Authors: Gregory Veeck*, Western Michigan University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, China, Rural Geography
Keywords: China, Agriculture, United States Agriculture, agro-environments
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
Increasingly the agriculture and food sectors of China and the US face many similar challenges. Both nations must address issues related to arable land loss, water quality and availability, and climate change. Pressing agriculture-related environmental issues, for both nations, can be roughly classified into two broad categories: (1) point- and non-point source pollution issues such as fertilizer runoff, acid rain and heavy metal pollution of soils due to ash from coal-fueled power plants or effluent from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations, and (2) environmental problems such as subsiding water tables, erosion, desertification, deforestation and salinization. In addition to technical and environmental challenges, there are demographic and economic issues that are also surprisingly similar. For example, both nations must cope with declining farm/rural populations, and aging farm/rural workforces. Fast-growing global supply chains incorporating producers and wholesalers from evermore nations place downward pressures on domestic commodity prices threatening farm incomes, raising subsidy rates and creating market instability. These increasingly complex supply chains also inadvertently promote the diffusion of disease such as African Swine Influenza, PRRS, (blue-ear disease), and various strains of highly contagious Avian Influenza requiring the slaughter of millions of livestock, chickens and ducks. In addition, expanded trade in agricultural products further fosters the diffusion of invasive weeds and bacterial diseases decimating crops and orchards. There is growing consumer resistance to GM crops in both nations. This article presents a comprehensive comparative quantitative assessment of many major shared challenges impacting the agricultural sector for both nations from 2000 to the present.