learn first either by working on an existing farm that has been operating for a number of years, or get a mentor, or both.

For example, if I want to get into cow-calf business, I have to do my research and asking questions first before I take the plunge and purchase some cows with calves. I do have previous farming experience which helps significantly, as well as capital to keep the newly founded herd on, so that is not as much of a problem as other folks do who are moving from the big city to the wide countryside.

3) Do your research: Popularity and Fabs aren’t Everything

Don’t give in easily to the fabs and the popular equipment or livestock out there. Often time those popular type of livestock or equipment will not work out for you and your plan of operation. For example, the Angus breed. Angus cattle are not really known for their docility, just the fact that they produce darn good beef off their carcass and are the most popular breed observed in the United States and Canada to date. Yes they are good for range cattle, yes they are good mothers, yes they have great calving ease (depending on selection), yes the A.A.A (American Angus Association) have a great marketing initiative to make them the highest selling breed on the market in competition with the other coloured breeds. But, is that what you want? Not too long ago a genetic disorder has cropped up in the Angus breed called Curly Calf Syndrome, a disorder that results in dead calves at birth from suspected linebreeding of cattle from similar lineages–which is often the case when you have millions of Angus cattle across the continent. Another concern is that the Angus breed is more for those who can handle potentially aggressive mothers and somewhat-nutty bulls, among other things. I could go on.

Another example is rookie producer that has a small farm of 80 acres or less decides on going all out and purchasing large, brand-new machinery that is only suitable for farms with huge tracts of field-land to cover. A farm of only 80 acres maybe only devote half the acreage to the production of barley or corn; the other half would more likely go into living space, garden, and livestock areas. That’s only 40 acres of crop sown, and if that newbie goes out and spends all that money on that kind of machinery that is only going to be used once or twice a year, at the very least, he shouldn’t even be farming: he should be owning an equipment dealership instead. It sounds harsh, sure, but look at it this way: that machinery is probably worth more than the farm is. Depretiation, as well as the long run costs of maintaining this new-fangled equipment just isn’t necessary on a small farm. Either hiring custom outfits to till, sow, spray and harvest the crop for you or purchasing older, and much cheaper machinery from an auction is the best thing to go for. Personally, I’d have it custom done. Or convert it into hay or pasture…

4) Plan, plan, plan!

Planning is a huge deal in today’s world when one is starting a farm right from scratch. A farm is a business, no matter if it involves selling grain and livestock, or fruits and vegetables. A business plan, be it complex or simple, is the best thing to develop and have on hand when planning and implementing those plans to the farm. It also gives the bank an idea of what you want to do if you wish to take out a loan. Back in the old days, you could start farming without needing to form a plan, everything was simple and plain. Now, you have tons of options to choose from and just as much ways to sell your end product. Plan what to do and how to do it: it’s the key to success.

5) Location, location, location.

The most important factor that determines what kind and what size of farm to start up are the varied choices to consider in location, geography and climate. All of these have an influence in your choice to farm in that area and what crops and livestock are best to raise or grow. In the case of livestock, there are at least four factors to contend with that are totally out of your control when raising the critters: topography, climate, vegetation, and soil.

Case in point, look at the differences between that found in Alberta, Canada and in Florida, USA. Alberta has quite the variation in topography, from the rugged Rocky Mountains to the west, to prairie that stretches from the southern border all the way up to Lloydminster and west to the foothills, as well as a significant patch up in Grande Prairie and Peace River areas. We also have boreal forest that extends from south of Athabasca all the way to the northern border and beyond. Florida doesn’t have that much of variation in topography: grasslands and swamps as well as the ocean that surrounds much of its southern, western and eastern borders (note: there are also many swamps found up here in Alta, many of which have no bottom: those are considered “muskeg” or “bog”). Alberta has a drier climate that varies in rainfall: the prairies get less rainfall than the boreal forest. Florida is quite a moist area all around because of the influence of the ocean and its currents. Alberta has four defined seasons, one of which is more wickeder than the other three. Florida’s four seasons are very much less defined, with snow being rare around there.

Alberta has a very wide range of soil type, from rich, organic soil created from the grasses of the prairie, to acidic, sandy soil derived from the spruce and pine of the boreal forest. New soil is also found in various areas; clays are also found to the north, south of the boreal. Florida’s soil (forgive me if I get this wrong) ranges from loamy to sandy with not much between, depending on the topography.

