Young Farmers

Dillon Brennan

Current Event


In an article that appeared in Farmers in June 2017, the top concerns of young famers were outlined. It was conducted as a round table discussion and the more prominent issues were discussed. Leading the concerns were the issues of when there is not enough land available to farm. Some of the other questions that were raised were how they can determine what to bring to market, what’s going to make them stay competitive and the maintenance of clean equipment. Another concern is the access to capital can often be limited. Other areas they looked at were speaking to landowners explaining financial performance about their business, that they frequently do not get any help from the USDA and the finances can be a struggle to manage. It’s important for them to be well-connected and utilize contacts to help their business.


In addition, the young farmers had concerns that they often do not get any time off and there is a lot of responsibility. Also, if they are taking over your parent’s farm, they can have different goals than their parents. They found that if they are taking over their parent’s farm, sometimes the father wants to stay involved and may have a much different approach and goal. The final concern was that they may not have all the skills that they need and often a person has an individual interest or skill but not all the skills they need. It was suggested that if they do not poses all the skills they need to hire from the outside, an example being hiring a marketing consultant.


Food and Farming

Dillon Brennan

Current event

In an article titled Looking forward: Top 10 Issues for 2018 in Food and Farming was published in Ecocentric December 28, 2018. In this article, some of the pressing issues with regards to farming were reviewed.  Some of the stated concerns of were the cuts to the EPA, blows to the food and environmental systems, there have been rollbacks on the Farmers Fair Practices and proposed reductions to SNAP benefits. In addition, the noted that her have been support by consumers and other advocated to help support policies and initiatives for a better future.

The issues reviewed where the ones that believed to be the that will affect food, faming and the environment. One area looked at is the future of organics with the 2018 NOSB (National Organic Board) voted to let hydroponic and aquaponics farming stay in the program.

There is a fight on the horizon about 2018 farm bill that is part of federal legislation. It represents a $956 billion initiative over 10 years, that will help to dictate America’s agriculture policy. The is assignment of the majority of the funds going to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), crop insurance, conservation and commodity programs.

Other areas looked at are the effect of natural disasters disrupt food system. There is no way to prevent natural disasters but there is a focus of encouraging techniques that can make crops more resilient. Food waste accounts for 40% of all food produced in the United States while 1 in 8 people are starving. There are harmful algal blooms can have an effect on crops and the effects of deregulation. In addition, there are other areas of concern are the increase use of meat free products, the effect of global warming and the increase use of antibiotics in agriculture. Consumers concern, and voice can have a great impact on how the issues are addressed.…/looking-forward-top-10-issues-for-2018-in-food-and-farming







Suicide Rates Among Farmers are Alarmingly High. Can Federal Legislation Help?

According to the CDC, workers in the forestry, farming, and fishing industry have the highest rates of suicide compared to all businesses in the U.S. Although multiple news outlets have reported these statistics that came out in 2012, federal lawmakers are just now trying to provide aid. One such effort includes the national STRESS ACT recently introduced by Minnosota Congressman Tom Emmer. The bill entails a network of mental health services for vulnerable farmers. The support would specialize in “agricultural behavioral health” that would include a 24/7 hotline with counselors who understand the farming lifestyle.

Although a beginning step, farmers are concerned that this act does not tackle the core of the problem, which is the low economic growth in the industry. Reports have stated that the dwindling prices of corn and soy along with the trade war affecting the price of milk are the main culprits behind the unusual high suicide rates of farmers. While contributing risk factors include feelings of isolation, lack of control, and inaccessibility to mental health services, this bill does nothing to address or provide aid for the financial hardships. Despite this real fear, other farmers see this program comparable to the successful AgrAbility program, which helps physically disabled farmers continue working. If the program is established, the bill will be attached to the 2018 Farm Bill and will rely on “discretionary” funding.

I feel this will help the current farmers dealing with depression, but in order to prevent more farmers from struggling congress needs to address the underlying issue. Farmers are hurting to keep up with today’s straining economic environment, and eventually the federal government will need to address the subsidies and the agriculture market. I just hope while we wait for national action that this hotline will help farmers from taking their lives.


GMO Labeling- Worth It?

Image result for gmo foods

(Photo Source: YourNewsWire)

There are new mandatory provisions that will require labeling for certain foods but certain foods are exempt from this labeling. If foods “are made with some refined genetically modified sugars and oils, or if a product contains those ingredients in amounts that fall beneath a predetermined threshold” they will be exempt. Additionally, instead of using the term “genetically modified”, companies can use other words such as “bioengineered”. For those that want absolute transparency in food labeling, labeling some GMOs and not others as well as rewording “genetically modified” may be misleading for those that want to know whether or not something is GMO.

