Last week, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a large-scale program The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development, whose goal is to prepare a new generation of American farmers. Millions of dollars are planned to be spent on popularizing the farmer’s profession and providing all kinds of assistance to beginning agricultural workers.
The USDA does not hide the fact that there are a catastrophic shortage of farmers in the United States and the state will do everything possible so that people move into the outback of the country, buy ranches and large areas of land.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of farmers will decrease by 19% in the period from 2015 to 2022, which will lead to a food crisis and the rise in prices of products. Meanwhile, the average farm income in the country is $ 69,300. This is a very good amount, given that such businessmen in most cases live in their own homes (that is, they do not pay rent or mortgage).
“Agriculture is an area that will always generate income,” said labor market analyst Jeb Halley. – The population of the country is increasing. Food demand is growing. The cost of farms and ranches is at an all-time low. Moreover, for many people, the purchase of agricultural land is a way to start a new life, leave the bustling city and start working for yourself. ”
Currently, 73% of farmers work for themselves and do not depend on anyone. This profession is considered one of the most promising among immigrants, as nearly a third of visitors have experience in the fields. Another indisputable plus is education, or rather its absence. Many successful businessmen do not even have a high school diploma.
“Today, about 40,000 farms and ranches are sold on the American market at prices ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 10 million,” says Ernest D., an agricultural infrastructure sales specialist. – On average, a good farm consisting of a dwelling house, barns, a dozen other buildings and at least 20 acres of land costs about $ 130,000. It’s smaller than a tiny apartment in New York or Chicago. ”
According to Ernest, today, farms and ranches are bought by all kinds of people – from retirees who dream of living away from civilization to young workaholics.
“One of my clients were three Guatemalans who won the green cards,” says the specialist. “In just six months of washing up in Manhattan, they saved up $ 60,000 and bought an 18-acre farm in Kentucky.” A year later, these guys earned nearly half a million dollars on selling chicken. There are many similar stories. ”
According to Ernest’s words, success in the agricultural business depends solely on hard work. Many farmers get up at 5 am and work until 7 pm. They do not hire workers and do all the black work on their own.
How to understand the principles of the agricultural business? This is indicative of the story of New Yorker Will Jones, who, after a divorce from his wife and loss of work, firmly decided to start a new life.
He never worked in the outback and had a brilliant legal background. However, the “farmer romance” always fascinated him.
“I flew to Idaho and found a job on a potato farm the very first day,” Jones recalls. – A friendly businessman paid me $ 50 a day plus free food and lodging. I did not spread about my past, pretending to be an ordinary mechanic. For three months of work, I had before my eyes a complete picture of how the potato business works. I became a PhD in the potato industry. ”
After quitting his job, Jones, who, during his time as a lawyer, managed to save almost half a million dollars, bought a huge potato farm, hired workers and turned it into a profitable business. The experience gained during the work in the fields, he considers invaluable.
“Many people who dream of becoming farmers, imagine themselves sitting on a rocking chair in front of a huge field with a bottle of beer in their hands,” argue Jones. – They have no idea about agriculture, but they are sure that they will succeed. My advice to you is to work first at least three months on someone else’s farm. It is possible that you will hate this job. ”
Now about the most important thing. In modern US agriculture, there is an unusual trend. Beginning farmers are increasingly moving away from growing popular crops such as corn, soybeans and potatoes, preferring to produce something exotic and in small quantities.
Here it is worthwhile to dwell on the history of the Californian Frank Lee, who bought a tiny farm in Iowa. His plot worth $ 12 thousand was located in the midst of immense corn fields.
“Farmers laughed at me and said that on the cob, I would not even earn hundreds of dollars a month,” recalls Lee. – However, I was not going to grow corn. My task was to produce shiitake and oyster mushrooms, which a year after the purchase of land brought a million dollars in profits. ”
The most interesting thing that Lee had only theoretical experience of growing mushrooms. He read a dozen books, watched several educational films and talked a lot with mushroom pickers over the Internet.
Mushrooms are one of the most profitable farm products. For example, the oyster harvest is 25 pounds per year per square foot. If we consider that the retail price of a pound of these mushrooms, on average, is $ 7, then from a small space of 10 by 10 pounds you can earn $ 17,500.
“The most difficult thing is to settle all the legal formalities in the early stages of the farm,” says Lee. – In addition to the USDA, there are a number of federal, state and city authorities seeking to prohibit or issue a fine. You have to keep all inspectors under control in order to stay in business. ”
The only worker on Lee’s mushroom farm is the 25-year-old son Jacob. His duties include selling mushrooms over the Internet. He spins the product on social networks, sells large supermarkets and small shops.
“Knowledge of the Internet is a huge advantage for new farmers over hereditary farmers,” says Jacob. – Many businessmen living in the outback, do not use the Internet and do not even have a computer. They have regular customers and they are not interested in new ones. They even have no idea how to get going at the expense of Internet farming. ”
Jacob is absolutely right. If desired, the agricultural business can be promoted even on Facebook, where there are many groups of fans of different products – from mushrooms to beef steaks. In addition, the possibilities of modern mail are not limited. If desired, for example, fresh beef chops can be sent in a special container to Alaska or the Hawaiian Islands. In certain situations, it is even profitable.
