Need Money to Make Potato Salad, Anyone?

This lucky guy, Zack, wanted to raise $ to make potato salad and his kickstarter project did that and more. He’s got over $61,000 and counting.

Some say these things happen because people just want to “belong”, to be a part of something. Might as well be part of making potato salad.

(I guess I’ll categorize this post under “food security”.)

Summer Herdsman Migration

The photo below shows the Xinjiang Kazak Herdsmen’s Annual Summer Migration.


ALTAY, CHINA – JUNE 08: A Kazak herdsman rides horse with his son during the migration on June 8, 2014 in Altay, China. The Kazak herdsmen move all their property almost 1000km long from winter migration to summer migration in the gobi desert of Xinjiang province. (Photo by Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images)

Corn Acres Increased 25% from 2006 to 2012

You will see from the data in this post that the RFS mandated corn ethanol program spurred corn acreage by 25 percent in the U.S. because of a new and rapid increased demand, which drove prices higher.

Below, is a recent graph and report from the USDA:

Positive grower returns have supported the expansion of U.S. corn area since the late 2000s. Returns to corn production—the value above total economic costs that include opportunity costs of land, labor, and other owned resources—have been positive since 2007.

Returns reached a high of $224 per planted acre in 2011 before declining to $48 in 2013. With economic profit available from corn production, planted corn acres increased nearly 25 percent nationally from about 78 million in 2006 to a record of more than 97 million in 2012. In 2013, however, lower corn price expectations pushed down planted area, and lower corn prices, along with higher land costs, reduced returns to corn production.

From 1997 to 2006, economic returns to corn production had been negative, averaging -$74 per planted acre. During this time, planted corn acreage was relatively stable between about 75 and 80 million acres.

source: USDA

Large Dairy Efficiency Kills the Small Dairy

Larger operations squeeze out more milk at lower cost

Costs of production for U.S. milk decline as the size of the dairy operation (measured by the number of cows) increases. Based on 2013 data, average total economic costs of milk production—a measure that includes the opportunity costs of land, labor, and other owned resources—fell by nearly 60 percent, from an average of about $50 per hundredweight (cwt) for producers with fewer than 50 cows to about $20 per cwt for those with 1,000 cows or more.

Average costs are lower on larger farms because fixed cost items, such as management, land, and other resource costs, are spread across a larger number of cows, and because average output per cow increases along with farm size. Mean output per cow was just over 15,000 pounds among operations with less than 50 cows, while operations with 1,000 or more head averaged more than 23,000 pounds per cow.

Higher milk yields on larger farms stem from factors such as better breeding, nutrition, and health management, as well as the ability to access competitively priced supplies of high quality feed inputs.

source: usda

The Old Way of Agriculture in China

The FlickrCC photographer, James Wheeler, said this about his photograph:

Took this photo in southern Yunnan, China, in a small town just before the Burma border crossing. The electricity was unreliable and the town was missing many of the “comforts” of development, like indoor plumbing and refrigeration. They lived a simple life raising their crops and tending to livestock, much as they have for hundreds of years. (May 2007)