Borlaug 2.0 ?

From McGill University A plan to improve crop yields instead of shutting down industrial society as some potential eco terrorists want to do. Norman Borlaug made huge advances in agriculture. He was an American agronomist, humanitarian, and Nobel laureate who has been called “the father of the Green Revolution”. Borlaug was one of only six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was also a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor. If this plan can do anything close to what Borlaug was able to accomplish, I’m all for it. FYI according to Wikipedia,  “Green Revolution” refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s, not to be confused with the counterproductive “deep green resistance”.

Feeding the world while protecting the planet

International team of researchers designs global plan for sustainable agriculture

The problem is stark: One billion people on earth don’t have enough food right now. It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more than nine billion people living on the planet.

Meanwhile, current agricultural practices are amongst the biggest threats to the global environment. This means that if we don’t develop more sustainable practices, the planet will become even less able to feed its growing population than it is today

But now a team of researchers from Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Germany has come up with a plan to double the world’s food production while reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

By combining information gathered from crop records and satellite images from around the world, they have been able to create new models of agricultural systems and their environmental impacts that are truly global in scope.

McGill geography professor Navin Ramankutty, one of the team leaders on the study, credits the collaboration between researchers for achieving such important results.  “Lots of other scholars and thinkers have proposed solutions to global food and environmental problems. But they were often fragmented, only looking at one aspect of the problem at one time. And they often lacked the specifics and numbers to back them up. This is the first time that such a wide range of data has been brought together under one common framework, and it has allowed us to see some clear patterns. This makes it easier to develop some concrete solutions for the problems facing us.”

A five-point plan for feeding the world while protecting the planet

The researchers recommend:

  1. Halting farmland expansion and land clearing for agricultural purposes, particularly in the tropical rainforest. This can be achieved using incentives such as payment for ecosystem services, certification and ecotourism. This change will yield huge environmental benefits without dramatically cutting into agricultural production or economic well-being.
  2. Improving agricultural yields. Many farming regions in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe are not living up to their potential for producing crops – something known as “yield gaps”. Improved use of existing crop varieties, better management and improved genetics could increase current food production nearly by 60 per cent.
  3. Supplementing the land more strategically. Current use of water, nutrients and agricultural chemicals suffers from what the research team calls “Goldilocks’ Problem”: too much in some places, too little in others, rarely just right. Strategic reallocation could substantially boost the benefit we get from precious inputs.
  4. Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.
  5. Reducing waste. One-third of the food produced by farms ends up discarded, spoiled or eaten by pests. Eliminating waste in the path that food takes from farm to mouth could boost food available for consumption another 50 per cent.

The study also outlines approaches to the problem that would help policy-makers reach informed decisions about the agricultural choices facing them. “For the first time, we have shown that it is possible to both feed a hungry world and protect a threatened planet,” said lead author Jonathan Foley, head of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. “It will take serious work. But we can do it.”

The research was funded by NSERC, NASA, NSF

The study Solutions for a Cultivated Planet was published in Nature. To read an abstract: http://www.nature.com/nature/

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115 Responses to Borlaug 2.0 ?

  1. oMan says:

    If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. …These five high-level recommendations are all very well. But they are neither novel nor, in this general form, actionable. The lack of novelty forces us to ask, “why haven’t people done much of this already?” The lack of specificity forces us to ask, “what makes your plan likely to succeed –with breakthrough efficiency and broad acceptance– where so many other plans have not?”

    I hope to read the underlying Nature article, which may answer some of my concerns.

  2. Chris S. says:

    Makes USA ethanol production look silly, if not immoral, huh?

  3. SSam says:

    *sigh… more government telling you what you can and can’t do with your property.

    And what the #$ does this mean?

    “using incentives such as payment for ecosystem services”

    So.. subsidies and taxes. Archer Daniels Midland makes obscene money off of subsidies for ethanol. Not as obscene as Solyndra and the other solar pig troughs, but through careful management of corruption and production, at least they turn a profit and don’t go belly up as the government keeps shoveling in the cash.

  4. Doug Proctor says:

    According to Greenpeace and other groups, millions have been starving since the ’60s. Every year it gets worse. Yet the population – even in the worst places for starvation, like the Sudan, Yemen – are experiencing rapid population growths that will … cause starvation. Starvation, I thought, lead to death which lead to … less people.

    Like the AIDS epidemic that was going to kill of 1/3 of Africa but didn’t show up in a negative population growth, this starvation issue has me perplexed. How can a people without enough to eat per capita increase at an alarming rate the capita they can’t feed?

    The fundamentals are somehow wrong. Not enough to eat for good development, perhaps, but more than enough for more people.

    Is this another regional statistic gone globally bad, like warm weather and drought in Texas?

  5. R. de Haan says:

    4. Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.

    I agree with the eliminating the bio fuel production but taking away my steak? No thank you.

  6. Unattorney says:

    7. Ban ethanol.

  7. The problem is stark: One billion people on earth don’t have enough food right now. It’s estimated that by 2050 there will be more than nine billion people living on the planet.

    The problem with this statement is that it is logically a non sequitur. The number of people on Earth who lack food has precisely nothing to do with agriculture and everything to do with politics. Feeding 9,000,000,000 people by 2050 won’t be a problem because of a lack of agriculture or land.

  8. Espen says:

    Looks all very sensible to me. I especially like that they mention biofuels in #4. That madness has to be stopped immediately. Note that it’s all connected: when European car owners think they are helping the environment by tanking ethanol, they’re in reality encouraging the conversion of Brazil’s pastures into sugar cane fields. So beef production moves to new pastures – which are replacing the rain forest…

  9. Mike McMillan says:

    Sounds like the one-world guvmint types are picking winners and losers again. College professors and bureaucrats telling farmers how to farm, that’ll work, right.

    Biofuel production bad, okay, Animal feed production bad, wrong-o. You can have my bbq brisket when you pry it from my cold dead fingers, or something like that.

    Those billion starving people would be just fine if they didn’t have repressive governments like Zimbabwe’s. (Yes, I’m still on the golden rice, gm bandwagon.)

  10. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Stark
    Quite right. The mention 1 billion with not enough food, but not a couple of billion (at least) with way too much food. Is the assumption that we will continue to have 50% of food produced in Africa to be eaten by pests? Will forests of unharvested fruit and nut continue to rot?

    The problem is not a lack of food, but lack of a willingness to built a just society.

  11. polistra says:

    Nothing really magical here, just the same advice every Agricultural Extension Service has been giving for many decades.

    Most of the recommendations will be halted by insanely Green governments or by existing Mafia-style profit centers.

    Green gov’ts won’t allow better water allocations because that might require building a dam. Green gov’ts (and NGOs) won’t allow GM crops. Old-style mafias will continue to offer more money for illicit crops than for food crops. The Wall Street Mafia will continue to push biofuel. Speculators will interfere with any effort to stop waste and increase storage, because speculators profit most when farmers are at the mercy of raw Nature every season.

  12. DCC says:

    Oh to get paid for spouting the Liberal line! Life would be delicious.

    But nice to see a jab at biofuels.

  13. Latitude says:

    So we have another group of dutter heads that want to control the planet….
    ….they want to dictate and standardize farming now
    It’s the diversity in farming that makes it…some will fail, but some will succeed

  14. gnomish says:

    they didn’t show a thing. they do use the subjunctive tense a lot.
    (heh- i’d love to see any one of them working in a field. )
    they claim to have discovered common sense, eh? seems they forgot about all the subsidies.that have warped the market, but they propose more…
    nope – they aren’t the wizards they claim. they aren’t farmers, either.
    in a garden fertilized by liberal application of stolen wealth, they plant fear. they harvest funding.

  15. Alan the Brit says:

    Doug Proctor says:

    October 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Good point! During the second world war, captured British women prisoners of the Japanese went quite hungary & malnourished, so much so that many stopped mestruating & ovulating, leading to the suggestion that a woman in such a condition would be unlikely to fall pregnant! Any ideas fro you expert out there?

  16. Coach Springer says:

    As Oman noted, these things are being done to the extent feasible already. Unless you want to pump more government money into pament for “ecosystem services.” Hey, maybe we could have more subsidized tree planting offsets that result in large green profiteers moving people off of land in Africa and killing them when they won’t.

  17. Greg says:

    I have no problem with this. And if packaging good agricultural policies as “green” improves their likelihood of implementation and focuses the greens on something actually useful it seems like a win-win to me.

  18. Curiousgeorge says:

    The following is of interest, as Buffett points out that you can’t solve the “Africa” problem (or yield issues elsewhere ) just by throwing money at it via: (Improved use of existing crop varieties, better management and improved genetics ). Much of the land that is a poor producer, is due to no biological activity – the soil is dead. No amount of fertilizer, “better” management, or bio engineered crop varieties will bring it back to life.

    Quote: In a keynote speech before about 1,400 people at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, Buffett said that making 500 million to 700 million small-scale farmers in Africa more self-sufficient needs to start with improving soil fertility and not distributing new hybrids or seeds with biotech traits. Further, farmers simply can’t improve the soil by piling on chemically based fertilizers, he said.

    These small-scale farmers buy seeds from unknown sources and can’t afford fertilizers. They don’t know how much fertilizer to apply or the fertility of their ground, he said.

    “That is why we have such as challenge in front of us and this is unlikely to change anytime soon,” Buffett said.

    Buffett built on his case made at last year’s World Food Prize when he said African agriculture needs a “brown revolution” to rebuild soil fertility. At this year’s speech, however, several presidents and CEOs of major agribusinesses were in the front row to hear Buffett’s perspective that the perennial struggles of farming in Africa simply can’t be solved by giving African farmers biotech corn and fertilizer. http://www.dtnprogressivefarmer.com/dtnag/common/link.do;jsessionid=C942B8DD297C8609FA67CEC6A26DD85C.agfreejvm2?symbolicName=/free/news/template1&paneContentId=5&paneParentId=70104&product=/ag/news/topstories&vendorReference=0f4971e5-73db-4414-a3b8-39bac7e6ddf6

  19. Robert Wille says:

    Most of the points the plan are pretty obvious, but difficult to put into practice, otherwise they would have been done already. Exactly how do you equalize “water, nutrients and agricultural chemicals”? Equalizing water means pumping water vast distances. Equalizing nutrients means moving soil. Equalizing agricultural chemicals means taking fertilizer away from farmers that purchased too much and giving to those that don’t have enough. I don’t see any of these as viable.

    Similarly, eliminating waste is a brain-dead simple solution, but difficult to implement. Nobody wants to waste food, but it happens. If it were cost effective to reduce waste, people would have done it already.

    Payment for ecosystems services is a tough sell, and contrary to what the article states, it would have a detrimental economic impact. Industries that currently consume ecosystems services without paying for them will pass those costs on to consumers if they do have to pay for them.

  20. Steve says:

    Sorry, I don’t buy it.

    As people grow more wealthy, they invariably want more meat in their diets. Central planning and attempts to enforce a vegetarian diet will be as futile and counterproductive as all central planning.

    Dr. Borlaug’s earlier works were successful because they were market solutions. Farmers were willing to spend their own money on his seeds and learning his methods. This latest proposal reads entirely anti-market:

    Subsidizing “eco tourism” and other follies since the free market price for such land use is far below the price of crops that could be produced

    Violent intervention in the marketplace in order to forbid the creation of new farmland (and new wealth for impoverished farmers). Forget private property rights.

    How will “yield gaps” be addressed? Why do they exist? What makes the writers believe that they know more about farming in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe than the local farmers? To the extent that they really can offer improvements, why haven’t they done so already? Given the rest of the proposals, its reasonable to infer that this point will also require a liberal application of government violence.

    Will “Supplementing the land more strategically” also require new laws, inspectors, rationing, fines, etc? Why would a rational farmer not apply the best combination of inputs for his conditions? Perhaps he has reasons and motivations (such as maximum profit, rather than maximum calories) that the central planners do not share.

    The atrocious, immoral burning of food for biofuels using generous tax subsidies and laws interfering with fuel economy and safety should never have started, and stopping it would be a blessing. That can be done simply by getting government out of the way: remove the subsidies, repeal the laws and regulations, and the biofuel plants will be broken for scrap in short order.

    Forcing people away from delicious meat is another matter entirely, and would require a police force of unprecedented size, scope, and brutality. The corruptions that would inevitably arise will sadly not be unprecedented.

    Eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse” is the mantra of every political hack on the planet. Talk is cheap, reducing waste is hard. No one wants to waste food or lose it to pests and vermin. Where is the evidence that the present system isn’t already allocating scarce resources efficiently so as to produce an adequate supply of food? If we were to spend 10x as much money securing crops in silos and transports, and thereby reduce waste by 5%, would that be worth it? Do we really want central planners making these decisions, or will we trust the markets to find the best solutions?

    It’s certain that there are hungry people. The evidence is that food is not distributed well, which is not the same as saying there isn’t enough food. If the US would cease burning a substantial fraction of the world’s corn crop, poor people across the planet would have access to more, cheaper food.

