I read a wide variety of agricultural news sources, even if they aren’t relevant to anything I do, just because it’s a good idea to be aware of the trends. The downside of this is of course becoming very annoyed by the things I read. So often the author, the people she’s interviewing, and everyone else involved has made so many assumptions that they’ve completely missed the point. Some examples:
Perdue has it’s corporate headquarters about 2 hours south of here, and most of the shore is dedicated to growing chickens or grain for chickens, whether for Perdue or another company. There’s an article in the ag paper this week about Perdue’s “dedication to the environment.” Apparently Perdue is putting a huge solar installation to power one of their feed mills, and another for the corporate offices. In addition, it’s the ten year anniversary of Perdue’s AgriRecycle plant, which takes used chicken litter (the stuff chickens stand on plus lots of chicken shit) and turns it into organic fertilizer, which is then shipped all over the country. Perdue claims they are helping to reduce the nutrient load on the watershed (Chesapeake Bay) by shipping the fertilizer out of the state. Of course, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to any of them that they would reduce the nutrient load much more by, I don’t know, not confining millions of chickens to chicken houses. And wouldn’t you save a lot more energy by, say, not processing grain into feed, but just feeding it to chickens? I’m pretty sure they’ll still eat it. It just doesn’t store as long, of course.
Maryland, which is kind of known for horse breeding, has started exporting horses to China. Apparently a lot of people are excited about this. Just going to leave that one there.
In this whole budget thing, Republicans are trying to make cuts to the FDA. Opponents of the cuts say these cuts will lessen the power of the FDA, and that an increased budget is needed in order to make the FDA more effective and to increase food safety in the country. These people are REALLY missing the point. How much money is the FDA spending to attack Amish farmers who have sickened no one? Maybe they should try cutting that section of the FDA before they start bleating about needing more money.
And instead they want to cut money from SARE! SARE! The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program! Not to mention conservation programs, renewable energy programs, education programs… these all from the ag bill, I mean.
Oh, and f-ing Bill Gates, who has started this foundation for ag whose newsletter I’m now getting, saying that the biggest thing we need to do to end poverty and hunger is grow more food. That statement makes my brain explode. I don’t even know where to start. Is he aware of how many millions of tons of food get wasted annually, just in this country? Of how much surplus food there is in general? It’s not the amount of food we’re growing that’s a problem, it’s getting it to the right people… it’s people living in poverty (because of things companies like his have done) not being to afford food. It’s growing lots of shitty fake nutrients like corn and soybeans instead of real food. It’s processing! It’s a million things, but for skies’ sake, we do NOT need to grow more food… but what would you expect from an ag fund run by corporate “charities”?
Oh and don’t forget that when they talk about growing more food, they’re always talking about cereal crops. Because we all need more grain in our diets.
You know what the real solution to food shortages is? Stop developing farmland and let people grow their own food!