Questions about Food in America - wednesday 2009-01-21 0931 last modified 2009-02-01 1353
Categories: Food
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What exactly is this field called? Agricultural sciences, perhaps? Who does it, and where are they based? How technologically advanced are today's farmers, anyhow?

How are this country's agricultural regions divided, to what granularity? How much of an impact does state commerce have on what's grown in one region? Federal? If one type of produce grows in one region, are there associations to identify what other crops might also grow well there? How is an agricultural region defined (rainfall, irrigation sources, topsoil depth, soil composition)? Outside of federal subsidies and corporate genetic copyrights, who determines on a broad scale, if anybody, that certain crops will get planted in a given season in a given place? If Farmer John decides it's time to rotate soy into his fields, who picks up the corn slack? Anybody? Is it merely a business decision? Do we keep track of all the farms, big and small, across the country? Is it a licensed occupation? Is that a matter of scale? Is there any all-encompassing data on these matters available to the general public that isn't just a matter of big-industry planting/harvest size and sales figures?

How normal is harvest time for one crop in one region from year to year? Does anybody (the state government?) actually track what's grown within its borders and where and when?

Why is the life of an every day necessity so far removed from every day life that it's actually kind of mystifying? I'd like to be able to visualize the current state of affairs, but I don't quite know what that even means.

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