Vegetation comes in wide varieties as well in Alberta, thanks to human intervention. We are able to grow C4 grasses (annuals like corn; other annuals that are not C4’s are most cereal crops like wheat, barley, oats, rye and triticale) in the spring and summer months, only to have them die when the cold snows hit. Most of the native vegetation is adapted to withstand cold winters to regrow in the summer, therefore 98% of the grasses found in pasture and hayland are C3 grasses, grasses that start to grow in early April and last until June or July, already completing their life-cycle long before winter arrives. The trees and shrubs too are adapted to a colder, drier climate: our prime example are evergreens. Florida does not have to worry about extreme cold temperatures, thus the grasses that grow there are more commonly C4 grasses, those grasses that will grow later in the spring/summer and complete their life-cycle come fall. C3 grasses are also found there, but grow only during the “winter” months. The trees and shrubs there as well as adapted to a warm, humid climate and thrive as such. Similar differences are found in forbs grown in Alberta and Florida.

When you get these different climates even with cropping systems, this can limit you to what type of crop plants you can/should plant. Some areas of the USA and Canada can be too cold for one crop and too warm for another, or vice versa. Soil type is also very important, as well as topography. You can’t grow a field of wheat in the chaparral desert of Arizona, even if you tried! The mountainous terrain of the Cumberland hills in the Apalachain mountains, for instance, is not a wise place to plant corn. So topography, climate and soil type is critical in determining where to farm, how to farm and what to farm.

6) When you get down to it, it’s all up to you in the end.

There are more variables, such as personal choices and goals, that should also be taken into account when wanting to establish a farm, and this can be considered a sixth factor in choosing where/how to farm. Are you able to contend with Alberta’s cold winters, where the snow gets deep and feeding livestock can sometimes be a challenge, but the summers are warm however short, with beautiful fall days and summer storms to live with? Or would you rather like a warm humid climate where you are able to graze 365 days a year with hurricanes and swarms of bugs (i.e. chiggers, flies, mosquitoes) to contend with? And do you prefer to tinker with machinery and watch your crop grow, or would you rather be happy with looking after livestock, with fixing fence, looking after sick animals, planning pasture rotations, feed diets, breeding and birthing schedules, etc? Perhaps you may want to do both. And perhaps you may only want to have a few acres as a hobby farmer instead of going whole-hog and have a farm that is at least 100 acres in size?

It’s all up to you.

Four Horsemen of the Cultural Apocalypse – Criminology, Psychology, Sociology and Theology

Historic attempts, feeble and selfish at best, the four horsemen of the cultural apocalypse long endeavored to establish their relevance for defining human nature. For the tip of psychic iceberg, the regression devolved from philosophical contemplation to pretentious claim of scientific validity. Behold, they came from the darkness of human intentions, to claim truths yet to be found in the shadowy mysteriousness of human intentions, motivations and eternal damnation. As to pundits, politicians, the public and the proselytes for each cause, or school of thought, or cult of confession, they fostered arrogance of speculation deemed “scientific”.

Of those not seriously qualifying as a science, as in astronomy, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, by way of rigorous analytic contention, philosophical conjecture conspired to make its creations inventive nightmarish creatures. In the realms of academic, the path of least resistance, the trails the herd frequently travels and the walkways crowded with mass gullibility, sleight of hand mesmerized the many. As to the usual suspects, in the treachery of myth, magic and metaphor, the four collude their smug piety in egregious fallacies of inference. Of that, the wayward pretenses of magical thinking deludes the masses in simplistic thinking.

Complicity is found in the ease by which degreed sanctification blusters in the hallowed sanctuaries of anecdotal regurgitation, flashbacks through history and bogus claims of research validity. Where the challenge comes in mathematical analytics, biologic physicality, subatomic microscopy, astronomical forensics, and proof of scientific validity, the horsemen excuse their shortcomings in appeals that hope springs eternal. Subjective validation supersedes facts. Their bafflegab trespasses upon many boundaries, as criminology, psychology, sociology and theology strike back with a vengeance. None dare disagree and breaks from the formation.

In the adventures of pseudosciences, anything is possible, and yet, the mere mention of the word should not engage fear, animosity or condemnation. Nothing about the term should invite excommunication, exorcism or execution, but instead encourage the intensity of continuous investigation. No silver bullets, holy water or laying on of hands should amass a counteroffensive against those who might question the scientific authenticity of myriad conjectures. Healthy skepticism in the pursuit of intellectual vitality, by insistence upon investigative scrutiny, questioning and doubting specious generalizations, is creative and productive.

