Agriculture Grows into one of the Largest Industries
Agriculture is often referred to as farming or the cultivation of land, or the breeding of animals and plants to create food and other products. The first activity can be traced back 105,000 years, as early man gathered wild grains. Crops were first planted approximately 11,500 years ago, and humans began domesticating animals such as pigs, sheep and cattle as far as 10,000 years back.
Today, the scope and depth of agriculture has expanded well beyond farming and into many facets of most peoples daily lives. Agriculture now includes farming for food service and restaurants, beverage and tobocco manufacturing, forestry, fishing, and food and beverage stores, making it one of the largest industries in the United States, with a reported $992 billion in GDP in 2015. In 2017, the USDA found argriculture and its related industries accounted for 11% of US employement. See the USDA Agricuture Employment Report and Chart Here
Styles of Farming
Subsistence Agriculture and Industrialized Agriculture are the two styles of agriculture employed on farms today. Subsistence farms are generally smaller, and the crops are used or consumed by the farmer. Subsistence farms can be multi-functional including raising grain crops to feed livestock. Extra grains are sold to local grain mills. Butter, eggs and produce from the gardens are often sold in local farmers markets. Everything that is not consumed or used can be sold. The money gained in sales is then used again in farm and family operations.
Industrialized Agriculture is when large quantities of crops and/or livestock are produced for the sole purpose of commercial sales. Large machines and automation replace animal and manpower to complete the work. This type of farm's main goal is to increase crop yield to feed the masses. Product can be shipped world-wide.
Both Industrialized and Subsistence Agriculture can be divided into sectors. The two sectors are Crop Production and Animal Production. Geographic location of an industrialized farm often determines if it can provide services in both sectors. A farm in mountainous region many have grazing land for livestock but cannot sustain crop production, but can operate greenhouses. Rich soil in the mid-west allows farmers to graze cattle and rotate crops throughout the year.
Industrialized Agriculture Evolution
The Industrial Revolution ushered in the birth of industrialized agriculture. Farmers began to use nitrogen, phosphorus, and synthetic fertilizers. This led to a higher crop yield per acre. Agriculture production doubled four times between 1820 and 1975. As the production increased the number of farmers decreased because of industrialized farming methods.
Beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish are all types of livestock. In the 1920s, farms began raising livestock indoors. Vitamins, food supplements, vaccines and antibiotics led to a healthier herd with less disease outbreaks. This allowed for production of a higher quality meat, dairy, poultry and fish product. Four companies supplied 81% of the beef, 73% of the sheep, 57% of the pork, and 50% of the poultry in the US.
Farmers in the grain production region try to harvest more than one crop per field per season. After harvesting a winter wheat crop, no-till soybeans or corn are planted and harvested before winter. All grains that are sold to the mill have must be at a pre-determined moisture content. If it is not dry enough the farmer is docked a certain amount for the moisture content overage. Weather conditions determine harvest times. Often the grain must be dried after harvest to maintain the proper moisture level. If the grain moisture level is too high, it can rot in the storage silo and the crop is destroyed.
Most grain is dried prior to storage because it was harvested at a higher moisture content. Heated air drying is a means of drying moist grains. Large farms no longer need an operator to control the drying functions. Automation has taken over this process to insure a controlled drying environment. The system for continuous-flow grain dryers consists of moisture sensors, controller, dryer, fans, motors, automatic scales timers, etc.
Automated Indoor Agriculture
Both the crop and animal production sectors have either moved partially or totally indoors. However, grain production is still produced in outdoor fields. The movement to indoor automation allowed farmers to accurately control environmental and feeding conditions.
move cows to automated milking stalls. The cow is milked and supplied some feed. After milking is completed, the cow is moved out of the stall. This process is completed until the herd is milked. The milk is cooled and stored for pick up or pasteurization.
have an automated process as well. Chickens are automatically fed and watered. Eggs are collected, cleaned, and inspected by an automated process. Some farms need human interface in the packaging process and some farms do not.
Truck crops are assigned to vegetable production. Greenhouses afford the ability to produce truck crops and flowers in all seasons. Mushroom farms
fall into a category all their own and employ some climate and production automation.
Large greenhouses can employ Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to control the indoor environment. Plant production can utilize primary controllers which have sensors that monitor plant and soil conditions. Water and fertilizing are then calculated and supplied to the plant by outputs to the controller. These systems can decrease labor and allow workers to concentrate in areas of importance. Emerging technology employs the use of robots to water and tend both indoor and outdoor truck crops. The need for reliable power has increased with the advances in technology.
Successful Operation During Power Outages with a Generator
Many farms and food manufacturing and distribution facilities are located in remote areas. Utility power outages can last longer in these areas. Any type of power outage, no matter how short, can place crops and farm animals at risk. Without a steady source of power, the agricultural industry would not function efficiently or reliably - not to mention the disastrous economic impact to a farm that loses power for a significant period of time.
All farms and all other affiliates of the agricultural industry need a reliable source of backup power in place so that power outages do not cause catastrophic consequences.
Dependable diesel power generators are vital to the success of the agricultural industry. When there are interruptions in power, especially in rural settings where many farms are located, power restoration can be prolonged. Standby and backup power in the form of a diesel generator set is necessary to keep the agricultural industry in the United States running smoothly, safely and efficiently.
Low-hour preowned generators offer an initial purchase savings. Inventory
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