Mushrooms belong to the list of goods that bring about $ 50 thousand annually from one acre of land. An acre, however, is practically worthless in the outback state. In Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma or Arkansas, such a microscopic farm with an old house can be purchased for $ 10 – $ 15 thousand.
So, besides mushrooms, the most profitable crops are:
Lavender. Used in the manufacture of soap, incense, bouquets and funeral wreaths. So, in California, there was a case when a former co-worker started a lavender business.
Spring Pussy Willows. These woody plants are popular with florists, as well as room designers. Some varieties of willow are so unpretentious that the crop can be harvested all year round.
Thuja. Rapidly gaining popularity dwarf tree, which is used for landscaping facades and lawns. One sprout costs about a dollar. After 24 months, the tree is ready for sale at a price of at least $ 10 – $ 15. Plus you can add a tidy sum for a plastic pot and delivery.
Bonsai (Bonsai Plants). One of the most scarce plants on the market. Outwardly, it looks like a full-fledged maple, reduced to half a meter in size. I am sure that every resident would like to have a similar beauty at home. The price of the simplest and inconspicuous bonsai is $ 30. The most beautiful specimens are sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Willow. Luxurious, beautiful and fast growing tree. Willow saplings are sold at $ 7 per pound and are in great demand by woodworking companies that supply boards to furniture manufacturers.
Elephant Garlic. Personally, I learned what “elephant garlic” was last week when I bought one head of this amazing product for $ 5 in an American supermarket. The taste is incomparable and is cut very conveniently. One slice is comparable to apricot. In good soil, the crop is 15 thousand pounds per acre. The profit is obvious.
Herbs. The cultivation of various herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes has increased over the last decade by 20%. A small jar of loose spices costs at least $ 3 in stores. If you grow herbs wisely and process them appropriately (dry, chop, mix), you can easily become a millionaire.
Bamboo. Chinese immigrants have long since established bamboo production in the south of the country, as the demand for this plant is constantly increasing. Bamboo is made furniture, furnishings, souvenirs and much more. If you offer a good price, then the wholesale buyer can be found quite easily.
Ginseng. One of the most useful products in modern agriculture. According to Chinese philosophy, it prolongs life and youth. You can sell ginseng in a variety of forms – raw, dried, pickled, salted, grated, etc. If you take to grow an organic and environmentally friendly product, then do not sell it for less than $ 50 per pound.
Finally, it should be said that in the United States there are more than a hundred farming organizations that in every possible way help beginning agricultural businesses.
Moreover, under pressure from the USDA, banks began to willingly give loans to buy a farm or ranch, as well as approve the business plans of novice but ambitious farmers.
In general, everything goes to returning America the former glory of a country that has a developed and independent market for its own food.Read More
The ranch was one of the most popular methods of agriculture, widely spread in the countries of the Western Hemisphere during the colonization of America by immigrants from the European continent.
In the USA and Canada, a ranch usually means any farm located in a rural area. One way or another, the main economic specialization of the ranch is cattle breeding, first of all cattle. This ranch is different from plantations, the main specialization of which is crop (bananas, sugar cane, cotton).
When free time was given out on the ranches of cowboys, they entertained themselves with all sorts of “funny” competitions: whose horse works better with a cow, who sits longer on a wild bull or a mustang, who will quickly lash a cow. Over time, these sports were separated, gained established rules, overgrown with traditions and features of training the horse and rider. From the middle of the 20th century, official cowboy competitions were held in the USA, and western sport appeared.
Life on the ranch has its advantages – far from the bustle of the city, animals and complete unity with nature.
Once a year, the rancher and his team lead their flocks to mountain pastures. Shepherd dogs grazing during a long transition of cows and bulls (bottom right), everything is as it should be.
Dangerous moment – the transfer of the herd across the road. One of the cowboys holds a warning yellow flag for approaching cars. Sometimes it’s easier to walk along the highway.
Such is the life of the real ranch and the cowboys.Read More
Features of the organization of independent gastronomic tours
Italy is a diverse country, where each region has its own unique features and unique character. This applies to both nature and culture, manifesting itself in a variety of forms. Cooking here on top. Gastronomic habits and traditions in different parts of Italy are very variable: it is often enough to travel several tens of kilometers to get from one culinary world to another. For example, Venetian cuisine is not at all the same as the cuisine of the mainland Veneto, and the culinary traditions of Bologna are markedly different from the Florentine tastes. There is nothing to say about the differences between Lombardy and, say, Campania, Lazio and Apulia, Sicily and Sardinia. All of them are not so similar to each other, that it is time to ask a question, and is it not about different countries? Therefore, it is amusing to read on all sorts of tourist portals and in countless blogs that, say, such and such a city is the gastronomic or culinary capital of Italy. There are at least two dozen such capitals in Italy (by the number of regions), and in each case we will have sufficiently weighty reasons to justify the capital.
