review - ENERGY USE IN THE US FOOD SYSTEM A REVIEW BASED ON...

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ENERGY USE IN THE US FOOD SYSTEM: A REVIEW BASED ON: AGRICULTURAL ENERGETICS by Richard C. Fluck and C. Direlle Bird In this excerpt the writers, Richard Fluck and Direlle Baird provide great insight into the use of energy in the US food system in a systematic way. They carefully analyze the use of energy by all components of the food system, from the farms through the processing and marketing to the table and observe that the entire food industry of the US is intricately interwoven with many sectors of the economy and so involves more than just farming . They quantify and identify the various flows of energy through the food system and also describe their conception of how energy causes the food system in the US to function. They recognize energy as “ the fuel and feedstock ” for agriculture. In their analysis they make use of the works of Steinhart and Steinhart (1974), Hirst (1973, 1974), Pimentel (1973) and Heady (1976) among others. The authors notice how their seems to be much confusion and misunderstanding over the functioning of energy in food systems. They begin their analysis by first defining the portion of energy used in the agribusiness chain that should be associated with agriculture. The food system is a complex one and uses energy both directly in agricultural production and indirectly like in the manufacturing of farm equipment, fertilizers etc. In addition to the direct and indirect inputs transportation of farm products, processing, trade, food storage and preparation also use energy and have also been included in their definition. Surprisingly, with all its direct and indirect inputs included production agriculture accounts for only less than 3% of the total US energy consumption and less than 20% of the total energy consumed by the US food system. The amount of energy used by the US food system represents only a small fraction of the country’s
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2010 for the course CSS 300 taught by Professor Jackstang during the Spring '10 term at Oregon State.

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review - ENERGY USE IN THE US FOOD SYSTEM A REVIEW BASED ON...

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