Nonetheless, the mention of anything that might sound like, look like, or feel like a hint of something akin to “pseudoscience”, the emotional reactivity transmutes a seemingly normal looking individual into a venomous demonic entity. The question arises as what constitutes normal, or better yet, what is a “reasonable person”. Additionally, the query begs the timeline as to when it became acceptable to advance varying levels of stupidity or ignorance in terms of hunting down the truth and proving evidence to support any assertion. The negativity is nauseous.

As to that historic point of reference, in article of major online science journal, the writer ponders at what point in U.S. history it became part of the social mainstream to accept fiction over facts. Further, as one of the founding fathers claimed well-reasoned thinking processes, supported by scientific validation, and persistent testing and systematic study to prove or disprove, are essential to the revelations of truth beyond doubt. The hint is in the writings of historic scientific investigators and those who contributed to the Declaration of Independence.

While people have a right to their beliefs, at least to some degree in the West, knowledge advances wisdom which transforms civilization, not by mere conjecture based on opinion, but by intense study, rigorous testing and analysis, argument and dispute. Additionally, belief systems either transform over time, or remain static prone to stagnation. Regardless, continuous introspective assessment within each individual is essential.

Further, ongoing discourse is vital, as each ought to understand the other given their perspective, time and place, maturity, experience, innovation, growth and discovery. As most are where they are at a point in time, based on at least the forgoing, but also their selfless attention to rigorous analysis of their ideations that channel into propositional viewpoints. Disagreement is indispensable, while peer review is a fraud, unless the laboratory, or the crime lab, the microscope proves the assertion at hand by the physical nature of scientific validation. Alternative philosophical fascinations often remain fixated on unsubstantiated illusions.

Ideological claims are insufficient without the stringent testing of evidentiary authentication by the weight of physical realm provability. As to that, beliefs, especially those of an occultic, supernatural or cultic philosophical standpoint are immensely tainted by the bias of subjective validation. Key to the maturation of experienced real-world credibility includes the degree to which transformation has chosen a higher path of informed enlightenment. While everyone should labor to transcend their personal egoistic intentions, most will be unwilling to concede their self-interests. Unfortunately, arrogance contrives to make pseudoscience into a science.

For non-practitioners in the various schools of philosophy, particularly those who transferred from the classroom to the faculty room, and never set foot in the real world, the challenge of credible scientific validation remains daunting. So much so, that “field research” often passes on as anecdotal observations, interviews, surveys and speculations regarding other research. In the regurgitation of previous opinionated speculations, sometimes, a facade of “scientific” is attached to the inquiry. Sooner or later, others begin to accept the “scientific validation”.

The gamesmanship becomes even more pervasive as that public begins to accept ideological perspectives as “conclusive proof” of an unsubstantiated claim. While some investigators have tried to foster a round table discussion on issues of “real science” versus “pseudoscience”, as well as “peer review” versus critical analysis, the experience has been less than satisfactory. Particularly in the world of academia, where fantasy sometimes becomes a defensive theory, challenges to the pretentious allegory of fiction masquerading as fact, usually invites severe reaction.

To claim or otherwise perpetrate the illusion of a science, a particular school of thought, or ideology, etc., does little to promote problem solving in everyday matters of human behavior. While various doctrinal and dogmatic traditions assert a scientific basis, the reality is such that a claim of using “scientific methodology” is a shallow appeal the practicality. By the convolutions of magical thinking, it is a leap of faith from theory to evidentiary validation. And, in the 21st century, reflecting the words of one scientist, people may have forsaken the ability to distinguish between science and science fiction. Personal bias skews every point of view.

For the inclination to subjective validation, bias enters every query. Control of that predisposition by way of some effort at objectivity is vital to any investigation. Accordingly, this suggests the influence of the investigators personal beliefs. Attempts have been made to identify preconceived notions and their influence in relation to ideological partiality. Depending on the survey and the organization conducting the survey, results may vary to some degree. In this regard, one study of religious inclination by a major research agency, as pertains to a “belief in God”, suggested little of 80% of the participants believed in a “higher authority”.

That is to say, the majority claimed a belief in a divine being or supernatural entity that influences their lives. On an education basis, those with graduate degrees were reported to have a believability range of about 70%. Of course, the temptation here is to speculate on the influence of belief systems and the claim of “scientific methodology” among the pseudosciences. Where two thirds of educated persons believe in the supernatural, how does that impact objectivity?

The illusionary intricacy assumes many parts of the whole. Taking belief systems from “cultic”, or dogmatic sources, the comingling of presumptive errors compound the mythic proportions by which fallacies of inference transition to accepted hastily drawn conclusion. In collusion with multiple facetious claims, unsubstantiated by the organic rigors of physical evidence, whether microscopic or cosmic, viewpoints, opinions and gossipy flirtations mutate into grotesque forms of imaginative superstitions. In most controversies of argumentation and debate, as regards human behavior from a mental analysis, interactivity of interpersonal exchange should be cautiously anticipated.