In general, the soil for culinary and gastronomic tourism in Italy is very rich, and therefore it is not at all surprising that gastronomic tours in Italy are very popular among travelers from all over the world. In Russia, the corresponding programs are offered by a number of travel companies (interesting tours can be found, in particular, from Simpletravel; see here). It is only necessary to take into account that the pleasure is, as a rule, not cheap. However, if you are not very well oriented in the field of cooking or do not burn with the desire to think through every little thing, then a gastronomic tour organized by professionals is perhaps the ideal option.
However, here we are more interested in the possibilities of organizing independent travels. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
How to organize a gastronomic tour of Italy alone
In general, organizing an independent journey in Italy is quite simple. Buy air and railway tickets, book hotels, get a visa – is a simple matter. The most difficult thing in the case of gastroturas, in our opinion, is to draw up a travel program. What and where to try, what places (restaurants, wineries, agricultural enterprises, etc.) to visit, when it is better to go to one or another region of Italy to fully appreciate the advantages of local cuisine – these and many other questions will require you to be careful preparation.
However, here, for lack of time or desire to search for all the necessary information on your own, again, you can resort to outside help. To this end, it makes sense to look at sites like www.tripster.ru, where, among other things, there are excursions of a gastronomic orientation. For example, here you can find a good selection of culinary and gastronomic excursions in Rome and its environs, here is a tempting tour of Venice and its hidden back streets, and here is an interesting one-day tour of Apulia. Similar tours and walks can be booked in Florence, Naples, Verona, Turin and many other Italian cities.
But you can do otherwise. If you are interested in cooking as such, then surely you have at least some idea of what attracts your attention. From this and push off. When planning a trip, refer to the tourist forums, blogs and reviews of tourists, the benefit is that in the case of Italy there is no shortage of information. As a result, you can make an approximate list of dishes, wines and products that you definitely need to try in a particular region. And then go to the free swimming – travel around the country, wander through the cities, alternating sessions of contemplation of the beautiful with a visit to the points of the public catering that you like along the way, and try, try, try. With this approach, of course, not only gastronomic discoveries, but also disappointments await you. But, comparing what and how they cook in different establishments, you can form your own idea of Italian cuisine and its regional specialties. In the end, nothing is more valuable than personal experience. At the same time, it is not at all necessary to ignore the experience of other people. No one has canceled Google Maps and Tripadvisor – on these resources there are a lot of reviews about various institutions in all of the more or less noticeable cities in Italy. And, of course, before going to a particular restaurant, pizzeria, trattoria, etc., it is worth a while to read what is written about them.
In addition, do not forget about the existence of books and travel guides. Of them, too, can draw a lot of useful information. In Russian there is, for example, the book by Elena Kostyukovich “Food. Italian happiness “, which can be used as a gastronomic guide to Italy. (Essentially the same book, only in a slightly different layout, was previously published in two parts – “A Taste of Italian Happiness” and “Roads of Italian Happiness.”) There is a book by Andrei Bilzho “My Venice” – again, almost ready-made guidebook institutions of Venice. There is another literature.
Finally, you can focus on numerous gastronomic fairs and festivals. For example:
- Florence Pitti Taste fair is held annually (in March);
- in Perugia – Eurochocolate fair (in October);
- in Alba – the Tartufo Bianco d’Alba fair dedicated to white truffle (October-November);
- in Ladispoli, near Rome, – Sagra del Carciofo Romanesco in honor of the artichokes (in late March – early April);
- in Montefiascone, also near Rome, – the wine festival Fiera del Vino (in early August) …
The list can be continued indefinitely. By and large, any cultural event in Italy, be it a city carnival or a celebration in honor of some saint, is accompanied by a fair of traditional local products: somewhere there is more, somewhere less, but it is always interesting and tasty.
We should also mention the organization Slow Food (see www.slowfood.com) and, in particular, the annual gastronomic feast Terra Madre Salone del Gusto held in Turin (in September). The organization’s website regularly publishes information about other events.
Also pay attention to the network of Eataly gastronomic centers (see www.eataly.net), conceptually combining a market where you can buy high-quality Italian products (cheeses, cold meats, seafood, etc., etc.), and a restaurant where you can taste dishes made from these highest quality products (which is remarkable, prices are not exorbitant). The geography of their presence is extensive and has long gone beyond the Apennine Peninsula. If we talk about Italy, the offices of Eataly are represented in the same Turin, as well as in Milan, Bologna (here in November 2017 a huge agro-gastronomic park FICO was opened – see www.eatalyworld.it), Florence, Rome, Bari and some other cities.Read More
In recent years, more and more residents of stone megalopolises tend to go to nature, to relax from the hustle and bustle. In Italy, there is a great way to accomplish this task – to go to the countryside on an agricultural farm. This type of recreation is called agritourism, and it is in Italy that it is extremely popular, there are a huge number of available farms in each region.
According to the legislation, this kind of recreation has existed since the mid 70s, and special conditions are even prescribed in the laws. According to these conditions, farmers are obliged to accept tourists. Initially, everything was very strict with this: the farmer undertook to prepare food, at least 50% consisting of products grown on his farm, to conduct tastings of his own or local wines, to organize sports and didactic activities for children (teach them to milk cows, etc. ., that is, to live a full farm life). There are also certain requirements for guest accommodation, which must be as authentic as possible.
