King Corn Movie Essay

As temperatures warm and weather patterns change, water for agriculture will be increasingly less available, which will have repercussions on crop yield and food security.A 2015 USDA study projects that by 2060 in nearly all regions of the country, there will be significantly reduced water availability for agriculture, primarily as a result of climate change, but also due to current use patterns.

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What we have instead are depleted soils on one hand and toxically excessive animal wastes on the other – both problems generated by commercial agriculture.

The major problem with industrialized farming is that it is unsustainable: it relies heavily on finite resources, including fossil fuels and rapidly-depleting water tables, and it negatively impacts the environment, which affects everything everywhere with real costs at all levels.

Bacteria on the roots of legumes like peas and beans naturally fix atmospheric nitrogen into nutrients that can be taken up by other plants.

Until 1913, cultivating legumes, spreading manure and crop residues, as well as mining deposits of bird droppings were the primary ways to access nitrogen for farming.

Pesticides and seeds genetically engineered to work with pesticides have been promised as solutions to these farming challenges but have instead led to the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds, declines in beneficial insects, long-term farmer debt and many more problems.

Agriculture accounts for up to 90 percent of all freshwater use, most of which is for crop production.

Dead zones have become common in water bodies across the US.

In 2015, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico – created by runoff from manure and other agricultural fertilizer in the Mississippi floodplain – was more than 5,000 square miles: this is the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Agriculture was no longer under the limitations of naturally occurring nitrogen fixing, and crop yields exploded — as did the global population.

The increase in world population since 1913 has closely tracked the huge increase in fertilizer production; by one estimate, a world without nitrogen fertilizer could sustain only 3.5 billion people, rather than the nearly 10 billion projected by 2050.


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