Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday Links +

Photo credit: Lavender Labyrinth at Cherry Point Farm & Market in Shelby, Michigan

Tuesday informational news links "with a holistic view" are a weekly feature here at Big Picture Agriculture.

RECOMMENDED BEST READS:

Land Use Change and Biofuels and Bees in North Dakota | Williston Herald
Quote: “The conversion to corn and soy could have emitted as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as 34 coal-fired power plants operating for one year, the equivalent of 28 million more cars on the road.”

Behind the Monsanto Deal, Doubts About the GMO Revolution - Farmers are reconsidering the use of biotech seeds as it becomes harder to justify their high prices amid the measly returns of the current farm economy | WSJ

A Kansas no-till farmer describes "best imperfect ways" large scale production | PBS Newshour

TRENDS AND INNOVATION:

The simple Ox flat-pack van all terrain vehicle for farm transport in Africa and other developing regions | BBC

The first certified domestic hemp seeds | Sacramento Bee

The case for wooden skyscrapers and buildings | The Economist
Note that this is important for addressing climate change because new construction (something no powers-that-be seem willing to give up) is a huge contributor to greenhouse emissions due to use of materials such as steel and concrete.--k.m.

Robot chefs help alleviate labor shortage in Japan | Asia Nikkei

California is building a housing project with an urban farm built in the center of it. | Green Prophet

Mexican greenhouse production on the rise | The Packer

Ramping up nutritional oat varieties - Scientists and consumers recognize the cholesterol-lowering power of oats, but what few know is that most of the oats American milling companies use comes from Canada. | Science Daily

Future of farming: Driverless tractors, ag robots | CNBC

China to invest $450 billion modernizing agriculture by 2020 | Reuters

America's leading food manufacturers and restaurant chains are increasingly overhauling classic foods to rejuvenate slowing sales and don a health and wellness halo. | CNBC

CONSERVATION, ORGANIC, GARDENING:

Pulses Reduce Greenhouse Gases | IPS
Quote: It is estimated that globally, some 190 million hectares of pulses contribute to five to seven million tonnes of nitrogen in soils. As pulses can fix their own nitrogen in the soil, they need less fertilizer, both organic and synthetic and, in this way, they play a part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And pulses are very popular-the global production of pulses increased from 64 million hectares in 1961 to almost 86 million in 2014.

North America has more than a billion fewer birds than it did 40 years ago | Globe and Mail

As Iowa ramps up its discussions on how to pay for better water quality, new initiatives are aimed at getting more farmers to aggressively embrace conservation, a word many associate with higher costs and lower production. | DesMoines Register

Drifting pesticides put neighboring organic farms at risk | DesMoines Register

Cities cope with polluted ag runoff | Harvest Public Media

Secrets of life in the soil - Diana Wall has built a career on overturning assumptions about underground ecosystems. Now she is seeking to protect this endangered world. | Nature

Ecological intensification of agriculture | Phys.org

Our best shot at cooling the planet might be right under our feet | The Guardian

Grow Warm-Weather Plants Year-Round with a Chinese Greenhouse: New Book Shows You How | Mother Earth News

Germany's organic farm Stautenhof driving pastured egg production in Europe | ABC News

2015 Sales from U.S. Certified Organic production up 13 Percent from 2014 | USDA



AG ECONOMICS, FARMING, CROPS, TRADE:

This will be the third consecutive year in which most corn farmers will spend more than they'll earn. | AP

No End for Wheat Rout With World Stockpiles Ballooning to Record | Agweb

Just 20 years ago, about 600 companies were manufacturing seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, and now, the majority of those products are made by just six major companies, a number which may fall to three or four. | Globe and Mail

EU funds feed Bulgaria’s grain millionaires | EurActiv

September 2016 Mainstreet Economy Report | Creighton.edu
Quote: Over the past 12 months, farm prices have fallen by 11 percent, cattle prices are off by 22 percent, and grain prices are down by 20 percent.

Bayer’s Monsanto Purchase Could Offset European Regulatory Concerns | WSJ

Take a look at how much Valencia orange production has fallen in Florida in just 3 years (citrus greening) | USDA

For the fifth time this year, U.S. cheesemakers churned out over one billion pounds of cheese in a single month. | U.S. Agnet

Canadian Fertilizer Giants Agrium and Potash Agree to Merge - Deal would result in a crop-nutrient company worth about $27 billion | WSJ

FARMLAND:

China would have become the second largest foreign owner of Australian farmland after the United Kingdom if the government had not vetoed the sale to Chinese interests of a major cattle empire. | Sacramento Bee

Survey shows continued drop in Iowa farmland values - Land falls 30% from 2013 peak | Successful Farming

US farmland prices are heading for a third successive year of decline | Agrimoney

CLIMATE CHANGE:

The cement industry is one of the world’s most polluting: it accounts for 5% of man-made carbon-dioxide emissions each year. | The Economist

COLORADO CORNER:

Colorado’s craft-beer industry boasts $1.7 billion impact - Colorado now counts more than 350 craft breweries with more expected to open in 2016 | Denver Post

Boulder Valley has become natural nut & seed spread start-up central | Daily Camera

HEALTH, FOOD, NUTRITION:

Why GARDENING could be the best medicine: Prescribing outdoor activities 'would ease obesity crisis' | Daily Mail

Keeping Inflammation at bay through diet and more | Harvard Health

Could Ancient Remedies Hold the Answer to the Looming Antibiotics Crisis? One researcher thinks the drugs of the future might come from the past: botanical treatments long overlooked by Western medicine. | NYTs

Is 'cauliflower rice' going mainstream? Green Giant hopes | CNBC

NEW BOOK:

"Surviving the 21st Century" by Julian Cribb (Springer International Publishing 2017) is a powerful new book out this week which explores the risks of ecological collapse, resource depletion, weapons of mass destruction, climate change, global poisoning, food crises, population and urban overexpansion, pandemic disease, dangerous new technologies and self-delusion – and what can and should be done to limit them. | Phys.org
I have much respect for this agricultural and environmental author so I'd expect this to be a good read.

FINALLY, MY PICK FOR THE SLOPPIEST JOURNALISM OF THE WEEK:

The Standoff Between Big Oil and Big Corn | NYTs Opinion Piece by David Gelles
Gelles drank a lot of Koolaid while researching this piece judging the pros and cons of ethanol as net neutral. His narrow focus should have broadened to include land use changes, water quality, loss of topsoil, songbird bee and monarch populations, transport problems, energy density, corporate power, and ethanol exports.--k.m.

To view last week's LINKS, click here.

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