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fall 2016 ag

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I r r i g a t i o n Te c h n o l o g y FOR THE FUTURE ULTIMATE IRRIGATION PACKAGE FOR ROW CROPS ROTATORS FOR NUT CROPS INVERTED S5 SPINNER FOR ORCHARDS & NURSERIES ROTATORS FOR FRUIT CROPS NEW! 1000 SERIES CONTROL VALVES R2000WF WINDFIGHTER Mini Regulator/ Drain Check · HIGH UNIFORMIT Y · NO RISER VIBRATION · EASY TO CLEAN · EASY TO REPAIR · LONG WEAR LIFE · NO SEALS UNDER PRESSURE · FREE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM! ASK ABOUT IT! LOW-PRESSURE, BRACKETLESS PIVOT ORBITOR (6-20 PSI) PART-CIRCLE EDGE OF FIELD ROTATOR ® ROTATOR ® SPRINKLERS TWIG ® WIRELESS CONTROL SYSTEM NELSONIRRIGATION.COM INVERTED S5 SPINNER FOR ORCHARDS & NURSERIES Challenges Facing Farmers Today and Tomorrow Though farming was once big business in the United States, by 2012 less than 1 percent of Americans were professional farmers. Many challenges face today's farmers, many of which are largely unknown to the general public. Many people have an outdated view of a farm as a small, family-owned and operated parcel of land where livestock is raised in open pens and crops are hand-harvested when ripe. The reality is that mod- ern-day farms have had to overhaul operations to meet demand and remain compet- itively priced while adapting to the ever-changing ways technology infiltrates all parts of life. Each of these factors present obstacles for today's farmers. Rural farming communities are expected to make an effort to integrate modern technology into an industry that has been around for centuries. But such a tran- sition in rural areas, where communications systems may not be as up-to-date as those in urban areas, is not always so easy. According to the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council, a shi from a resource-based to an information-based economy, compounded by the rapid introduction and expansion of new technology in the workplace, has altered farm operation and the skills in demand. Older workers who have been schooled in one way of agriculture may have a significant impact on labor supply and the vi- tality of farming as a career. Younger adults who are knowledgeable in technol- ogy may no longer seek out agricultural careers. Decrease in farming as an occupation The United States En- vironmental Protection Agency says that only about 960,000 Americans claim farming as their principal occupation. As that figure has dwindled, the average age of farmers continues to rise, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that roughly 40 percent of the farm- ers in this country are 55 years old or older. This has led to concerns about the long-term health of family farms throughout the United States. Many farmers have come under scrutiny for how farm- ing impacts the environ- ment. A growing emphasis on sustainability and conser- vation has led many people to protest certain farming practices. Protesters claim that certain practices, such as raising livestock, can pollute water, while the use of fertilizers and chemical pesticides is bad for the environment. Many farm- ers, however, have altered their methods to be more environmentally friendly and self-sustainable in the process. Climate change is another environmental issue farmers must deal with. Strong storms and severe droughts have made farming even more challenging. The ongoing recession of the last half-decade has also af- fected farmers. In November of 2012, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the unem- ployment rate within the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries was at 13.6 percent, far higher than the national unemploy- ment rate. As a result, many farm families have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, as rising costs for equipment and technology are being coupled with decreasing profits and rising unemploy- ment. Further complicating mat- ters is competition from cor- porations and international food producers who have made it difficult for family farmers to turn a significant profit. Many family farmers rely on loans and lines of credit to survive, but thanks to changes in the financial sector that saw banks be- come less willing to extend lines of credit, some farmers are facing bankruptcy. Though it can be easy for those who do not work in the agricultural industry to overlook the struggles facing today's agricultural profes- sionals, a greater under- standing of those struggles and the challenges that lay ahead can benefit the indus- try and its employees down the road. Greater public awareness of agricultural challenges could help the industry in the future.- Provided Photo Is this the demise of the honeybee? Bees flitting from one newly sprouted flower to another as they collect pollen is one of the more common sights of the spring. Honeybees are content to buzz between plants for hours. But in recent years the honeybee population has declined con- siderably, and scientists and environmentalists continue to study and debate why bees seem to be dying out. Although bees are best known for their honey pro- duction, their symbiotic re- lationship with nature goes much further. Honeybees are instrumental in transferring pollen from plant to plant, which helps to foster new life for many agricultural species. In addition to wild flowers and other plants, bees pollinate many of the crops that end up as food on dinner tables across the globe. Bees help pollinate more than 90 commercially grown field crops, citrus and other fruit crops, vegeta- bles and nut crops. Without these insects, crop yields would decrease dramatically, and some foods may cease to exist. Without bees, food production would diminish and the prices of produce would skyrocket. Commer- cial beekeepers in the United States have reported deaths of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. Ninety percent of wild bee popula- tions in the United States have disappeared, according to Target Health, Inc. In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, bee species have declined considerably, and some have even become extinct. Since 2006, millions of hon- eybees have died off due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. CCD refers to the absence of adult honeybees in a colony with few or no adults re- maining. Worker bees simply disappear, leaving behind the queen and vulnerable developing young. Bees are not usually known to leave the hive unguarded. While similar disappearances have been documented in the last 100 years, those incidences have grown considerably in recent years. Officials in the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to determine why the honeybee population Honeybees pollinate many of the world's plants. But their numbers are on the decline, and the environmental impact of that decline is significant. has undergone such a steep decline, though some believe that a complex combina- tion of factors, including parasites, lack of genetic diversity, poor nutrition, and pesticides, could be respon- sible. Examination of dead bees has found residues of more than 100 chemicals, insecticides and pesticides, including some used to con- trol parasites, in bee hives. Other factors that come into play involve climate changes that affect wildflower pro- duction. Without wildflow- ers, bees have no sources of food. Rainy, wet or overly dry weather can wreak havoc on the landscape, resulting in fewer flowers and, as a result, a smaller bee popu- lation. Scientists are still studying the situation and working toward a solution to restore the honeybee population. Individuals can do their part by keeping plenty of bloom- ing flowers in their yards and never killing honeybees found on their property. Dis- turbing an established hive can result in the bees aban- doning their work, leading to even greater losses.

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