Now the concept has changed a bit, and along with the growing demand for this type of recreation, more and more “quasi-agritourism” began to appear, with swimming pools, spa areas, massages and other things. They feed there as in a restaurant (thawed food), but the air is basically the same. The real life in agro-tourism is quite simple: stone modestly furnished houses, wooden tables in the dining room and its own, cooked food by the owners.
If you want to do agritourism, you must live on a real farm, in an authentic place.
Agritourism is not necessarily all located in the mountains, but often. Firstly, there is cheaper and more suitable for agricultural needs the land, and secondly, it is easier to embody the idea of privacy. In general, there are no agritourism right on the beach, of course. But in compensation you can enjoy the beautiful and spectacular views of the mountains.
In addition to world-famous attractions, beautiful beaches and traditional cuisine, Italy is also famous for agritourism. In the cultivation of this type of recreation, Italy, along with France and Spain, is considered one of the recognized world leaders. And what other visiting format will allow to penetrate the Italian way of life and traditions better than a holiday in the countryside?
Throughout the year, over 10,000 Italian villas, farms and estates are ready to host agrotourists. Here you can ride horses, stroll through the fragrant flower fields, visit the vineyards and, of course, enjoy plenty of gastronomic delights.
The history of agrotourism in Italy
According to one of the local legends, a foreigner set up agrotourism in Italy, who went to live on an Italian farm in order to diversify his too calm and full life. The case was in the post-war period, when the Italian villages impoverished as a result of the Second World War were just beginning to “come to their senses”. The farmer who sheltered the eccentric foreigner was satisfied, having received a good reward for his labors. Stories about excellent rest, wonderful natural food and Italian hospitality quickly spread out of the country, and soon they began to travel to Italy not only for its rich architecture and history, but also to taste all the delights of the colorful village life.
Entrepreneurial Italians, seeing in this niche market, began to equip their homes and farms, to create all the conditions for a decent holiday visitors. By the 70s of the 20th century, agricols began to appear in the country — existing farms that, in addition to producing wine, olive oil and other products, provided rooms for tourists in their homes.
Since 1985, agritourism in Italy has received official recognition and government support. Some projects even provide special grants. In the countries of the European Union there is a decree, which clearly states the rules of doing business for farmers who want to provide their farms for agritourism. To get permission to engage in this type of business, Italian farmers are required to complete a special course, designed for a hundred hours. In the course of the training program, farmers acquire knowledge of the basics of law, management, accounting, sanitary and hygiene standards, etc.
Today, agritourism in Italy is an already formed market. Every year, about two million people come to farms and farmsteads, which gives a considerable profit to the country’s budget.
The most popular regions of Italy for agritourism
Agritourism in Tuscany
The first position in the list of the most popular regions for agro-tourism in Italy is rightfully occupied by Tuscany, where a quarter of the country’s agricultural chips are concentrated. Tuscany is a paradise for travelers. Her villages and small towns are saturated with the spirit of the Middle Ages.
In addition to the picturesque nature, olive groves and wine plantations, agrotourists have a great opportunity not only to taste the dishes for which Tuscany is famous, but also to learn how to cook them under the guidance of Tuscan hostesses.
In the Tuscan cuisine are widely used fish, flour and sausages, and, of course, a variety of vegetables. However, an essential element of Tuscan cuisine is olive oil, which is considered one of the best in the country, and also Florentine steak, which is made from bull meat marinated in olive oil with spices. In addition, Tuscany is also the land of winemakers. Therefore, agritourism in Tuscany without wine is simply unthinkable.
Agritourism in Trentino – South Tyrol
Together with Tuscany in popularity in agritourism there is another equally famous resort –Trentino (South Tyrol). The key to the popularity of this province is the fact that Trentino is one of the largest European centers of mountain and ski tourism with a well-developed infrastructure. Agritourism in Trentino is an explosive mixture of picturesque landscapes, mild climate, mountain “crystal air”, sights, wine and, of course, excellent Italian cuisine.
If you go to Trentino – be sure to try the local pizzocheri paste, made from buckwheat flour with potatoes and savoy cabbage, generously seasoned with cheeses and herbs. Beef tenderloin called tagliata, pickled in spices and grilled, and also dried bresaola beef (Italian bresaola), cut into transparent slices.
Agritourism in Piedmont
The region in the north of Italy has glorified the country for its gastronomic delights. In addition to fine wines, cheeses and other gastronomy, it is in Piedmont that the world famous white truffles grow. Agrotourists who decide to go to this region of Italy will have the opportunity to stay in the agrikols of the legendary “hunters” for delicious mushrooms. If you’re lucky, you can even take part in the search for truffles or visit the famous truffle festival. Fans of “mushroom hunting” should be headed to the province of Lange, where, near the town of Alba, these agro-tourist estates are located.
