“A River Runs Through It” ~ Plein Air Painting ~ by Bryan Mark Taylor.
Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.
This AP story applies to rural America especially, “How Immigrants Forestall Death of More Than 1 in 3 U.S. Counties“.
Various states are enacting various laws to make it illegal for reporters to videotape or photograph livestock operations. Though this is an ongoing story, this AP article brings us up to date rather disturbingly.
Mosaic is joining with two Saudi Arabian companies in a $7 billion project to mine phosphate fertilizer.
Apparently, the price of corn controls the farm equipment stocks, which fell this week, because the price of corn fell.
The pace of U.S. corn imports during December 2012 and January 2013 was over 0.4 million tons per month, supporting an increase in trade year 2012/13 of 0.5 million tons to 3.0 million. Most recent imports have been from Brazil to the U.S. East Coast where there are large poultry and hog operations. These feeders normally source corn supplies out of the eastern Corn Belt, but drought and heat sharply reduced supplies available from this region for 2012/13. High freight costs for moving grain from the western Corn Belt make Brazilian corn attractive.
JBS said its fourth-quarter profit increased to $33.8 million vs. $13 million in the same quarter last year. Cost reductions helped the company post a profit of $365.6 million for 2012. The company reported a loss of $38.5 million in 2011.
Pork production is up and pork exports are down 16% from a year ago.
From Policy Pennings… in cost cutting of the farm bill in Congress, policy makers need to remember the purpose of the farm safety net, and that it can’t be defined by a cost limit.
U.S. farm banks’ business is booming, with lending up near 14 percent.
The NYTs couldn’t resist jumping into the fray with an article on farmland prices.
Farmland Bubble? Farmer debt is up 30% since 2007. Farmers now owe $277 billion.
Romanian farmland has appreciated 20% per year since Romania joined the EU six years ago.
300 Irish farmers started growing Miscanthus, encouraged and subsidized by the EU, but now have no market for it.
From Scientific American: U.S. Starts Massive Forest-Thinning Project.
Congress protected 9,000 food inspectors from furloughs.
The USDA is paring farm payments by $152 million due to the budget sequester.
Robert Rapier wrote about the failure of a cellulosic ethanol venture.
Since Americans first began to seriously irrigate the Great Plains, beginning in the 1940s, water levels across most of the Ogallala have fallen at least five feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Almost one-fifth of the area has dropped at least 25 feet, while 11 percent has lost 50 feet or more. In some of the worst-off areas of Kansas and Texas, the water table has declined as much as 200 feet.
Iowa farmers, hunters and legislators are fighting an Iowa Supreme Court decision this year that basically holds farmers liable for any injuries suffered on their land.
Some of the honey (and olive oil) being sold today is being undercut with cheaper ingredients — like corn syrup.
GARDENING: The NYTs presented the straw-bale garden and it became one of their top Emailed articles!
BONUS: A new gardening book has hit it big — “The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart. Territorial Seed Co., which I’ve linked here, includes quite a few tempting recipes from the book.
Written and compiled by K. McDonald.