3 Picks: Tomato Efficiency, Global Pesticides, Savory Critic

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

1) Not All Industrial Food is Evil: Mark Bittman headed to the Sacramento Valley in California to see a big tomato operation and gives us his report. “I began by touring Bruce Rominger’s farm in Winters. With his brother Rick and as many as 40 employees, Rominger farms around 6,000 acres of tomatoes, wheat, sunflowers, safflower, onions, alfalfa, sheep, rice and more. Unlike many Midwestern farm operations, which grow corn and soy exclusively, here are diversity, crop rotation, cover crops and, for the most part, real food — not crops destined for junk food, animal feed or biofuel. That’s a good start. …” He explains the mechanical harvesting process of tomatoes, and he assesses that about 2% of the price of the canned tomatoes that you buy goes to the farmer. He’s been on a campaign lately to have more go to the worker. What about the farmer, I say, what about the farmer? Is the farmer not a worker?

2) Smarter Pest Control: Science Magazine devotes a special issue to pesticides. “Pesticides—a vast range of chemicals that kill insects, weeds, fungi, and other organisms humans would rather do without—bring some great benefits to society. They have made it possible to feed a growing human population, and they protect millions from malaria and other insect-borne diseases. They also support important economic sectors such as the cotton and flower industries and help make our lives easier and more enjoyable; for instance, by reducing mosquito, ant, and cockroach populations. Yet the potentially serious threats they pose to human health and the environment have led to a series of bans on the most dangerous chemicals and to calls to go much further.To see a good infographic on pesticides which accompanies the article, click this link.

3) Saving the world with cows: why simple ideas don’t work: This piece, by David Bowman, Professor, Environmental Change Biology at University of Tasmania, calls into question Allan Savory’s plan to save the planet in some ways “yawning knowledge gaps” and in other ways “dangerous fantasy”. It is no secret that Savory has his critics in the worlds of range science, soil, and ecology.

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

2 thoughts on “3 Picks: Tomato Efficiency, Global Pesticides, Savory Critic”

  1. Disappointed in the Savory article. The author linked to one article in Slate stating that Savory’s facts were wrong. However, that one article was poorly written in that it claimed Savory wants to apply his method to deserts instead of degraded rangelands. It also says that Savory wants us to eat more meat, which simply isn’t true. At least get the arguments straight. Surely, scientists should use more rigor when trying to trash someone. I guess he’s just counting on people not to follow links and read the journal articles. Needless to say, I was thoroughly unconvinced by his article. However, I did like reading comments on the two articles from Holistic practitioners who have had great results. More than one said it saved their farms.

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