Share on Facebook The benefits of using fertilizers and pesticides to keep crops healthy are the driving force behind the widespread use of these treatments. Curtailing blights, disease, insects and malnourishment, fertilizers and pesticides help maximize the food stocks gain from each acre of field agriculture.
Produclivity of American agriculture has tripled since then, and today only 3 percent of our labor force produces enough food and fiber to meet domestic needs as well as supplying about 10 percent of total overseas consumption. This huge increase in efficiency has been the result of many factors, including use of fertilizer, and pesticides, introduction of farm machinery, development of hybrid strains, and increased knowledge about farm management practices.
As agriculture has become more intensive, farmers have become capable of producing higher yields using less labor and less land. Intensification of agriculture has not, however, been an unmixed blessing. Environmental impacts have increased, including potential degradation of the soil and water resources vital to both farm productivity and human health.
Such environmental problems can best be understood by tracing their evolution through the history of farming in this country. Historical Perspective Agriculture in the United States dates back to the food-raising activities of American Indians, and over half of the value of our current crops comes from plants such as corn, cotton, potatoes, and tobacco that were first domesticated by Indians in South and North America.
In the early s when the colonists were making their way to America, agricultural methods in England and other parts of the world were still primitive. Fields were dug by oxen pulling wooden plows, seeds were broadcast by hand, and grains were harvested with scythes just as they had been for the previous 2, years.
From the Indians the first American settlers learned how to clear land, till the fields, and grow the corn that was crucial to their initial survival. Although Indians taught the colonists to plant fish with their corn, fertilization of other crops was not a common practice.
The native fertility of the relatively acid and nutrient-poor eastern soils was rapidly exhausted, and pioneering families commonly abandoned their farms and moved on to homestead the still fertile virgin lands to the west.
By one traveller wrote, "Eastern Virginia appeared to have suffered the ravages of a great war or an attack by another horseman of the Apocalypse. I traveled for 50 miles on horseback and could find nothing but abandoned farms and plantations with buildings in decay and fields overgrown with nettles and brush.
Mother Nature is reclaiming that which for years has been giving food and clothing to man. The mids began an era of great change in American agriculture, influenced by the British agricultural revolution, which brought advances in cultivation methods, breeding of improved crop varieties, and use of fertilizers and crop rotations to maintain soil productivity.
Crop fertilization was introduced to the American colonies in the s when ships were used to import guano, the droppings from seabirds living on islands off the coast of Peru. A vigorous market soon developed for soil amendments such as guano, manure, crushed bone, and lime; and by seven factories had been established in the United States to manufacture mixed chemical fertilizers.
The use of pesticides also began in the mid s, when it was discovered that dusting of grape plants with sulfur provided a cure for powdery mildew.
Soon afterwards, an arsenic-containing compound called Paris green was introduced for control of the Colorado potato beetle, an insect native to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, which became a serious agricultural pest because of its appetite for domestic potatoes grown by pioneers.
Chemical control of agricultural pests expanded rapidly after these initial discoveries, and by there were 42 patented insecticides offered by several manufacturers. The benefits of irrigation were discovered in the s, when Mormons in Utah softened their crusty soils by damming a creek, and prospectors in California discovered that water diverted to gold mining sluices produced lush plant growth in the desert.
Congress passed several laws in the next few decades to assist western states in developing extensive and costly irrigation systems. Farm labor requirements diminished with the introduction of mechanization.
Invention of machines for tilling, planting, reaping, and threshing vastly increased farm efficiency in the mid s. The internal combustion engine was invented in Europe in the late s, and in the first successful gasoline-powered tractor was introduced in Iowa.
By the early s tractors that were small enough and cheap enough to interest the average farmer and could do the work of 17 men and 50 horses were being produced. Tractors gradually became popular, although it was not until that there were more tractors than horses on U. Ever since colonial days, agricultural leaders have been interested in increasing the productivity of American farming.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were leading agricultural reformers in the late eighteenth century, experimenting with crop rotation, manure applications, new crops, and improved livestock. In President Lincoln signed legislation creating the U.
Department of Agriculture and granting public land to the states for establishment of agricultural colleges. Federal support for state agricultural experiment stations began inproviding the basis for scientific improvement of American agriculture.
As land became less available for settlement in the West, people became more interested in maintaining soil fertility and increasing crop yields on their existing farms. In Congress responded to this need by providing funds for state agricultural extension programs assist farmers in adopting improved farming methods.
The unprecedented damage to farmland caused by the dust bowl storms of the s focused national attention on the need for soil and water conservation measures to maintain farm productivity.Modern Agriculture: Its Effects on the Environment. by Nancy M.
Trautmann and Keith S. Porter Center for Environmental Research and Robert J. Wagenet The subsoils that remain tend to be less fertile, less absorbent, and less able to retain pesticides, fertilizers, and other plant nutrients.
The most significant harmful effects come from fertilizer that is designed to kill or prevent weeds. According to the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, 12 of the most popular pesticides in the United States have ingredients known to cause cancer.
Organic fertilizers are guaranteed to be safe for the environment, the body and free of urbanagricultureinitiative.comd: Jun 17, m Application of chemical fertilizers, pesticides have negative effect on human health and environment.
Keywords: Green revolution, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, environment, human health. A goal of agriculture is to meet the present food need of the society with the surplus amount of.
Harmful Effects of Fertilizers on the Environment Mother nature has always taught us to balance, and still continues to do so.
If we eat a lot, our body goes out of shape and tells us to exercise and come back to our ideal circumference. The Effect of Pesticides on the Environment Whenever the subject of pesticides comes up, it's easy to point a finger at farmers.
But we homeowners, with our manicured lawns and exotic flower gardens, have nothing to be smug about. Fertilizers and pesticides both have definite pros and cons associated with their use. Both types of chemical tend to increase yields, and thus make a The Effects of Fertilizers & Pesticides | urbanagricultureinitiative.comnded: Jun 17,