Welcome! Big Picture Agriculture is produced by Kay McDonald [photo] of Boulder, Colorado. I grew up on a family farm in Northeastern Nebraska, where my family still farms. Since I began writing about agriculture online in 2009, my writing has appeared on NYT’s Room-for-Debate and Dot Earth, CNN.com Opinion, Yale Environment 360, and, I’ve been interviewed on AlJazeera Live (Europe).

E-Mail: bigpictureagriculture (at) gmail (dot) com

My “holistic view” of farming stems from a number of values and observations:

• I’ve watched, sadly, as the region of my childhood has depopulated over the years. Ignoring the human side of the farming equation doesn’t work, as today’s rural (especially Midwestern) areas are finding out.

• The efficiency model for agriculture doesn’t work for the soil, for the Monarch’s, or for the bees. Farming can’t just be about bushels per acre.

• I embrace science. I also embrace keeping things simple and affordable for the farmer because the bottom line is that the farmer has to make a living.

• My background in medicine gives me a realistic view of human diets and health; it helps me differentiate between fads and hype versus the truth.

• I support integrating livestock and poultry into farm systems as they are important in ecosystems and for soil health.

• Energy issues are also an important consideration in evaluating methods used in our food production systems.

• We should be vigilant in preventing pollution of air, water, soil, and food.

My formal education spanned the areas of science, humanities, and medicine. It is my hope that my appreciation of art and literature comes through to readers here.

This site’s goal is to inform, explain, and surprise readers while showing the global story of food and agricultural production through the use of pictures and other visuals, along with an occasional rant from me.

For the curious: This site is my hobby and receives no outside funding. Google ads barely cover the site’s expenses.

14 thoughts on “About

    1. K.M. Post author

      Thank you Eric. It’s great to get positive feedback. I welcome your comments or insights any time under any thread.

  1. Jennifer

    Hi Kay,

    This is a great website, and I have learned so much about farming and farmland investments. Thank you for your great job.

    I am looking for some names and info of global agricultural consulting firms and global agricultural investment firms. Could you recommend some? Thanks.


    1. K.M. Post author

      That’s not really what I do here. I’d suggest setting up a twitter account and then start following agriculture/investment topics that you are interested in. Twitter is very useful for finding a specific niche of information. You might visit my twitter account @Bigpictureag and I have many investment people as followers. Seeking Alpha is another site you might check out and search the investment subjects that you are interested in. Good luck!

  2. Belal Mohammed

    This site is wonderful. Not only do we get a news recap, we also get your valualbe insight.
    Thanks and please continue posting.
    Belal Mohammed

  3. Cyril Ciesiolka

    My opinion is that agriculture’s problems are centred around “the free robbery system” which has replaced the corrupted “free enterprise” system” and protected by the even more corrupt legal system that shields it from honest real scrutiny.Producers of food being at the end of the production chain have become price takers and so the result is “unsustainability” and landuse/economic uncertainty. Landuser find themselves doing whatever it takes to stay afloat and so environmental costs are foregone for short term survival.
    I see only a giant mess (just look at state of urban areas)that calls for a new paradigm in which money must be foregone and replaced with greater truthfullness, personal integrity, and practical solutions in terms of generating more successful inter-personal relationships to assist people in feeling worthwhile and capable of doing things.

  4. Paola Rivera

    Wow, this blog is incredible! I am interning at an international development agency and this has served as a great resource (my favorite one of all, honestly).

    I appreciate your hard work so much I thought this comment was the least I could do.

    – P

  5. Richard Self

    Hi, I have followed your blog for some time and value it. What do you think about the TPP? It has very real potential to disenfranchise us here in NZ in terms of our sovereignty over our natural resources. Here are some references:




    Kind regards


    1. K. McDonald Post author

      This looks important and I don’t know enough to comment, yet. In Ag there are continual trade negotiations going on, it is enough to make your head swim. I hope this isn’t the nightmare that you fear in NZ. I listened to most of the Moyers video that you linked and I follow Yves regularly. Thanks for the links.

  6. Elli Sparks

    Hi Kay –

    Awesome blog! Thanks for thinking about the farmer in this light.

    I work for Citizens Climate Lobby. We are volunteer driven, non-profit, and non-partisan. We are building the political will for a livable world. We are currently focused on having Congress pass a revenue neutral carbon tax.

    I would like to wrap my mind around the implications of such a policy on agriculture.

    Would you have time for a phone call?

    Thank you,

    Elli Sparks

  7. dennis

    hi my little family and i are moving very close to S Boulder Creek on Prado just of Eldo Springs Rd….to settle down. I am going to start a large garden there and would love to hear any suggestions u have for a 4 season garden. Do u have any suggestiosn for a 4 season chicken coop to? Well be arriving in March from Tucson where I just started gardening. Thanks

  8. Erich J. Knight

    Yes,… Ms. McDonald great farming info, Thanks.

    If Biochar Systems ever tickles your interest you can find all aspects of applications, all sorts of fodder for blogs, even “Carbon Fodders” for livestock, in this review of the industry developments. I am most excited about how the German & Swiss farmers have integrated nutrient & Energy management to take the stink out of manure;

    The current science & industry applications of Biochar please see my 2013 Umass Biochar presentation. How thermal conversion technologies can integrate and optimize the recycling of valuable nutrients while providing energy and building soil carbon, I believe it brings together both sides of climate beliefs.
    A reconciling of both Gods’ and mans’ controlling hands.

    Agricultural Geo – Engineering; Past, Present & Future
    Across scientific disciplines carbons are finding new utility to solve our most vexing problems


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