Archives for November 2013

Farmer 10.0 – Breaking the Mold

Conjure up the classic image of a farmer in your mind. You’re probably picturing a man, in flannel or perhaps overalls, sweaty and sunbaked with a pitchfork or maybe sitting on a tractor. Toss out all those preconceived notions of the behind-the-times country boy who talks funny and hasn’t heard of modern technology and get ready to embrace farmer 10.0.Farmer 1.0 vs 10.0

Farmers today are chemists, engineers, soil scientists and biologists. Many are well-educated and have turned farming into a science. Soil testing is now routine, applying variable rates of fertilizer is common, and using GPS to map crops and track pesticide or fertilizer applications are yesterday’s news. Modern technology is not limited to big agriculture, individual farmers are getting in the game too. Laptop computers and mobile devices are making it easier and more affordable for average farmers to leverage high-tech assistance in their day-to-day work in the fields. [Read more…]

Expanding on Precision Agriculture

Small farm

Rural System proposes precise, total property management rather than simply precise agriculture.

This morning I discovered a realm of thought and practices that blew me away and made me smile. As a new writer for Rural System, I had mistakenly assumed that the idea of precise land management was unique to the company. Little did I know we live in an age where well over 17,000 on-the-go yield monitors harvest North American crops. [Read more…]

America’s Displaced

When the well dries up people have to move, and this is just what is happening in the rural parts of America today. Rural people are finding themselves in a jobless desert. Abandoned house The results of the annual “Rural America at a Glance” report, provided by the USDA’s Economic Research Service, shows that migration from rural areas exceeds the birth rates in those areas and so rural populations are declining. [Read more…]

Water Sustainability in Rural Environments: Vision for a Pipe-Less Society

water sustainability

A vision for decentralized green infrastructure.

In recent decades, urban sprawl has significantly affected the natural characteristics of rural environments due to increased losses of agricultural and forest lands to urban development. Changed rural environment and urban sprawl has significant societal consequences: [Read more…]

Why Rural?

There is no doubt the suggestions for strategic spatial planning, reducing waste, improving livelihoods, building communities and others from Rural System could also be applied to urban environments. Many people ask why we’ve chosen to target the rural environment first. There are a number of intertwining and complex reasons behind this decision, but to put it simply:

  • Blue Ridge PkwyRural regions are plagued by single-industry employers, some relics of the industrial revolution and others long standing tradition. For example coal mining, logging, andconventional farming. The decline of these industries has left a resource of laborers ripe for employment in diverse businesses of the new enterprise environment.
  • Rural regions are a wealth of skilled tradesmen.
  • The existing infrastructure in urban regions makes revising land use and creating diverse activities difficult. In the rural environment there is no need to battle within those constraints because land is inherently less developed.
  • Living and business expenses are often lower in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • Rural regions, especially Appalachia, are often characterized by poverty, few opportunities, and poor health so the need for action is profound and the potential for improvements abundant.
  • Rural regions are an important natural and economic resource.

Without farms, we would have no food for urban environments. Without forests, we would have little habitat for wildlife. Our rural regions also counteract the pollution from our urban areas to balance clean air and clean water in our ecosystem. There is a great need to properly manage our rural areas to continue to provide support for a healthy nation for another 200 years.