Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Links +

Readers, note that my comments below are in italics.--K.M.

RURAL AMERICA: The unconscionable abandonment of rural America (The Week) Finally somebody wrote on a subject that's been bugging me, that today's problem you read about all the time places the focus on the wrong thing - like fixing housing in SanFrancisco and NYC. It is not that the fix lies in sparkling coastal cities, the fix lies in a refocus upon rural America.

POLITICS: North Dakotans need to vote NO on Measure #1 to protect family farming in the state. (Center for Rural Affairs)

INDOOR GROWING: Are shipping containers the future of farming? (WSJ) Note that this type of growing works for some things like leafy greens, salads, herbs and perhaps vining crops like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers but not for grains, root vegetables and tropical fruits.

TECHNOLOGY: According to this article, farms are becoming more like factories: tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature, and that is the future of food production. (The Economist)

AQUAPONICS: A very large aquaponics facility is breaking ground near Brookings, South Dakota. (Argus Leader)

RURAL SOCIAL GLUE: McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together (The Guardian) The only reason I included this article is because it applies to my aging father who is a retired farmer in E. Nebraska. He goes to coffee where locals gather at McDonald's every day.

CORN ETHANOL LOBBYING: (National Corn Growers Assoc.) There were many headlines this week about the lobbying that went on regarding new future RFS standards to be set by the EPA. I chose this one, because it gives you insight into how important this issue is to corn growers. $200 million has already been spent on infrastructure to promote higher percentages of ethanol in gasoline.

WATER: Colorado snowpack doubles historical average heading into summer months (The Tribune)

OLD SCHOOL: On using the scythe. (NYT)

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE: In China, they've raised fish in rice paddies for 1,000 years. (China Daily)

AG ECONOMICS: Main Street Economy Report for June 2016. (Creighton Univ.)

AUSTRALIA: Impressive plans to ride the Wagyu wave. WITH Wagyu becoming the next hot ticket item globally, one WA producer plans to expand his Wagyu herd to 10,000 head for the Asian and Middle-Eastern markets. (Farm Weekly)

CONSERVATION: A new type of carbon credit program designed for long-term conservation initiatives such as conservation easements on grasslands is beginning to enroll landowners this year. (Center for Rural Affairs)

BIONIC LEAF TECHNOLOGY: A new clean technology to turn sunlight into liquid fuel could drastically shrink the need for large plantations to grow crops for biofuels, while combating climate change, according to Harvard University researchers. (Biofuels International)

FARM PROPERTY TAXES: Collapsing prices for U.S. corn and soybeans have made it harder for some farmers to pay their property taxes, at a time when these tax bills are soaring and the rate of farm bankruptcies is growing. (Reuters) Unfortunately, this makes farmers want to maximize the land's productive capacity and conservation loses. That's why strong conservation policies must be available.

ORGANIC: This article goes over organic definitions and standards including "organic meat" and "Certified Naturally Grown", in case you need a review. (Journal Sentinel)

ANTHROPOCENE NEWS: Fireflies are also disappearing. (Treehugger)

HERITAGE SEEDS: Glass Gem Corn (Business Insider)

HUMOR: Infographic naming meat substitutes. (The Onion)

To view last week's LINKS, click here.