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Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p

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Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 14 Oct 2017, 23:31
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On average, plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter per year, while new soil builds up at about 0.2 millimeters per year. As a result, continually cultivated soil will become exhausted in the space of several hundred years, unless no-till agriculture is practiced. No-till agriculture is a method in which crop stubble remains in place and a special drill inserts the seeds into the soil. However, only about 16 percent of cultivated areas in the United States use this method.

Which of the following is best supported by the information above?

(A) Although the advance of farming technology has made no-till agriculture available to wealthy farmers, such methods are financially impractical for many American farmers.
(B) If the United States does not utilize means that replenish or reuse exhausted soil, it must eventually find other ways of getting agricultural products.
(C) Agricultural industries that do not require plowing - such as dairy or chicken farms - are not affected by topsoil erosion.
(D) If 5 out of 6 of all American farms were to practice no-till agriculture, the United States would produce enough agricultural products to meet domestic demand for several hundred years.
(E) Hydroponic farming (farming without soil) would solve the United States’ land erosion problem.

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Originally posted by tuanquang269 on 28 Jul 2014, 08:10.
Last edited by Mahmud6 on 14 Oct 2017, 23:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2014, 16:10
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Argument states - "plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter per year, while new soil builds up at about 0.2 millimeters per year. As a result, continually cultivated soil will become exhausted in the space of several hundred years, unless no-till agriculture is practiced...only about 16 percent of cultivated areas in the United States use this method"

Use the information and POE

(A) Passage does not state if no-till is expensive and not affordable. Therefore, out of scope
(B) If the United States does not utilize means that replenish or reuse exhausted soil, it must eventually find other ways of getting agricultural products. - supported by the underlined part
(C) Passage does not mention other agriculture industries.
(D) No data on domestic demand, not supported by passage
(E) Out of scope.

B is the best choice.
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2014, 04:50
yes true B is the best choice.

All other options seem very extreme and out of scope!
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2014, 16:05
On average, plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter per year, while new soil builds up at about 0.2 millimeters per year. As a result, continually cultivated soil will become exhausted in the space of several hundred years,
unless no-till agriculture is practiced. No-till agriculture is a method in which crop stubble remains in place and a special drill inserts the seeds into the soil. However, only about 16 percent of cultivated areas in the United States use this method.

Which of the following is best supported by the information above?

(A) Although the advance of farming technology has made no-till agriculture available to wealthy farmers, such methods are financially impractical for many American farmers.
The text does not explain why only 16% of cultivated areas in the US use the method. Maybe its due to financial reasons, maybe its due to availability of the product, or maybe something else. This answer is out of scope

(B) If the United States does not utilize means that replenish or reuse exhausted soil, it must eventually find other ways of getting agricultural products.
This is true. If the US does not utilize means that replenish or reuse exhausted soil then eventually all the plowed land will erode away. If all the plowed land erodes that agricultural products will not be generated domestically through cultivated soil. Then the US would have to find another way of getting the product. This could be through importing of agricultural products, technology that creates agricultural products without cultivated soil, or something else.

(C) Agricultural industries that do not require plowing - such as dairy or chicken farms - are not affected by topsoil erosion.
Out of scope. The text discussed only cultivated land and we do not know if topsoil erosion is or is not a problem in other cases.

(D) If 5 out of 6 of all American farms were to practice no-till agriculture, the United States would produce enough agricultural products to meet domestic demand for several hundred years.
Out of Scope. There could be many reasons the US could or could not produce enough agricultural products to meet domestic demand. For example if demand drops drastically the US might be able to meet demand. Or if demand increases drastically the farms may still not be able to provide enough agricultural products to meet domestic demand.
(E) Hydroponic farming (farming without soil) would solve the United States’ land erosion problem.[/quote]
Out of scope. Cultivation may not be the only cause of land erosion
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2017, 18:04
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let us look at the facts stated -

1. Plowed land erodes much faster
2. Soil will become exhausted unless no till agriculture is practiced
3. Only 1/6 th (16 percent) of farms use no till method.

from these, we can infer that unless methods of soil conservation are employed, 5/6th of the cultivated land will not be useful in a few hundred years.

Option A - Incorrect.
We do not know whether "wealthy" farmers have access to no-till methods. Also, we cannot say whether the method is financially impractical for many other farmers.

Option B - Correct Answer.
If it does not, then 5/6ths of the cultivated land cannot be used for agricultural purposes because of soil erosion. Then, it must find some other ways of getting agricultural products.

Option C - Incorrect.
We cannot infer this. In all likelihood, they might be affected because the availability of grains/feed required will also reduce.

Option D - Incorrect.
We cannot be sure about this. What if there is a dramatic increase in demand over the next hundred years? Also, there is no indication that only 5/6ths of the farms will be able to meet the demand.
Moreover, this option talks about 5/6th of the farms. The argument does not mention the number of farms, only the portion of cultivated land.

Option E - Incorrect.
Not relevant as this is not mentioned in the argument.
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2019, 19:55
It really comes down to B and D on this one:

A - is not supported at all. Incorrect
C - we can't infer anything about other industries as there is not mention. Incorrect.
E - Can't infer anything about hydroponics as it is not mentioned. Incorrect.

D - the gap in information between D and the stem is the production of "agricultural products". In the stem we are only told of the cultivated land, the issues faced, and a solution - No-X. Furthermore, 5/6 = 84%, is this sufficient? We don't know. maybe we need 90 or 100% to be no-till maintained.

For these reasons D is out.

B is correct - it holistically encompasses everything mentioned and we can deduce that if the problem isn't rectified the land will become exhausted and other ways will be required.
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Oct 2019, 21:52
I also chose the right answer B, largely because other choices did not seem very relevant to me.
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Re: Plowed land erodes away at slightly more than 1 millimeter p   [#permalink] 19 Oct 2019, 21:52
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