Farming’s blame merchants should get off the soapbox and work with farmers

Farming’s blame merchants should get off the soapbox and work with farmers.
Usually I wouldn’t pay this lot much attention as they consist of tired old dinosaurs, Fish & Game, the Environmental Defence Society and Massey University lecturer Dr Russell Death.
While intensive agriculture does have some negative impacts on our environment, most farmers and farming organisations have now recognised and accepted the science around this and have made substantial investments and improvements to remedy downstream problems.
* Te Aroha dairy farmer takes over reins as Waikato Federated Farmers president * Waikato Federated Farmers president stepping down after three years * Dairy farmers at the helm of Taranaki Federated Farmers * Federated Farmers hopes to boost numbers by recruiting young farmers Where is the admission from the board of Tourism New Zealand of the damage to the environment wreaked by millions of visitors, especially the pollution from "freedom campers"?
On walks along several of our local mountain tracks, I am disgusted to find human waste, paper and glass strewn around our native bush, rivers and streams.
Fish & Game shouldn’t throw stones, not until they can articulate their policies around protecting New Zealand waterways from wildfowl E. coli, and how they are protecting native fish stocks from their invasive predatory game fish.
And I guess the Massey University social experiment continues, with the hypothesis being that if we as a country can decimate around 30-40 per cent of our GDP through eliminating our world-class agricultural industry, somehow our standard of living will not only remain stable but could somehow improve.
Good luck with that.
While agriculture has had impacts on our water quality over the years, the main difference between agriculture and these other players is that we in the primary production sectors acknowledge and believe we have a real part to play in pursuing solutions and improving the quality of our waterways.
Bold claims I know, but where is this level of solution and commitment from Fish & Game, Massey University and New Zealand Tourism?

Sustaining Ourselves Sustainably – Tips for the Environmentally Conscious Foodie

On each tag the following information is listed: origin of food; kilometers travelled to supermarket; quantity of greenhouse gas emissions during production, transport and processing; total water consumption during production and processing; quantity and types of pesticides and fertilizers used; average amount of item wasted; and if wrapped, time taken for the plastic to break down in landfill.
Most Australians would be unaware that their greatest contribution to climate change is through the food they eat.
However, our food system has a significant impact on the environment.
Once our meats, fruits and vegetables have been grown, they are often processed, transforming them into the items we recognise on supermarket shelves.
Processing plants have significant environmental impacts through water consumption and waste.
Interestingly, carbon emissions from transport represent only 11 per cent of the carbon footprint on average, with approximately 83 per cent coming from how the food is grown.
Eat less meat Individually, the biggest contribution we can make to reduce our carbon footprint is eating less meat.
If that’s the case, just begin with eating one less meat meal a week and see if you can reduce further over time.
Food waste breaks down in landfill to become a key source of carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
Organic farms promote genetic biodiversity, cause less water pollution and reduce soil damage.

How to Produce More Food with Less Damage to Soil, Water, Forests

How to Produce More Food with Less Damage to Soil, Water, Forests.
To achieve sustainable development we must transform current agriculture and food systems, including by supporting smallholders and family farmers, reducing pesticide and chemical use, and improving land conservation practices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general on May 30 said in Brussels addressing European lawmakers.
José Graziano da Silva stressed that while high-input and resource intensive farming systems have substantially increased food production, this has come at a high cost to the environment.
“Today, it is fundamental not only to increase production, but to do it in a way that does not damage the environment.
Among the 15 trends described in the report, are the impacts of climate change, conflicts and migration.
The report also foresees 10 challenges for achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture worldwide.
Climate Change He underscored that no sector is more sensitive to climate change than agriculture – especially for smallholders and family farmers from developing countries – while at the same time, agriculture and food systems account for around 30 per cent of total greenhouse emissions.
There is no trade-off between the two,” the FAO chief said, while pointing to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time building the resilience and to promote the adaptation of farmers to the impacts of climate change.
To this end, FAO supports countries through different initiatives and approaches, including climate-smart agriculture, agro-ecology and agro-forestry.
“Today the world produces enough to feed the global population, but about one third of this food is either lost or wasted, while at the same time there is also a waste of natural resources such as land and water.” The UN agency currently supports about 50 countries in the area of food losses and waste, including through the SAVE FOOD initiative, a unique partnership –with more than 850 members from industry, associations, research institutes and non-governmental organizations– that addresses these issues “across the entire value chain from field to fork,” Graziano da Silva told the European parliamentarians.

