When choosing a topic for a school or 4-H agricultural speech, think about some of the relevant issues affecting agriculture today. Choose topics such as genetically modified foods, seed patents, organic farming, or any other agriculture issue in which you have a strong opinion. When composing the speech, select a topic with a substantial message, and make certain to organize it to include an introduction, outline the main points’ pros and cons, and end with a resounding and strong conclusion. Save time to ask for questions from the audience.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Quick ideas for agricultural speeches:
- What's happening to the honeybees?
- Environmental legislation's effect on farming
- Pros and cons of fish hatcheries
- The 5 risks in the food chain
- Impacts of grazing vs. penned beef
Genetically Modified Foods
Supporters of the practice praise scientists for using biotechnology to create hardy, disease-resistant plant species that grow bigger and faster in poorer conditions. Others are concerned that genetically modified crops might breed with wild crops and cause undesired changes in local ecosystems.
Genetically modified plants made to resist disease could potentially lead to stronger disease strains that destroy natural wild plants and vegetation. Food labeling also spurs debate, as anti-GMO food advocates believe genetically modified foods should be labeled, while the other camp believes labeling would hurt sales.
As a hot issue, seed giants like Monsanto develop genetically modified strains of plants, then patent the seeds as intellectual property. As corporations patent more seeds, farmers have fewer options and must continue to buy patented seeds, as plants grown from patented seeds don’t usually produce plants that make more seeds. In the old days of farming, farmers only needed to purchase seeds occasionally because they could the seeds from the current crop.
Monsanto and other seed-patenting giants actively prosecute farmers they believe to be saving seeds. Seed-patent holders believe their practices are ethical because the new plants reduce pesticide and water use over time. The Center for Food Safety believes seed patenting has dangerous implications for the future of agriculture, as control of seeds -- and the world's food supply -- moves to corporate ownership.
The agriculture government supports financially has a big impact on the food supply and human health. The government subsidizes corn growers with billions of dollars each year to lower the cost of corn production across the country.
Those in favor of corn subsidies praise the government's role in lowering food costs and creating farming jobs. Those opposed to corn subsidies cite that the low-cost processed foods made with corn contribute to obesity and obesity-related illnesses, which not only shorten individual lifespans, but increase the nation's healthcare costs and dependence on prescription drugs. Milk and sugar are also subsidized.
Organic farming, which doesn't rely on chemical pesticides or fertilizers, has gained in public favor so that even stores like Wal-Mart carry organic products. In a speech, address the struggles organic farmers face, such as growing food in polluted soil, competing with non-organic farmers and dealing with continually changing and often nebulous organic farming definitions and standards. Or choose to address the benefits and downsides of organic farming instead.
About the Author
A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.