Describe the two most prevalent traits that are actually used widely in agriculture in US field crops. What are some of the actual environmental, economic, agronomic (yield) and social outcomes of the two major GM trait technologies? Original Answers Only


Choose 2 of the 4 prompts below, and provide a complete response. Be sure that you address the full prompt, and demonstrate your completion of course content by using examples from class. You may use drawings, other creative work, and outside references to help demonstrate your understanding. Appropriately CITE your references.

  • Recommended length is 3-5 single-spaced pages (please no more) – include drawings or work after your writing.
  • Submit to the midterm dropbox folder in either a Word or pdf document format.
  • Use APA citation style to note references that you rely on – you may use materials from class, or additional sources.
  • Check for the originality and integrity of your work.
  • Use your best grammar and organization.
  1. Each agricultural resource – such as soil, plants, animals, microorganisms, insects, chemicals, and water – exist within a larger ecosystem. For this question select ONE of these resources and describe its roles and functions in the ecosystem. For example, if you were to choose soil, you can discuss how it is a product of, and provides multiple benefits to plants; serves as a home for many organisms(which you could describe in more detail), can both hold water in times of drought or can be eroded by water causing pollution… etc.
  • How do other resources impact or influence your chosen resource? How does your resource affect the other natural resources? (e.g. – how do plants, animals, and water contribute to soils, and how do soils contribute to plants, animals, and water?)
  • Describe at least three of these relationships in some detail – I suggest drawing a systems diagram to help you think through these aspects. Drawings are welcome additions to your answer(s)!
  • Finally, consider how different agricultural management choices (in this case, tilling or cover crops, etc.) can have positive or negative outcomes on your selected resource and relate to the other aspects in the system.
  1. Genetic and biotechnological breeding has been a controversial topic since its introduction to commercial agricultural seed markets in the 1990’s. For this question,
  • Name at least three ways scientist have utilized this technology in agriculture
  • Describe the two most prevalent traits that are actually used widely in agriculture in US field crops. What are some of the actual environmental, economic, agronomic (yield) and social outcomes of the two major GM trait technologies?
  • Explain at least two different perspectives on GM crops that were addressed in course materials. For example, what does herbicide resistance offer farmers that makes them willing to fight for Dicamba use? Why do advocates of food sovereignty and indigenous foodways often have objections to the use of this technology on indigenous plants? What might constrain a farmer in the developing world from adopting these technologies.
  • Finally, share your own assessment on the appropriate use of GM technology in crop use. What are your concerns, and what are the opportunities?
  1. Diversity is a core ecological concept that contributes to the sustainability and resilience of both biological and social systems. Select three examples of the intentional cultivation/promotion of biodiversity on farms, and describe what this increased diversity contributes towards a holistic/regenerative approach to sustainable food production. For example, fostering soil biodiversity, planting wildflower strips, and maintaining perennial pasture plantings are three practices that contribute to different aspects of farm health. For each of your three examples,
  • Identify which less beneficial management practices it can help to replace or remedy;
  • Describe the beneficial contributions that this management choice can make for a farm – there are often multiple benefits, so aim to include at least 3 each;
  • Explain why a farmer might not utilize this practice – such as the opportunity costs (what they might give up, or could have grown/done instead) of the practice, or environmental limitations.
  1. Making sure we can produce enough food for the future is central to the ideas of sustainability; after all, it is the human population that we are aiming to sustain with agriculture. There are areas of concern in feeding an increasing human population, and also common misunderstandings that influence our choices in meeting the goal of feeding the future. In this essay,
  • Select and describe three “myths” that exist around feeding the future human population, and explain how these myths could negatively influence our attempts at feeding the future, and who/what would benefit if we “believe” and take action guided by the myth;
  • Describe three actual areas of concern for the future, and explain how we can potentially overcome these hurdles using technologies or management choices that are compatible with long-term sustainability.
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