Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.
The U.S. cattle inventory is six percent below a year ago. Poet is idling the Macon, Missouri corn ethanol plant due to lack of corn. Cargill is idling a Texas beef processing facility. Historic Zacky Farms poultry business is for sale citing high feed prices. Zacky Farms was the eighth poultry firm to either be sold, enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy or shut down altogether since 2011.
The consumption of corn syrup is falling.
Tests show that fungicides, herbicides and insecticides kill frogs.
Water utilities in farming areas have been awarded $105 million in a Syngenta atrazine settlement. (Attorney’s portion: $35 million.)
This year is the year that people will consume more farm raised fish that wild caught fish. The quest is on for alternative farmed fish food, and it is going vegetarian by using soybeans and sunflower seeds.
Besides the fact that is economically difficult for small farms to turn a profit, government regulations and required paperwork can overwhelm the operations. I always find stories like this one interesting, when politics from the left and right come full circle and end up meeting on common ground.
Here’s a run-down of the agricultural commodity imports which increased into China last year. And this article tells us that food self-sufficiency is no longer an option in China, though they are expected to remain self-sufficient in wheat and rice production.
Syria’s agriculture sector and infrastructure has been decimated. Cereal, fruit and vegetable production have dropped by half, for some. Irrigation systems have been damaged.
BBC covered some of the challenges of farmers in Egypt, including building over farmland, in this short video. There hasn’t been much progress in decades. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer and has a fast growing population.
The world has an oversupply of fertilizers right now, except for urea. [pdf]
A federal appeals court threw out the cellulosic ethanol mandate, since amounts set by the EPA have been unrealistic. (It’s about time.)
Cal Poly gets $1.3 million from the DOE to explore algae biofuels production.
Energy: NREL scientists hope to modify natural gas microbes so that they can be used to convert wasted methane from oil wells into liquid fuel. “The amount of natural gas flared or vented from oil wells globally is equal to one-third of the amount of petroleum used in the United States each year.”
Energy: Here is the “Energy Vision 2013. Energy transitions: Past and Future” report from the World Economic Forum. [pdf]
If you want to see the most charming chicken coop ever, go to Idaho.
BONUS: I’m super proud to say that National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson, is a loyal reader here. He and some of his life’s work were honored in this short video this past week. Jim believes the role of a photographer is to “add to the beauty of the world.” I hope readers enjoy viewing it as much as I did.
Written and compiled by K. McDonald.