However, the question that goes along with this concerns whether or not it is even necessary to label GMOs. Trying to label food a certain way typically means the label is something that the consumer should concern themselves with, and many people believe GMOs are not as bad as they are painted to be, and therefore not worth labeling and misleading.

So, what are the pros and cons of GMOs?

The pros are more obvious. We are living in a world of almost 8 billion people, 12.9 percent of which are undernourished. GMO crops allow us to produce higher yields of crops, due to them being of a higher resistance to diseases, conserve more water, and more.

Despite studies that may have exaggerated the effects of GMOs, there may be the chance that GMOs contribute to higher rates of allergies or cancer, but those conclusions are not very backed up. GMO crops do pose a threat to small businesses, particularly in the case of Monsanto’s monopoly on large scale crops. They genetically engineer crops so that the seeds cannot be harvested, and therefore not reproduced unless purchased through Monsanto.

Overall, there seems to be no real apparent problem in the case of GMOs regarding health. Nevertheless, GMOs, particularly in the case of Monsanto, have the potential to monopolize and overpower smaller companies. This issue is something all people should be aware of, no matter what they think about the effect of GMOs on health.


Links Between Diet and Fertility

Image result for fast food and fertility

(Image Source: Fab Fertile)

(Information source:

A recent study conducted by Human Reproduction found that women with a higher amount of fast food in their diets tended to be less likely to conceive within a year than women who had less fast food in their diets.

This is a step in the right direction for producing quantitative studies on how nutrition really can impact health. Nutrition is not factored in nearly as much as it should be, especially in how it can help with health conditions, from diabetes, to heart disease, to some forms of cancer. It is up to the average American citizen to make better decisions regarding their health, despite the convenience fast foods offers. It also up to medical professionals to emphasize prevention through lifestyle, rather than through treatment on preventable diseases.

Further studies on how a male’s diet affects whether or not a woman conceives or how other types of foods affect fertility should still happen; nevertheless, this study offers us valuable information for people who hope to conceive. Hopefully part of recommended ways to increase fertility do become to change one’s diet.


Bologna blamed in Worst Listeria Outbreak in History

bolognaThroughout South Africa, listeria has been spreading for the past 15 months, killing 189 people. The listeria infection is commonly contracted by eating contaminated processed foods, usually those containing processed deli meats and unpasteurised milk products. It is extremely deadly killing 1 out of 5 victims, by attacking your immune system and making you fall seriously weak. Symptoms include vomiting, fevers and diarrhoea. Listeria has a 70-day incubation period, so they expecting more cases to emerge. There are antibiotics that can be used to treat listeria, however many of these cases were caught by the sandwiches being served in the day care centre of Johannesburg hospital. Not only are these environments supposed to be the most sanitised, but they were serving bacteria-infested sandwiches to sick patients.

Unfortunately, they found the source of the listeria too late, and the South African meat processor, Enterprise Foods, had to recall most of the products they had processed in early March, 2018. To make matters worse for the food company, they had to recall the products that had already been distributed to over 15 countries, worldwide. Richard Spoor, a South African lawyer, has already filed a $2 billion lawsuit against the food company, with nearly 70 different families involved as part of the suit.


“How to Defeat Drought: Cape Town is running out of water. Israel offers some lessons on how to avoid that fate.”

Despite the reality of Cape Town completely running out of water, it does not come as a surprise to the city. Reports found multiple mistakes were made that led up to this crisis including the lack of incentives to conserve subsidized water and no plan to build desalination plants. Now, as the countdown begins before Cape Town completely loses water, officials are looking at Israel’s ways of saving water.

Since the 1960’s, Israel has put water conservation as their top national priority. Their first technological advance was the ability to convert 90% of the country’s sewage into usable water for agriculture. Along with this technology, Israel uses the energy intensive desalination technology to convert salt water to drinkable water. Israel also uses drip irrigation for agriculture and invests time and resources into fixing and replacing water pipes. Along with these technologies, Israel does not offer subsidies for water and holds its people accountable for what they use. In fact, from kindergarten, children learn about water efficiency.

In the article, the author argues it is the broad range of approaches Israel implements that make this country so successful in conserving water. Although these techniques will help Cape Town in the future, in my opinion, it does not have enough time to invest in these types of technologies. On the website,, it says there are approximately 144 days left before Cape Town’s dam levels reach 10%; they need fast acting solutions.