Used to cultivate crops needs to be rotated yearly or

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used to cultivate crops needs to be rotated yearly or else the land will be stripped of its nutrients and, if continued, will be useless. Even though the government is aware of the impacts they continue to invest in these practices. In return, these poor practices have cause Americans millions of dollars due to land desertification (dried out/no nutrients), and a loss of 21.9 percent of arable farmland from 1950 to 2003. (Li) Another huge issue is the use of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, which large farms use for higher yields and increased agricultural production. The world uses 300 million tons of pesticides yearly and only 0.1 percent of them reach intended pests. (Horrigan, Lawrence, and Walker) This has shown to be extremely harmful because storm water runoff causes toxic chemicals to flow into our drinking water. Along with that, these crops that have been applied harmful pesticides are fed to animals and are then sold in stores to Americans. The effects of these practices on humans and the environment include poor water quality, loss of large amounts of land, and can cause cancer due to drinking and ingesting the food and water served to our population every day. (Horrigan, Lawrence, and Walker) What is stopping the American government from implementing sustainable and efficient farm policies that benefit the American population and developing countries? Are there solutions to these problems? With a population of 300 million and growing, the government does not want to be put in a position where farms are not producing enough to feed its population, and where the
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economy is depending too much on foreign aid. Along with that, in a country where the weather is always changing and effecting crop growth, it is worrisome that without subsidies farmers would not be able to afford to protect their crop at all times. It comforts the government to know that no matter what the situation, by subsidizing a small percent of domestic farms there is little chance for error. Instead, though, the government should cut subsidizing which would allow equal competition, smaller and more farms, and in turn better environmental practices. By cutting subsidies and surplus of commodities developing countries would be able to compete and better afford food and education for their populations. Also, subsidizing farms is not the only form of crop protection. By replacing subsidies with crop insurance smaller farmers would be able to compete and markets could balance the costs of good and bad years over time. (Riedle, Brian) America is currently in one of its biggest economic struggles and is in desperate need for new policies that will mitigate effects on small farms, developing countries, and the environment.
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  • Fall '10

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Christopher Reinemann
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