One or more participants may not have achieved sufficient maturation.
To confront or otherwise interact in more profanely productive ways, a certain degree individualization is necessary. Bias, prejudice, immaturity, inexperience, lack of close contact with reality, and so on, stifle energetic intensity for enlightened liberation. As suggested in the forgoing, dogmatic and doctrinaire beliefs constrict visionary processes. This suggests probable generational rift, as younger generations may not have arrived at levels of competency strengthened by years of experience, education and personal transformation. Mature, adult, grownup and wiser insightfulness requires extraordinary investment of well-differentiated selflessness.

An example of the youthful indifference to adventurous discovery outside the monogamous constrictions of institutional conformity, comes in the form of limited and defensive perspectives. One aspect is easily attacking alternative points of views, such as the ease by which schools of thought in psychology quickly condescend the medical specialty of psychiatry. That is fascinating intrigue of extraordinary bias, especially considering the roots of psychology. Opinions are not evidence of extraordinary discovery for the complete explanation of human nature.

But of course, in mainstream American society, any conjecture can be accepted without question as scientific efficacy. Of which, the frauds perpetrate the worst afflictions over a weakened society. In a dumbed down culture, self-imposed of course, anything is believable. Plus, bias reflects the academic arrogance of fearful, self-absorbed, child-like infantile narcissism. In this, as for example within the collegiate communities, academia perpetrates the fantasy as fact, absent materiality of scientific proof. And yet, the hypocrisy runs rampant.

On the offensive, in a celebrity worship culture, any actor of famous characterization can pontificate on any social issues and be accepted as authorities. While free speech is one thing, and an opinion is good anyone else’s, expertise is quite an exception. Opinions, gossip and rumors are not evidence. To use one’s wealth, status and influence is not equitable.

Where bias clouds conjecture and otherwise influences conclusions, observational misinterpretation hazes over the reliability of personal perspective. All utterances should be suspected of cognitive bias, as eyewitness testimony is subjected to cross-examination. Yet, frequently, to leverage one’s apparent status of supposedly famous stature and notoriety, to espouse an opinion as though fact or scientific validation, is to use the force and effect of egoistic intimidation. It is insulting and abusive to presuppose one’s socio-economic political status is more relevant than some else. Power and privilege do not infer intelligence.

Such arrogant notions, as for example a Hollywood actor, blabbering about guns and school violence are essentially private opinions. Often such blathering are superficial for fame and personal promotion, and avoid any semblance of scientific or evidentiary authentication. Unsubstantiated speculations do more harm than good and serve to mislead others. In the use of wealth, pretense of authority, and presumed reputation, many frauds are perpetrated.

Given the nature of egregious fallacies of inference, public policy can be adversely affects, as politicians tend to be easy targets of pseudoscience. Such exhibitions of notoriety use the unfair advantage of material success to promote a particular economic or political agenda. Often the result is further erosion of any aspect of intellectual discourse to serve the greater good, or protect the general welfare of the republic. Too frequently, stupidity advances instead of wisdom. When the four horsemen enter the scene of societal interactivity, pseudoscience quickly becomes the imposter impersonating the reality of scientific validity. Fiction replaces fact.

A very quick admonition is to exercise a sense of healthy skepticism by common sense application of cynical analysis. People say and do what people say do because it’s what they desire to do. Claims, assertions and studies of any kind are to be carefully investigated by testing the data, insisting upon replication and ensuring scientific efficacy. At one of the inquiry is the immediate understanding that correlation cannot be confused with causation. Regardless, the intentional collusion is committed every day in the not so hallowed halls of academia.

In the non-science realm of philosophical speculation, anything is possible. Pseudoscience can easily concoct an explanation and assert a correlation as a causation. While comparing an apple and orange side by side, one can infer the relationship as examples of fruit. In terms of a distinctive differentiation, a dissimilar nature emerges. Nonetheless, many can easily conjure along a simplistic continuum claim a specificity of correlation to causation generalities. No matter what the facts may show, some will insist every apple is actually an orange.

Since the comparison of the fruit was conducted over a bushel or a basket or two, the observational bias, and the resulting survey assessment, extrapolate a very broad generalization. Given the fruit’s family tree, seasonal abnormalities, and agricultural inequities, it is easy to infer that all apples and oranges are exactly the same. In other words, one template fits all. After labeling one or more as “bad apples”, or “rotten oranges”, the diagnosis, or cultivation, transitions to a “cure”, which typically means a drug therapy, or pesticide to kill off the psychic contagion.