  21. Citing Norman Borlaug’s ‘Green Revolution’ is troubling. Among the unintended consequences of Dr. Borlaug’s ‘revolution’: family farming in places like Mexico is being displaced by industrial-scale farming, requiring accelerated use of fossil fuels, costly patented hybrids, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, increased water use and groundwater pollution. Mechanization is also displacing farm workers, driving rural-to-urban migration and sending Latinos northward into the US. Similar impacts are occurring in India, Africa and South America. Increasing crop production without regard to these effects simpy destabilizes rural areas as it enables further population growth.

    Meanwhile, America keeps burning food for biofuels, driving up food costs around the world. Judging by past performance, I’d be extremely cautious about bright new ideas from NASA and NSF.

  22. Alan the Brit says:
    October 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

    During the second world war, captured British women prisoners of the Japanese went quite hungary & malnourished, so much so that many stopped mestruating & ovulating, leading to the suggestion that a woman in such a condition would be unlikely to fall pregnant!

    Female body-builders know about that too. When a woman’s body-fat percentage drops below (IIRC) 6[the % would be spurious, as I'm discussing percentages already] she’ll likely stop menstruating. As I also seem to recall, a lot of them consider this a benefit of bodybuilding.

  23. benfrommo says:

    I think it is pretty clear what these researchers are trying to say!

    1) Save the Rain Forest!
    2) Farm better
    3) Centrally control what crops farmers plant
    4) Force people to become vegetarian and/or do not use biofuels anymore. That fad is over with fellows. Or possibly shift beef production somewhere else out of sight.
    5) Distribute food better so it does not get bad spots or eaten by little vermin.

    Did they honestly have to waste money on these conclusions? You know, it might have made a little more sense to actually find out why people are starving? Look at number five….over half the food is lost to pests or rots! Seriously, that is your issue! We obviously have enough food, the problem is distribution. And they did not even tackle that part of food distribution that is the problem!

    I kind of wonder how liberal wonders like this expect us to take them seriously when their ideas are either common sense or just politically bent. Number four pays lip service to “becoming vegetarian”. Seriously? Do these people realize how many poor people in Africa are vegetarian? Why don’t we ask them if they want some meat and see what happens. But that might involve real science and might make them have to leave their cushy officers where they can pontificate like said.

    If there is one thing that is wrong with our society, it is professors and so-called experts who think their solutions are going to be applied at all and that their political idealogies actually work. Instead of wasting time on fruitless thinking that socialistic ideas can work, why not look at strategies that go to the actual problems of the world? And use solutions that do not requires “central Government control.”

    If you really want to feed the people of the world, work on feeding them through the food we throw away first. Once that is done and finished, we can worry about more later. Until then, I for one am going to enjoy my steaks and am going to think these people have issues if their solutions to food distribution is some lofty “distribute it better.”

  24. Fred Allen says:

    Listened to a related interview on NPR yesterday. All nice in theory and seemingly written by geeks with PhD’s. I wonder if they interviewed any farmers. There is no consideration for economics or politics: what pays and what doesn’t. Instead they are trying to come up with a general, global solution for many local problems. Zimbabwe could be a kick-ass farm exporter if it wasn’t for a mad dicktatorship regime. Another comment about eating less meat and poultry seems to be appropriate on a large scale, but is totally misguided on a small scale. Chickens, sheep, pigs, etc represent a tremendous extension of local resources when utilized on a small scale. They eat the waste, fertilize the ground, keep bugs down and provide a concentrated source of protein. I have a sense that these researchers have done their research with some preconceived notions in place.

  25. Rob Potter says:

    As someone who actually met Norman Borlaug (if only very briefly), this doesn’t count as Borlaug 2.0. This (as a number of other people have noted) is a plea for world government and has little or no room for any technological improvement. Even the increases in productivity they refer to are those which should already be going on (using existing technology) – Africa has not seen any increase in yields for 20 years or so.

    The rest is mandating what crops people can grow where – ring any bells? This is why “Many farming regions in … Eastern Europe are not living up to their potential for producing crops”. The legacy of communism is still being felt in the poor productivity in the former soviet states. The only reason China is not a massive basket-case anymore is because they let farmers grow what they want.

  26. John F. Hultquist says:

    “This makes it easier to develop some concrete solutions for the problems facing us.” Says one of the team leaders.

    Throughout this exercise is an unstated need of political and social change, especially in the “farming regions in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.” One only need visit a modern high intensity orchard – not a new concept . . . :
    http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3309p4-62675.pdf
    [From 1979: The commercial potential of dwarf fruit trees]

    or a modern “hot house” grower:
    http://www.bcgreenhouse.ca/
    [Greenhouse growers produce fresh, safe and healthy vegetables locally in British Columbia.]

    . . . to see that many solutions are known.
    These ideas can’t get traction if a country isn’t one of laws. Various places come to mind – none mentioned so as to not start arguments.

  27. “Feeding the world while protecting the planet” is a very important effort which deserves strong support.
    Note particularly their caution:

    Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent.

    Because of US “green” fuel mandates and subsidies, half of US corn is now diverted to ethanol. The Energy Return On Energy Investment (EROEI) of grain ethanol is marginal. David J. Murphy, Charles A. S. Hall and Bobby Powers (2011) find:

    The average EROI calculated across 1,287 counties in our spatial analysis was 1.01, . . . Based on our results from the spatial analysis and the location of biorefineries across the United States, we conclude that the net energy supplied to society by ethanol is only 0.8% of that supplied from gasoline. Recent work indicates that only energy sources extracted at EROIs of 3:1 or greater have the requisite net energy to sustain the infrastructure of the transportation system of the United States. In light of this work, we conclude that production of corn ethanol within the United States is unsustainable and requires energy subsidies from the larger oil economy.

    New perspectives on the energy return on (energy) investment (EROI) of corn ethanol Environment, Development and Sustainability Volume 13, Number 1, 179-202, DOI: 10.1007/s10668-010-9255-7
    With $5,000,000,000/year subsidies , grain ethanol is a politically popular but expensive way to buy farm votes, convert fossil energy to liquid transport fuel, while diverting agricultural land from food production.
    Developing alternative liquid fuels is critically important to address “peak oil”, but not at the expense of starving the poor. Pyrolyzing or gasifying corn stover and converting it to fuel would likely make more economic and energy sense. In the long run, solar thermochemical fuels hold the greatest promise while not competing with agricultural land by installation in deserts.
    Linc Energy is developing underground coal gasification with conversion of syngas to gasoline or diesel for $30/barrel. Such coal gasification to liquid fuels will provide far more cost effective interim fuels while funding solar R&D to bring the costs down to directly compete with fossil transport fuels.

  28. Mike says:

    Well I read the whole thing over my lunch. An easy read, because it contains little new information.

    Some strange observations:
    1. “Of particular concern is that some 70% of global freshwater withdrawals (80–90% of consumptive uses) are devoted to irrigation. Furthermore, rain-fed agriculture is the world’s largest user of water.”
    Why are these percentages “cause for concern”? I would be more concerned if greater percentages of water were wasted on less compelling uses.
    2. “In addition, fertilizer use, manure application, and leguminous crops (which fix nitrogen in the soil) have dramatically disrupted global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles …”
    These global cycles have been “disrupted”? Sounds like hyperbole to me.

    Excessively vague prescriptions: “Closing yield gaps without environmental degradation will require new approaches, including reforming conventional agriculture and adopting lessons from organic systems and precision agriculture. In addition, closing yield gaps will require overcoming considerable economic and social challenges, including the distribution of agricultural inputs and seed varieties and improving market infrastructure.”

    I can’t see much of a “plan” in all of this – the comparison to Borlaug seems overly generous to me.

  29. TXRed says:

    Another problem the recommendations do not address is when government policies encourage the use of the wrong kinds of fertilizers. Some areas in India have lost soil fertility and crop yields because farmers are applying urea (which is subsidized) rather than more balanced fertilizers or manuring. And then there are those places where “governments” use starvation as a policy tool (Somalia for one).

    I do agree that certain biofuel practices should be eliminated, notable the US subsidies for maize ethanol.

  30. James H says:

    At least the study points out the harm caused by “organic” farming. Between the 40% lower crop yield, and the increased crop destruction due to insects and disease, famished areas don’t have the luxury of being able to grow organic crops.

    The study also points out the harm caused by being a “locavore”. This requires that everything that you want to eat be grown locally, no matter if the climate and soil in your area could be put to better use for something that you wouldn’t eat but could trade with other regions for things that you would.

  31. First, a re-hash of #5:

    5.Reducing waste. One-third of the food produced by farms ends up discarded, spoiled or eaten by pests. Eliminating waste in the path that food takes from farm to mouth could boost food available for consumption another 50 per cent.

    No mention that one of the reasons that food doesn’t get to some people is the corrupt leaders in the world. Food shipments come in, which feed the armies and supporters, and never make it to the starving.

    To some leaders the phrase “…or eaten by pests…” refers to certain tribes or sections of their country. To them, if the “pests” were eliminated, their food supplies would be enough. If necessary, they’d rather destroy the food than feed the masses.

    I like their math, though: one could increase current food production nearly by 60 per cent, boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent, and could boost food available for consumption another 50 per cent.

    It sounds like they’re saying “if it weren’t for problems caused by man, we could feed mankind…”.

  32. John W says:

    “Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference. “

    Being a smoker myself I really hate to say it, BUT, surely a lot of otherwise crop producing and indeed prime agricultural land is used to produce tobacco. If things really got tight (food wise), I think that would change rather quickly. Tobacco is a luxury even to a smoker, food is a necessity.

  33. Ray says:

    Eugenicists would have it the other way around… reduce the population and then you can feed everybody and produce all the fuel you can burn.

    They haven’t mentioned biodiversity and the negative aspect of Monsanto’s killer seeds that has the potential of actually wiping out all plants on earth.

  34. John from CA says:

    The study sounds like its focused on legumes, maize, etc. (staple foods).

    Staples vary widely and are culturally influenced so dictating genetic strains of certain crops isn’t an appropriate solution. But, increasing their production is a good idea.

    Protean, fresh fruit, vegetables, salt, etc. are also required. Its odd that they neglected to account for ocean aquaculture (sea weed, fish farms, etc.).

    It would be pretty amazing to see a floating or submerged farm of gyre barges timed to deliver 4 or more seasons of crops and deployed on behalf of the UN?

  35. maz2 says:

    Brave old words:
    “reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.”
    Next step will be: “reducing the environmental impacts” of volcanoes.

    …-

    “Neo-AGW Progress Report.

    Of Gaia’s “burps and rumbles”.

    …-

    “Icelandic ash cloud part two? Scientists monitor rumblings of larger volcano”

    “Experts believe overdue eruption of Katla would wreak even more havoc on European flights than Eyjafjallajokul did last year”

    “If you thought last year’s flight-paralysing volcanic eruption from Iceland was bad, just wait for the sequel – that’s the message from experts nervously watching the burps and rumbles of an even more powerful volcano.

    Brooding over rugged moss-covered hills on Iceland’s southern edge, Katla is bigger than the nearby Eyjafjallajokul volcano, which spewed ash all over Europe for several weeks and cost airlines $2bn (£1.2bn).

    Named after an evil troll, Katla has a larger magma chamber than Eyjafjallajokul’s, according to local scientist Páll Einarsson. Its last major eruption, in 1918, continued for more than a month, turning day into night, starving crops of sunlight and killing off some livestock. The eruption melted some of the ice sheet covering Katla, flooding surrounding farmlands with a torrent of water.

    Now, clusters of small earthquakes are being detected around Katla, which means an eruption could be imminent, seismologists say. The earthquakes have been growing in strength, too. After a long period of magnitude-3 tremors, a magnitude-4 quake was detected last week.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/13/icelands-katla-volcano-eruption-imminent

  36. Desertyote says:

    Africa is starving because of Marxists and other brands of socalists. Its hard to be a farmer when you are the target of ethnic cleansing. Elliminate socialism and Africa will start to bloom. Most of these propolsals are just cover for enacting aspects of a progressive agenda. Any artical that talks about “engaging/influencing/informing” policy-makers is Marxist. Any proposal that involves changing peoples habits, is socialist. I dont think more socialism is the solutin to problems mostly caused by socialism.

  37. suyts says:

    Son of a …… !!!! Why do people insist on seeing monster around every corner, and why do people insist on bureaucracies and taxes to fix problems? THESE LOONS HAVE LEARNED NOTHING!!!

    ” Improving agricultural yields. Many farming regions in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe are not living up to their potential for producing crops – something known as “yield gaps”. Improved use of existing crop varieties, better management and improved genetics could increase current food production nearly by 60 per cent.”

    No sh*t. This isn’t a matter of if, its a matter of when. And when would be when we decide to encourage their development of energy and fuel resources. Given recent increases in farm yields due to technological advances, there’s no reason to believe we’ll have any food shortage anytime soon. In my lifetime, wheat and corn yields have increased to phenomenal production.

    Do these people not understand why Moore’s law remains generally true?

  38. More Soylent Green! says:

    #1 Should be stop using cropland to grow biofuels.

    Regarding #4 – There is a lot of marginal land that is suitable for cattle and other grazing animals and unsuitable to grow anything else except scrub (unless you have irrigation).