Fighting water scarcity: Experts urge farmers to grow less water-intensive crops

Fighting water scarcity: Experts urge farmers to grow less water-intensive crops.
FAISALABAD: In a bid to fight water scarcity, the farmers should plant less water-intensive crops amid the situation when Pakistan is standing among the countries ranked at the bottom of per capita water availability index.
This was said by University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan on Wednesday.
He was meeting a delegation of Bonn University, Germany at the Syndicate Room.
He suggested taking measures, including high efficient irrigation system, increased water storage capacity, short duration varieties and to create awareness among the people about rational water usage He said, “One kilogramme of rice production requires 4,000 liters of water which is not suitable in the prevailing situation.” He lamented the rice was highly water intensive crop.
“We are exporting rice worth Rs2 billion at the cost of water worth Rs10 billion.” Meanwhile, Dr Ing Bernhard Tischbein from University of Bonn stressed the need to cement academia and research ties between both institutions.
He said, “Interdisciplinary approaches are need of the hour to fight modern challenges, including agriculture, climate change and eco system.” He said efficient irrigation system would pave the way to reduce water wastage.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2017.

How Serious is Water Crisis in Iran?

How Serious is Water Crisis in Iran?.
Unfortunately, the share of this country from the total fresh water resources is further limited due to the hot and arid climate.
Water shortage in Iran has been considered as one of the limiting factors for sustainable development.
However, today the country is faced with serious challenges in the water sector, including rising water demand and shortages, declining groundwater levels, deteriorating water quality, and increasing threats to the environment and various ecosystems.
The environmental issues are their least concern.
Food security under water scarcity in the Middle East: Problems and solutions.
Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 3(4): 208-216. programmes/peopleandpower/ 2016/11/iran-water-crisis- 161109114752047.html Kaveh Madani Larijani, 2005.
Challenges of Water Resource Management in Iran.
The Iranian Water Crisis.
Dams, Drought and Water Shortage in Today’s Iran.

California’s almond boom has ramped up water use, consumed wetlands and stressed pollinators

California’s almond boom has ramped up water use, consumed wetlands and stressed pollinators.
A new study using aerial imagery across the state of California has found that converting land to grow almonds between 2007 and 2014 has led to a 27% annual increase in irrigation demands — despite the state’s historic drought.
The conversion of lands to almond orchards was sparked by a rapid growth in demand and rising almond prices.
Consumption of almonds has jumped 200% since 2005 and almond prices rose from about a dollar per pound in 2000 to a peak of around $5 per pound in 2014 according to the study’s author.
Almonds are entirely dependent on domestic honeybees for pollination, and each almond tree has tens of thousands of flowers, she explained.
But instead of it all being former cotton or tomato fields, a lot of the new almond orchards were formerly natural landscapes, including wetlands.
"More than 16,000 acres were converted from land classified as wetlands to almonds."
The work is being presented on Wednesday at a poster session at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver and the research submitted to Nature Publishing’s open access journal, Scientific Reports.
"The next thing we want to tackle is what the increase in almonds will mean for the demand on pollinators," says Watson.
That means a lot of bees from different locations coming to one location and mixing — increasing the chances of diseases spreading.

Des Moines Water Works won’t appeal lawsuit

Kelsey Kremer/The Register Des Moines Water Works will not appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the utility’s lawsuit against 10 northern Iowa drainage districts over high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River. The Water Works Board of Trustees unanimously made the decision Tuesday, ending a more-than-two-year legal battle. “Central Iowa will continue to be burdened with expensive, serious and escalating water pollution problems,” Water Works CEO Bill Stowe said in a news release. “The lawsuit was an attempt to protect our ratepayers, whose public health and quality of life continue to be impacted by unregulated industrial agriculture.” Des Moines Water Works filed a federal lawsuit in March 2015, claiming drainage districts in Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties were funneling high levels of nitrates into the Raccoon River, a source of drinking water for 500,000 central Iowa residents. The board agreed to spend $1.35 million to pursue the lawsuit. “The board views these resources would be better spent finding other avenues to pursue environmental protection rather than legal action, like trying to affect public policy through lobbying,” Stowe said. The lawsuit contended that drainage tiles used to make farmland more productive were short-circuiting natural conditions that otherwise keep nitrates from entering streams and rivers. The utility sought damages and penalties for the costs it incurred removing nitrates from central Iowa drinking water. Water Works said it spent $1.2 million to operate its nitrate removal equipment in 2015. It also sought to have…