Agritourism in Piedmont is also a wine tour, since winemaking has a special place in Piedmont. It is Piedmont that is the birthplace of the famous Asti Slumante wine and the wonderful sparkling Prosseco. While serving local Barolo wine, in addition to bread, butter, vegetables and several types of sausages, the guest is sure to be treated with white truffles.
And Piedmont is one of the largest producers of cheese. Indeed, in addition to the recipe, in the production of Italian cheese, one of the key roles is played by the vegetation that feeds animals, and the climate in which cheese matures. Only in this region can you try the real cheeses of Castelmagno, Gongorzola, GranaPadano, Taleggio, Robiola, Bra and TomaPiemontese.
In addition, agri-tourism in Piedmont is an opportunity to swim in hot springs, which the region abounds in. The thermal spas of Piedmont such as the Terme di Acqui, Terme di Agliano and Terme di Bognanco are famous for their sources throughout Italy.Read More
Agriculture is an economic and culturally important part of life in Australia. Many Australians are directly and indirectly associated with agriculture. Even for those Australians who are not connected with agriculture, there will still be links with the country’s rural and agrarian-economic history.
A brief overview of the history of agriculture in Australia
In the first few decades after European settlers arrived in Australia, farms developed mainly around early settlements. These farms mainly raised grain crops (wheat) and raised sheep, which were originally brought from Europe.
Agriculture in the 1800s
The government encouraged research and development of new plots of land and provided material support to this cause, and in the 1800s, farmers and settlers gradually began to move inland and occupy vast areas for grazing and growing crops.
The creation of railways from the 1850s greatly facilitated the delivery of products from remote farms to the markets of large cities.
Huge areas, previously overgrown with forests and shrubs have now been cleared for pasture along the coast of Australia and inland.
The dry climate and poor soil of Australia first presented problems for farmers, but they quickly solved this problem, the solution was the production of high-quality wool. Wool has become the cornerstone of Australian agriculture, and Australia, as is often said, “went on the back of the sheep” during the first years of its economic development.
Still, the key problems for farmers in most parts of Australia were drought and the issue of irrigation. After the construction of irrigation systems, new agricultural methods became viable.
In 1900, wool and wheat still dominated Australian agriculture, but cattle rearing was becoming more widespread, helped by a rich market for grains, fruits, and vegetable crops.
First, most of the crops were grown in the Eastern States, but then, Western Australia became the main grain producer by 1905. The production of sugar beet in Queensland and the cultivation of grapes in the Riverline region of New South Wales were also well developed by the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1901, the population census revealed that approximately fourteen percent of the total Australian population is employed in agricultural industries.
Enemies of australian farmers
During World War I, rabbits became the main enemy of Australian farmers. Rabbits spread north from Geelong in Victoria, and seriously reduced the productivity of Australian agriculture. Rabbit control is still the main problem for farmers and the government today.
Australia’s agriculture in the 20th century
In the 20th century, Australian agricultural production grew rapidly and produced a lot of products, which fully satisfied and even exceeded the needs of the Australian population. This increase in production has forced Australia to become one of the top food exporters in the world.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Australian government provided assistance to Vermer and primary producers in order to communicate production, employment and exports. The government also increased duties on certain goods to discourage imports. Despite the enormous damage from the Great Depression and the two world wars, Australian agriculture continued to grow steadily in the first half of the 20th century.
The importance of agriculture in the Australian economy declined by the second half of the 20th century. Only three percent of the country’s population is now hired in agriculture. Government aid was reduced, and wool became a less important and valuable commodity. Farmers were forced to innovate and diversify in order to survive.
Agriculture in Australia today
The Economic Importance of Agriculture in Australia
Agriculture is an important sector of the Australian economy that generates up to $ 39 billion in profits every year.
Australia’s agriculture employs approximately 370,000 people.
Although agricultural production is not as extensive as at its peak in the mid-1970s, farms still occupy about sixty percent of all land in Australia.
Farms in Australia have traditionally been family-owned firms that have passed from generation to generation. However, since the 1950s, international economic factors and changes in agriculture have led to the expediency of organizing large farms, which are more economically viable than small ones. The number of families engaged in farming has decreased, but the average farm size has increased.
Many modern farmers report that they are struggling to make a profit, and some of them have to admit that additional work from the farm adds income to the family budget.
Types of agriculture in Australia
Different types of agriculture are mainly concentrated in the areas that satisfy them best, depending on irrigation suitability and climatic conditions.
Livestock, mainly sheep and cattle, occupy most of the land in Australian agriculture. Sheep are found in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.
Approximately ninety percent of all cattle are used to produce beef. Queensland and New South Wales are the main beef cattle producers in Australia.
Most dairy cattle nakoditsya in the southern regions of the country, mainly in Victoria.
Wheat and other grains are equally distributed in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
The main harvest of sugar beet falls on Queensland and New South Wales.
Fruit cultivation is common in all Australian territories, as well as the cultivation of vegetables.
Drought and other effects of the Australian climate
One of Australia’s most famous poems, called “My Country,” by Dorothea McKellaire, contains the lines “land … rains, floods and droughts …” For many people, these are warnings about the difficulties that farmers face in Australia.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world; only Antarctica has less precipitation. Large tracts of land everywhere in inland Australia are prone to drought, which can last for several years.