    We can also end agricultural policies that pay farmers to not grow crops.

  39. lance adrean says:

    here’s a plan…
    don’t be greedy,
    don’t waste,
    don’t buy, so as not to support, useless, non-nutritious products,
    share,
    & care for your neighbor as you would your own.

    my Master taught me this, but He’s not very well liked now.
    maranâ’ thâ’

  40. More Soylent Green! says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    October 13, 2011 at 9:02 am
    Doug Proctor says:

    October 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Good point! During the second world war, captured British women prisoners of the Japanese went quite hungary & malnourished, so much so that many stopped mestruating & ovulating, leading to the suggestion that a woman in such a condition would be unlikely to fall pregnant! Any ideas fro you expert out there?

    I understand the same thing happens to people who go on the restricted calorie longevity diet. As I recall, men on those diets also lose their sex drives.

    However, don’t give them any ideas! First it will start with a volunteer corps (btw -that’s pronounce “core,” Mr., President) and then it will become mandatory through rationing, tax penalties, work camps, etc.

  41. Chuckles says:

    An insult to Borlaug quite frankly, and a mix of stating the obvious, unfounded assumptions and assertions without proof, and rent seeking. As noted abpve and elsewhere, we already grow plenty of food to feed everyone and more besides.
    People in the world are starving, not because there is no food for them, but because their governments, NGOs and the like, don’t particularly care whether they starve or not. Perhaps they could spend their time more profitably addressing that?

  42. CodeTech says:

    Those who are saying “ban ethanol” or biofuels:

    Take away government mandates. Biofuels themselves have a place, and I personally like ethanol since I do custom engine controller tuning. Ethanol contains oxygen, which gasoline doesn’t, and it’s easier to tune for power and economy when there is oxygen in the fuel.

    As with most things, I see ethanol and other biofuels as a market-driven product. Before mandates we had at least one brand of gasoline in Canada that blended with ethanol, and there were times in the past when they stopped, then restarted. I liked it. I’m sure there are people and/or companies that would be happy to burn vegetable oil in their vehicles, and wouldn’t it be cool if McDonalds were to fuel their delivery trucks with used oil from their deep fryers? Every time you were behind a McDonalds truck the smell of their fries would tempt you in for lunch.

    Government mandates are where the problems start. Right now we really are dedicating an unsustainable amount of crop-growing potential to something that would probably otherwise be economically unviable. That is, in a word, stupid.

    As always: food first, then luxuries like gasoline, jet fuel, etc.

  43. DrDavid says:

    Unattorney says:
    October 13, 2011 at 8:47 am
    7. Ban ethanol.

    Don’t you mean Ban ethanol for fuel? I would assume that ethanol for human consumption should not be banned.

  44. R Barker says:

    There was a fear 30 years ago that the world population growth rate would create worldwide starvation before now. It has not happened because the population growth slowed and worldwide food production kept on increasing. Cereal crop Yields have more than doubled since the early sixties. I thought a lot of that increase in yield was due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere worldwide. Sure plots well.

    There is a lot of barren land arould the world that would probably produce good crops if there was water available. Getting water to some of those lands is a problem that an industrial society could solve if economically feasible and “allowed” to proceed.

  45. Building transportation infrastructure roads, bridges, train and truck transport fleets for the distribution of the harvested crops is the key to the massive productivity in the USA. The on farm production and management of back up supplies of hay and grains prevented the massive losses of people and cattle seen in Mongolia in heavy snow conditions. Subsistence farming on marginal soils with out storage of surplus yields locally available, is subject to much political and environmental turmoil which result in loss of life due to lack of resilience, most of these problems are the result of the lack of real governmental protection of the rights of the basic people to own and work their land as they see fit, with out being robbed, killed, or over taxed (even in developed countries) by their local government, and their regulations.

    Before the productivity of an area can be improved they need to provide for the security of the local farmers, and infrastructure for roads, and make available energy both electrical and liquid fuels widely distributed equitably with out political power plays hampering the process. In rural Africa provisions for bottled propane cooking support systems would eliminate need to burn wood, organic matter crop residue, and dung that need to be recycled back into the soil to increase the fertility, water retention, and resultant productivity of crops.

    Long range weather forecasting that has meaning past two weeks into the seasonal variations, that works! would be a great help to prevent losses from weather unknowns, this is the part I am working on, some progress has been made.

  46. A free market in agriculture is what made the green revolution work. It never worked in the USSR. Their production declined while free nations increased. They have done very well in the last 20 years. Ukraine is an important exporter of wheat, to the extent that much of the wheat ground in North Dakota and Canada was switched to more profitable crops. Africa is such a dismal place. In the Congo, if you are entrepreneurial and you grow an bigger garden and raise a few extra goats, your neighbors come and say to you, “brother you have so much and I have nothing, you have seven goats and I have none, share with me.” If you don’t share, they burn your house down, or say you are a witch and kill you. Free markets depend on free men. Millions starved in China during the Cultural Revolution (right in the middle of the green revolution time-line). Where men are free to buy and sell, free to own land and free to sell it. They have every incentive to adopt newer, more profitable technologies.

    A free market drives improved practice, genetics, conservation. Bio-fuels are government mandated and they contradict the free market in both energy and food. Nobody is going to convert corn into motor fuel without the artificial demands created by the blending mandates. It is too expensive, it can’t compete with gasoline. What a huge waste of our money. Forced to buy ethanol as motor fuel. Corn prices are at historic highs – not so good if you are living on a dollar a day and the only thing you spend money on is food.

  47. John B (UK) says:

    Plans are great until people get in the way…..On visits to Africa I’ve watched what was obviously aid foodstuffs being sold out of their original boxes on market stalls……

  48. John from CA says:

    maz2 says:
    October 13, 2011 at 9:57 am
    Brave old words:
    “reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.”
    Next step will be: “reducing the environmental impacts” of volcanoes.

    ==========
    Icelandic Met Ofice
    There are presently no measurable signs that an eruption of Katla is imminent; however, given the heightened levels of seismicity, the situation might change abruptly.
    http://en.vedur.is/about-imo/news/2011/nr/2360

  49. Matt says:

    Apart of the foolish ethanol production: the lack of food in the world is a function of bad politics in the affected areas/countries. China is a perfect example, always part of the hunger problem when being torn apart
    by internal differences and maoist ideology. Today certainly no democracy, but a country that has arrived on a global level and doesnt know large food crisis.
    Liberals may think of world politics and global planning may help. Pressure by democracies and empowerment of peolpe will help. Even potential (food) rich countries like Zimbabwe or Malawi can be ruined. Is it good to invent theses “5 big” initiatives?? Maybe they are all good, but the key is better government.

  50. James Sexton says:

    DrDavid says:
    October 13, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Unattorney says:
    October 13, 2011 at 8:47 am
    7. Ban ethanol.

    Don’t you mean Ban ethanol for fuel? I would assume that ethanol for human consumption should not be banned.
    =========================================================
    My goodness!!!! Perish the thought!!!! Exactly….. in grave discussions such as this, we must be precise and clear!!! No blanket bans on ethanol!!!!

  51. Dr. Dave says:

    These “researchers” apparently didn’t do much in the way of research. They neglected to consider the realities of politics and economics, the wisdom of farmers and the science of human nutrition. I readily agree that turning food or feed crops into fuel is utter folly. I vehemently oppose any suggestion of a global switch to to vegetarian diets. Humans must consume protein to maintain health. Now, it is possible to get all essential amino acids from vegetable sources, but it isn’t easy and the total volume and variety of various grains and legumes that must be consumed is impressive. Animal protein (meat and fish) is a concentrated, efficient source of essential protein (particularly specific amino acids not found in soy). Then, of course, there are all the animal by-products mankind utilizes (e.g. milk, leather, wool, etc.). Then one has to consider that farmers don’t necessarily consider maximum calories and nutrition per acre, but rather $ per acre for the crops they produce. SW Michigan has incredibly fertile crop land. You can grow virtually anything there that can withstand winter. There several really large raspberry farms in the area. The same land could produce a LOT more soybeans than raspberries, but raspberries, even though labor intensive to harvest, yield much higher profits.

    If we could end ethanol subsidies and the government mandated use the industry would collapse. Within two years the cost of food would drop precipitously. If feed stock gets cheaper, so does meat and every other product made from these crops. I wouldn’t dare sully the good name of Norman Borlaug with this tripe.

  52. tom roche says:

    If the price is high enough it will be produced, the only certainty is that phd dictats will do nothing. Third world problems are numerous but if you want Incentivise producion in areas of deficit, ensure stable prices and educate the local farmers. Support local co-operatives to process foods, create distrubition networks and supply inputs. Not rocket science.

  53. Mike says:

    DrDavid says:

    7. Ban ethanol.

    Don’t you mean Ban ethanol for fuel? I would assume that ethanol for human consumption should not be banned.

    No, ethanol production for human consumption is way more efficient, calory-wise, than meat production, and should be encouraged.

  54. Gail Combs says:

    As you read this look at the whole picture including the land grab by Al Gore’s New Forest Co. funded by the World Bank and HSBC. Consider David Rockefeller’s PRIVATE annual luncheons at his family’s Westchester County estate with the IMF and World Bank and the world’s finance ministers.

    Consider Clinton’s admission that he in part through ratifying the WTO and NAFTA, was responsible for the 2008 food riots and the annihilation of Haiti’s farming.

    At this point I rather FOLLOW THE MONEY then be hoodwinked by pretty words.

    The question of course is this about making money from forcing third world farmers to use patented seeds that then need chemicals to grow instead of local varieties that have adapted to the local environment over thousands of years.

    I am well aware of hybrid vigor and I have no real problem with GMO if properly tested, what I do have a problem with is seed monopolies or monopolies/cartels of any kind.

    David Rockefeller from his 2002 autobiography “Memoirs”, page 405:
    “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will.

    If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

    From Rockefeller family friend, Sir Julian Huxley, Director-General of the United Nation’s human-rights organization. His document UNESCO: Its Purpose and Philosophy (1946)

    “The general philosophy of UNESCO should be a scientific world humanism, global in extent and evolutionary in background…its education program can stress the ultimate need for world political unity and familiarize all peoples with the implications of the transfer of full sovereignty from separate nations to world organization…Political unifications in some sort of world government will be required…Even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenics problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that is now unthinkable may at least become thinkable.”

    From the United nations on the subject of seeds:
    “FAO is supporting harmonization of seed rules and regulations in Africa and Central Asia in order to stimulate the development of a vibrant seed industry…An effective seed regulation harmonization process involves dialogue amongst all relevant stakeholders from both private and public sectors. Seed quality assurance, variety release, plant variety protection, biosafety, plant quarantine and phytosanitary issues are among the major technical areas of a regional harmonized seed system. The key to a successful seed regulation harmonization is a strong political will of the governments involved…” (quote is several years old and may have been changed) http://www.fao.org/ag/portal/archive/detail/en/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=5730&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=1886&cHash=7f04326e35

    Direct from the Rockefeller Foundation:
    A Timeline of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s Work Involving the Rockefeller Foundation

    1944. Dr. Borlaug joins the Foundation as the plant pathologist in the Rockefeller Foundation-Mexican Ministry of Agriculture Cooperative Program….

    1960. Under a joint UN Food and Agriculture Organization-Rockefeller Foundation training program, Dr. Borlaug begins training Asian wheat scientist in Mexico…..

    1961. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation establish the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines to do for rice what Dr. Borlaug has done for wheat.

    1963. Building on the Rockefeller Foundation’s agriculture program in India, Dr. Borlaug begins testing Mexican semi-dwarf wheat varieties in India and Pakistan…..

    1966. The Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation establish the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, building on the Rockefeller Foundation cooperative program. Dr. Borlaug is seconded by the Rockefeller Foundation to CIMMYT as Director of the International Wheat Improvement Program.

    1968. William Guad, Director of USAID declares a “Green Revolution” is occurring in South Asia, based on Dr. Borlaug’s wheat varieties and IRRI’s rice varieties.

    1970. Dr. Borlaug is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the Green Revolution…..

    1983. Dr. Borlaug retires from the Rockefeller Foundation and CIMMYT at age 65 and is made a Lifetime Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees……

  55. More Soylent Green! says:

    No mention of increase crop yields through GM foods.

  56. Raul Johnson says:

    A large chunk of the subsidized corn grown in the US that is not used for ethanol is used for either high-fructose corn syrup or cattle feed. Given that grass-fed beef is much healthier for humans to eat, we are paying a lot of money to subsidize crops that have a net negative effect on human health. Also, with the collapse of the theory that animal fat causes heart disease and the realization that heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases are more likely caused by excess consumption of sugar and flour, maybe they need to be thinking of ways to boost production of animal protein.

  57. G. Karst says:

    The easiest, surest method to further increase global food production, would be, to somehow increase atmos CO2 concentrations to the 800-1000 ppm levels. If it was at all possible, it would be nice to increase temperatures slightly and thereby bring up food production in semi-frozen locales, such as Canada, Russia, N. Europa, China. Now, if we could just increase bio-available moisture… WOW… a very green planet.

