3 Picks: Chinese Migration, Egg Prices, U.S. Aquifers Depleting


Chinese farmer with Water Buffalo. Photo credit: Flickr CC via rentonr.

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Moving Millions of Rural Chinese to Cities: Ian Johnson tells us one of the biggest stories of human migration in all of history. “China is pushing ahead with a sweeping plan to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed towns and cities over the next dozen years — a transformative event that could set off a new wave of growth or saddle the country with problems for generations to come. The government, often by fiat, is replacing small rural homes with high-rises, paving over vast swaths of farmland and drastically altering the lives of rural dwellers. So large is the scale that the number of brand-new Chinese city dwellers will approach the total urban population of the United States — in a country already bursting with megacities. … ”

2) Egg Prices Up 42%: Jeffrey Sparshott explains the reason behind a spike in wholesale egg prices. “Prices that U.S. companies pay for fresh eggs took flight last month, buoyed by an avian flu outbreak in Mexico. The producer price index for fresh eggs soared almost 42%, the biggest gain on record, driving broader inflation for food products, the Labor Department said Friday. … ”

3) U.S. aquifers are falling: Ron Nixon warns that subsidies aimed at conserving water are leading to increased water use. “Millions of dollars in farm subsidies for irrigation equipment aimed at water conservation have led to more water use, not less, threatening vulnerable aquifers and streams. From Wyoming to the Texas Panhandle, water tables have fallen 150 feet in some areas — ranging from 15 percent to 75 percent — since the 1950s, scientists say, because the subsidies give farmers the incentive to irrigate more acres of land. Other areas, including several Midwestern states, have also been affected. … ” This NYTs article comes on the heels of a report from the U.S. Geological Survey which documents that the Nation’s aquifers are being drawn down at an accelerating rate.

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

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