The U.S. population
doubled during the past
60 years and is projected to double again in the next 60 years to more
than 520 million (if massive earth changes do not manifest as are predicted).
More than 99% of world food comes from the land, less than 1% from oceans
and aquatic systems. If the population doubles again, there will be insufficient
land to maintain food exports and feed the U.S. population.
More than 2 million acres
of U.S. agricultural
land are abandoned each year because of soil erosion. In 1981, Iowa reported
that the State has lost one-half of its topsoil. During the past 40 years
about 30% of the world’s cropland had to be abandoned because of soil erosion.
More than 1 million acres of agricultural land are covered with "black-top"
because of urbanization and highways. To replace 1 inch of lost topsoil
under agricultural conditions requires about 500 years.
Water is in short supply
in about 80 nations. In the U.S., agriculture consumes 85% of the water
pumped for use for all purposes. A corn crop during the growing season
transpires about 500,000 gallons of water. More than 125 gallons (1000
lbs) of water are required to produce 1 lb of corn. If corn were to be
produced using desalinized water, the water alone would cost $6,000 per
The livestock population
in the U.S. outweighs
the U.S. human population by more than 4 times. The U.S. livestock produce
nearly 1 billion tons of manure for disposal each year. About 20 billion
pounds of fertilizer are applied to U.S. agriculture.
The U.S. currently imports
about 60% of
our oil and within 20 years we will be importing 100% at a cost of $150
billion annually. About 400 gallons of oil equivalents are required to
feed each person per year, with approximately 1/3 for agricultural production.
Despite the use of 1 billion pounds
applied in the U.S., about 37% of all potential
crop production is destroyed
by pests (insects, weeds, and diseases). Less than 0.1% of the pesticides
applied actually reach the target pests. Although insecticide use in the
U.S. increased more than 10 fold since 1945 to date, crop losses to insects
have nearly doubled during this period (reason: changes of agricultural
technologies). Worldwide there are about 3 million human pesticide poisonings
each year, with about 220,000 deaths. 25% of the pesticides used all over
the world are used for the cotton industry.
of beneficial natural enemies
in the U.S. costs agriculture more than $500 million each year. If groundwater
and well water were adequately monitored for pesticide contamination, it
would cost the nation about $1.3 million.
The total environmental costs
of using pesticides
in the U.S. is more than $8 billion each year. Pesticide use in the U.S.
could be reduced by 50% without any reduction in crop yields, and the cost
to the consumer would be only a 0.6% increase in food costs.
Sustainable agricultural practices
soil, water and biodiversity and make crop and livestock production more
profitable to farmers and consumers.