    Anyone know how we could accomplish THAT??? GK

  58. CHRIS says:

    Hi Anthony, is there any weight in the “urzeit-code”? This could really help if its not another fantasy.

  59. Ed Fix says:

    More Soylent Green! says:
    October 13, 2011 at 10:12 am

    We can also end agricultural policies that pay farmers to not grow crops.

    Actually, this makes sense if done properly. Another term for “paying farmers to not grow crops” is “paying farmers to hold excess food production capacity in reserve”.

    Once cropland (food production capacity) is diverted to other uses (apartments and parking lots), it is pretty much impossible to ever convert it back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Meanwhile, the population continues to grow, and in general the need for cropland grows in parallel. It makes good policy sense to delay the day when food requirement exceeds production capacity One way of accomplishing that is to pay the owners of that land to hold it in reserve until the time it’s needed to produce food.

  60. davidmhoffer says:

    Borlaug 2.0?
    HARDLY!

    I mean really! This isn’t science, this is a press release dressed up as science, making the case for more funds for research, and more central control of the economy. Let’s go through their 5 points:

    1. Subsidies for eco-tourism to discourage clearing of land for crop production. Yeah, that’ll increase the food supply all right. Take money out of tax payer’s pockets and put it into someone else’s pockets via a government run monopoly is more like it.
    2. Changing crops to those more suitable to the land than what is being grown now, and improving farming practices. Ooooh. I bet there aren’t any farmers who ever thought of THAT! Oh and a little we mention of genetic engineering slipped in where it almost goes unnoticed. Yup, the free market would NEVER come up with any of those things themselves. Well actually they wouldn’t because the existing system is over regulated and twisted up by subsidies that drive bad decisions and as for GM…well the very people who are screaming about the starving masses seem very energetic about blocking GM…via regulation…
    3. Supplementing the land more “strategically” to get maximum yields. That would be different from improving farming practices in number 2. above…how?
    4.Stop growing biofuel and animal feed on cropland that can support production of food for human consumption. DUH! Get rid of the subsidies and the regulations that drive bad decisions, done.
    5. Eliminate waste. Oooh, genius. I would NEVER have thought of that. Neither did the free market unless you count all those semi-trailers with reefers on (refridgerated cargo capacity in other words), just in time delivery systems so that the food hits the shelves just as it ripens, storage systems for everything from grain meat that can preserve food for years, in the case of canned goods, potentially decades… no, nobody thought of those things yet.

    This not only isn’t Borlaugh 2.0, it is science no more valuable that Michael Mann’s tree rings.

  61. Gail Combs says:

    Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.
    ________________________
    First question. Why are Cows (sheep, pigs, chickens) feed corn instead of grass/bugs/sterilized kitchen waste, their historic food???

    Answer: Because the US (and EU) farm subsidies are for commercial farm products (think GMO patented seed) like Wheat, Rice, Cotton and Corn. These are sold at below the cost of production and make PASTURE FED noncompetitive. This led to almost complete vertical integration of the hog, poultry, egg by large corporations and to some extent the beef industries.

    Second the newer strains of animals have been bred to take advantage of the high input of grain and “finish” faster at a higher weight but are not necessarily at a better food value. Nutrition: Grass fed beef

    Second question. Exactly WHAT land is used for pasture???

    Answer: This is where the fallacy comes in. Nice flat, fertile, well watered, rock free land is generally used to grow crops. Animal pasture, if done correctly is rocky, hilly, or worn out land not prime crop land.

    You want to get rid of the factory farms??? You want to maximize food production???Then quit subsidizing commercial farm products and subsidize orchards, veggies and grass fed livestock instead. Encourage the breeding of animals for a non grain diet and good health that does not require antibiotics and frequent worming. Encourage inter-cropping instead of Mono-crops especially in the third world. Get rid of bio-fuel and carbon trading idiocies that do nothing but put money in the pockets of Monsanto, ADM, Cargill, Goldman Sachs, Al Gore…..

    Note:
    The “Green Revolutions” heavy reliance on Mono crops with chemicals increases run off (including topsoil) especially in the more tropical areas. Grass filter strips, inter-cropping, cover crops and rotation to pasture works much better. Monocrops are also more likely to be subject to catastrophic failure (read famine) due to the reliance on one genetically identical strain of plant. Inter-cropping helps prevent the spread of disease and allows at least some harvest.

    I have no complaint with Dr. Borlaug. New strains are always a great idea. I do have a complaint with Ag giants “stealing seed and then patenting it or suing farmers who had their farm saved seed contaminated by a neighbors patented seed.

  62. Juraj V. says:

    Global scale social engineering.

  63. Brian H says:

    Lots of BS there, sprinkled with a few workable lynch-pins. Biofuels cost more energy than they produce, usually fossil-fuel derived. And food for locovores requires more fuel/lb to deliver than remotely bulk transported supplies.

    And many of the assumptions are bogus. In 2005, the UN declared a goal of halving poverty in 10 yrs. Unfortunately, it happened, mostly on its own, in 5, by 2010. So all these calls to cut poverty and starvation are really deeply dishonest: except for political basket cases like Zimbabwe, it’s happening anyway.

    Oh, and re:

    John B (UK) says:
    October 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Plans are great until people get in the way…..On visits to Africa I’ve watched what was obviously aid foodstuffs being sold out of their original boxes on market stalls……

    What would you have them do, John? The local marketplace is flooded with “free food”. Neither farmers nor merchants can compete with “free”. The result of food aid is destruction of the local economy, guaranteeing perpetual dependence. As always with wealth/resource “sharing by fiat”. Or even with misguided kindhearted charity.

  64. The Green Revolution’s successes, IIRC, were the use of NPK fertilizer; followed by breeding of plant and animal strains better able to withstand the conditions of their environments eg shorter-stemmed wheat; the controlled use of pesticides; ability to dry harvests in wet weather conditions; mechanization eg combine harvesters; factory farming in humane conditions; clean greenhouse & polytunnel vegetables with CO2 blown in; imaginative variety of applications of science & technology to ancient ways of life.

    Amazing achievements. However, there are serious downsides. For instance: the soil will likely become sterile and rock-hard and impossible to plough in a few years, if inorganic fertilizers only are used. In India, a quiet revolution is taking place where farmers are converting, one by one, to biodynamic practices that actually restore soil fertility, feel good, and eventually are better propositions even economically. They get out of the Monsanto death-spiral too.

    * Cuba found creative ways to cope, when the oil supplies dried up (unlike North Korea).
    * Permaculture practices turned arid Dead Sea desert area into fertile orchards.
    * Tierra Negra appears to have wonderworking properties of restoration of fertility to the soil.
    * Send A Cow is a Christian charity that works one-on-one, teaching African women to care for a cow (worth checking, this charity, I think it has a lot going for it – but still depends on local politics being stable enough – in the Congo, nothing like this would work at present).

    And so on. There are many hopeful ideas that can be found if one looks carefully – some of which utilize scientific principles that orthodox Science says “cannot exist” but I say, if it works, s*d orthodoxy! The ideas from McGill University, however, are dangerously cerebral IMHO – out of balance (eg no sense of relevant politics, culture, spirituality, commonsense), and really not new.

    Read my favourite book Secrets of the Soil. Here you can see both the good and the bad reasons why really important developments have to stay small-scale for quite a while. This is a goldmine for the future. Let it change your thinking.

  65. Annette says:

    How about we let cows do what they do best: eat grass and fertilize the soil. We eat the cows and use that wonderful rich soil for crops.

  66. TRM says:

    Crazy idea 101. Stop the food marketing boards in the developed world from limiting the food produced and or destroying any extra. If they don’t want it sold in their country in order to keep the price high for their producers then they should pay shipping to the areas where starvation are occurring.

  67. Gail Combs says:

    More Soylent Green! says:
    October 13, 2011 at 11:40 am

    No mention of increase crop yields through GM foods.
    _____________________________________
    That is because the increase is due to farming methods.

    “..Interesting then that a contributor to the FAO’s Forum, Professor El-Tayeb, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Industrial Biotechnology at Cairo University commented that: “..currently available (GMO’s) mostly contribute negatively to poverty alleviation and food security – and positively to the stock market.” http://www.warmwell.com/gm.html

  68. Gail Combs says:

    Now, if we could just increase bio-available moisture… WOW… a very green planet.

    Anyone know how we could accomplish THAT??? GK
    __________________________________
    Divert all that money spent on CAGW to desalinization and transportation. Takes care of the Seal Level rise at the same time (snicker)

    “An Israeli consortium unveiled the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant on Sunday in the coastal city of Hadera, hoping to help alleviate the arid country’s water shortage.

    Israel’s H2ID, which is jointly owned by IDE Technologies and Shikun & Binui, said its plant will supply 127 million cubic meters of desalinated water a year, or about 20 percent of the yearly household consumption in Israel.

    It is the third in a series of five desalination plants being built over the next few years that will eventually supply Israel with about 750 million cubic meters annually….. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/16/us-israel-desalination-idUSTRE64F1O820100516

  69. Hans Erren says:

    the map is misleading, it’s a so called plate carree projection which gives too much emphasis on the poles, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollweide_projection for an equal area projection

  70. G. Karst says:

    Gail Combs:

    It takes a farmer, to understand, the truth and wisdom of your words. That is a very small proportion of the developed world population. Food comes to the supermarket, wrapped in modern plastic, with little to indicate, the original lifeforms, or effort to obtain. Most city folk have only seen a cow, while driving by a dairy farm, on the way to the beach. Your words are “Greek” to them. I know of nothing, that will change this trend, until there is a catastrophic agricultural failure. The demise, of the small family farms, certainly didn’t do it!

    The last two years, I have seen large tracts of marginal and pastureland, tile drained, for corn and grain production. GK

  71. Kevin Kilty says:

    Nary a word about peak sunlight.

  72. G. Karst says:

    Btw:

    Dr. Frank Wentz, director of Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), measured an absolute increase, in moisture, of 6.5%, per degree warming, over a period (1986 and 2005), when both factors (precipitation and atmos. water vapor) increased by between 1.1% and 1.2%. GK

  73. agimarc says:

    Take a look at Jeff Lowenfels’ Teaming With Microbes for a way to recharge spent soils and keep existing soils productive. You need to keep a reasonable population of bacteria, fungus and higher animals present. It requires mulch and not a lot of work. Best of all is that it is sustainable. He is pretty hard core organic farming, but it also works really well for those of us who do not buy into the dogma of the organic religion. Url follows. Cheers -

  74. Arno Arrak says:

    They are wrong to put animal food and biofuel production in the same undesirable category. Animal food is necessary unless you want to make us all vegetarians. Biofuel production, on the other hand, is a crime against humanity. The claimed benefit is emissions reduction which turns out to be very marginal. But emissions reduction per se is insanity because there is no dangerous greenhouse warming ahead. Satellite temperature measurements show that within the last 31 years there was only a short stretch of warming. It started with the 1998 super El Nino, raised global temperature by a third of a degree in four years, and then stopped. It was oceanic, not greenhouse in nature. The warm platform reached lasted for nine years and was then followed by a resumption of ENSO oscillations the super El Nino had interrupted. There was no warming before or after this step warming despite AR4 prediction that twenty-first century warming would proceed at 0.2 degrees per decade. We are now into a period of ENSO oscillations – El Nino peaks alternating with La Nina valleys – that is similar to the eighties and nineties. Except for the step warming of 1998 to 2002 there has not been any warming for the last 31 years. And this warming is needed by the IPCC to prove that the greenhouse effect is real. Their showcase example of global warming is Arctic warming that manifests itself in constantly decreasing summer ice coverage, opening up of the Northwest passage, permafrost melting, polar bears in trouble, etc. Unfortunately Arctic warming is not greenhouse warming. It had a sudden start at the turn of the twentieth century, paused in mid-century, then started up again in 1970 and is still going strong. There was no simultaneous increase of carbon dioxide in the air which makes it quite impossible that the warming is greenhouse warming caused by CO2. That is because the absorptivity of carbon dioxide in the infrared is a physical property of the gas and cannot be changed. Hence, if you want to start a warming you must put more carbon dioxide in the air and we know this did not happen at the turn of the century. The cause of the warming is very likely a reorganization of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the century that directed warm currents like the Gulf Stream into the Arctic Ocean. An expedition visiting the Arctic recently measured the temperature of the warm currents reaching the Arctic Ocean now and found them to exceed all previous temperature values for the last 2000 years.From all this it is clear that no observations of Arctic warming can be used to prove the existence of greenhouse warming. Which leaves very few observations, if any, that prove it. And if you go back earlier than the satellite era you find that the first part of twentieth century warming took place between 1910 and the start of World War II. There was no warming after the war and global temperature went nowhere from that point till 1998 – a good fifty years without warming. At the same time, carbon dioxide concentration was climbing relentlessly. If you want to prove that greenhouse warming is real you have to explain the absence of warming for this fifty year stretch. And don’t give me aerosols which have been proven wrong.

  75. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ Gail Combs says:
    October 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.
    ________________________
    First question. Why are Cows (sheep, pigs, chickens) feed corn instead of grass/bugs/sterilized kitchen waste, their historic food???