In the end, a question lingers in the haze of magical thinking, regardless of protestations and threats of retaliation for political correctness violations, and that is what does the scientific evidence show? Followed up by, what does the blood test, x-ray, ultra sound or other lab test reveal? Offenses are easily taken when serious speculation challenges viewpoints. However, when consensus, or by majority vote, a theoretical construct becomes a “diagnosis”, skepticism ought to fill the void in the empty spaces around the special conjecture.

The insightful inquisitor chases every element of claims said to be true to the exclusion of every other possibility. Unfortunately, in a devolving society, facts are easily circumvented for the satiation of the most convenient and simplistic explanation. Of which, conjecture is not really an explanation at all. Speculation as to the superficiality of an alleged “mental illness” issue is an opinion based on a theory. It is centuries old dogma exorcizing demons, or fortune telling masquerading as “criminal profiling”, or pseudoscience pretending to be science.

Doctrines of the supernatural are schemes of myth, magic and metaphysical suppositions, for which something called faith accepts undefinable phenomena. Faithfulness to an ideology does not insist upon the rigors of scientific validation. Meanwhile, in the hypocrisy of belief, if 80% of the population, including adherents of certain schools of “social studies”, believe in things supernatural, bias of speculation has been influenced before the fact.

So, bias influences conclusions about one thing or another, while observations of the biased inquirer has preconceived notions as to subsequent observations. In conjunction, designing a form of investigation, or model to be tested, in conjunction with predisposition aforethought, influences the outcome determined in the results. To this primordial mix, throw in “scientific sounding” jargon and anecdotal references similarly supportive, and a whole scheme of conjecture becomes believable. Now add a spiritual dimension, or occult symbolism, or doctrinaire admonition, and eventually the unsubstantiated claims will be accepted. By politicians, pundits and the public. Willful acceptance follows the easy path of simplistic acquiescence.

Easy trouble free receptivity does not provide the motivational basis of in-depth inquiry. To say that “it turns out that”, “it has been reported that”, or “it is assumed that”, and so on, does not substantiate anything. In fact, to the contrary, immediate challenge should be issued. Any and all claims are to be vigorously tested, debated and questioned. Alleged data ought to receive critical analysis, while opinion, rumor and gossip are never to be accepted without thorough investigation. Likewise, jargon, labeling, and so-called diagnoses from a philosophical viewpoint are to be questioned without hesitance. Included in this inquisition is any pretentiousness relative to anecdotal claims of supposed credibility. Similarly, faith proves nothing.

Motive, means and opportunity is an illusion. This typical “crime solving” rubric sounds nice in a movie or television drama. The public finds this sort of simplicity easy to digest. However, it is misleading. At best, a starting point. Nonetheless, such a perspective can be misleading and counterproductive. In a classical criminological spectrum, such admonitions by an inquirer are meaningless unless evidentiary substantiation suffices the authenticity of scientific validation. Every critical analysis invites the provocation as to whether or not an issue can be elevated to a scientific sufficiency by matters of reliable proof of technical authentication.

Absent serious evidentiary verification, credible legitimacy and substantive multifaceted verification, supposition based on opinion remains insufficient. As research comes in many forms, and data often manipulated to ensure subjective validation, intense scrutiny of any claim is essential. Otherwise, conjecture, assumption, inference, and so forth, are speculative points of interests that demand deeper investigation. To the reference of motive, means and opportunity, yes, fiction writers are fond of any phrase redundantly torturing one cliché after another.

Outside the hardcore sciences of forensic analysis, the “soft sciences”, “social studies, or more adversely the pseudosciences, perpetuate grievous fallacies of inference that render an assortment of hasty generalizations. Especially in detective fiction, movies, television, etc., the repetitive nature of fallacies of inference unfortunately carry over into the real world. Unfortunately, people will believe anything. Faulty conclusions, lazily drawn through the zeal of immediate gratification for a definitive “singular theory”, erroneously pontificated upon cognitive bias, results in unsubstantiated conjecture. This sets the stage of divisive social policy and hastens the eventual demise of the human species. That point relates to the regressive inclinations of human devolution. In a world losing the imaginative edge of innovation, the decay of analytic insight, and the loss of rational methodology, self-serving infantilism invites a dystopic set of consequences.

