The USA is one of the world’s major food suppliers, growing crops such as wheat, soybeans, oats, barley and sorghum. Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in the USA and activities classed under the agricultural umbrella include ornamentals and trees for gardens, parks and other public places, as well as nut and fruit production. Different states have different major food crops, with California and Florida specializing in fruit.
Agriculture in America is keeping pace with the demands of the modern world; more consumers are looking for locally produced foodstuffs, and the local or state-run farmers markets are very popular as they provide fresh produce cheaply and local people don’t have to rely on supermarkets for their fresh food, which is a good thing for the environment. Food that is grown and sold in one area is cheaper and fresher than food that sits on supermarket shelves and soon passes its sell-by date.
With the hunt to produce ethanol for fuel some states such as Utah are complaining that grain and legumes formerly used to feed animals is becoming more expensive and rarer, because so much of it is now being used to produce ethanol. Agriculture in Utah has traditionally been based on livestock, so a lot of grain and other foodstuffs are needed to feed the animals.
Today the buzz words in the field of agriculture in America are sustainable farming, which means that farmers have had to rethink the way they grow crops. Pesticides used to be widely used, but they create problems in the food chain as well as causing cancers and other diseases in farm labourers. Today agriculture in America is changing so that the emphasis is on quality products that have not been treated with potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals.
When you think of New York, farming doesn’t usually spring to mind, but agriculture in New York State is thriving, with initiatives being taken to spot exotic pests early and to eliminate them before they can take a hold and permanently damage crops. Agriculture in New York is mainly about apples, grapes and wines, although it also grows many other fruit and vegetables, as well as raising cows for dairy produce.
Agriculture in Texas has been hit by the 2011 drought, but even so, cattle farmers are still the number two producer of longhorn cattle in America. The state tree of Texas is the pecan, so as you can imagine, a lot of pecans are produced for pecan pies. Texas produces 20 % of the beef consumed in America, and is the number two producer of the grain sorghum.
Agriculture in Virginia centers on animal rearing with hogs which eat peanuts (another crop) being one of the most popular meat animals. However, Rockingham County is known as the Turkey Capital of the World, but its most famous crop is probably tobacco, even though people are smoking less of it. 20 % of jobs are in agriculture in Virginia, so it is important to that state’s economy.
Agriculture in South America is also big business and a huge part of that continent’s economy. Farmers have domesticated the many plants that grow wild there and which were cultivated by their ancestors, such as the tomatillo, the Cape gooseberry and other foods which are considered exotic in so many countries. Brazil is one of the biggest producers of grain in the world, rivaling America. It is a big producer of grain and other crops for ethanol and biodiesel, which means that less food is available for human consumption. With agriculture in America also beginning to concentrate on the need to find alternative sources of energy, it could be that the world will suffer a grain shortage for food both for animals and people. Farmers are planting more crops to keep up with the demand so let’s hope that the world’s poor do not starve because of a move to produce greener fuel.