More snow. Boulder has received four feet of snow in April, setting a new record. This put us above average for the season in snowfall. I took the above photo on a walk this week following another ten inch snowfall that was rapidly melting. Even though I appreciate the moisture, I’m tired of snow. We are in the midst of three beautiful 70+ degree days now, but we are expecting a couple more inches of snow on May Day.
Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.
Today’s top pick is from Yale Global and the writing is about the potential for the U.S. to open its doors for far greater immigration numbers. I have (feared) this idea ever since the financial crisis, realizing that the economic model relying upon growth also relies upon a growing population with a younger demographic and that, as the article says, our resource rich nation including food production could handle a lot more people.
The United States could aim to have largest population in the world before the end of the century, thus ensuring its power. The US now has a population of 316 million – third largest after China, 1.36 billion, and India, 1.28 billion – and could aim for 1.6 billion, simply by opening wide its doors to immigration from across the globe as it did during most of its 237-year history. If immigration to America were increased to 10 million immigrants per year throughout the remainder of this century, the demographic result would be a US population of about 940 million by 2060 and 1.60 billion by the close the 21st century. The world’s second and third largest populations in 2100 are projected to be India, 1.55 billion, and China, 0.94 billion….
In other news . . .
Landmark decision: Neonicotinoid pesticides are banned by the EU today!
The world harvest of wheat and coarse grains such as corn is predicted to jump 7 percent in the 2013-14 season on increased planting and better yields.
It is expected that there will be a tight (and higher priced) diesel supply for spring planting in the Midwest.
This article out of Australia describes farm challenges which might apply elsewhere.
Lying at the heart of the crisis facing the WA growers, and impacting on rural enterprise across Australia, is what has been described as the “farm problem”. The problem is caused by the interplay between rising agricultural productivity and the inelastic nature of food demand. This has led to continual decreases in real farm prices and decreasing returns to farmers. Increasing competition in the food market has meant that any efficiency gains made by producers within their farm businesses are actually captured more by the consumer than the producer.
Evaluating more foods for future human dietary resilience.
See what the Canucks are planning to plant this year (more wheat, soy, and corn).
NYTs: U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination.
More on synthetic biology, this out of Nature.
Utah Congressman Jim Matheson wrote an anti-ethanol opinion piece, asking for a repeal of the renewable fuels standard.
Here is a positive story out of Senegal referred to as the “Great Green Wall”.
Is it really a good idea to use corn stover for ethanol feedstock?
The Midwest has turned too wet following extended drought fears a short time ago. Included in the article is an interesting paragraph:
Southwest Kansas farmer Clay Scott said he was one of 250 to test Monsanto’s during last year’s drought and said it yielded more bushels per gallon of water than his fully irrigated corn. He plans to plant about 10 percent of the drought-resistant corn this year, noting that things are again looking extremely dry.
Congress is working on/needs to reform the milk pricing system which is antiquated.
Energy: A new lithium supply discovered in Wyoming.
EWG: Crop Insurance fraud is more prevalent than that found in the snap food program.
Through reconfiguring the genetics of E. coli, it can produce biodiesel.
From the Financial Times, an article about the leveling off of global production of biofuels (including 2 great graphs), plus the arguments involved.
MACRO: If you think the housing market is leading a recovery in the U.S. you’d best understand WHY.
Farming in Egypt — high diesel costs and other problems don’t bode well for this year’s crop.
There is an interesting debate going on in Maine over food regulations because some would like to see small farmers be exempted from oversight.
Impressive hybrid rice improvements for Latin America.
In Scotland, a whiskey distillery has been combined with a biomass power plant to provide electricity for 9,000 homes.
A farmer explains why the eating local model uses way more fuel than a FedEx system for their grass fed meats.
Scientists in Uruguay have announced the world’s first genetically-modified phosphorescent sheep.
Written and compiled by K. McDonald.