Author Archives: K. McDonald

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How Biodiesel Came Into the Picture

“We” had too much -an overproduction of- soybean oil, so a farm checkoff program led to the funding necessary to begin what is now a major biodiesel industry (with taxpayer help). Every couple of years, the biodiesel per gallon tax credit is passed (usually retroactive to the last lapse of coverage) in Congress in their “cleaning up” end of the year bill.


credit: unitedsoybean.org

Food and Agricultural Images This Week January 26, 2015


59-year-old Peter Engvall (L) and his employee Patrik Zetterqvist (R) shovel cattle feed for cows in Engvall’s dairy farm’s main barn on January 19, 2015 near Enkoeping, northwest of Stockholm. Sweden’s milk-industry lobby is struggling to boost milk consumption in the country, which has dropped by 40 percent since 1980. Photo credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP / Getty Images.



January is National Soup Month. Fresh Thymes Eatery in Boulder, Colorado has started a new broth bar on Monday, January 19, 2015. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images.



A Sri Lankan elephant, accompanied by his mahout, browse through a roadside fruit stall in Colombo on January 19, 2015. The Sri Lankan elephant is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, with the species threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. Photo credit: LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP / Getty Images.



People buy and sell vegetables in a street of Havana, on January 20, 2015. The United States and Cuba will hold their highest level talks in decades on Wednesday, moving to reopen embassies and normalize ties after decades of Cold War-era hostility. Senior US and Cuban officials will meet over two days in Havana to discuss immigration and a roadmap to return ambassadors to each other’s nations, more than half a century after full diplomatic relations broke off in 1961. The talks in the Cuban capital come five weeks after US President Barack Obama and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro simultaneously made the momentous announcement that their countries would seek to normalize ties. Photo credit: YAMIL LAGE / AFP / Getty Images.



The most famous of the floating markets in Thailand is Damnoen Saduak, near Bangkok. The colorfully clad merchants at these lively markets paddle along congested canals in sturdy canoes laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. Credit: Biris Paul Silviu / Contributor. Getty images.



Rural scene agriculture near Pokhara, Nepal. January 20, 2015. Credit: Biris Paul Silviu / Contributor.



An Afghan farmer separates rice from grain chaff at his farm on the outskirts of Jalalabad on January 20, 2015. Afghanistan’s economy is agriculture-based, despite only having about 15 percent of its land suitable for farming. Photo credit: Noorullah Shirzada / AFP / Getty Images.



Indian farmers burn off their rice paddy fields to prepare for the next cycle of crops at Disangmukh in Sivasagar district of northeastern Assam state on January 20, 2015. About 60 percent of Indians work in the agriculture sector that contributes 16 to 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Photo credit: STR / AFP / Getty Images.



Sheep are pictured in the dry conditions at Ambury Farm on January 20, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. Soil-moisture levels across the country are lower than average for this time of year and New Zealand faces a potential drought if rain does not fall soon. Photo by Phil Walter / Getty Images.



A Malawi’s fisherman casts his net into the Shire River near the port of Nsanje on January 21, 2015. Apart from agriculture, where people in Nsanje grow maize, rice and beans among other crops the communities in Nsanje District also depend on fishing for their nutritional and economic gains. Frantic scenes greeted a military helicopter as it landed to deliver aid in a village after severe floods left 176 people dead and 200,000 homeless across Malawi. Photo credit: AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP / Getty Images.



Bobby Lennox feeds his Galloway short horns on Shantron Farm Loch Lommond on January 21,2014 in Loch Lomond, Scotland. Snow and ice warnings for western Scotland lasting into tomorrow have been issued by the Met Office for the 13th consecutive day for which severe weather warnings have been in force in Scotland. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images.



Tara Longo, co-owner of The Healthy Butcher in Toronto, poses for a photograph with a beef bone broth made from 100 percent grass fed beef marrow bones at The Healthy Butcher on January 21, 2015. Photo credit: Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star via Getty Images.



Frozen Bone Broth (L-R) Beef/Chicken, Chicken and Beef. January 20 in Toronto. Photo credit: Tara Walton / Toronto Star via Getty Images.



Children wearing uniforms take their lunch on January 21, 2015 at the Beichuan Red army elementary school in Beichuan, southwest China’s Sichuan province. China’s push to encourage more couples to have a second child after decades of restrictive family planning policies has fallen short of expectations in the first year, state media reported in January 2015. The world’s most populous country has restricted most families to a single child since the late 1970s, but the Communist Party has started easing controls, allowing couples to have two offspring so long as one of the parents is an only child, rather than both. Photo credit: FRED DUFOUR / AFP / Getty Images.



