Gerald F. Combs, Jr. From: ARS Home
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture'schief scientific in-house research agency. Our job is finding solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. Here are a few numbers to illustrate the scope of our organization:
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Questions 61-65 are based on the following passage。
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Some of the world’s most significant problems never hit headlines.One example comes from agriculture. Food riots and hunger make news. But the trend lying behind these matters is rarely talked about. This is the decline in the growth in yields of some of the world’s major crops.A new study by the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal looks at where, and how far, this decline is occurring。
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The authors take a vast number of data points for the four most important crops: rice, wheat corn and soybeans(大豆). They find that on between 24% and 39% of all harvested areas, the improvement in yields that tood place before the 1980s slowed down in the 1990s and 2000s。
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There are two worrying features of the slowdown. One is that it has been particularly sharp in the world’s most populous(人口多的) countries, India and China. Their ability to feed themselves has been an important source of relative stability both within the countries and on world food markets. That self-sufficiency cannot be taken for granted if yields continue to slow down or reverse。
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Second, yield growth has been lower in wheat and rice than in corn and soyabeans. This is problematic because wheat and rice are more important as foods, accounting for around half of all calories consumed. Corn and soyabeans are more important as feed grains. The authors note that “we have preferentially focused our crop improvement efforts on feeding animals and cars rather than on crops that feed people and are the basis of food security in much of the world。”
The report qualifies the more optimistic findings of another new paper which suggests that the world will not have to dig up a lot more land for farming in order to feed 9 billion people in 2050, as the Food and Agriculture Organisation has argued。
We live in a virtual sea of wheat. North Dakota leads the nation in growing it. Around the world wheat is grown on more land area than any other crop. It has been cultivated for some 8000 years, and its availability as a staple is thought to have been a major contributor to the development of civilizations in Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. Indeed, wheat is an important food grain in our diets.
Instead, it says, thanks to slowing population growth, land currently ploughted up for crops might be able to revert(回返)to forest or wilderness. This could happen. The trouble is that the forecast assumes continued improvements in yields, which may not actually happen。
Of course, we don't eat wheat in the form it comes from the field. We make the grain into a seemingly endless variety of breads, cakes and pastas. We eat it in the morning hot from the griddle or flaked and covered with milk or yogurt, as snacks at work breaks, for lunch as tortillas or sandwiches spread with meat or cheese or peanut butter, for dinner as pizza or pasta dressed with tomato sauce or cheese and vegetables, and sweetened for desert. We eat wheat foods to celebrate birthdays and weddings, when we have guests and also just to feel good.
To make these many foods, the whole wheat kernel must be broken into tiny particles that can be readily hydrated to release the proteins and carbohydrates that give cohesion to the final products. This process of milling goes back as far as wheat cultivation itself. Originally, it involved pounding the dry kernels with a wooden hammer; this evolved into the use of mill stones that were turned by the power of humans or animals or falling water.
61.What does the author try to draw attention to?
It was the availability of water power that attracted in the 1850's New England millers, the Washburns and Pillsburys, to what is now Minneapolis where they established water-powered flour mills at St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. There, mills had ready access to the superior bread wheat abundant in the upper Midwest. However, the millers found it difficult to separate the dark bran particles from the wheat kernel's white, starchy center; so their stone-milled product had grayish color. The problem was solved by installing European steel roller mills and other machinery to grind finely and sift out the dark bran components. With a location that allowed shipping by rail to the east and down river to New Orleans and abroad, Minneapolis became the milling capital of the world for the latter half of the nineteenth century. All of this was made possible by the ability to produce a pure, fluffy, white flour of unmatched quality.
A)Food riots and hunger in the world. C)The decline of the grain yield growth。
White flour is white largely because other parts of the grain, the darker bran and the germ, have been removed. That makes it easier to chew, easier to digest and easier to keep without refrigeration. Removal of those parts leaves the kernel's starchy center, the endosperm, and yields a fluffy, white flour that makes light and airy breads and pastries.
B)News headlines in the leading media. D)The food supply in populous countries。
Most white flours represent only 72 percent of the original whole grain. The milling away of those other portions of the grain results in the removal of valuable nutrients that the wheat plant puts into the bran and germ. Those nutrients include iron, several vitamins and fiber. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits refined flour to be "enriched" with several nutrients that are lost in milling (iron, and the vitamins thiamin, niacin and riboflavin) and mandates that most enriched wheat flours, breads, noodles and macaroni also be fortified with the vitamin folic acid.
62.Why does the author mention India and China in particular?
Whole wheat flour is made by milling 100 percent of the kernel into a powder. Very similar whole grain products are made by recombining the separated milling fractions in the proportions originally present in the whole kernel. These are similar in appearance. Both are good sources of dietary fiber.
A)Their self-sufficiency is vital to the stability of world food markets。
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest a daily intake of 2-3 servings of grain-based foods, or about half of the present national average. They specifically call for half of that intake being whole grain products, and for limiting daily intake of refined grain products, particularly those high in solid fats and/or added sugars such as cakes, cookies, donuts and other desserts.
B)Their food yields have begun to decrease sharply in recent years。
Whole grain flours can be used in most cases instead of refined flours. Whole wheat breads are made with whole grain flour comprising at least a portion of the dough. Studies in the Minneapolis public schools found that groups of bona fide pizza experts - middle schoolers - eagerly accepted pizzas made with dough made from as much as 70 percent whole grain wheat flour. The development of white wheat varieties has allowed bakers to produce whole grain products that are virtually indistinguishable from breads made using refined, white flour.
C)Their big populations are causing worldwide concerns。
It pays to choose whole grain foods. They give you what your grandma might have called "roughage" but what health professionals call dietary fiber. Americans consume about half the recommended amounts of dietary fiber (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men). Studies show that that consumption of 2-3 daily servings of whole grain products was associated with 20-30 percent reductions in risks to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and also to reduce risks to colorectal cancer or inflammation-related conditions.
D)Their food self-sufficiency has been taken for granted。
More information about the Dietary Guidelines can be found at:乐白家手机客户端，www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.
63.What does the new study by the two universities say about recent crop improvement efforts?
A)They fail to produce the same remarkable results as before the 1980s。
B)They contribute a lot to the improvement of human food production。
C)They play a major role in guaranteeing the food security of the world。
D)They focus more on the increase of animal feed than human food grains。
64.What does the Food and Agriculture Organisation say about world food production in the coming decades?
A)The growing population will greatly increase the pressure on world food supplies。
B)The optimistic prediction about food production should be viewed with caution。
C)The slowdown of the growth in yields of major food crops will be reversed。
D)The world will be able to feed its population without increasing farmland。
65.How does the author view the argument of the Food and Agriculture Organisation?
A)It is built on the findings of a new study。
B)It is based on a doubtful assumption。
C)It is backed by strong evidence。
D)It is open to further discussion。
参考答案： 61-65 CADDB