Observing post-election vehemence in the grotesque rhetoric of condescension is but one example of a regressively adversarial trend in the American society. An entitled sense of retaliation for perceived claim of “victimization”, irrationally justifies a “get even” mentality. Selfishness, the grand scheme of personal enrichment, easily allows the seduction to any mythic or supernatural means to exert power, control and domination over others. From the standpoint of personal belief systems, influenced by ideological extremes of one form or another, the baseless claims of over-simplification justifies egregious fallacies of inference clinging to hasty generalizations.

Lacking the backbone, expressing cowardice in avoiding courageous actions toward wiser ascension, and degrading the freedom of individuality, the social mainstream exhibits an illicit collective consensus that conspires to stifle mature growth. In the process of perpetual putdowns toward another perspective because they disagree, expresses the erosion of the free exercise of competitive ideations. Maturation to higher states of mental and physical individuality demands fortitude beyond the normal routine of daily interactivity.

In addition, such evolving transformation bears the signpost of pointing in the direction of an attendant possibility toward a more probable outcome of higher self-realization. Across the superficiality of social media and “opinionated” news reporting, the shallowness of bloated “mindless” conceit wallows in the shortsighted inebriation of degrading arrogance. As such, anti-thinking pervades the array of communal connections with a range of nonsensical notions for the sake of emotional reactivity. In support of the status quo consensus of myriad small-minded illusions, meaningful levels of rational understanding stifle the elevation of society.

As alleged in one major publication, representing one of the four horsemen (criminology, psychology, sociology and theology), an author for the “psyche” realm accuses religion as being representative of faulty reasoning that leads to magical thinking. In so doing, the claimant suggests gross errors of “cognitive bias” in the spheres of religiosity and the paranormal. The argument proposed is that such things are the result of wishful thinking not scientific validation.

Such is a fascinating notion emanating from field closely allied to the psychological aspects within the arena of “social studies”. But wait, one could offer by contrast that the “four horsemen” are very closely related in that real science is not a strong element in their entrenched domains. All such accusations, claims and ideological perspectives devolve to speculations based on philosophical biases. Hope springs eternal in the non-reality of subjective validation and ensuring consistent patterns of simplistic conjecture. As such, the status quo remains secure.

Different Types of Farm And Agricultural Machinery

As the population of the country grows the demand for food and organic products also increases. The farmers and farm land owners have to work hard to produce more products so that they meet the increased demands. In recent times technology has led the way and transformed the way agricultural activities are performed. There are different types of farm and agricultural machines which can now be used by farmers. Although they are expensive, they can really help a lot in improving efficiencies and increasing produce. Some of the different types of machines are described below.

Tractor

This is the most commonly used equipment in the farm. A tractor pulls heavy objects and supplies needed in the production. It has two large wheels at the back and two small wheels in front. Today tractors are more modernized. They have comfortable seats, durable wheels and body and temperature control.

Cultivator

Before planting, the soil should be cultivated by stirring and pulverizing. This is to aerate the soil. Like the tractor, this machine also has two big wheels at the back and two small wheels in front. It also has shanks or teeth which will cultivate the soil once the machine is operational.

Broadcast seeder

It is a machine that is attached to the tractor so that the seed will be distributed all over the land. The seeds are located in a hopper which has multiple blades inside. Rotating disks are also located so that you can spread the seeds in different patterns.

Harvester

When the plants are already ready to be harvested, a harvester is used. All kinds of grains can be collected by a harvester. It performs three different roles. It can chop the plants, remove the finished product and clean the debris from the product.

Sprayer

Plants are prone to pest infestation. You need to protect them by regularly applying pesticides. You can only do this when you have a sprayer. It facilitates the work especially if your land is wide. You can also use the self- propelled row-crop sprayer which has four wheels. The sprayer is usually found at the back of this equipment.

With these different types of farm and agricultural machinery, farmers have been able to produce a higher quantity of products at a lesser cost. They have proved to be a boon to the farmers. In some locations, farmers may also be able to secure bank loans to purchase such equipment.

Working In Agriculture

A wide variety of agriculture jobs exist, ranging from hands-on field work to complex positions in agricultural engineering. Specific job categories include agribusiness, agricultural inspection, agriscience, and farm work. Some positions are learned on the job, while others will require a college degree and specialized training.

Agriculture jobs in the business sector involve working with companies that grow and sell crops and livestock. The distribution, buying, and trading of produce may be supervised. The work typically includes marketing, price analysis, drafting contracts, and farm management. Most of these positions will require a four-year degree or higher, as well as good communication and people skills.

Agricultural inspectors often work for government offices that establish and enforce health and safety regulations regarding the food supply. These inspectors make sure that farms and processing plants are following the proper procedures where food safety is concerned. This usually involves testing livestock for harmful diseases and inspecting food for dangerous microbes and other contaminants.