    =============================================

    I always enjoy your posts. Good points on this and others. One thing I would mention in regards to livestock – out here in farm country, I and many of my neighbors bag wild game more often than we buy supermarket meat. Dove, deer, wild pig, wild turkey, etc. The same is true in other countries except it’s called “bush meat” and is frowned upon by the WWF and other similar organizations. I’ve made a point of eating the local cuisine when I traveled frequently, even including monkey, dog, and various other common fare. People in the US and other Western nations need to understand that our methods and foods are not necessarily what works elsewhere – usually not, in fact – and Western staples can lead to severe health problems in other cultures. The best thing we could do to help Africa, and others, is to stay out of their business. Free advice (and free food) is seldom wanted.

  76. Jer0me says:

    Most of Oz arable land is pasture (see the pic). There is a reason for that. It is not good land for growing crops, but it is good for feeding cattle. You cannot just wish it to change, and expect it to happen. I suspect there is a lot of that the world over.

  77. Legatus says:

    Halting farmland expansion and land clearing for agricultural purposes, particularly in the tropical rainforest. This can be achieved using incentives such as payment for ecosystem services, certification and ecotourism. This change will yield huge environmental benefits without dramatically cutting into agricultural production or economic well-being.

    “Payment for ecosystem services”, well, where exactly is the money for this going to come from? Since this would be a government program, then it would have to come from taxes; in other words, it would have to be taken by force. “Certification”, that means you can’t do it unless we tell you you can do it, if you do it when we say you cannot, we will use force. All this using force to stop people from doing things they need to live means a lower economy, yet you have to tax them for those “incentives”, so where are they going to get the money? And the money won’t be worth as much anymore anyway, since you have stopped them from growing any food that they can buy with it, so even the people with money will have a hard time eating, since there is no food to buy with their money. Result, the rich will eat, the middle class will become poor, and the poor will starve. And then…well, all that use of force, and all that money from taxes, some people enjoy the use of force and extracting money from others by force, what will that sort of person do with this increased power to do so, are they the sorts of things that lead to greater efficiency, a better life, or the sorts of things that lead to graft, corruption, dictatorship, revolutions, murder, and war?

    And “ecotourism”, where exactly are you going to get all the power (fuel, especially fossil fuel), to move all these people to the jungles for their tour? Just how many people can you move, exactly how many even want to go to those hot sticky disease filled jungles anyway? How much of the jungle will you need to cut down for roads, bridges, parking lots, airports, hotels and all the infrastructure for all those air conditioners and the like, power plants to run them, etc etc et-cetera.

    Supplementing the land more strategically. Current use of water, nutrients and agricultural chemicals suffers from what the research team calls “Goldilocks’ Problem”: too much in some places, too little in others, rarely just right. Strategic reallocation could substantially boost the benefit we get from precious inputs.

    Well, water, that’s a biggie. I know one way to get a lot of water, nuclear power. Yes, enough cheap, safe (as Japans proved, number of deaths from radiation, still zero) nuclear power and we can do mass desalination, less water needing to be shipped downstream to cities, more water to pipe upstream for farms. We can also use all that power to help make those “nutrients and agricultural chemicals”. Enough nuclear power and we can also use it to do what the Germans did in WWII (which everyone conveniently forgets about when talking about “peak oil”), which is to make fuel from coal and even from air. That would mean more oil to make “nutrients and agricultural chemicals” out of.

    “Strategic reallocation” means force, I take it from you and give it to someone else. If I have that, what sort of person am I likely to be, what sort of person likes to use force? Who am I likely to actually “reallocate” it to, people who actually need it, or friends, relatives, my political supporters, and the like? Can you say graft and corruption on a now worldwide scale? Does that promote efficiency of any kind? Some of the sorts of people attracted to global power such as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Genghis Khan, just the sorts of people we want running things. And that’s just at the top, think of the hordes of petty bureaucrats, so many that you can’t watch them all…

    Shifting diets. Growing animal feed or biofuels on prime croplands, no matter how efficiently, is a drain on human food supply. Dedicating croplands to direct human food production could boost calories produced per person by nearly 50 per cent. Even shifting nonfood uses such as animal feed or biofuel production away from prime cropland could make a big difference.

    “Shifting diets”, sooo, exactly how are you going to “convince” people to shift their diet? Sounds like force again, see above. I can see it now, police breaking into your home to inspect it for banned meat, if they catch any, two options, use force and take it, they can then either eat it themselves or they can deliver it (under threat of force) to their masters who will eat it (shame to waste it, right?), or they can let you keep it for a… consideration. Result, a lot of corruption. Meanwhile, the “great leaders” of all this will, of course, be chowing down on steaks every night, after all, all this “saving the world” is hard work, and don’t they deserve a little extra for all the hard work they are doing? I doubt that meat production would even slow down with that horde of government types at the trough.

    As for biofuels, see nuclear power above, unneeded. One thing you should know, however, a lot of the corn grown for biofuels is corn that humans cannot eat, corn that can grow on land that is not so “prime”. However, if we would stop subsidizing it, they could grow other things, such as animal feed, the animals themselves, and such food crops as will grow there, for which there is now much higher demand. Frankly, food prices have gone up enough that the only reason they continue to grow biofuels is because they are mandated to do so by law (force).

    Another thing we can do in the USA at least, is go away from the current single buyer mandated system. Farmers basically are required to sell to a monopoly, which, being a monopoly, naturally pays less to the farmers then they would if there was competition driving prices up. Higher prices, they grow more food (and prices drop some again), we were trying to grow more food here, right? More people growing and shipping and selling food, a more vigorous economy, more able to afford whatever higher prices may result in farmers actually being paid the market value of their crops.

    Reducing waste. One-third of the food produced by farms ends up discarded, spoiled or eaten by pests. Eliminating waste in the path that food takes from farm to mouth could boost food available for consumption another 50 per cent.

    “Reducing waste”, riiiight, a giant worldwide bureaucracy, so many petty bureaucrats that we cannot watch them all, will certainly promote efficiency, right?

    One way to reduce spoilage, make sure it can be packaged and/or shipped before that happens, that takes power, and lots of it, see nuclear power above.

    I know a way to reduce a lot of the pest consumption at least in India. In India, rats are considered sacred. So, to reduce this problem, ban Hinduism. Good luck with that…

  78. PeterD says:

    NW Australia could probably support a couple of million people, if irrigated cropping agriculture (eg rice) was allowed. I was stunned on a recent tour of this supposedly arid poorly producing reserve land. This is using Indonesian traditional methods of wet rice paddies, on one river. There are other rivers. Politically, the Greens would have an apoplectic fit, they have already moved to lock up millions of acres of potential paddy. Starvation is always a political problem, rarely anything else..

  79. BarryW says:

    Just look at Zimbabwe’s agricultural collapse due to the marxist dictatorship or North Korea. That’s where the real problem lies.

  80. Legatus says:

    Re. my post above this one on how such worldwide social engineering to increase food production would actually result in massive corruption and probably a loss of production, let see how that worked out with government funded and mandated “green energy” here in the USA.

    One of the types of “green energy” (think dollar bill green and you ‘get it’) is solar power, such as the government funded (half million dollar loan) Solyndra solar power company, which, after getting the money, went bankrupt. Some quotes about how they got the money “the company’s biggest investor, George Kaiser, bundled more than $50,000 in contributions for the President’s 2008 campaign, and visited the White House four times before the loan from the Department of Energy was finalized). “This year, even as Solyndra approached bankruptcy, the company and the White House kept it a secret, telling Congress and the workers everything was going great until the day it shut its doors.” ” And Obama’s Energy Department took the unusual step of restructuring the loan to Solyndra, so that private investors would be paid off before taxpayers in the event of a bankruptcy”. This latter suggests strongly that bankruptcy was actually expected, and that this was merely grand theft by Mr. Obama, to take taxpayer money and pay off one of his supporters.

    And about government “stimulus money” ” Statistics show that stimulus money was overwhelmingly directed toward projects in Democratic congressional districts, not Republican ones. Even for those who believe that government spending can boost economic growth, that’s a red flag suggesting money was handed out to pet causes and constituencies, not to those who could necessarily use it most wisely. And the actual effect on creating jobs of all this “stimulus” is ” As for the “green jobs” that would result from showering cash on companies like Solyndra, the Washington Post crunched the numbers in September 2011 and found failure: Instead of creating 65,000 jobs, as promised, the $38 billion loan program which included Solyndra could only claim 3,545 jobs.” (which means that 95% of the money was wasted, or perhaps more accurately, stolen).
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/rich-noyes/2011/10/11/reality-check-abc-cbs-and-nbc-bury-news-taxpayer-money-squandered-obama-#ixzz1aVQjfGrl

    This is why I said “Strategic reallocation” means force, I take it from you and give it to someone else. If I have that, what sort of person am I likely to be, what sort of person likes to use force? Who am I likely to actually “reallocate” it to, people who actually need it, or friends, relatives, my political supporters, and the like? Look above and you can see this in action now. Now, imagine this worldwide, imagine this with a global scale horde of bureaucrats, so many that you cannot possibly watch them all.

    If we want a government that can give us everything we want, we must have a government that can take everything we own.
    If they can take it all, they then ask themselves, why not just keep it?

  81. ferd berple says:

    This graph says it all – and it is from wikipedia – food production per capita up 25% worldwide over past 40 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Food_production_per_capita_1961-2005.png

    So, at the same time the globe was warming and CO2 was increasing, and global populations more than doubled, food product outpaced population growth!!

    Could it be that plants like it warmer with more CO2?

  82. ferd berple says:

    TRM says:
    October 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    Crazy idea 101. If they don’t want it sold in their country in order to keep the price high for their producers then they should pay shipping to the areas where starvation are occurring.

    That has been done before. It destroys the market for farmers in the countries where people are hungry, driving farmers out of business, ensuring that even more people starve the next year.

    Consider for example what would happen in the US if for example a country like China was to price its currency artificially low. Over time Chinese products would be so much cheaper than US products that it would be all that Americans would buy. This would drive US companies out of business and cause a huge balance of trade problem. At the same time Americans would lose their jobs and erode the tax base, driving the US government into debt. The Chinese, flush with cash from the trade imbalance would be only too happy to lend this money back to the US government. Eventually as the situation was allowed to continue, the US would be forced either to default on its debt, or the US people would be effectively owned by the Chinese.

  83. This whole article is wrong-headed. There is no shortage of food. There -are- totalitarian governments that starve off portions of their populations. That is what happened in Ethiopia and is happening in Somaliland now. That is why we have so much excess corn in America that we can turn a few percent into ethanol – because thanks to Borlaug’s revolution reaching the developing world, we in America no longer feed the world. We aren’t needed for that anymore.

  84. ferd berple says:

    James H says:
    October 13, 2011 at 9:40 am
    The study also points out the harm caused by being a “locavore”. This requires that everything
    that you want to eat be grown locally,

    Imagine if you extended this to all products, not just food. For example, only use metals mined, smelted, and machined within 100 miles of your house.

    I recall a recent study that showed that the major difference between Neanderthals and modern humans was trade. Neanderthals had bigger brains and were stronger than modern humans, but they didn’t survive.

    Neanderthals used locally produced tools. Modern humans of the same era used tools produced hundreds or even thousands of miles away, acquired likely through trade. These tools were typically of much better quality than Neanderthal tools, having been produced using the best materials for the job. Over time it was the better tools, using better materials, that made modern humans more successful..

  85. crosspatch says:

    Not enough food to eat yet more corn is going to ethanol in the US than is going to animal feed:

    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/10/12/more-corn-now-going-to-ethanol-than-animal-feed/

  86. Dave Springer says:

    oMan says:
    October 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

    “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. …These five high-level recommendations are all very well. But they are neither novel nor, in this general form, actionable. The lack of novelty forces us to ask, “why haven’t people done much of this already?” The lack of specificity forces us to ask, “what makes your plan likely to succeed –with breakthrough efficiency and broad acceptance– where so many other plans have not?””

    Ditto.

    “I hope to read the underlying Nature article, which may answer some of my concerns.”

    Doubtful. These concerns and pie-in-the-sky answers to them are stock column filler for books, newspapers, and magazines everywhere.

    Population control is the fallback position that kicks in automatically if nothing else is done. Population outgrowing the food supply is a problem that mother nature has solved countless times in the past.

  87. Dave Springer says:

    crosspatch says:
    October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    “Not enough food to eat yet more corn is going to ethanol in the US than is going to animal feed:”

    There’s plenty of food in the U.S. Obesity is a major health problem here fercrisakes. We should probably turn so much grain into ethanol that the price of corn syrup goes so high that people here can’t afford to get fat on it.

    Just sayin’

  88. A. Scott says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    October 13, 2011 at 11:25 am
    These “researchers” apparently didn’t do much in the way of research. ….

    If we could end ethanol subsidies and the government mandated use the industry would collapse. Within two years the cost of food would drop precipitously. If feed stock gets cheaper, so does meat and every other product made from these crops. I wouldn’t dare sully the good name of Norman Borlaug with this tripe.

