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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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agribusiness

Crop Intensity Visualized

This visualization shows Crop Intensity data (regions that produce the most crops), followed by the MODIS croplands product, the 26 countries that produce 82% of the world’s food, the population density in 2002 and finally the projected population in 2050.

Source: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov

Follow the link to a video/animation that displays several important global agricultural trends.  NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio has produced many other agricultural visualizations that would be useful for teaching about the patterns of global agriculture. 

Tags: food production, agribusinessvisualization, agriculture.

WordPress TAGS: food production, agribusiness, visualization, agriculture.

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We’re creating cow islands

The parts of the United States that have higher populations of dairy cows are in the West and northern states.

 

Milk has moved away from cities between 2001 and 2011. Red areas indicate less milk in 2011 than 2001, green areas mean more and a buff color designates a neutral milk region.

Almost every region where you see a dark red area indicating a sharp decline in production has a large and growing population center nearby.

Source: hoards.com

As many of you will notice, this continues the reversal of some patterns that von Thünen observed and put in his famous agricultural model. 

 

Questions to Ponder: Why did milk used to need to be produced close to the cities?  Why is the old pattern changing now? How is this changing regions?

 

Tags: models, food production, agribusiness, agriculture.

Robots can pick strawberries. Now what?

“The robots have arrived. And they’ll be picking crops in Florida fields soon. Robots can do things humans can’t. They can pick all through the night. They can measure weight better. They can pack boxes more efficiently. They don’t take sick days, they don’t have visa problems.

Google ‘are robots taking our jobs?’ and you get millions of theories: Robots will take over most jobs within 30 years; yes, but it’s a good thing; yes, but they will create jobs, too; chill out, they won’t take them all. Truckers, surgeons, accountants and journalists have all been theoretically replaced by prognosticators.

But harvesting specialty crops is different: Plants vary in shape and size and determining ripeness is complex — experts have said there are too many variables for robots. Until now.”

Source: www.tampabay.com

Many industries have been, and will continue to be transformed by automation and robotics.  There is a great amount of uncertainty and anxiety in the labor pools as workers see many low skill jobs are being outsourced and other jobs are being automated.  Some economic organizations are preparing resources for workers to strengthen their skills for the era of automation. 

 

Questions to Ponder: How will a machine like this transform the agricultural business? How might it impact migration, food prices, or food waste?

 

Tags: economic, laboragribusiness, industry, food production, agriculture.

How Does it Grow? Garlic

How Does it Grow? Garlic from How Does it Grow? on Vimeo.

Telling the stories of our food from field to fork.
Episode Two: Peeling back the layers of nature’s most powerful superfood.

Source: vimeo.com

This 5-minute video is a good introduction to garlic, it’s production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion.  Historically, garlic was far more important than I ever imagined.  The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are many more episodes in the “How Does it Grow?” series to show that.

Tags: foodeconomicfood production, agribusiness, industryvideo, agriculture.

How Does it Grow? Avocados

How Does it Grow? Avocados from How Does it Grow? on Vimeo.

Avocados have become a super trendy food, but few of us know how they’re even grown or harvested. We visit a California farm to uncover the amazing story of the avocado — and share the secrets to choosing, ripening and cutting the fruit.

Source: vimeo.com

My childhood house in the Los Angeles area had an avocado tree in the backyard; I now realize that the climatic demands of avocado production means this is a rarity in the United States, but as a kid I thought guacamole was as ubiquitous as peanut butter.  This 5-minute video is a good introduction to the avocado, it’s production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion.  The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are more episodes in the “How Does it Grow?” series to show that. WARNING: the video does mention the Nahuatl origin of the word (‘testicle-fruit’) in the video so as you manage your own classroom…just so you know. 

Tags: foodeconomic, agribusiness, video, agriculture.

The real reason Amazon buying Whole Foods terrifies the competition

Amazon’s zero-profit strategy is a disaster for anyone who goes up against it.

Source: www.vox.com

I have more questions than definitive answers, so let’s get right to it. 

 

Questions to Ponder: How have technological and logistical shifts in various industries made this once unthinkable union workable?  How will a retailer like Amazon change the food industry on the production side of the equation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of creative destruction (eliminating old jobs by creating new ones)?  Who stands to benefit the most, and who are the most negatively impacted?    

 

Tagsindustry, economic, scale, agriculture, food production, agribusiness, food

Long-time Iowa farm cartoonist fired after creating this cartoon

“Rick Friday has been giving farmers a voice and a laugh every Friday for two decades through his cartoons in Farm News.
Now the long-time Iowa farm cartoonist tells KCCI that he has been fired. Friday announced Sunday that his job was over after 21 years in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.”

Source: www.orrazz.com

There are some intriguing layers connected to the politics of agribusiness in this story.  First off, the political cartoon highlights a pithy truth–that while the ‘traditional’ farmer is a lucrative position, in the global economy, there are corporations that are amassing fortunes in agribusiness.  The second connection is more telling–the newspaper company felt compelled to fire the cartoonist as for voicing this perspective as the newspaper advertisers flexed their pocketbooks to change the direction of the news being reported.  

 

Tags: agriculture, food production, agribusiness, foodeconomicindustry, scale, media

The Final Days Of Hawaiian Sugar

The sugar industry in Hawaii dominated the state’s economy for over a century. But it has shrunk in recent years. Now, the last of the state’s sugar mills has wrapped up its final harvest.

Source: www.npr.org

I grew up hearing commercials that sold the purity of the Hawaiian sugar Industry (C & H, Pure Sugar, that’s the one!).  These commercials sold not just the purity of Hawaii’s sugar, but also of the people and the place.  These commercials were some of my first geographic imaginings of an exotic tropical paradise on the peripheral edge of the United States.  Just like the imagined tropical bliss, the actual sugar industry of Hawaii is also coming to an end.  “For over a century, the sugar industry dominated Hawaii’s economy. But that changed in recent decades as the industry struggled to keep up with the mechanization in mills on mainland U.S. That and rising labor costs have caused Hawaii’s sugar mills to shut down, shrinking the industry to this one last mill.”   

 

Tags: industrymanufacturinglabor, economic, agribusiness, agriculture.

Factory farming practices are under scrutiny again in N.C. after disastrous hurricane floods

As fecal waste and bacteria flow from hog lagoons into the water supply, North Carolina is revisiting a contentious battle between the pork industry, health experts and environmentalists.

 

In regions where hog farm density is high, there is an overall poor sanitary quality of surface waters. The presence of mass-scale swine and poultry lots and processing plants in a sandy floodplain – a region once dotted by small tobacco farms – has long posed a difficult dilemma for a state where swine and poultry represent billions of dollars a year for the economy. [Past] hurricane’s environmental impact in North Carolina were so severe in part because of the large number of hog lagoon breaches. Following Hurricane Matthew, the department has counted 10 to 12 lagoons that were inundated, with floodwaters topping the berms and spreading diluted waste.

 

Tags: food, agriculture, agribusiness, unit 5 agriculture, agricultural environment, environment, environment modify, pollution

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

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