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How will climate change impact agriculture?

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Harvest quality has always been closely linked to climate conditions. Therefore, there’s no doubt that global climate change will significantly affect agricultural production in the coming decades. Here are a few things to watch for.

Crop movement
It’s predicted that warm regions will face increasing incidences of drought and heatwaves that will ruin crops. Conversely, cold areas are expected to benefit from increased productivity by introducing new crops that were previously impossible to grow. This will result in a migration of crop production. Rising sea levels may also contribute to this movement, as flooding will increasingly affect coastal areas, causing crop destruction and soil deterioration.

Indirect effects on population
A shift in agricultural opportunities may cause people to move to more productive areas. For instance, less prosperous regions on the planet are most vulnerable to climate change. This is because they rely heavily on agriculture and often don’t have the technical or financial means to adapt their practices to changing natural conditions.

Good and bad surprises
Although some effects of climate change are already visible, the many variables at play make it difficult to predict the future. The success of crop production depends on moisture and precipitation, sunshine, the condition of the earth’s atmosphere, the severity of winters, and the proliferation of pests and diseases. The fate of agricultural activities will also be influenced by the capacity of human beings to respond appropriately to the disruptions to come.

While it’s nearly impossible to predict which scenario will come next, it’s important to implement sustainable land stewardship practices to preserve the environment for future generations.

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Agriculture

5 myths about GMOs

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Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been the topic of many animated discussions. To help you keep things in perspective, here are five myths debunked.

1. “GMOs are harmful to your health.”
Many activists decry the genetic manipulation of foods. However, very little data supports their concerns, as many studies confirm they’re safe. However, the long-term effects of the process remain uncertain. Therefore, it’s reasona¬ble to take a cautious approach.

2. “GMOs are comparable to natural selection.”
Genetic manipulation is sometimes compared to the evolution organisms undergo in nature. This comparison is dubious because humans force and prolong the cohabitation of genes in laboratories in the case of GMOs. The genes undergoing modification wouldn’t necessarily have crossed paths under natural conditions.

3. “GMOs alter human DNA.”
Whether modified in a laboratory or not, the genetic material in foods ends up in the blood plasma during digestion and not in the DNA. Cells have a protective system that prevents genes from interfering with their own genetic material.

4. “Studies supporting GMOs are biased.”
Even though studies may be subsidized by corporations that benefit from pro-GMO findings, that isn’t enough to discredit them. From a purely scientific perspective, the value of a study rests on the methodology employed and the credibility of the deductive process. That said, the funding sources for a study do require additional attention since they may affect the objectivity of the results.

5. “The GMO debate is over.”
Although most scientific data regarding GMO safety is positive, it’s nonetheless essential to maintain intellectual curiosity and de¬bate around the subject.

Lastly, genetic modification is a relatively new process and still requires vigilance.

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Agriculture

3 tips for improving pastureland

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Properly managed pastureland produces high-quality forage and lengthens the grazing season, ultimately reducing feed costs. Here are three tips for improving the quality of your pastureland.

1. Rotate
To prevent overgrazing, create a rotational grazing scheme. For example, subdivide large pastures into smaller ones and rotate your animals through these fields. Ideally, you should let the grass reach six to eight inches high before putting your animals out to graze. Remove them from the field when the grass gets down to three or four inches.

2. Mow and harrow
It’s a good idea to mow your pasture after your animals have grazed. Mowing helps even out the grass height and encourages the plants to produce more leaves and fewer stems, resulting in a more palatable and hardy grass. It also helps control aggressive weeds like thistle.

You may want to consider harrowing your pasture after your animals have finished grazing. This helps break up manure piles and evenly distribute nutrients throughout the soil. Dispersing manure piles also helps control parasites and insects.

3. Fertilize
Like all plants, grass requires nutrients to grow. Therefore, it’s essential to take regular soil samples and follow fertilizer recommendations.

Think of pasture management as grass farming: the grass is the crop, and the animals harvest it.

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Agriculture

5 of the best draft horse breeds

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People have relied on draft horses for hundreds of years to do hard labor, like plowing fields and hauling large loads. Here are five of the best draft horse breeds for your farm.

1. Shires are one of the largest breeds of draft horses. They’re native to England and can reach up to six feet from the ground to their shoulders. They’re known for being calm and laid back but extremely hard working.

2. Clydesdales are one of the most well-known species of draft horses. They’re native to Scotland and are intelligent and eager to please. Despite their large size, they can easily be handled by young children.

3. Percherons come from southeast Normandy in France. They’re prized for their elegant carriage and their robust, muscled bodies. In fact, Percherons are still widely used by farmers and loggers.

4. Belgians originated in the Brabant region of Belgium. They’re attentive horses and are easy to train. Their gentle disposition makes them great family pets.

5. Haflingers hail from Austria and are extremely mild-mannered horses. They’re smaller than most draft horses but are outgoing and cooperative.

Although draft horses are commonly known for strength, they’re also great for riding.

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Agriculture

How cricket farming works

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Did you know that crickets are a more sustainable source of protein than traditional livestock? Although popular in other parts of the world, cricket farming has recently taken off in North America. Here’s how cricket farming works.