Irrigation is a very important factor in creating agriculture that is viable in the interior of the mainland. Extensive irrigation systems, such as the Snow Scheme, have been established so that water is brought into the country for agriculture. Water is also obtained by drilling wells and storing them in dams on farms.
Australian soils need fertilizer containing superfootvat and nitrogen. Farmers also face difficulties in dealing with soil erosion and salinity.
Many cities and settlements in Australia have annual agricultural exhibitions. In these events, exhibitors representing rural producers, organizations and companies introduce people living in cities to rural life and agricultural production.
The Sydney Royal Esther Shoo is the largest annual agricultural exhibition in Australia, as well as The Royal Melbourne Shoo, are the most anticipated exhibitions of Victoria. Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to each of these exhibitions.
Sustained popularity of agricultural exhibitions –
This is evidence that farms and rural societies continue to play a huge role in the life of Australia.
The importance of technology in Australian agriculture
Technology is having a huge impact on agriculture in Australia. Scientific and technological progress has helped make Australian farmers among the world’s leaders in efficiency and productivity.
During the 1800s, agriculture mainly used manual labor, along with horses and oxen. Today, a strong and technologically advanced machine replaced most of the labor of man and the labor of animals in agriculture.
Multi-Australian inventions and technological advances helped expand agriculture in the early twentieth century. Inventions such as the “jumping over the stump” plow, the combine and the “bush mower” helped farmers make the most of the wild Australian environment.
Irrigation advances, such as the discovery and use of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin and the development of irrigation, have helped provide much-needed water to Australian farmers.
The effectiveness of Australian agriculture has also improved with scientific discoveries in genetics, irrigation and disease control. Drought-resistant varieties of cereal crops were developed. The animals had improved the quality of their meat and wool.
The discovery and introduction of new technologies remains vital for farmers to produce products of excellent quality at a low price. Farmers use satellite technology, discovering more efficient methods of delivering water to where it is needed.
Also in recent years, the use of information technology on farms has been increased. Now most farms have computers and Internet access.
Life on an Australian farm in the 21st century
Despite all the changes over the centuries in Australian agricultural production, today there is still a strong sense of tradition and pride among Australian farmers. While technological and economic factors have a huge impact on rural existence, many of the old-fashioned values of agriculture are as strong as ever for Australian farming families.
Allan Gardy has been engaged in agriculture in the Wimmer area of West Victoria since the 1950s. He and his wife, Pat, grow wheat and maintain a farm called the man, which Allan’s father handed to him. They also grow other crops, such as lentils, which are well suited to the dry conditions of Wimmera agriculture.
Like Australian farmers for decades in front of them, the Gardie family protects nature. Often the only thing separating a good year from a bad year is the good amount of precipitation at the right time.
While some of the tools and methods of agriculture have changed, others have remained the same as before. Allan is as proud of his working dogs as his high-tech farming equipment. An Australian farm dog is a tradition that has remained in modern agriculture because it is still a very effective way to guard and graze sheep and cattle. Working dogs are highly valued, but unlike most pet dogs, they are rarely allowed to stay in the house.
Like many other Australian farmers, the Hardy family is working hard. During harvest, work can continue even at night, using the lighting device on combines.
Despite hardship and hard work, the Gardy family is an active member of the farming community. They are always ready for communication when neighbors, family and friends drop in on them. They regularly play and chat at a local golf club. When Allan celebrated his 70th birthday at a local club, there were a lot of friends and their family members.
As in most farm families in Australia, when the children of Pat and Allan grew up, they began to leave the parents’ farm in the cities to find a prestigious and well-paid job. But their youngest son, Paul, has returned to the farm and is working with Allan now, successfully studying the art of agriculture. Pat and Allan are proud that their son will continue their family tradition of farm management.Read More
In Israel, more than a dozen varieties of strawberries are produced. Among them are Hadass, Tamar, Yael, Malach, Tamir, Barrack and Sirota, synthesized at the Agricultural Institute “Volcani” in Rishon Lezion, Yuval and Orly from the company Fertiseeds, as well as shaked and mouths grown on the “Meshek Yosef” farm.
And from about January all this begins to fill with color and maturity. It’s time to pick berries. You can, of course, buy them in the nearest market, but it is much nicer and more fun to get the whole family out into nature and personally collect them from the garden. At the same time you can eat from the heart. Where can this be done?
“Bag on the farm” (“Farm on the hill”) in Gedera invites you to pick strawberries grown without chemicals. The berries are clean and healthy, sweet and tasty, grow, as it should be in the name of the farm, on the hill. In case of rain or inclement weather there are beds inside the greenhouse. As an additional entertainment: a living area and the opportunity to ride through the fields on the tractor. The entrance costs 30 shekels (children up to 3 years old are free), food on the spot without restrictions, and each basket to take away – for an additional 20 shekels.
