d) less than 10%
2. A bale of cotton weighs 50 pounds?
3. How many farms in the U.S. are headed up by women?
4. U.S. farmers produce over 40% of the worlds corn.
c) what's corn
5. Today, the average farmer produces enough food to feed 26 people.
6. How much does one bushel of corn weigh?
a) 5 pounds
b) 16 pounds
c) 56 pounds
d) 50 pounds
7. Most of the beans grown in the U.S. are green when harvested and can be consumed immediately.
c) Don't know, but they're good for the heart!
8. Farmers use environmentally friendly practices that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions.
c) Huh huh, you said gas
9. What is conservation tillage?
a) When farmers leave residue from the previous crop lying in the field
b) When farmers take residue and put in into a compost pile
c) When farmers use animals instead of machinery to till the ground
d) None of the above
10.) If U.S. farmers used crop production practices from the 1930's to produce the equivalent amount of corn as produced today, how many more acres of land would be needed?
a) 10,000 acres
b) 10 million acres
c) 490 million acres
d) No additional acres would be needed
1. A - 98% of farms are family owned and operated, coming in all shapes, sizes, and diversity. It's just a plain myth that farms are run by multinational corporations. I once heard someone say "I know who owns all the land, it's owned by those that put their signs out next to the road." Signage has nothing to do with ownership or with who farms the land. Every seed company (Pioneer, Asgrow, DeltaPine etc.) uses signage to promote their product. Where's the most visible place to advertise? Next to the road. Other than a farmer, I doubt anybody else would care about signs next to the road.
2. B - False. A bale of cotton weighs not 50, but 500 pounds. That's enough cotton to produce over 200 pairs of jeans, 1,200 T-shirts, or 4,300 pairs of socks.
3. D - 145,000. If you're like me, I'm wondering "Who are all these women operators." But, I'm reminded that farms exist in all shapes and sizes, and not every farm will look like mine in Tennessee. The number of women operating as head of an operation, along with African-American operators, are actually increasing.
4. True. Depending on the year and the source, America's corn growers produce between 40-50% of the worlds corn. That's more than China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the European Union combined.
5. False. That figure would have been true in 1960. Today, the average farm produces food for 155 people. The average farm in the U.S. is around 400 acres. Our farm is close to 2,000 acres, which means we produce food for close to 800 people. If you ate today, our farm may have had a direct hand in feeding you. I'm proud of that.
6. C - 56 pounds. The old way of weighing was the bushel basket. You've probably seen one at a farmers market, or at your grandparents house if they have a garden. It would take 56 pounds of corn to fill the bushel basket. For soybeans, 60 pounds = 1 bushel.
7. False. The majority of beans are a grey or brownish color, and considered dry when harvested. After harvest, the grain is processed and used in millions of products.
8. True. Though radical environmentalists would likely argue otherwise, according to the EPA in 2007, for example, farmers cut CO2 emissions by 14.2 kg. That's equivalent to removing over 6 million cars from the road for a year. Honestly, I have no idea how they measure this, or if that's even a reliable stat. But, consider this. How many cars, trucks, semi's, planes, trains, boats, buses, motorcycles, 4-wheelers, and lawnmowers are traveling around burning fossil fuels versus how many tractors or combines are driving around? I'll take a wild guess here and say about a billion to one. I don't really think tractors are a major source of CO2 emissions. OK, but what about livestock and their flatulence. Don't cows contribute to global warming? Well, I'll go with Ron White on this one and say the solution is to eat the cows.
9. A - Leaving the residue from a previous crop. This means the farmer is not using any tillage or reduced tillage in preparing his land for planting. This also means reduced trips across field, fuel savings, time savings, an increase in organic matter, returning leftover nutrients from the old crop directly back into the soil, moisture savings, and erosion savings.
10. C - 490 million acres. We would need that much additional land if we were still using the same techniques we did in the 1930's to produce what we produce today. That's an area larger than Alaska. Thanks to the hybrid, nitrogen fertilizer, and technology, we don't have to invade Canada for their land.
Here's a short video with some more food for thought and interesting tidbits you may not have thought about:
Think Agriculture is important? Yea, me too. So, the next time you see Yahoo post a story about useless college degrees, and 3 of the top 5 are agriculture related, you can laugh it off and think about how useless their writers journalism degree must have been in order to write wasted stories such as that. Right up there with fashion design and basket weaving (also known as psychology).