An agricultural scientist works to improve the quality and safety of both farm animals and crops. These positions are often found in universities and research labs. The agricultural jobs may include improving farm equipment technology to increase the quantity and quality of goods, finding cures for diseases that affect livestock and crops, and discovering more effective methods of pest control. A strong background in science, math, and engineering is necessary for this position.

Farming was likely the very first agriculture job; in addition to crops and livestock, it may also involve specialized animal breeding. To ensure healthy crops, the art of plowing, planting, and fertilization must be learned for each crop type. The responsible use of pesticides is also important, as well as the routine maintenance of facilities and equipment. A production manager may be employed to oversee progress, while also finding ways to increase production using less time and money. Many farm positions are seasonal, employing extra workers during certain months to pick fruits and vegetables.

Animal breeders must be well educated in animal health and genetics. They must know the proper foods to feed an animal for ensuring healthy offspring, and will study the various traits of different animals to determine the best breeding specimens. Breeders will often use artificial insemination and must therefore understand how the procedure works.

Reducing High Blood Pressure With Vitamins – Four Nutrients That Will Save Your Life

In addition to prescribed medications, it is extremely beneficial to incorporate home remedies to lower your blood pressure. Hypertension is significantly dangerous and potentially life threatening. Consequently, anyone suffering from the disease would be encouraged to research information about reducing high blood pressure with vitamins. Medical research and studies conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that certain vitamins are guaranteed to lower your blood pressure.

Eating right comes easy by choosing a good diet which is essential for people with Hypertension. The dietary guidelines recommended by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and of the Health and Human Services combat the factors that are associated with high blood pressure. The goal is to minimize the unhealthy lifestyle habits that are harmful to your health and may shorten your life. Here is a productive list of USDA approved vitamin supplements that are effective against high blood pressure.

Potassium: This is a vitamin that is proven to help prevent and control high blood pressure. Be sure to eat foods that pertain plenty of Potassium. Foods that are a good source for potassium are fruits, vegetables, dairy foods and fish. Specific foods are apricots, bananas, beets, oranges, prunes, milk- fat free or skim, baked potato (flesh &skin), cooked spinach, fish and winter squash.

Calcium: This vitamin/minerals supplement is a powerful blood pressure lowering element. It is an important nutrient for overall good health. It is recommended that you take one gram of elemental calcium daily. Foods that are a good source of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. To maintain a healthy body weight, however, be sure to consume skim or lowfat varieties. Foods that are high in calcium include raw broccoli, salmon, cooked turnip greens and tofu.

Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency could be potentially dangerous for those suffering from Hypertension. As a matter-of-fact, the vitamin level is extremely low in the Hypertension patients. Therefore, it is recommended that you eat plenty of foods that contain this nutrient. It is possible to take a daily supplement of 400mg daily. Recommended food source for magnesium is beans, okra, broccoli, spinach, croaker and nuts/seeds.

Vitamin C: This nutritional supplement is important for controlling elevated blood pressure. If the serum level of Vitamin C is low, the blood pressure rises. It is not yet determined, however, if this is a result of dietary habits or a direct effect of the Hypertension.

The key to reducing high blood pressure with vitamins is to eat a variety of foods that actually supply the nutrients, fiber and vitamins that is indeed required to reduce elevated pressure. Fundamentally, you should apply a basic vitamin or mineral formula to your diet and supplement it with nutritional supplements daily.

Four Interesting Facts About Frozen Food That You May Want to Know

In today’s world, only a very small percentage of people grow their own food. Indeed, in some parts of the world, less than 5% of all people are involved in agriculture. And even for those who are involved in agriculture, it is highly unlikely that they would be in a position to grow all the foods they need. In most cases then, people end up consuming foods produced very far away from where they are. And to ensure that the food doesn’t end up being spoilt on the way, between where it is produced and where it is consumed, it becomes necessary to preserve it, through among other methods, freezing – so that we end up with frozen food.

Here, then, are five interesting facts about frozen foods that you may want to know.

1. That frozen food is not a new concept. Many of us imagine that freezing of food became a possibility with the invention of the refrigerator. Nothing could be further from the truth, because for thousands of years before the invention of the machine we know as the refrigerator, people had been consuming food that was frozen. It was one of the ways through which people in the parts of the world beset with long winters could store the food they needed to take them through the season. Of course, refrigeration (as we know it today) is a fairly young concept; originating from the 1930s – making it less than a century old.