Farm Agronen, also located in Göder, produces not only fresh strawberries, but also other berries. At the beginning of January, only strawberries and raspberries are available in small quantities. The peak of ripening, according to the owners, will come on the holiday of Shavuot (this year it is May 19-20). In April, the medlar (shesek) is promised, and in June-July – blackberries, mulberries and plums. Open until only on Saturdays, but opening hours promise to expand on Friday. Entrance – 30 shekels, container for strawberries for 20.
“Bags-6” not far from Netanya in moshav Geulim invites you to one of the oldest strawberry farms in Israel, founded in the 60s of the last century. Long green beds, stretching across a huge field, daily meet guests with lots of sweet ripe berries, irrigated with well water. It is advised to come by 9 am – there are a lot of people who want it and by noon it is already full sold out. Entry costs 20 shekels. Price basket – 15.
Tal Bag is located next to Hod Hasharon and is open to the general public only on Saturdays. Here they are proud of 5 strawberry varieties (Orli, Tamar, Malach, Barrack and 295) grown using biological control methods. Berries do not even need to wash before eating. The entrance for the child costs 40, including a takeaway basket, parents can choose the option without packaging for 20 shekels. Each additional basket with a capacity of about 400 grams will cost 20 shekels. Food on site without restrictions. You can also pick oranges and carrots on the farm, but in January only strawberries are available.
You can also pick strawberries grown without chemical spraying at the Ruach She-Tut farm, at the entrance to the kibbutz Gan-Shmuel just east of Hadera. To protect against pests here use ladybugs and special bees. It is curious that part of the strawberry does not grow on the ground, but in boxes. The entrance costs 45 shekels, including unlimited strawberry eating on the spot and a 250-gram basket with them. Open daily, but pre-registration is required at the weekend.
PullGezer Farm, located near Kfar Saba, offers not only strawberries. You can pick carrots, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, beets, radishes, parsley, dill, mint and much more from local patches. The entrance to the vegetable part of the farm – 25 shekels, the strawberry – 35. When combining both options – a discount of 10 shekels. For the purchase of a basket of strawberries, they ask for 20 shekels, and for every kilogram of vegetables – 5. Food on site without restrictions. Open daily.
Farm “Stalbetut”, spread out at Hod Hasharon, invites you to gather strawberries only on Saturdays. The farm uses biological plant protection without the use of pesticides; here you can listen to lectures on the cultivation of strawberries and the difference in varieties. The cost of entry, unlimited eating from the garden and a small bast-basket with them is 40 shekels. If you wish, if you come with a child, an adult can choose the option without a basket for 20 shekels.
In “Sacks-77” near Netivot, not far from Beersheba in the western Negev, strawberry picking is open exclusively on Fridays. It is said that the berries are big, red, juicy and tasty. Here the entrance with unlimited eating on the spot and a basket of 250 grams costs 15 shekels, with a basket per half a kilo is 25 and with a basket per kilogram is 40. For an additional 10 shekels, you can make a tour of the farm on a tractor.
The Sadot farm, located at the entrance to the kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, just northeast of Netanya, offers guests a strawberry field with 4 varieties to choose from: tamar, rotem, shaked and malach. The entrance with unlimited absorption of berries on the spot costs 22 shekels, and for another 15 shekels you can carry with you a basket, which, according to rumors, includes about a kilogram. Also on site you can do collecting anemones.
The Uri Tutim farm, located in Yesha moshav in the Western Negev, between Beersheba and the Gaza Strip, invites all southerners to pick strawberries growing in greenhouses not on the ground, but at the level of human growth. Here, for growing berries, a special hanging strawberry method is used, which makes it possible to do without soil, reduces the number of pests and improves plant health. Admission is only 10 shekels, a container for collecting with you – 25. Open from 8 am to 2 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The farm “Here Gil” in Petahia moshav in the regional council Gezer (about which we wrote a little earlier) grows delicious cherry tomatoes in the summer, and in winter opens the season of picking strawberries grown in greenhouses by the hanging method without pesticides. Here, among other things, you will hear interesting stories from the owner of the farm about strawberries, about how to collect and choose the right one. Open on Fridays from 9:00 to 15:30. Entrance fee – 30 shekels. Picked berries are paid by weight.
The Ariel strawberry farm in the moshav of Kadima north of Kfar Saba is not satisfied with the general harvest of its berries and sells strawberries at 30 shekels per kilogram. However, according to the owners, in the very near future it is worth waiting for the announcement of the free collection of products. This place is considered one of the favorite among many residents of not only Gush Dan, but also in other parts of the country.
That’s probably all for now. The largest strawberry farm in Israel is “Yosef Bag” in Hod Hasharon, but, alas, it does not suit the “national harvest”, supplying all products to supermarkets and grocery stores in the country.
It should be added that it is desirable to come to each of the listed or any other places early and call in advance – you never know: rain, floods, a strike, a clean-up day, or all were destroyed by visitors yesterday. Published prices are valid at the beginning of January 2018 and may vary depending on the season.
Growing garden strawberry or strawberry is a highly profitable sector of farming industry. In case of year-round growing in a greenhouse the profitability is 70-100% with payback during the very first season.
