Friday, October 2, 2015

Agricultural News Monthly for October 1, 2015

We need a viable farming community - Guelph Mercury, 9/16/15
"Today, our food system is undeniably disjointed. Approaching the 2015 federal election, I can't help but reflect on these issues and how they impact all Canadians — rural, urban, Northern, immigrant, adult and child. Four in particular deserve attention on the 2015 election agenda. These have been identified by Food Secure Canada as the most necessary first steps to a more healthy, equitable and just Canadian food system."

Wheat yield contest winners honored at Kansas State Fair - Kansas Wheat, 9/17/15

"Nelson's plot was 8.756 acres planted with a T158 (Limagrain) / Everest (Kansas Wheat Alliance) blend. Nelson’s prize-winning yield was 108.48 bushels an acre."

Greek Crisis Helps farm Food Prices - Ekathimerini, 9/7/15

"To achieve this, the grocery -- like the 11 other cooperatives of its kind that have sprung up in Athens in recent years -- skips the middlemen and negotiates directly with producers. The idea was born three years ago with the rise of Greece's so-called "potato movement." Unhappy with the profits that wholesalers were making at their own expense, farmers began selling straight to the customers, offering sacks of potatoes from the backs of their trucks."

Making batteries with portabella mushrooms - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - RIVERSIDE, 9/29/15

"One of the problems with conventional carbons, such as graphite, is that they are typically prepared with chemicals such as acids and activated by bases that are not environmentally friendly ... the UC Riverside team is focused on naturally-derived carbons, such as the skin of the caps of portabella mushrooms, for making batteries."

Vilsack Announces State Finalists for Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership - Biofuels Journal, 9/11/15

"With a more than 1:1 match from private and state resources, USDA estimates that the BIP grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations across the country."

For U.S. Tribes, a Movement to Revive Native Foods and Lands - Yale Environment 360, 9/28/15

"On ancestral lands, the Fond du Lac band in Minnesota is planting wild rice and restoring wetlands damaged by dams, industry, and logging. Their efforts are part of a growing trend by Native Americans to bring back traditional food sources and heal scarred landscapes."

Food Loss & Waste Has Got to Do a Lot with Sustainable Development - IPS, 9/24/15

"Specifically, SDG Target 12.3 will call for the world to cut per capita food waste in half by 2030. If met, this ambitious target will not only boost food security, but also improve livelihoods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save land and water. In short, curbing food waste is both a goal in itself and a means of achieving other SDGs."

Anthony Bourdain's Food Market Takes Shape - NYTs, 9/28/15

"For more than a year, New York’s culinary grapevine has been buzzing over Mr. Bourdain’s broadly stated intention of opening a major food market somewhere in the city, but details have been scant. Now he has confirmed that he and his partners have subleased the main concourse and mezzanine of Pier 57, at 15th Street, one of the largest shipping piers on the Hudson."

Haven of simple technology for farming in Himalayan mountain region - SciDevNet, 9/17/15

"More than 40,000 people have visited the park. Government representatives, NGOs and UN organisations, community leaders, scientists and academics come to learn about practices they can disseminate.... These hands-on sessions are designed as a grass-root tool for technology transfer. People can adopt what best suits their business and traditions. For instance, the park’s rainwater harvesting pond has been replicated in six of Nepal’s 75 districts."

Study ties farming to air pollution deaths - AP, 9/16/15

"The problem with farms is ammonia from fertilizer and animal waste... That ammonia then combines with sulfates from coal-fired power plants and nitrates from car exhaust to form the soot particles that are the big air pollution killers"

Tuna and mackerel populations suffer catastrophic 74% decline in last 40 years - The Guardian, 9/15/15

"WWF says we risk losing species critical to human food security unless action is taken to halt overfishing and other threats to marine life"

A Decline in the Nutritional Value of Crops - NYTs, 9/12/15

"There is considerable evidence that such problems may be related to changes in cultivated varieties, with some high-yielding plants being less nutritious than historical varieties. Several other issues are involved, like changes in farming methods, including the extensive use of chemical fertilizers, as well as food processing and preparation. "

80% of rented farmland acres belong to a non-farmer - Farm Futures, 9/1/15

"In 2014, all of the landlords combined received $31.2 billion in rental income while incurring $9.2 billion in total expenses. About 91.5 million acres are slated for ownership transfer in the next five years, not including farmland that is in or is expected to be put into wills."

Agrihood Housing Developments in Canada - CTV News, 8/31/15

"One of the first is being established on an old cattle farm about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver, where Frosst Creek Development Co. is building 129 homes along with four hectares of fruit orchards, berry patches and vegetable gardens."

Wes Jackson Stepping Down from Land Institute - Harvest Public Media, 9/18/15

“I’m going to be 80 years old next June, and the next day The Land Institute will be 40 years old, and so I thought that’s sort of an auspicious set of math,” he said. “You know, this is the time before senility gets full bore. There are realities associated with 80. I feel fine, but I think it ought to be someone that is younger, and knows more — more up to speed on the more recent stuff in genetics and ecology, and so on.”

Biofuel Use in International Markets - USDA, 9/2015

"This study examines the main factors affecting the demand and supply of biofuels; shifts in biofuel production, consumption, and policy; and trends in biofuel trade, focusing on the United States, Brazil, and the EU. It also offers insight into potential future changes for U.S. biofuel markets."

Cargill to break up hedge fund arm - Agrimoney, 9/29/15

"The Global Agriculture Absolute Return Fund will be folded back into Cargill's risk management division, along with the Energy, Transportation & Metals fund."

Global food prices hit lowest level in over 6 years - CNBC, 9/10/15

"The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN's trade-weighted food price index posted its steepest monthly drop in August since December 2008, falling to 155.7 points, its lowest level since April 2009."

World Grain stocks to hit 29-year high, says IGC - Agrimoney, 8/27/15

"Global inventories of wheat and coarse grains combined will rise by 2m tonnes to 447m tonnes in 2015-16, "a 29-year peak", the IGC said, reversing expectations that production would fall behind consumption for the first time in three years."

Bonus: Interesting USDA Graph
In the beef cattle market, the last decade has seen a shift away from cash market sales in favor of formula pricing, which has led to concerns that the cash prices used in those formulas could be unreliable, and that the limited volume of public sales undermines price transparency and market efficiency. The Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act was passed in 1999 in response to these and other concerns, and requires all major meatpackers to report the prices they pay for sheep, cattle and hogs, as well as their selling prices for lamb, beef and pork.

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