Photo credit: Flickr CC via rittyrats
Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.
In a special report to the president, the “Council of Advisers on Science and Technology” warn that the U.S. needs to invest more in agricultural research for future food production. Weed control, nutritional concerns, and water competition were some of the areas that the group said require extra attention. Benbrook at Washington State wrote a good critique of this report that is definitely worth reading. The link to the original PDF report is here.
China’s grain imports have tripled so far this year. China is the second-largest importer of rice and barley.
This Oxfam article proposes ways in which farming can be done successfully without using fossil fuels. Methods from Cambodia, India and the Phillipines are used as examples.
To achieve food security, a larger focus is required on post harvest losses in developing countries, which is significant, and can be addressed mainly through better storage methods.
The Kansas City Star did a comprehensive special report on Beef, including its history in the Kansas City region, today’s processing methods, antibiotic use, and an in depth article about the dangers of mechanically tenderized beef.
Bruce Campbell, director of CGIAR, wrote an Op-Ed for the NYTs about adapting to climate change by modifying farming practices.
Sheep ranchers are reducing herds AGAIN, since they are losing $100 per head.
Stan Cox from the Land Institute in Kansas writes why he thinks vertical farming is only a pipe dream.
Based on the progress of winter wheat crops, the International Grains Council expects global wheat production next season to increase by 4% over last year, in its first estimate of the 2013/14 crop year.
Researchers at the University of Illinois will use a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study plant photosynthesis with the goal of increasing food-crop production.
Cargill will invest $91 million in India for corn milling and processed food ventures.
This Science Daily article discusses regional soil variations in needs and uptake of phosphorus fertilizer.
ECONOMICS: Simon Johnson has some sobering thoughts about the ongoing prospects of too big to fail, especially of today’s large nonbank financial companies which are under the jurisdiction of the F.D.I.C. He says that regulators should require equity, not debt, to absorb losses in the financial system.
The FAO’s Food Price Index fell in November 2012, and is now the lowest since June 2012. Sugar fell the most, followed by oils and cereals. The index is 3 percent below its level a year ago.
NYT’s “Dot Earth” references a new study out of Rockefeller University by Jesse Ausubel titled “Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Sparing Nature”. Note that I was asked to weigh in on this, and my response can be read here.
Written and compiled by K. McDonald.