    Speaking of not doing much in way of research and of “tripe” … so many outright falsehoods, and these people actually believe what they claim. If only people would put as much effort into researching these other topics as they do in climate issues we’d all be far better off.

    First – ethanol subsidies are being ended – on June 16th senators from both parties voted by sizeable margins to repeal a tax credit and tariff on ethanol.

    Second, there is virtually zero credible evidence that “food prices would drop” let alone “precipitously” if ethanol use was ended. This claim is classic “tripe” … sadly almost exactly like the AGW proponents claims, unsupported by facts.

    To start, numerous reports have shown that corn price contributes a tiny fraction to the cost of food using corn – one set of examples (from 2008 story):

    For example, an 18-ounce box of corn flakes contains about 12.9 ounces of milled field corn. When field corn is priced at $2.28 per bushel (the 20-year average), the actual value of corn represented in the box of corn flakes is about 3.3 cents (1 bushel = 56 pounds). (The remainder is packaging, processing, advertising, transportation, and other costs.) At $3.40 per bushel, the average price in 2007, the value is about 4.9 cents. The 49-percent increase in corn prices would be expected to raise the price of a box of corn flakes by about 1.6 cents, or 0.5 percent, assuming no other cost increases.

    and:

    In 1985, Coca-Cola shifted from sugar to corn syrup in most of its U.S.-produced soda, and many other beverage makers followed suit (see “High-Fructose Corn Syrup Usage May Be Leveling Off” in this issue). Currently, about 4.1 percent of U.S.-produced corn is made into high-fructose corn syrup. A 2-liter bottle of soda contains about 15 ounces of corn in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. At $3.40 per bushel, the actual value of corn represented is 5.7 cents, compared with 3.8 cents when corn is priced at $2.28 per bushel. Assuming no other cost increases, the higher corn price in 2007 would be expected to raise soda prices by 1.9 cents per 2-liter bottle, or 1 percent.

    What about beef?

    Using ratios and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a simple pass-through model provides estimates of the expected increase in meat prices given the higher corn prices. The logic of this model is illustrated by an example using chicken prices. Over the past 20 years, the average price of a bushel of corn in the U.S. has been $2.28, implying that a pound of chicken at the retail level uses 8 cents worth of corn, or about 4 percent of the $2.05 average retail price for chicken breasts. Using the average price of corn for 2007 ($3.40 per bushel) and assuming producers do not change their animal-feeding practices, retail chicken prices would rise 5.2 cents, or 2.5 percent. Using the same corn data, retail beef prices would go up 14 cents per pound, or 8.7 percent, while pork prices would rise 13 cents per pound, or 4.1 percent.

    Nothing remotely “precipitous” there – and these examples were from an older 2008 story – corn yields and production have continued to increase since.

    They also do not take into account the significant byproduct production of ethanol … high value distillers dried grains feed, corn oil and other products. We are producing ethanol and STILL extracting a significant amount of animal feed at the same time.

    Let me repeat – creating ethanol produces high energy, high quality feed stock, feed stock that directly replaces corn – every bushel of corn for ethanol produces appx 2.7 gallons fuel plus 18lbs DDGS feed.

    Assuming you are one who thinks feeding corn to beef is a good thing (its not for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which cows are made to eat grass not corn – corn causes digestive problems and can only be fed in conjunction with antibiotics – which you then EAT with your steak) the animal feed produced with ethanol is higher in protein and higher in fat and generally more digestible than corn itself.

    Which leads to another of the silly claims – that ethanol production creates a negative energy balance – that more energy is used than is created. Another simply false statement. With the exception of the thoroughly debunked, but oft quoted, work of Patzak and Pimentel, and work derived from them, the science is clear – corn ethanol production is net energy balance positive.

    From the US Government – this is USDA quote but also can be found at Energy.gov:

    USDA Releases Corn-Ethanol Industry Report Showing Improving Energy Efficiency

    WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 – USDA’s Chief Economist Joseph Glauber today announced the publication of a report by the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses that surveyed corn growers for the year 2005 and ethanol plants in 2008, which indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency….

    This report measures all conventional fossil fuel energy used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. For every British Thermal Unit (BTU) unit of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 BTUs of energy are produced. The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy. Since the last study in 2004, the net energy balance of corn ethanol has increased from 1.76 BTUs to 2.3 BTUs of required energy.

    According to the report, overall, ethanol has made the transition from an energy sink, to a moderate net energy gain in the 1990s, to a substantial net energy gain in the present. And there are still prospects for improvement. Ethanol yields have increased by about 10 percent in the last 20 years, so proportionately less corn is required. In addition to refinements in ethanol technology, corn yields have increased by 39 percent over the last 20 years, requiring less land to produce ethanol….

    Note this is based on 2008 numbers – with continued increases in corn yields and ethanol process these numbers are yet higher today.

    Conclusions

    1. Ethanol subsidies are already being discontinued, result of a bipartisan vote this past summer.

    2. Corn price does not have even remotely a “precipitous” effect of food prices – a doubling of corn price causes a few cents difference in a box of corn flakes or a bottle of pop, and a nominal change, single digit percentages, in price of beef.

    3. Feed stock – creating ethanol already produces a significant amount of high value feed stock which significantly mitigates use for ethanol.

    4. Corn as feedstock – Cows are not made to eat corn – it is less digestible and causes significant health issues with require large doses of antibiotics. These antibiotics are passed thru the to beef humans consume, They are also “pooped” into the environment at concerning levels. The end result is continued degradation of the efficacy of these antibiotics. In some aspects we would likely be better served to continue to use corn for ethanol, rather than switching to cellulosic on marginal lands and instead use those lands for grasses for cattle feed – at least in theory greatly reducing need for antibiotics in the food chain and thus excreted into environment.

    5. Energy balance – claims that ethanol production has a negative net energy balance are even more absurd and unsupported bu science the global warming claims. Even corn based ethanol production sees a significantly positive net energy balance – approaching 3 to 1 today. New methods – cellulosic etc – are expected to be multiples of that – 6 to 8 to 1 in near future.

    6. Use of ethanol – we DO have significant reserves of fossil fuels and I am solid proponent of their continued use. That said there is a finite quantity and production and use does has significant negatives associated. Ethanol IS a renewable energy – we can simply grow more each year on the same lands. Its is also a cleaner energy by far. Ethanol can also be produced domestically – every gallon we use is a gallon of oil we need to import, and $80 or so (per barrel) we deprive the madmen, dictators and despots running oil rich countries of (and yes I do realize not all oil is from these places).

    Ethanol is not the solution to our domestic fossil fuel needs. It IS however a renewable, green, domestically produced PARTIAL solution to the issue. Subsidies are ending (big question there is when are we doing same for solar, wind and other such debacles?) and it will have to sink or swim on its own. And contrary to the AGW-like beliefs of many – it is not most of the bad things some claim it to be.

    I’ll repeat – if people put a fraction of the effort into educating themselves on ethanol as they do climate change we’d all be better off. Its sad – ethanol skeptics too often are much like the AGW crowd – too often simply believe without learning the facts.

  89. Mike Wryley says:

    My brother and his son farm over 2000 acres in Iowa with part time help (like one or two additional people) in the spring and fall. A couple years ago they were visited by some rural folks from one of the countries in the southern part of Africa. Those people were incredulous that there were no locks on the storage bins and machine sheds, and that a similar size farm in Africa would need 300 people just to keep everything from being stolen.
    Guess what ? I don’t think that certain countries, or continents for that matter, with a 2000 to 4000 year head start over the United States, are in the toilet because they could not find the right seeds or fertilizer. Those who assume such probably have the condition known as rectocranial inversion.

  90. A. Scott says:

    crosspatch says:
    October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm
    Not enough food to eat yet more corn is going to ethanol in the US than is going to animal feed:

    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/10/12/more-corn-now-going-to-ethanol-than-animal-feed/

    Just like the AGW crowd – wonderful job of “cherry-picking” there … from USDA Crop Report:

    The USDA Crop Report projects 2011 corn crop at almost 12.9 billion bushels, which is an increase of about 4% above the 2010 U.S. corn production – 3rd highest production on record. USDA lowered projections on national average corn yield to 153.0 bu./acre, just above the 2010 U.S. corn yield of 152.8 bu. ( due to unusually high temperatures and below-average precipitation across much of the Corn Belt during July). Estimates for corn usage in 2011-2012 for feed and ethanol were also reduced.

    Of course we shouldn’t expect a “green” reporting source to tell the whole story or even offer perspective. Other reports on the story include comments like these:

    “A primary reason for the shift in grain demand away from livestock is the thinning of herds and flocks in order to reduce red ink and improve prices for producers, University of Missouri Extension said in a statement released Thursday.”

    “Some observers see report as noteworthy, others as a ‘footnote’”

    “Pat Westhoff, director of the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, cautioned that the projections for ethanol and feed use are very close, and … also pointed out that ethanol byproducts also become animal feed, so the bulk of the corn crop still goes toward food.”

    There’s those pesky high quality distillers dried grains again – appx 1/3 of every bushel of corn for ethanol is returned in form of DDGS feed … no, that can’t possibly be any impact on use of corn as feed now can it? :rollseyes:

    Oops … latest Corn Report projects surplus now up to just shy of 1 million bushels … highest in several years – we have a growing amount in excess of domestic AND export needs.

    That is a KEY point … the US meets ALL of its domestic demand, including ethanol, plus they sell every bit of corn foreigners want to by, and still have hundreds of millions of bushels surplus left over. Oh, and we apparently exported 370 million gals of ethanol last year, supplied 100% of the current domestic needs plus had enough to export.

  91. A. Scott says:

    Dave Springer says:
    October 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm
    crosspatch says:
    October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    “Not enough food to eat yet more corn is going to ethanol in the US than is going to animal feed:”

    There’s plenty of food in the U.S. Obesity is a major health problem here fercrisakes. We should probably turn so much grain into ethanol that the price of corn syrup goes so high that people here can’t afford to get fat on it.

    Just sayin’

    High fructose corn syrup is far worse to our collective health – and as a result our wealth – than ethanol could ever possibly be. The increased cost of health care due to obesity and problems high fructose corn syrup contributes to IMO dwarf anything ethanol could do …

  92. RockyRoad says:

    What decision regarding food production is going to be more accurate–that made by a bunch of bureaucrats that don’t have any “skin in the game”, or the farmer who must grow sufficient high-quality food to achieve a profit (or else lose his farm to the local bank)?

    I’m betting on the farmer–the agricultural guru, the hard-working, sweat-drenched, humble farmer who has “skin in the game” clear up to his proverbial neck. That’s what makes the US the number 1 food producer, but the more “direction” forced upon them by government, the less productive they’ll be.

  93. RockyRoad says:

    A. Scott says:
    October 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    … High fructose corn syrup is far worse to our collective health – and as a result our wealth – than ethanol could ever possibly be. The increased cost of health care due to obesity and problems high fructose corn syrup contributes to IMO dwarf anything ethanol could do …

    Being obese is equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day–not a healthy situation at all!

  94. Don Eason says:

    I was excited to see this post, because I knew that Gail Combs would bring great wisdom to the discussion. Gail, you did not disappoint! Major props to Lucy Skywalker as well.

    For an exciting and experience-based alternative to the tired globalist McGill formula, see Joel Salatin’s explanation of the efficacy of human-scale technology-enhanced grass-based agriculture, “Eco-Agriculture Can Feed the World”, here:

    http://www.springhillfarms.us/uploads/2/7/2/7/2727868/sept10_salatin.pdf

    Biochar/terra preta discoveries are also very exciting and encouraging, carbon sequestration side “benefits” notwithstanding. (Google them)

  95. Don Eason says:

    Concerning the role of pastured meat in the human diet, this from “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana, events ca. 1836:

    “This was the most lively part of our work. A little boating and
    beach work in the morning; then twenty or thirty men down in a
    close hold, where we were obliged to sit down and slide about,
    passing hides, and rowsing about the great steeves, tackles, and
    dogs, singing out at the falls, and seeing the ship filling up
    every day. The work was as hard as it could well be. There was not
    a moment’s cessation from Monday morning till Saturday night, when
    we were generally beaten out, and glad to have a full night’s
    rest, a wash and shift of clothes, and a quiet Sunday. During all
    this time– which would have startled Dr. Graham– we lived upon
    almost nothing but fresh beef; fried beefsteaks, three times a
    day,– morning, noon, and night. At morning and night we had a
    quart of tea to each man, and an allowance of about a pound of
    hard bread a day; but our chief article of food was beef. A mess,
    consisting of six men, had a large wooden kid piled up with
    beefsteaks, cut thick, and fried in fat, with the grease poured
    over them. Round this we sat, attacking it with our jack-knives
    and teeth, and with the appetite of young lions, and sent back an
    empty kid to the galley. This was done three times a day. How many
    pounds each man ate in a day I will not attempt to compute. A
    whole bullock (we ate liver and all) lasted us but four days. Such
    devouring of flesh, I will venture to say, is not often seen. What
    one man ate in a day, over a hearty man’s allowance, would make an
    English peasant’s heart leap into his mouth. Indeed, during all
    the time we were upon the coast, our principal food was fresh
    beef, and every man had perfect health; but this was a time of
    especial devouring, and what we should have done without meat I
    cannot tell. Once or twice, when our bullocks failed, and we were
    obliged to make a meal upon dry bread and water, it seemed like
    feeding upon shavings. Light and dry, feeling unsatisfied, and, at
    the same time, full, we were glad to see four quarters of a
    bullock, just killed, swinging from the fore-top. Whatever
    theories may be started by sedentary men, certainly no men could
    have gone through more hard work and exposure for sixteen months
    in more perfect health, and without ailings and failings, than our
    ship’s crew, let them have lived upon Hygeia’s own baking and
    dressing.”

