Modern Agriculture and the Environment
These questions reflect some statistics that surprised me, so I thought I’d share them. No scientific claims are made as to methodology or conclusions.
1. What proportion of Iowa farms are owner-operated?
[30.8 percent, Sophia Murphy, Managing the Invisible Hand: Markets, Farmers abnd International Trade, quoted in Hothaus, p. 224 ]
2. How far is food transported by national retail systems?
[800 to 1,500 miles, from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, quoted in From the Farm to the Table by Gary Holthaus, p. 251]
3. How much of owner-operated farm income comes from sources off the farm, i.e. a job in town?
86.7 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service 2006 Farm Income report, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Features/farmincome/2006/August/ ]
4. How many breeds and varieties of chickens are there in the U.S.?
[around 200, SPPA documentation]
5. How many breeds are raised by large commercial producers?
[six, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Office for Small-Scale Agriculture]
6. How much genetic diversity in agriculture disappeared from the world in the 20th century?
[about 75 percent, UN Food and Agriculture Organization report]
7. What proportion of antibiotics are given to food animals in the U.S. [70 percent, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, http://tinyurl.com/yolblx]
8. How much does livestock raising contribute to global greenhouse gases?
[18 percent, more than transport, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture report, Livestock’s Long Shadow.]