Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Agriculture, Farming, and Food Reading Picks for this Week

Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, Apples, c.1575

This Tuesday news thread is a weekly feature here at Big Picture Agriculture.
  1. How Iowa can save the family farm | DesMoines Register Editorial
  2. Comment: More CRP, less tax support for the largest operations, funding rural development, and helping beginning farmers.
  3. Democrats Can Win Rural Voters by Taking on Big Agriculture - Identifying the corporate power that holds back farm communities could revive Democratic fortunes. | The Nation
  4. August Rural Mainstreet Index Falls Below Growth Neutral: More than Half of Bankers Report Drought Impacts | Creighton.edu
  5. Cull unprofitable land - Precision technology backs common sense conservation | Corn and Soybean Digest
  6. Exports of U.S. feed grains setting records | World-Grain
  7. Corn and Soybean Yield Forecasts Larger than Expected | Successful Farming
  8. Conference brings soybean buyers to Omaha from 50 countries to make deals | Omaha World-Herald
  9. New Jersey not beholden to Big Ethanol | NJ Biz
  10. Quote: "Sen. Booker wasn’t elected to represent Midwestern producers, and New Jersey has no reason to bend to these special interests. He must be willing to protect New Jersey’s economic environment, and resist the hypocrisy of ethanol special interests — which claim to promote consumer choice and free-market policies with a bill that compromises both. Sen. Booker must consider his constituents and vote no on S.517."
  11. On July 28, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handed issued its decision in the lawsuit over EPA's interpretation of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and its waiver authority (Americans for Clean Energy v. EPA. After years of litigation, the decision may add much-needed clarity to the RFS. | Farm Doc Daily
  12. First Corn-to-Ethanol Plant Opens in Brazil | Biofuels Jrnl
  13. Ethanol’s Contribution to a Record-Breaking Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico | HuffPost
  14. Increase in Ethanol Production Likely to Outpace Near-term Demand | CoBank
  15. The Renewable Fuel Standard has had an overall positive impact on U.S. agriculture and on the U.S. economy as a whole, a new economic study by Iowa State University shows. However, the policy has done little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and further RFS benefits would come only with the continued expansion of corn ethanol and a reduction in biodiesel production, the study suggests. | DTN. Here is a link to the Iowa study. PDF.
  16. Reports about sustainable and local farming: one after another | Food Politics
  17. Ranchers in parched U.S. Northern Plains welcome hay lottery | Reuters
  18. Comment: Have you looked at the drought map lately?
  19. Crops such as wheat could be up to 21% more efficient at turning the sun's energy into food, according to new research by Lancaster University. | Phys.org
  20. Monsanto Licenses Crispr Technology from Biotech Co. | Brownfield
  21. The $50 billion Aquafeed market | USAgnet
  22. Update on Dicamba-related Injury Investigations and Estimates of Injured Soybean Acreage | Missouri.edu
  23. Lessons Learned from Dicamba | Agweb
  24. A new generation of farmers faces mounting challenges | MPR News
  25. Growing concern: Organic farms need a new generation to keep them alive | SanFrancisco Chronicle
  26. Biodynamic: A different kind of farming | Capital Press
  27. These 2 Farm Sanctuaries Are Making a Huge Difference for Pigs | One Green Planet
  28. California’s $7.5 million Healthy Soils initiative will pay farmers up to $50,000 if they adopt "carbon farming" practices, including applying compost on rangeland to increase carbon retention capacity. | KPBS
  29. Why food co-op workers in Minneapolis have flocked to unions | MinnPost
  30. Researchers Hone in on Disease-Fighting Microbes in the Soil | DTN
  31. Plants have been "hijacked" to make polio vaccine in a breakthrough with the potential to transform vaccine manufacture, say scientists. | BBC
  32. Who owns the seeds bought by farmers and gardeners? | Marketplace
  33. EBay’s Founder Has a New Idea: Build a Dairy in Hawaii | NYTs
  34. Japan’s farm ministry to promote rental of urban farmland | Japan Times
  35. The New Enemy in India's Fight Against Inflation? Tomatoes. | Bloomberg
  36. In India, an Uber for farm machinery aims to make a difference in rural areas | Tech Crunch
  37. South Korea is building a $10 billion agriculture city in Egypt | Inhabitat
  38. Advice on growing Fruit Trees | Wisconsin State Farmer
  39. The Secret to Growing Award-Winning Pumpkins | USAgnet
  40. Second Edition of NRDC’s Landmark Food Waste Report | NRDC
  41. That Chicken From Whole Foods Isn’t So Special Anymore; Big poultry and meat producers have absorbed many of the organic grocer’s practices—and become its suppliers. | Bloomberg
  42. How the Chicken Industry Got Hooked on Antibiotics | The Atlantic
  43. Factory farming in Asia creating global health risks, report warns; Growth of intensive units has potential to increase antibiotic resistance and could result in spread of bird flu beyond region | The Guardian
  44. Trans Fat Is (Almost) Out of Your Food. Two years ago, the FDA set a June 2018 deadline. The industry is ready. | Bloomberg
  45. How Driscoll’s Reinvented the Strawberry | The New Yorker
  46. If bugs are the next big food trend, we need to find a way to grow a lot of them. Cricket company Aspire has turned to robots. | Fast Co.
  47. War on Sugar Has Food Giants Vying to Make Stevia Tastier | Bloomberg
  48. Sugar Is Finally More Popular Than Corn Syrup Again | Bloomberg
  49. Cane versus beet sugar–A difference? | Food Politics
  50. China’s growing middle class lose appetite for instant noodles, preferring healthier meals ordered online | SCMP
  51. Filipino food will be the next big thing in America | Business Insider
  52. Eating habits affect skin's protection against sun | Science Daily

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Today's Eclipse and Eclipse Art

I aspire to the Buddhist notion that we fill our days with distractions from the reality. However, reality itself is elusive, so the deeper we dig, the less we seem to know.

Einstein and other physicists speak of the mathematical beauty which underlies the universe. What is beautiful about the math, they say, is the simplicity. This total solar eclipse is a reminder of that very concept. We have a day in which to observe that the moon appears to be the same size as the sun. This illusion is because the sun is 400 times wider than the moon and the sun is also 400 times farther away from us as the moon.

How beautiful and how simple is that?

If you are lucky enough to see the eclipse in totality today, you will be living "in the moment" for just a while. In today's busy world, perhaps it takes a total eclipse in order for us to do that. With planetary light pollution, too few people glimpse the moon and stars much at all anymore. Even our modern astronomers sit indoors to view that which telescopes from across the globe are pinpointing. On this day we are all drawn to the actual non-virtual sky above us, just as those ever-fewer numbers of us who work the land have always done and have always been connected with.

The wonder of today's event is a perfect break from the day to day bickering and drama that the news headlines bring. We are a small part of this cosmos, this ever expanding evolving universe, and, we know and understand so very little of it. We are humbled.

We'd best turn to the artists for further interpretation, awe, and wonder.

Eclipsed Time ~ Maya Lin

Blue Eclipse ~ Albert Bloch ~ 1955

Square Motif, Blue and Gold: The Eclipse ~ Victor Pasmore ~ 1950

The Eclipse ~ Carlos Orozco Romero ~ 1952

Eclipse ~ Nicholas Roerich ~ 1939

After the Eclipse (11 August 99) ~ Zao Wou-Ki ~ 1999

Eclipse ~ William Baziotes ~ 1950

Eclipse chromatique No. 1 ~ Martha Boto ~ 1973