A 60 Billion Gallon Biofuels Market by 2022, Plus More Agriculture News This Week

Shepherd in Syria.
Photo credit: Flickr CC by james_gordon_losangeles.

Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.

Here is an outstanding DesMoines Register editorial about the Dead Zone and the farm bill. The last three paragraphs are particularly important.

George Monbiot, UK environmental writer, is raging mad about the agricultural subsidy system in the EU. This is good. This is really good.

An Iowa state report has been issued to address a 2008 EPA request to solve agriculture pollutant runoffs such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The state’s response appears to have been hijacked by the state’s Farm Bureau. This is commendable reporting by the DesMoines Register.

Asian demand of pecans has driven up prices over the past three years and this year China is set to buy a third of U.S. produced pecans.

Here is the history of the organic soymilk, Silk, and what happened to the product after Dean Foods bought it.

Jim Lane provides an updated list of the biofuel mandates around the world. Brazil, India, the US, China and the EU point the way towards a 60 billion gallon biofuels market by 2022.

ENERGY: Saudi Arabia plans that the nation will generate a third of its electricity through solar by 2032 in addition to building 17 nuclear reactors “to free more crude oil for export”.

Belgian dairy farmers hosed Brussels Square with milk this week in protest of quotas and low prices.

Punjab is planning to drastically reduce its paddy acreage and is working with Monsanto, which promises to develop heat resistant maize and soybeans for the region.

MACRO: For those of us who have followed the economics blogosphere since the housing bust, Bill McBride who writes Calculated Risk is an icon who is mostly always right. This is an unprecedented interview of this enigma by Joe Weisenthal. His economic outlook is currently quite optimistic. When Bill speaks, we ALL pay attention. He is now saying …“this is the most optimistic I’ve been since the 90s. I’m not a roaring bull, but looking forward, this is the best shape we’ve been in since ’97.”

Here is the PDF link to the Financial Time’s November “The Future of the Food Industry” Report.

World-wide sales of Deere increased 14% last quarter and the company is proceeding with building new factories in China, India, and Brazil.

Farming was .9 percent of the U.S. economy last year, plus there are many other interesting statistics in this Bloomberg article.

Rapidly growing Somalia will be deforested within the coming two decades. Livestock herds are in sharp decline. Charcoal is their main source of energy.

Over 400 hogs valued at $38,000 were stolen from an Iowa farm last week.

You might want to take a look at this 30-year chart of turkey prices. Then, ask yourself when ethanol ramped up and see if you can note any type of correlation.

Then, see the week’s most outrageous headline which comes from the Renewable Fuels Association: “Ethanol Saves Americans $29.13 on Average Thanksgiving Trip”.

Sundrop is a start-up in the desert of Australia, desalinating water with sunlight and growing food in greenhouses — using no fresh water and minimal fossil fuels.

Tiwa Farms over at the Taos Pueblo wrote about the yield issue problem in preserving heritage corn varieties in the U.S. and Mexico. (I adore their blog.)

Onalytica Indexes — Alternative Economic Indicators, of London, just published a list of the “Top 200 Most Influential Economics Blogs,” and Big Picture Agriculture made the cut at #173. Paul Krugman is #1. “Onalytica Indexes is a collection of indexes which tracks how online media report on a range of economic and business issues.”

Written and compiled by K. McDonald.

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