This picture taken on January 22, 2015 shows a farmer seed-picking for the next crop in a field in the suburbs of Hanoi. Vietnam’s economy grew 5.98 percent in 2014, the highest for three years, despite a festering banking crisis and damaging anti-China riots, authorities said in December. Photo credit: HOANG DINH NAM / AFP / Getty Images.



Bill (L) and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, take part in a discussion organised by British magazine The Economist about expected breakthroughs in the next 15 years in health, education, farming and banking on January, 22, 2015 in Brussels. Photo credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / Getty Images.



Hass avocados for sale at the Farmers Market in Los Angeles, California on January 22, 2015. The avocado has become the United States new favorite fruit with more than 4.25 billion sold last year. The Hass variety make up 95% of all avocados eaten in the United States and 85% of avocados are imported, mainly from Mexico. Photo credit: MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty Images.



Dave Loeffler gives some of his young heifers a serving of hay. The city of Brighton, Colorado is buying up acres of land around the city and leasing it back to farmers in the area as a way to preserve agriculture land and the agriculture history for the area. Farmer Dave Loeffler has leased 92 acres for his cattle and hay businesses. Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler / The Denver Post via Getty Images.



Chickens are hung in the French poultry firm doux on January 23, 2015 in Chateaulin, western of France. Photo credit: FRED TANNEAU / AFP / Getty Images.



City of Toronto arborist Chris Brown ascends Vimy 2, one of the 9 trees on the property. Brown, along with 2 other climbers, harvested the clippings which will then be used for grafts. The Vimy Oaks of Scarborough are being harvested in the hopes of taking grafts from some cuttings and returning the offspring to Vimy Ridge, in France. Aborists were on scene on January 24, 2015 to cut the clippings. The trees were originally planted after acorns from English Oaks at Vimy were returned to the area by a local man whose family had a farm on the property where the Oaks stand today. Photo credit: Rick Madonik / Toronto Star via Getty Images.



Afghan youth Abdullah, 13, fills up water containers carried by donkey at a river in Keshendeh village in Mazar-i-sharif on January 24, 2015. As winter continues across Central Asia, many Afghans struggle to provide adequate food and shelter for their families. Photo credit: FARSHAD USYAN / AFP / Getty Images.



A elderly man buys fruit from a stall besides the port on the island of Aegina ahead of the general election tomorrow on January 24, 2015 near Athens, Greece. According to the latest opinion polls, the left-wing Syriza party are poised to defeat Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ conservative New Democracy party in the election, which will take place tomorrow. European leaders fear that Greece could abandon the Euro, write off some of its national debt and put an end to the country’s austerity by renegotiating the terms of its bailout if the radical Syriza party comes to power. Greece’s potential withdrawal from the eurozone has become known as the ‘Grexit’. Photo by Matt Cardy / Getty Images.



People gather in the streets of the southern Spanish village of Trigueros trying to grab the food thrown to the crowd from balconies and windows during the celebration of San Antonio Abad procession, on January 25, 2015. This nonstop 36 hours procession is celebrated since 1871 to honour San Antonio Abad who shared out all his properties and possessions among the poor before becoming an ascetic. Photo credit: CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP / Getty Images.



Fruits and vegetables are set as mountain shape called gunungan during the Mawlid Mask Festival to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Mohammad on January 25, 2015 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed on the 12th day of third Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal, also known as Eid Mawlid al-Nabi. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto / Getty Images.


In the Bigger Picture…. Friday Edition

6 Recommended Agricultural Links ○ ○ ○

Note: Friday Editions of “In the Bigger Picture” focus on grassroots subjects.


1 . URBAN AGRICULTURE: A study tells us that 456 million hectares, which is an area about the size of the European Union, is now under cultivation in and around the world’s cities.

from Stanford Woods, Institute for the Environment


2 . This garden named Biolabrynthus, is based on sustainable concepts to promote biodiversity. It won the 2014 Italy international creative garden show contest, and it was designed by two French landscape architects. (with video)

by Janis Blackschleger for Ecology


3 . Yes, there are aquaculture operations in Nebraska. This story is about raising barramundi indoors.

By Cole Epley for the World-Herald


4 . Faced with increasingly drug-resistant bacteria, scientists and farmers are now looking to plant extracts to keep people and animals healthy.

by Tori Rodriguez for The Atlantic


5 . This small-town boy returned to small-town rural Nebraska. While he was in college, an attorney told him, “The opportunities for your generation will exist in small towns.”

By Tyler Vacha for Center for Rural Affairs


6 . Food bikes are now competing with food trucks. Hooray!

by Alastair Bland for NPR’s The Salt


These links were selected by Kay McDonald. For continually updated news about agriculture, please utilize the news feeds on the right sidebar here, and on the “Latest Ag News” tab above.