Technology

USDA’s ‘Deeply Flawed’ $3 Billion ‘Climate Smart Commodities’ Program

Even at first glance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently announced $3-billion-dollar “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” sounds like doublespeak, an Orwellian invention that reverses the meaning of words.

Or, more plainly, how can today’s commodity-centered, industrialized agriculture be remotely “climate-smart” when everyone in the food business readily acknowledges it’s an oil-gulping, climate-changing juggernaut?

The short, truthful […]

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Mother Nature Has A Population Plan Too

A scientist friend recently noted that at today’s rate of consumption, the world is environmentally and economically sustainable for roughly 1 billion people. “That means with the world’s population of 8 billion,” he half-joked, “you’re a goner.”

Right, just not right now; let nature take its course, eh?

Recent population trends, however, show that nature might already […]

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‘The Ceaseless Drive to Endless Increase…’

It usually goes without notice or comment, but three of the planet’s key elements–carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen–sit like ducks in row as Element Six, Seven, and Eight, respectively, on the Periodic Table.

None is more important than the others and yet, if there’s a first among equals, it would be nitrogen as a prescient report from […]

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Given What We Don’t Know, Why Do We Act Like We Do Know?

Most of American agriculture sees Africa as one vast nation and one vast market. It is, of course, neither.

Africa, in fact, has more nations (54), more languages (over 2,000), and more cultures (3,000-plus), than any other continent on Earth. It’s also the world’s second largest and second most populous continent with three times the people […]

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A No-Ethanol Future Doesn’t Mean a No-Profit Future

It’s rare to find one Midwestern academic publicly questioning the economic and environmental impacts of ethanol.

It’s even rarer to find four academics–one from a corn state land grant university, three from a leading university in the leading corn-producing state–raising objections to the biofuel and its byproducts that will use one out of every three bushels […]

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From Catalonia to California, It’s Been One Long, Hot Summer

Long ago when traveling through Europe, a friend developed what he called the “Alan Rule” since I never remembered the Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion math: 10 degrees Celsius, wear a coat; 20 degrees, a light jacket; 30 degrees, shirtsleeves.

There was no suggestion for 40 degrees because 40 degrees Celsius is a baking 104 degrees Fahrenheit (F), an […]

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Forty Billion Reasons to Go Green

If American farmers and ranchers really want to live the oft-repeated boast that they are “the first environmentalists,” then, by golly, Joe Manchin and his Democratic Senate colleagues have the legislative vehicle to prove it.

Manchin, the chief monkeywrencher of Dem dreams for the last two years, shocked everyone when he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck […]

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Nowhere to Hide at Low Tide

Mega-billionaire Warren Buffett has a well-deserved reputation as a genius “value investor” and pithy commentator. His annual reports to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders are highly anticipated for their market insight and expressive language, and often make news because of both.

For example, one of Buffett’s most quoted sayings colorfully explains that “You only find out who’s swimming […]

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New Signs of Apocalypse: War, Famine, and Davos Man

On the very week the United States marked its one millionth Covid death and anxious American parents awaited a military airlift for baby formula, Davos Man, he of the pinstriped master-of-the-universe class, emerged from his bulletproof, bombproof office to report all was well in the world of intergalactic finance and handmade shoes.

Well, kinda’ sorta’ well.

There […]

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First steps in ag climate fight are honesty and courage, not offsets and credits

Last May, the Canadian farm group National Farmers Union (NFU), submitted a detailed response to the Canadian government’s earlier “Draft Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System Regulations.” The response, like the government request, went relatively unnoticed in U.S. ag circles.

It shouldn’t have because the 23-page reply by the 200,000-member NFU was as shocking in its brevity […]

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