Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Links +

Dear Readers, Today's weekly news thread is quite long. There should be something here for everyone. To introduce the thread, I'm posting a photo of peaches on our 3 year old peach tree which out did itself this year. I've been making peach kuchen, peach spiced jam, peach cucumber salsa for fish, peach smoothies, and I've been freezing peaches, too. For those of you who are now back to school, welcome back! Traffic on this site always picks up more during the school year. -- Kay M.

EPA slammed over renewable fuel standard requirements | Biofuels International
[Quotes: "EPA has not prepared reports on the environmental impact of the renewable fuel standard (RFS), as required by the Energy Information and Security Act of 2007. EPA is behind on compliance with three required reports: a triennial report to Congress on the environmental and conservation impacts of the RFS, a separate anti-backsliding report on the impacts of the RFS on air quality, and a determination as to whether mitigation measures are necessary. ... EPA was also slammed in the report for failing to identify a process to update lifecycle GHGs of renewable fuels to compare them to the fossil fuels they are designed to replace."]

Jerry Jung, former owner of Michigan CAT and longtime environmentalist, is using his wealth to take down ethanol production. | Crains Detroit
[Quote: "In an attempt to convince legislators of the ill effects of ethanol, Jung has secured an audience with U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. The campaign is also working to draft a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."]

EPA has not completed required review of biofuel mandate: report | Reuters

Vilsack: Iowa will have 'hell to pay' unless water quality addressed soon | DesMoines Register
[Vilsack used strong words about how important this is, that nothing else matters, that Iowa is falling behind other states on clean water policy. Wait! What? I was floored by this story. Time for Vilsack to look in the mirror. This problem didn't just pop up yesterday. All of a sudden he's turned environmentalist? What did he do for water policy back when he was governor of Iowa? Or soil for that matter? Plus, as if being the big policy maker, ethanol advocate, huge decline in CRP acres overseer - these past 8 years - had nothing to do with Iowa's nitrogen run off / water quality?]

Unwind the Ethanol Mandate; Dumping America's misguided renewable fuel standard will help save the Great Plains | US News & World Report

Gene-modified soil bacteria promise eco-friendly computing; The US Navy is creating nanowires from soil bacteria. | Engadget

The Mainstreet Economy Report for August 2016 | Creighton.edu
[Quote: "Over the past 12 months, farm prices have fallen by 9 percent, and livestock prices are off by 16 percent. These weak agriculture commodity prices are pushing the overall Rural Mainstreet economy lower. As a result of weaker farm economic conditions, bankers expect almost one in five crop farmers, or 19.5 percent, to suffer negative cash flows where cash expenses exceed cash revenues for 2016."]

Changes in Meat Consumption | Jayson Lusk
[This Ag economist takes down some of the jump-to-conclusions oversimplified tweets and headlines you may have seen of late.]

U.S. Corn Weekly Overview & Price Outlook (August 21) | See It Market
[Includes some interesting updated facts about ethanol production as it relates to corn usage.]

Australian dairy farmers 'slaughtering 700 cows a week' - because the cost of producing one litre of milk is more than they are paid for it | Daily Mail

China May Not Have Enough Arable Land to Feed Its People. But Big Changes Are Coming | TIME

JBS Foods International (JBSFI) will be transferring its headquarters and the equivalent of £26bn worth of assets across the Atlantic to Ireland. | Farmers Weekly

Exploring the potential of growing ginseng | Purdue.edu

California Drought Claims 66 Million Dead Trees | The Land Report

Experimental Farming in the Name of Soil Health: Steve Siverling’s Story (Wisconsin) | USDA Blog

How three U.S. Mini-farms are sowing the seeds of global food security; Tiny, biointensive operations show smallholder farmers from around the world how they can grow far more food than conventional approaches. | Ensia

Brexit Could take a bite out of Brits' Apple Orchards | Newsweek

Britain’s farmers will need help after Brexit; A reformed system of agricultural subsidy should replace the CAP | FT

Flowering meadows benefit humankind; Greater biodiversity in grasslands leads to higher levels of ecosystem services | Science Daily

Can oats improve bottom lines in the Corn Belt? | Harvest Public Media

Nothing easy about conservation easements | Capital Press

Robot that detects weeds? What a RIPPA | Farm Weekly

Greenhouses provide local food to Canada's most remote community | Horti Daily

Syngenta shares surge, as US regulator approves ChemChina deal | Agrimoney

Bats Save Billions for Agriculture | Agweb

Zimbabwe: Launch of high nutrient crop seed varieties to reduce malnutrition | FAO

The Potato Park of Peru | Resilience
[Quote: "Regions with rich biodiversity such as Peru are a prime hunting ground for such corporate predators, whose acts of biopiracy seek to privatize genetic and physical resources that have been managed as commons for generations."]

Serving Japan's 9,600 hectares pink tomato industry | Horti Daily

Ramen noodles supplanting cigarettes as currency among prisoners | Eurekalert

4 types of sushi that often aren't what you think they are — and what you're eating instead | Business Insider
[And, I doubt these findings just apply to sushi, but also to those of us who buy "wild salmon" or "Alaskan salmon".]

FROM BOULDER... Rocky Flats: A Wildlife Refuge Confronts Its Radioactive Past; The Rocky Flats Plant outside Denver was a key U.S. nuclear facility during the Cold War. Now, following a $7 billion cleanup, the government is preparing to open a wildlife refuge on the site to the public, amid warnings from some scientists that residual plutonium may still pose serious health risks. | Yale E360
[Though it is off-topic, I'm including this because it is very near to where I live, and, because I know some of the activists surrounding this issue, including one interviewed in the article. It is a very interesting story and money, as usual, has the upper hand right now, because there are many large new houses under construction in our fast-growing population area that are being built on Rocky Flats contaminated soils as well as major road proposal projects. Furthermore, some maps show that much of south and western Denver metro region is contaminated by these radioactive particles which won't decay for many millennia.]

ALSO FROM BOULDER... I really appreciate and agree with the mission of Kimbal Musk, Elon's brother, who lives here and operates a restaurant business that is on its way to becoming an empire. I like how he's going to expand into the Midwest to promote healthy foods there and increase demand from local organic farmers. He exemplifies combining business with objectives that strive to make the world a better place, and he has the resources to do it. Kudos. To learn more, be sure to read the article, too.

The Kitchen Chef/Co-Founder Kimbal Musk Talks About The Boulder Food Industry


Peach-Cucumber Salsa for grilled white fish | Food Network

Tomato brie pasta (Linguine with tomatoes and basil) | Epicurious

To view last week's LINKS, click here.


  1. Hi Kay,

    Saul Griffiths presentation on energy consumption based on an interactive Sankey that he and his colleagues developed is well worth watching. He discusses energy use by the ag sector. I am not sure I agree with his conclusions as I suspect he hasn't considered soil erosion, nutrient runoff, irrigation/aquifer depletion, etc.

    Here's a post by Joe Romm which has a link to the presentation.

    Explaining All Of U.S. Energy Use With A Genius Chart And Cheeseburgers : Everything you always wanted to know about energy consumption


    1. Thanks, Andrew. Needless to say the complexity of the subject is brought out in Romm's post and presentation. I get dismayed by so many conclusions in Ag, for the reason you mentioned, seldom does every aspect get considered. Glad to know there are some energy wonks on this site - in the past it was one of my favorite subjects, but times have changed since '05, '08 eras.