Research Paper Proposal – American Agriculture and the Environment


For my research paper, I want to examine the effects of modern agriculture on the environment.  With a focus on American agriculture, I feel like I can obtain a strong understanding of the overall environmental impact.  The main parts of modern agriculture that I wish to focus on are water usage, pesticide usage, herbicide usage, and growth hormones in livestock.

Each specific section of modern agriculture has altered Earth’s natural cycle.  First by assessing the effects of over-usage of the water supply to maintain farmland, I will show that America’s watersheds are depleting.  The other sections of my paper will analyze the different chemicals brought about by the agricultural revolution.  Like never before, farms are being “nourished” (herbicides), “protected” (pesticides), and “beefed up” (growth hormones) through the use of chemicals unnatural to the Earth’s environment. 

Although I realize that these modern agricultural trends were brought about by the need for a more effective farming system, they are counter-productive in the sense that they are ultimately hurting our environment.  Each foreign, man-made chemical used in farming techniques makes its way into the soils and destroys nature. 

The best solution for reducing industrial agriculture’s effect on the environment is to resort to low-impact, natural farming.


The American agricultural revolution has greatly impacted the surrounding environment through the over-usage of water supplies and various man-made chemicals.


(1) Ward, Neil, and Richard Munton. “Conceptualizing Agriculture — Environment Relations.” Sociologia Ruralis 32.1 (1992): 127-145. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 27 July 2013.

(2) Verhagen, et al. “Quantifying The Sustainability Of Agriculture.” Irrigation & Drainage Systems 21.1 (2007): 1-15. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 July 2013.

(3) Horrigan, Leo, Robert S. Lawrence, and Polly Walker. “How Sustainable Agriculture Can Address The Environment And Human Health Harms Of Industrial Agriculture.” Environmental Health Perspectives 110.5 (2002): 445. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 July 2013.

(4) Miller, Dale A. “Environmentalism And The New Agriculture.” Vital Speeches Of The Day 57.7 (1991): 221. History Reference Center. Web. 27 July 2013.

(5) Edwards, Clive A. “Pesticides In Agriculture And The Environment.” Quarterly Review Of Biology 79.1 (2004): 102. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 July 2013.

(6) Conkin, Paul K. “A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture Since 1929.” University Press of Kentucky: 2008. 


3 responses to “Research Paper Proposal – American Agriculture and the Environment

  1. Nice Amber, I did my research on pretty much the same idea on how agriculture modernization has impacted our environment. I studied this in my other class and I wanted to share this in this class. It is a very important topic because many countries depend on agriculture for economic reasons. If means of modernizing agriculture are not done in a proper way this may lead to environmental destruction.

  2. Amber,
    Yes, I noticed you and Alvin had very similar topics. I was wondering whether you both had the same class?
    Anyway, your proposal sounds clear and well organized. I do hope, though, that you’ll be clear-eyed and realistic about the consequences of your recommended shift to “low-impact, natural farming.” This isn’t an area I know a ton about, so my questions will be fairly basic as I read your paper, but I’m sure I’ll want to know, for example, how such an approach to agriculture would affect consumer prices, availability of certain foods, safety of the food that is brought to the marketplace, etc. Basically, what would be the impact on the consumer? And also, what would such a transition require on the part of farmers, so many of whom barely make ends meet as it is, given their investment in the “status quo” of farming? Presumably farmers would need a tremendous amount of outside support and “encouragement” from the government in order to make the transition, right? Obviously there’s a real limit to how much detail you can go into in a paper of this length, but I want to encourage you to be as realistic as you can.
    Your sources look good, but here’s a couple of additional sources you may find helpful:

  3. Jamey,

    I’m not entirely sure if we were in the same class, but this topic is stemming from information that I am familiar with.
    With your suggestion, I will definitely include those “alternative farming” issues and how we can over-come them.

    Thanks for the additional sources!

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