3 Picks: Iowa Soil, Feed Industry, Vaclav Smil
Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.
1) Following the worst soil damage in decades and an expanding dead zone in the gulf, Iowans can’t keep farming the same way: John Gilbert, a Hardin County Iowa farmer, speaks up for the soil and the integrity of the whole farming system in this opinion article for the Des Moines Register. “What happened all over the Midwest so far this year was some of the worst soil damage in decades, if not generations. Our current situation is not sustainable. We cannot continue to treat our soils like dirt.”
2) The feed industry is consolidating rapidly and turning to technology: Aidan Connolly explains that the global feed industry is changing rapidly and meeting challenges in price and supply through innovation and technology. “With the number of feed mills expected to halve within a decade, feed sales valued at over US$350 billion, and the feed industry being the major user of corn, feed grains and soy beans, any changes will have a significant impact worldwide. … In the European Union between 2005 and 2010 the feed mill size has increased from approximately 10,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes per feed mill per year, with the number of feed mills shrinking from a level of 10,000 to 2,000.”
3) ‘Harvesting the Biosphere’ – Bill Gates on Vaclav Smil: Andrew Revkin tells us of Bill Gates admiration for agricultural writer Vaclav Smil. (K.M. Note: I own this book, “Harvesting the Biosphere,” and am part way through it. I agree with Gates entirely that Smil makes for very dry reading, but is most knowledgeable about agriculture, and energy, too.) “Today we harvest crops for four main purposes: to feed animals, feed humans, generate fuel, and make paper and construction materials. Smil shows how out of all these, the first two are responsible for the biggest impact on the biosphere. About 12 percent of the Earth’s land mass is now devoted to farmland.”
This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.