Setup
All you need to start a cricket farm is a small space, a starter stock of about 500 crickets, and some basic equipment. Collect a couple of 20-gallon plastic totes, water dispensers, mosquito netting, perlite and potting soil, sponges, a misting bottle, a heat lamp, and a few empty cardboard egg cartons.

Feed
Crickets eat a wide variety of foods, including commercial cricket feed, fruit and vegetable scraps, as well as grains and nuts. Crickets also require a constant supply of water.

Environment
Crickets thrive in warm, moist environments. Therefore, if you can keep the temperature in the tote between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you can raise crickets pretty much anywhere, including a barn, shed, or backyard patio. Crickets must also be kept out of the wind and direct sun to prevent them from drying out.

Harvest
Crickets mature in about two months. Once they reach this age, transfer them to a freezer before selling them. After each harvest, simply disinfect the tote and start the cycle again.

Market
The most common use for farmed crickets is bird, fish, and reptile feed. However, crickets can also be turned into human food like cricket chips, flour, and protein powder.

Crickets are packed with amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids.

 

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Agriculture

How will climate change impact agriculture?

Published

on

Harvest quality has always been closely linked to climate conditions. Therefore, there’s no doubt that global climate change will significantly affect agricultural production in the coming decades. Here are a few things to watch for.

Crop movement
It’s predicted that warm regions will face increasing incidences of drought and heatwaves that will ruin crops. Conversely, cold areas are expected to benefit from increased productivity by introducing new crops that were previously impossible to grow. This will result in a migration of crop production. Rising sea levels may also contribute to this movement, as flooding will increasingly affect coastal areas, causing crop destruction and soil deterioration.

Indirect effects on population
A shift in agricultural opportunities may cause people to move to more productive areas. For instance, less prosperous regions on the planet are most vulnerable to climate change. This is because they rely heavily on agriculture and often don’t have the technical or financial means to adapt their practices to changing natural conditions.

Good and bad surprises
Although some effects of climate change are already visible, the many variables at play make it difficult to predict the future. The success of crop production depends on moisture and precipitation, sunshine, the condition of the earth’s atmosphere, the severity of winters, and the proliferation of pests and diseases. The fate of agricultural activities will also be influenced by the capacity of human beings to respond appropriately to the disruptions to come.

While it’s nearly impossible to predict which scenario will come next, it’s important to implement sustainable land stewardship practices to preserve the environment for future generations.

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Agriculture

3 ways to reduce water consumption on the farm

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Water conservation has always been a concern for farmers in drought-prone regions. However, the worsening impacts of climate change have exacerbated the problem worldwide. Here are three ways to reduce water consumption on your farm.

1. Soil management
Incorporating proper soil management techniques can drastically conserve water on your farm. For example, practicing zero tilling, using mulch, and planting cover crops can all help the soil retain more moisture.

2. Water recycling
Many parts of North America see a lot of rain in the springtime, which can cause significant water drainage from fields. A drainage water recycling system will capture this excess water in a pond or reservoir. The system will store it temporarily until it’s needed to water crops later in the growing season.

3. Drip irrigation
If you already irrigate your crops, you may want to consider investing in drip irrigation. These systems reduce runoff and evaporation, saving up to 80 percent more water than traditional spray systems. This type of watering allows moisture to penetrate deeply into the soil, leading to better growth.

Ultimately, incorporating water conservation into your agricultural practices is one of the most critical tools available to ensure a safe and reliable food supply.

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Upcoming Events

Aug
17
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 17 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Aug
18
Thu
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Appalachian Chamber Music Festiv... @ Barns of Rose Hill
Aug 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival - Opening Night @ Barns of Rose Hill
The Appalachian Chamber Music Festival is delighted to be returning to the Barns of Rose Hill on Thursday, August 18, at 7pm, for the opening night concert of our 2022 summer season. The festival celebrates[...]
Aug
19
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 19 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Aug
20
Sat
11:00 am National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 20 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
National Honeybee Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area The bees are buzzing at Sky Meadows State Park! Meet the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah as they perform a honey extraction. Learn about beekeeping, honeybees and the art of apiculture. Support beekeeping and[...]
Aug
21
Sun
12:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 21 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects[...]
Aug
23
Tue
3:00 pm Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Aug 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale Audition Day @ Calvary Episcopal Church
If you have choral-singing experience, you’re invited to join The Valley Chorale! Rehearsals this fall culminate in our always-popular Christmas concerts in December. This year, we have a truly fantastic Christmas program planned. Auditions are[...]
Aug
24
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Aug 24 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Aug
26
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Aug 26 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
…and be sure to attend our Fourth of July event!
Aug
27
Sat
10:00 am Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summe... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summe... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Aug 27 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Habitat Detectives: A Late-Summer Children's Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Join Virginia Master Naturalist and teacher, Barbara Ermler, on a walk of exploration. Use your five senses to uncover clues to how various organisms – plants, animals, and more – work together[...]
7:00 pm Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Aug 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Appalachian Chamber Music Festival @ Middleburg Community Center
Join the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival on Thursday, August 25, at 7:00 pm, for a concert at Middleburg Community Center as part of their 2022 Festival! ACMF brings this concert of festival highlights to the[...]