  96. wesley bruce says:

    Doomed to failure. All five recommendation are the very thing the free market would do If it was allowed but its not.
    No 1. will get you shot by left wing red necks in Brazil, hacked to bits in the Congo and beheaded in parts of South East Asia. People are desperate. Forests are productive but we don’t have the technology to get at that harvest and get it out. Fruit on 80 m trees are worthless. Corruption rules the third world and particularly these projects.
    No 2. Is wrong the yield gap can’t be bridged with current and imported crop varieties. Indigenous crops are immune to local pests etc but they buy that immunity with reduced energy to yield to the ‘crop’ {the part we want}. They are using part of the productivity to deal with the pests. Breading local seed crops to higher yield requires true markets for the seeds and high, impossibly high, prices to the growers. Old subsistence growers get/ got phased out. Subsidies have been tried for decades and failed. Government money gets skimmed. Private and charitable projects are needed.
    No 3. Is the carbon partitioning problem. Building real fertile soil requires energy and that energy must come from the crop because most fertilisers have no energy content. It also requires biodiversity, polyculture systems with fertilising plants: legumes and deep rooted mulch plants, pest control plants within the crop. These all reduce the need for external fertiliser and pesticides but they also use up some of the photosynthetic potential reducing the yield marginally with most crops. We can’t harvest broad acre poly-cultures. We have no one funding the harvester research. You can garden a small mixed polyculture but we don’t have the technology to farm it yet.
    No. 4 Is the classic food verse fuel lie. You can’t make biofuel without making protein. All cells have protein. It must be extracted from the energy product or the energy product must be extracted from it. I.E. Soya and Canola press cake, 90% protein, or beer mash 30% or dried distillers grains with soluble’s, at 10% moisture content its the highest concentration of plant protein known. Governments have simply regulated it into land fill and dog food cans by botching the process of sizing the ethanol plants or seed oil plant to a size that get the stuff back to the farm or onto the human food market. Most stock feed is damaged crops not safe for humans to eat. And while I know how to cook grass most humans can’t eat grass, straw or hay. Diversifying the number of animals we farm and finding some that tolerate conditions that would kill most sheep and cattle are opposed be many green organisations. We know how to farm turtles, hippo’s, gazelle and kangaroos but we are forbidden to try.
    No.5 is precisely what modern food multinationals and super-markets do. Its why they work. Its why branding works. Its why there’s four layers on the food as it leave the truck at the loading dock. Whole foods, unprocessed foods, and slow foods all produce more green waste. Most third would markets and many organic markets have huge piles of rotting plant matter while a fast food joint has a much smaller pile of rubbish, mostly plastic and paper, headed to free carbon sequestration in the nearest land fill.
    If we develop the technology to:
    1. farm the tall jungle,
    2. domesticate and breed up 2 new cultivars a month (we average 1 a month),
    3. harvest poly-cultures,
    4. farm biofuels for both their food and their fuels.
    5. Brand, Package, dry and store third world like we do with western crops and direct the factory waste streams back to the farm as feed or fertiliser, We will feed 30 billion.
    If that not enough we have tree terrestrial planets, 30 moons and 1000 000 asteroids that we can mine to build space farms.
    This is so frustrating to see people going back the the drawing board but not rubbing out the previous failed attempts rules and assumptions.

  97. donkeygod says:

    Sceptics might want to back off a bit here. What we did for India and Pakistan in the 1960s has yet to be done in Africa, and there’s lots of room for improvement throughout South America and Asia. Hybrid and GM crops increase yields, as does fertilisation. Note also, where high intensity farming has removed pressure on food supply, human fecundity has decreased. It can’t be a bad thing if we increase agricultural productivity to the point where increasing population can be fed using less land — if we hadn’t been doing just that for the last half-century, something close to a billion would’ve starved already. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the 9 billion peak for human population comes closer to 2100 than 2050. Either way, on current trends population will DECREASE thereafter. If population stabilises or shrinks world-wide, as it can and should, we might need to find something else to argue about: climate change and environmental degradation — real, imagined, or exaggerated — will be much easier to deal with. We need to support this kind of science, for the simple reason that it works. Nothing could demolish the extreme Greens’ raison d’etre faster or more effectively.

  98. AnssiV says:

    Gail Combs, your comments describe very succinctly many of the main issues around this matter that are rarely mentioned. Thank you!

    As to the “shifting diets” suggestion, which is based on the totally unproven assumption (which I call the “old, tired vegan argument”) that dedicating croplands to direct human food production would be the most efficient use of land, I would like to extend on your comment by pointing to the life work of Allan Savory (http://www.savoryinstitute.com/allan-savory/) who received the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge (http://challenge.bfi.org/) award from his work. His main argument is that without appropriate use of livestock the land base will continue to deteriorate – in the words of Savory himself; “I believe, today humanity’s entire future hangs on a very slender thread – learning how to manage livestock to address biodiversity loss/desertification/climate change. If we don’t do that we’re gone – with all higher life forms, we’ll be gone. It hangs on this little thread, and this is the most condemned thing.” (from his lecture in Dublin 2009, http://vimeo.com/8239427 ). Farmers around the world are using similar principles with commercial success, perhaps Joel Salatin as the most prominent example).

    (*) Maybe it’s worth mentioning explicitly, that Savory has chosen not to take a firm stand in the CO2-climate link, but rather prefers not to take sides in the matter, probably because it would divert attention from the main issues he wants to discuss. In some of his texts he has expressed some amount of skepticism about this association too. His main arguments relate to the deteriorating soil and its local climatic effects (some of which he has proven can be reversed by appropriate use of livestock).

  99. ozspeaksup says:

    bladeshearerJack Maloney says:
    October 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Citing Norman Borlaug’s ‘Green Revolution’ is troubling. Among the unintended consequences of Dr. Borlaug’s ‘revolution’: family farming in places like Mexico is being displaced by industrial-scale farming, requiring accelerated use of fossil fuels, costly patented hybrids, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, increased water use and groundwater pollution. Mechanization is also displacing farm workers, driving rural-to-urban migration and sending Latinos northward into the US. Similar impacts are occurring in India, Africa and South America. Increasing crop production without regard to these effects simpy destabilizes rural areas as it enables further population growth.

    Meanwhile, America keeps burning food for biofuels, driving up food costs around the world. Judging by past performance, I’d be extremely cautious about bright new ideas from NASA and NSF.===============
    agreed,
    I add the borlaug fix actually didnt Fix much..within a short time people forgot about food shortage and had more kids..and then the green revolution crops showed flaws, like now the worlds wheat /other etc that had the african resistance strain to old rust varietys whops they all related! and now we get african UG99
    monocrop culture and chemicals have limited and dubious value.
    ever seen Joel Salatins farm? no imported chem /fertilisers, healthy land and animals.
    search polyfacefarm and watch. viable and efficiant and NOT hitech GM.
    when serious independant Human trials of GM are done and published..then theyd be worth a look at. a 90day trial on a limited volume of animals at best is NOT proof of safety.
    the agricorps are NOT our friends, theyre in it for profit above all.
    and Nature..lost cred a while back supporting AGW

  100. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    It appears that much of the reason that there is not enough food around the world is more political than anything else. Since the 20th century begain, the rate of food growth has expanded around 30% more than the population growth (if memory serves). This is from the U.N.’s own estimates.

    So it appears that we have more than enough food to avert the deadly famines so endemic in many 3rd world countries. That is, if we can get the deadly politics of hate out of the way and let the free market do its work.

    A good example of what not to do is Zimbabwe. 30 years ago it was the bread basket of africa. Since Robert Mugabe took over, it has become the basket case of africa.

  101. Dave Springer says:

    A.Scott

    People living in poverty don’t eat Kellog’s corn flakes. They don’t even buy plain wrap. They don’t buy corn meal. They don’t buy Coca Cola or even corn syrup. They buy whole corn and process it themselves including grinding it into flour. The billions in the world whose income is the equivalent of less than one USD per day doesn’t spend a week’s income on a box of corn flakes and a six-pack of Coke. I’m gobsmacked at the thought there is anyone stupid enough to uncritically accept that world hunger is all about the processing and packaging costs that grocery store predators in rich western nations willingly pay.

    Antibiotics residues aren’t a problem in beef. The residence time in the bloodstream is well known and antibiotic supplements are withdrawn long enough before slaughter so it clears the system. Antibiotics aren’t given exclusively or even primarily because of corn fattening in the final few months of life. It’s mostly because the population density and stress on the animal in feedlots is conducive to immune system deterioration, infection, and rapid spread of various bacterial diseases. Wide separation between grazing animals out to pasture, which is where beef cattle spend most of their short lives, drastically lessens the chance of picking up bacterial diseases.

    I don’t have a particular problem with corn being used for ethanol production. I have a problem with it being put into gasoline without consumer choice as it has detrimental effects on everything it comes into contact with due to chemical differences between it and gasoline and its high affinity for water. I also have a problem with it being subsidized with federal tax dollars for fuel use which adds insult to injury as it’s like not only do I have to have an inferior fuel forced upon me I have to pay extra for it.

    If fuel ethanol were unsubsidized and consumers had a choice about it there wouldn’t be any fuel ethanol industry. Anyone who believes otherwise is either grossly misinformed or shilling for some emotionally or financially vested personal cause.

  102. klem says:

    But one of the biggest fears the UN cites to justify reducing the worlds population is the inability to feed 9 billion people. If this actually works and we are able to double crop yields, with sufficient food to go around will population begin to grow faster?

    Being able to feed the world, makes me very happy, but is the UN happy about this?

  103. Gail Combs says:

    G. Karst says @ October 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    It takes a farmer, to understand…. I know of nothing, that will change this trend, until there is a catastrophic agricultural failure. The demise, of the small family farms, certainly didn’t do it! ….
    _____________________________________
    I agree. Until the supermarket predators have an empty belly they will ignore those trying to educate them. Very frustrating. I know how Cassandra must have felt.

    The “Green Revolution” was not to benefit “Mankind” It was to free up a large labor pool and entice farmers to mortgage their land in order to buy all the shiny new carrots industry was producing. The USDA extension service and universities were the propaganda/marketing arm. As Sec. of Ag Earl Butz stated “Get big or get OUT” This is exactly what we see being repeated in third world countries today. The deliberate destruction of small family farms.

    Middlemen and bankers can make very little money in a self sufficient society of farmers and small entrepreneurs. By moving the vast majority of people into cities where they are helpless the bankers, and corporations can make the most profit and politicians can tax ever single transaction. A win-win-win for everyone at the top of the economic food chain.

    That is why the Rockefellers chose to underwrite the “Green Revolution.”

    Nicole Johnson has done a great job of researching the recent history involved and those who facilitated it. link Everything I have been seeing in the last fifty years suddenly fell into place after I read her article.

    In 100 years the USA went from a mortgage free, tax free country to a country where 97% of our money supply is in the form of bank loans. Loans where the 3% vault cash satisfies the bank reserve requirements. US Banks Operating Without Reserve Requirements

    Not a pleasant thought is it.

  104. Gail Combs says:

    agimarc says:
    October 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Take a look at Jeff Lowenfels’ Teaming With Microbes….. Best of all is that it is sustainable. He is pretty hard core organic farming, but it also works really well for those of us who do not buy into the dogma of the organic religion.
    ___________________________________________________

    Thanks.

    My farm was part of a much larger parcel rented to tobacco farmers. It was sold because it would no longer produce a crop even with inorganic fertilizers. My soil test showed 98% inorganic (pure clay) and not an earth worm to be seen. After fifteen years of pasturing animals I now have four to six inches of black topsoil.

    My philosophy is to read everything I can then go organic if the methods are proven use chemistry as the back up plan.

    For instance I seeded with mixed native grasses instead of the hybrids. I was one of the few who had pasture and did not need to reseed after the drought of 2008.

  105. Pamela Gray says:

    The only way to work around FDA laws and big box supermarkets who cannot sell local produce, is to develop year round farmer markets and store cooperatives. Seasonal markets are all well and good, but what do local citizens do for food during the rest of the year? Furthermore, when local producers only sell seasonally, the price is set pretty high compared to big box food prices.

    But I think it might work if done year round. Not everyone has a plot of soil for a garden and work schedules may interfere with time needed for garden maintenance. Cities and towns would be doing all a favor by promoting local produce cooperatives and year round farmer markets. And if the notion of value added products is done away with, profit margins will be higher. Value added products means putting it in a fancy jar. Doing away with “pretty packaging” means bringing your dill pickles to market and putting them in a big pickle barrel along with other dill pickles other folks bring.