2. That frozen food is typically poorer in some nutrients than unfrozen food. It has been observed that a considerable portion of certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and carotene get damaged during the freezing process, so that frozen food is poorer in these nutrients than food that is not frozen. Vitamin B1 and B2 are other nutrients that may also get lost during the freezing process.

3. You may want to know that frozen food is healthier than food that is preserved through the use many other methods (for instance preservatives), the loss of some nutrients that takes place during freezing notwithstanding. The idea behind using preservatives is to keep food from being invaded by micro-organisms. But freezing achieves the same objective, so that frozen food doesn’t have to be laden with preservatives. In the final analysis, the likely harm from use of some preservatives is much worse than the loss of nutritional value that freezing causes; for this loss of nutritional value is something that can be made up for.

4. That frozen food, contrary to what many of us imagine, doesn’t have to be tasteless. Sure, freezing food can cause some loss of delicacy. But if you make use of a stabilizer when putting the food into the freezer, you can conserve the taste of that food, so that it tastes ‘natural’ when it is finally taken out of the freezer for consumption.

Manufacturers of Tracked and Wheeled Agricultural Tractors

Farming would never be easy if the agricultural and farm tractors today stayed in the drawing boards. Transferring heavy sacks of fertilizers, grains, and other farming equipment made the workload light for farmers when the tracked and wheeled agricultural tractors were introduced. These tractors were also designed to have a variety of attachments for sowing, plowing, and planting. Agricultural tractor dimensions vary in order to be able to carry these additional farming technologies.

Manufacturers of agricultural tractors have considered the importance of different farming attachments that they developed a wide range of tractor choices. The New Holland Agriculture of Pennsylvania, the AGCO Corporation of New York, and John Deere and Company of Illinois continue to design and manufacture a series of models with different agricultural tractor dimensions.

New Holland has developed six models for the T9 Series 4WD – TIER4A Tractors. Each articulated tractor runs on engines of up to 507 horsepower. The agricultural tractor dimensions vary from one tractor to another. With 20.8 R 42 tires, tractors in the series have a maximum height range of 144.2 inches (3663 millimeters) to 148.5 inches (3772 mm.). The smallest tractor in the series has an overall length of 295 inches (7493 millimeters), while the largest stretches to 300 inches (7615 mm.). The smallest of the six models has an outside frame width of 36.5 inches (929 mm.), while the largest has 44 inches (1116 mm.). The wheelbase for the smallest is 148 inches (3759 mm.) and 154 inches (3911 millimeters) for the largest. The maximum operating weight for the series ranges from 42,000 pounds (19051 kilograms) to 56,000 lbs. (24,494 kg.).

The Pennsylvania manufacturer also has the TK4000 Series Crawler Tractors. The agricultural tractor dimensions for this series also varies. The TK4030V, the most slim of the four models, has a width of 46.1 inches. TK4050 has a 55.5-inch width, while the low height TK4050M has an overall width of 68.9 inches. The TK4030V delivers 64 PTO horsepower while the other two models deliver 83 PTO horsepower. The maximum length for the models in the series ranges from 130 inches (3352 millimeters) to 135 inches (3431 mm.). The range of the height from the wheel to the top of the seat is 50.3 inches (1278 mm.) to 56.3 inches (1431 mm.). The maximum height to the top of the rollbar is from 87.0 inches (2210 millimeters) to 91.5 inches (2326 mm.).

Likewise, the AGCO has manufactured agricultural tractors under the core brands of Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra. The most interesting among the more than 100 models can be found in the Challenger MT800C Special Application series. All four tracked models in the series were designed with ultra-hard wearing polyurethane mid-wheels and full-length debris deflector. The agricultural tractor dimensions in the series are not too high for the 430 to 570 rated horsepower of the engines.

Finally, John Deere also offers tracked and wheeled tractors in its 2011 8R/8RT Models. The 8335RT Tractor is the largest of the 10 models. It has a wheelbase of 99 inches (2515 millimeters). It runs on a 335 horsepower engine. The agricultural tractor dimensions in terms of width and height are stable. The overall width from axle end to end is 134.6 inches (3420 mm.), but the width expands to 174.6 inches (4435 millimeters) with the wide axle kit installed. The command view height is 131.3 inches (3334 millimeters). The length is dependent on the attachment. With the hitch, drawbar, and front weight support (excluding front suitcase weights) the length ranges from 253.1 inches (6428.4 mm.) to 256.5 inches (6514.2 millimeters). With the hitch, drawbar, front weight support, and front suitcase weights, the length ranges from 267.5 inches (6795.4 millimeters) to 270.9 inches (6881.2 millimeters).