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Agriculture: Key Issue #4

Why Do Farmers Face Economic Difficulties?


Challenges for Commercial Farmers

1. How have efficient agricultural practices, fertilizers, mechanical

equipment, etc. created a problem for commercial farmers?

2. Read about U.S. government policies (p. 351) and complete the bullet
chart which highlights current ways in which the U.S. government
currently deals with excess agricultural capacity.

3. How much did the U.S. spend on farm subsidies in 2005? Is farming in
Europe subsidized more or less than in the U.S.?

4. What are the three principal practices that distinguish farmers

practicing sustainable agriculture from those operating



6. List three advantages of ridge tillage 7.
In what ways are animals
a. treated differently in
sustainable agriculture?


8. What are Roundup-Ready seeds? What is a negative impact from
these seeds?
9. Sustainable agriculture attempts to integrate the
____________________________ and the _______________________________ as
much as possible.

10. How does the conventional farming integration of crops and

livestock differ from that of sustainable farming?

11. What are three complexities in sustainable integration of crops

and livestock?



Challenges for Subsistence Farmers

12. What are two issues that influence the choice of crops planted
by subsistence farmers?


13. The Boserup Thesis or model considers a change in land use

among shifting cultivators. According to the Boserup thesis,
___________________ growth compels subsistence farmers to consider
new ____________________ approaches that produce enough __________ to
take care of _____________________ people According to the Boserup
thesis, subsistence farmers increase the supply of food through
____________________________ of production achieved in two ways. What
are these two ways?

14. THOROUGHLY annotate the graphic below referring to

information on p. 353.

Forest Fallow Time Multicropping

What is basically happening?
15. How does the increasing population play both a negative and
positive role?

16. What is the dilemma that is faced by LCDs as they seek to

increase the amount of export crops to sell to MDCs?

17. Some LDC s turn to the production of drug crops for export. The
geography of these crops is distinctive. Identify the countries
associated with the crops below:

Coca leaf =
Marijuana =
Opium =

Strategies to Increase Food Supply

18. Four strategies have been proposed to increase the worlds food
supply in places where populations are underfed.
o Expand current _____________________ land
o Increase agricultural ____________________
o Identify new food _________________
o Increase _______________ from other countries

19. There is little new land actually available for farming. In fact,
the current trend is to reduce agricultural land rather than increase it.
Identify and briefly describe three reasons why land is currently
being removed from agricultural use.



20. List the two main practices of the Green Revolution.


21. Because of the Green revolution, agriculture productivity at a
global scale has ___________________ ___________ than
__________________ __________

22. Describe the characteristics of miracle wheat seed.

23. Describe the characteristics of miracle rice seed.

24. What specific problems to farmers in LDCs have which might

prevent them from taking full advantage of the Green Revolution?

25. List and briefly describe one problem with each of the strategies
for increasing the worlds food supply by identifying new sources.



26. What are three top export grains in the world?

27. List the five largest grain exporting countries.

28. Shade and label the four countries/regions of the world that are
the largest grain importing countries. Use colored pencils for all map work.
Africas Food-Supply Crisis
29. Why is sub-Saharan Africa losing the race to keep food
production ahead of population growth?

30. What are three reasons why the Sahel area (home to Gambia,
Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) has been
experiencing food shortages?