agri food geographies


Post war agricultural change

1. farming became Industrialised 

2. farming is part of a complex food system

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Industrialisation process

All agricultural sectors have been influenced by the industrialisation process

3 processes 




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An increase in inputs and outputs.

Inputs: Agro-chemicals- fertilizers

            land improvement technology e.g. drainage 


           infrastructure- buildings/ farm mandagement 

           biotechnology- crop strains 

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Fewer but larger farimg units

driven by internal and external factors:

Internal- search for economies of scale to reduce production costs.

External- response to agri-food systems dominatied by supermarkets.

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Elimination of least profitable enterprises 

-shift away from mixed farming, only specalises in one thing 

-regional specialisation e.g. sheep/ cattle farming dominates the south west 

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Poultry sector

Rise in mega farms- 16 milliom factory farmed animals in herefordshire 

- 26% increase in intensive farming in plast 6 years- poultry farms are largest 

-mechanised slaughter 

-battery hens 

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large scale glasses hosues and polytunnels for fruit and new development 

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What has driven industrialisation of agriculture?

  • Since WW2, government has invested in agriculture- food shortages cause political unrest, lead to food surplus 
  • Economic factors- growth and profit. Turned way of life inot agri- buisness 
  • Social change - lifestyle chnage, demand for different food products after the war 
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Positive consequences of the industrialisation pro

  • Sustained increases in agricultural production.
  • Garunteed food suplies- cheaper food.
  • Good income for some farmers.
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Negative consequences of the industrialisation pro

  • Environmental damage
  • Loss of farming 'culture' and families 
  • Animal welfare impacts 
  • Less poweful partof the food chain 
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Environmental Damage

Lowe et al- 1987

Biggets change in natural history pf Britains lamdscape ever experienced in such a short period of time- alarming that little is understood about these change, yet what is known is appalling 

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Environmental Damage affects

  • Soil erosion in parts of counrty 
  • pollution of water courses- especially from dairy farms, west part of country
  • Loss of habitat- chalk grassland in South/Norths downs 
  • Species Loss due to loss of habitiat- Skylark 
  • Landscape change- glasshosues and polytunnes- chnage the look of the landcape
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Loss of farming population

Fewer farming people meand a decline in village services e.g. pub closure and derelict farmers cottages.

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Greater system risks

Foot and mouth- mass scale 

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Animal welfare impacts

Poultry sector:

- health implications of breeding for fast growth 

- high mortality rates

-skin burns from sitting in own ammonia rich dung

-some birds eat dead birds 

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