Different natural factors such as stone land, desertification of 60% of the territory, scanty rainfall and lack of fresh water, complicate the development of the farming industry in Israel. Nowadays the farming industry produces enough crop to provide the local population with required products. Also it enables export to other countries and continents. In fact, one of the main reasons is considerable government financing of scientific researches and developments. That is done along with rapid manufacturing application of innovations.
Growing strawberry in Israel
Farmers in Israel mostly grow strawberry in greenhouses that occupy a territory of 400 hectares. In 2017 the total harvest was 30,000 tons. Harvesting and sales are done during the winter period from November to May. That is because the most favorable temperature for strawberries is in winter. Farms are working on mastering technologies for growing strawberries in summer. In mountain kibbutzes (agricultural communes) Merom Golan and Ramat Rachel they practice year-round growing.
Garden strawberry mostly grows in the Sharon region. Surprisingly, the best harvest of garden strawberry is collected in greenhouses in the very heart of the Arava desert. Since 2000, ecologically clean production without the use of pesticides has been promoted. So you can be sure that Israeli strawberries are safe for health. Besides, each tourist can visit a greenhouse or a plantation and eat as many berries as he can right from the bush.
Strawberry harvest in Israel reaches 200 tons per hectare. Advanced farms install automated greenhouses and eliminate the influence of natural factors.
Popular cultivars of Israeli strawberries: Tamar, Yael, Sheik, Orly, Rocky, Ruthhey, Herut, Hadas, Barak, Yuval. Breeders are trying to improve taste, transportability, crop yield, marketability (shape, size and aroma) and adaptive properties in hot climate.
Features of strawberry growing technology
The Israeli technology of strawberry growing is based on hydroponics. This method implies dosated plant nutrition with fertilizers through a system of drip irrigation.
Plant roots are in an airy, inert sterile substrate. Thereby the substrate solves two problems: it provides good aeration of roots and reduces risk of fungal diseases.
Farmers install a metal frame in the greenhouse and after that they attach the plastic channels for the substrate at a height of 1 – 1.5 meters.
Attributes of Israeli technology:
- the use of everbearing strawberries;
- processes automation: control over microclimate parameters, calculation and preparation of nutrient solution, drip irrigation, light intensity;
- hydroponics with the use of coco coir substrate;
- introduction of a biological method in pest control;
- raising beds for better ventilation and easier harvest.
Strawberry harvest in Israel is semi-automatic. The workers move along the aisles in a special transport. They manually collect and put berries into containers ready for sale. Thus improving keeping capacity and transportability. After collecting they cool down the berries.
Some people believe that strawberry grown according to the Israeli technology is watery and tasteless. Moreover skeptics even believe it to be a source of toxins and chemicals. These delusions are easy to refute.
Taste of hydroponically grown berries differs from the taste of strawberries grown on soil due to the features of everbearing varieties. Considering rapid growth and multiple bearing, the berries just don’t have time to accumulate a lot of sugar. For example, if you eat a remontant berry grown on soil you can feel the difference in taste with the regular one. Though they grow in the same conditions, the sugar content is different.
When breeding industrial varieties Israeli breeders focus on:
- transportability: berries are more dense;
- early maturity: fast yielding ability;
- crop capacity: increasing amount and size of berries;
- decreased sensitivity to daylight hours duration;
- resistance to diseases: gray rot and spot disease.
Over the past 5 years, taste requirements are increasing and farmers claim that you will never find a strawberry sweeter than theirs.
The statement about mineral fertilizers overfeeding is also unfair. Strawberry is not a cucumber and it doesn’t require nitrate nitrogen to grow. Imbalance will have an opposite effect. Besides, such fertilizers cost a lot, so no one will excessively use them to feed the plants.
Another myth – chemicals in berries. Considering that bumblebees are used for garden strawberry pollination, usage of pesticides is strongly bounded. Israeli farmers prefer the biological method of pest control. To reduce the development of diseases they apply different agricultural methods. However, all garden strawberry diseases are a consequence of overwetting and contact with infected soil. The Israeli strawberry greenhouse is equipped with a moisture control system. Thanks to that nematode worms and fungi spores will not appear in the substrate. Seedlings growing technology excludes possibility of viral diseases.
Main manufacturers and exchange of experience
Each farmer or a holding company specialist can come and see himself the process of strawberry growing in Israel. Israeli scientists and farmers gladly share their experience. Also they offer their help in supporting business. The Alecon company arranges on-site training courses and seminars for foreign farmers.
You can order a turnkey greenhouse directly from the manufacturer. Israeli technology requires significant financing at first, but 100% profitability compensates it.
Strawberry is grown in the following kibbutzes: Kadima, Ein Yahav, Geulim, Gan Shmuel, Mishmar HaSharon, Yesha.
The largest strawberry farm is Joseph Farm.
In addition, there are open for visitors plantations. In case of interest tourists can see how strawberries are grown in Israel. The following farms offer such kind of excursion: Meshek Bagiva, Agronen, Meshek-6, Meshek Tal, Ruach Shtut, Stalbetut, Sadot, Uri Tutim Farm, Ariel, Tut Gil.
You can see large ripe berries of Israel strawberries in the photos taken by people who already visited the plantations.Read More