    Now if we can only ween the buying public off of “packaging”, we can get somewhere with local farmers selling local produce at a profit.

    To be sure, not everyone is cut out to sell their produce. It takes a tremendous amount of daily labor to end up with marketable food. Profit margins will only allow simple living and then only if you can do the job and sell your products year round. If done seasonally, I doubt there is much of a profit at all considering the amount of labor involved.

  106. Pamela Gray says:

    Now that I have read this plan, I have all kinds of objections to it. Here’s some. Genetic engineering not only led to increased yeilds, it led to increased need for nitrogen and water, a vicious cycle. It also led to transportability. On purpose. Strawberries were genetically altered to travel better. Which led to cardboard strawberries that looked nice in their little basket but tasted horrible. It led to hard peaches that were all pretty on the outside but had no flavor in the inside. I can’t see very many advantages to this next push for engineered food. It is designed for large farms, food transportation over long distances, and profit margins, not to increase the quality and amount of food grown locally and arranged on a plate in the hinter lands of the world.

  107. Gail Combs says:

    Curiousgeorge says:
    October 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    …. One thing I would mention in regards to livestock – out here in farm country, I and many of my neighbors bag wild game more often than we buy supermarket meat. Dove, deer, wild pig, wild turkey, etc. The same is true in other countries except it’s called “bush meat” and is frowned upon by the WWF and other similar organizations….. The best thing we could do to help Africa, and others, is to stay out of their business. Free advice (and free food) is seldom wanted.
    _______________________________________________
    EXACTLY!

    Someone else mentioned the send a cow program. An African from Kenya explained that in order to get that cow, you had to KILL YOUR ENTIRE HERD and then the calf dies because American/European breeds are not genetically suited to Africa.

    The Kenyan was here in the USA trying to educate Americans and save his native Zebu cattle from “the Good Intentions” of the United States.

    Bush Meat
    I am very glad you brought that up because there is an entire book behind those two words.

    One of the more subtle points that escapes every one is that planting Tasmanian Blue Gum (eucalyptus globulus) in Africa and South America (thanks to carbon credits) is a form of genocide. I wrote about the trees characteristics in this comment

    One of the key nasties about the tree is:
    “It creates virtual monocultures and can rapidly take over surrounding compatible areas, completely changing the ecosystem. That monoculture creates a loss of habitats for many species that relied on the previous system. Due to its great capacity for taking over a wide variety of habitats, the Blue Gum eucalyptus could possibly spread to a great range of systems where there is enough water content and create huge monocultures.” http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/eucalyptus_globulus_htmlwra.htm

    “…..Most dense bluegum eucalyptus stands in California and Hawaii are almost devoid of understory vegetation, except for a few hardy grasses….

    The leaves of bluegum eucalyptus release a number of terpenes and phenolic acids. These chemicals may be responsible for the paucity of accompanying vegetation in plantations [4]. Natural fog drip from bluegum eucalyptus inhibits the growth of annual grass seedlings in bioassays, suggesting that such inhibition occurs naturally [10,34]. At least one leaf extract has been shown to strongly inhibit root growth of seedlings of other species…

    PALATABILITY :
    Bluegum eucalyptus foliage is unpalatable to cattle, sheep, and goats”

    http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/eucglo/all.html#7

    The grass “fogged” with eucalyptus oil would also be “unpalatable”

    No one comes out and says it directly but you know if a goat won’t eat it most other herbivores won’t except for adapted Australian species. That is what is meant by “creates a loss of habitats for many species”

    A eucalyptus forest planted in Africa or South America creates an “ecology” devoid of other life.

    Back to Africans and “Bush Meat”
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Role+of+red+meat+in+the+diet+for+children+and+adolescents.%28Section+3:…-a0169311698″>Role of red meat in the diet for children and adolescents

    INTRODUCTION

    Over the first few years of postnatal life, an infant’s body undergoes dramatic changes not only in physical attributes, but also in developmental milestones. By three years of age, an infant’s head circumference and hence brain size will have reached 80% of what it will potentially achieve in adulthood, and its length will also have doubled in size. Therefore, it is not surprising that any adverse events occurring during these periods may have a negative impact upon psychomotor development.

    In 1968, Dobbing (1) suggested that there were vulnerable periods of neurological development that coincided with times of maximal brain growth. These periods begin during foetal development at around the 25th week of gestation and continue for the first two years of postnatal life. Nutrient deficiencies occurring during these vulnerable periods may well have an impact upon brain growth and, hence, neurological and psychomotor development. (1) These nutrient deficits have subsequently been shown to result in more functional deficiencies rather than physical abnormalities….Subsequently, animal and prospective human studies have suggested that either under- or over-nutrition in utero can be associated with epigenetic epigenetic /epi·ge·net·ic/ (-je-net´ik)
    1. pertaining to epigenesis.

    2. altering the activity of genes without changing their structure. changes as well as intrauterine adverse programming of organ function…. (5)”

    One politically incorrect study alleged IQs lower than 60 points on average in some remote African villages. A geneticist, Pierre Mailloux has been “Defrocked” for similar findings.

    Those pushing a world wide vegan diet do not want people to know what the repercussions can be if you are not VERY careful. Third World people do not have the access to a wide range of plant sources and the supplements needed.

  108. Gail Combs says:

    crosspatch says:
    October 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Not enough food to eat yet more corn is going to ethanol in the US than is going to animal feed:

    http://green.autoblog.com/2011/10/12/more-corn-now-going-to-ethanol-than-animal-feed/
    ______________________________
    Crosspatch, generally I love your comments but you have to be very careful with that one. While corn is being diverted into ethanol the byproducts from that process, “distillers grains by-products” is used in pelleted livestock and poultry feeds.

    This makes the whole subject technical and complicated. I am not sure just what the fermentation process does to “digestibility” and net nutritional value of the grain.

  109. Gail Combs says:

    A. Scott says:
    October 13, 2011 at 7:44 pm ….
    You missed the important part. It is not the food prices in the USA (or EU) that was the problem in 2008 it was the price of grain in third world countries that double.

    The cause of the food riots was POLITICS.
    #1. 1995 VP of Cargill Dan Amstutz writes World Trade Organization Agreement on Ag. It got rid of tariffs and opened borders.

    #2. Amstutz writes 1996 farm bill called Freedom to Farm (Freedom to Fail Act) that over produces very cheap grain. The law also change US grain reserve policy.

    #3. Amstutz goes to work for Goldman Sachs.

    #4. Gramm, head of the CFTC, helped firms such as Goldman Sachs gain influence over the commodity markets. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly. Wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent.

    “Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.” Through the 1990s, Goldman Sachs and others lobbied hard and the regulations [controlling agricultural futures contracts] were abolished. Suddenly, these contracts were turned into “derivatives” that could be bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture. A market in “food speculation” was born. The speculators drove the price through the roof.” http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-how-goldman-gambled-on-starvation-2016088.html

    #5. In 2008 Monsanto and Cargill report record breaking profits. USDA reports “The cupboard is bare” we have no more grain reserves.

    “…Today three companies, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, and Bunge control the world’s grain trade. Chemical giant Monsanto controls three-fifths of seed production. Unsurprisingly, in the last quarter of 2007, even as the world food crisis was breaking, Archer Daniels Midland’s profits jumped 20%, Monsanto 45%, and Cargill 60%. Recent speculation with food commodities has created another dangerous “boom.” After buying up grains and grain futures, traders are hoarding, withholding stocks and further inflating prices…. “ http://www.globalissues.org/article/758/global-food-crisis-2008

    In 2010 : Fmr. President Clinton Apologizes for Trade Policies that Destroyed Haitian Rice Farming – “We Made a Devil’s Bargain”

    “President Bill Clinton, now the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, publicly apologized last month for forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported, subsidized US rice during his time in office. The policy wiped out Haitian rice farming and seriously damaged Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient.” http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/1/clinton_rice

    Sure looks like politics had a lot to do with the increase in food prices. Blaming Bio-fuel hides the real causes. The free trade agreements and repeal of laws regulating speculation with food commodities.

  110. TRM says:

    “TRM says:October 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm”
    Crazy idea 101. If they don’t want it sold in their country in order to keep the price high for their producers then they should pay shipping to the areas where starvation are occurring.
    ” ferd berple says: October 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm”
    That has been done before. It destroys the market for farmers in the countries where people are hungry, driving farmers out of business, ensuring that even more people starve the next year.
    —————————————————————————————
    Not when New Zealand removed all subsidies. Within 5 years they were employing more people in agriculture, producing and exporting more. Subsidies distort and food marketing boards restrict production to protect the producers. I’m not saying we should allow other countries to dump their excess food in ours. We have tariffs and other ways of dealing with those issues.

    Take away subsidies and allow as much food production as the producers want to. If they don’t want to flood their own country’s market they can cut production or change business. Restricting production of food and allowing it to be destroyed to keep it off the market and keep prices high is just a sad example of central planning which does not work.

  111. Mark Buehner says:

    “The free trade agreements and repeal of laws regulating speculation with food commodities.”
    Free trade isn’t to blame- the subsidies that allow nations like the US to sell food for less than they should be able to is to blame. Without the subsidies, Haiti should have no problem producing rice cheaper than the US can ship it to them for. The problem is the trade isn’t actually free. Protectionism doesn’t work.

  112. Mark Buehner says:

    “Which led to cardboard strawberries that looked nice in their little basket but tasted horrible. It led to hard peaches that were all pretty on the outside but had no flavor in the inside. I can’t see very many advantages to this next push for engineered food. ”

    Here’s one advantage- starving people may not care if their strawberries and peaches don’t taste as good as they do at whole foods. And rotten strawberries taste a lot worse. There is a market for organic foods and you can go get them if you are willing to pay for them. But for the other 90% of the world that just wants to be able to eat, genetically modified foods save lives.

  113. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    More Americans than Chinese can’t put food on the table

    By Zachary Roth | The Lookout – 2 hrs 39 mins ago

    The number of Americans who lack access to basic necessities like food and health care is now higher than it was at the peak of the Great Recession, a survey released Thursday found. And in a finding that could worsen fears of U.S. decline, the share of Americans struggling to put food on the table is now three times as large as the share of the Chinese population in the same position.

    Meanwhile, Gallup found that just 6 percent of Chinese said there were times in the past 12 months when they lacked enough money for food for themselves or their family, compared to 19 percent of Americans. Just three years ago, those results were almost reversed: 16 percent of Chinese couldn’t put food on the table at times, compared to 9 percent of Americans.

    “Just three years ago…” Is that within the “It’s all Bush’s fault!” window?

    In personal news that is of course no way whatsoever possibly related, my old lawn tractor mower died. Noting the carburetor wasn’t getting gas, I checked the lines (standard reinforced rubbery hose, not metal). The government-mandated alcohol gas (aka “up to” 10% ethanol, E10) had caused the inside of the lines to turn into black rubbery sludge. Replacing them didn’t help, even though (some) gas was entering the carb it still wouldn’t run. Well, just down the road a neighbor was selling his old lawn tractor cheap, which was in much better looking shape. As it turns out he had the same symptoms, engine didn’t want to stay running, and when he tried running it just then it wouldn’t start at all. Bought it anyway (looked nearly new), pushed it home.

    Both tractors have similar Tecumseh gas engines. While looking for a carb rebuild kit for the just-acquired one, I was told Tecumseh went bankrupt. Wikipedia says Tecumseh, an American manufacturer, sold their famous engine business to a holding company in 2007, then doing business as Tecumseh Power, which closed in 2008. So original parts were hard to come by but aftermarket were more available. The “farm and country” store had an original carb listed, $180 +S&H&tax. Well, after mild internet searching, I found replacement carbs for both for less that $85 total. Easy install, both tractors now run fine.

    Note A: Okay, where are those people who keep saying the alcohol gas doesn’t cause problems? I found many online reports of small engine repair shops seeing record business due to it. There are recommendations to drain off the alcohol gas before storing, from the tank and the carb, or run until empty. Newsflash, lawn tractors aren’t made for easily draining off the gas, as well as lots of other lawn equipment. STA-BIL, long-noted as an additive that allows fresh gasoline to be stored for long periods by stabilizing the more volatile elements, now makes a special ethanol version. How many consumers would voluntarily buy this equipment-wrecking alcohol gas?

    Note B: The replacement carbs were from Oregon. Despite the distinctly-American company name, they were made in China.

  114. Carrick says:

    Great article, Anthony. Thanks for posting it.

  115. John G says:

    These are suggestions for government to control the land, the means of production and the distribution of the product. In other words it’s a socialist utopia. It will fail for the same reasons every socialist utopia fails, no centralized government composed of a few, however smart intellectuals has the knowledge to perform those control functions to get an optimal result. Only the interaction of all of the individuals actually involved in food production and consumption can make the decisions best for them, i.e. only a free market, can optimize those decisions. A couple of centuries of experimentation shows that to be the case.

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