National Association of Wheat Growers reverses policy on climate change – opposes EPA regulation

From DTN News: NAWG Reverses Policy on Climate Change
(
story link here)


A statement Friday from Karl Scronce, National Association of Wheat Growers president and a wheat producer from Klamath Falls, Ore.:

“The NAWG Board of Directors met this morning via conference call and voted 26 to 2 to approve a new resolution regarding greenhouse gas regulation. The Board also voted 24 to zero to remove existing resolutions relating to greenhouse gas regulation and an agriculture cap-and-trade program.

“The new resolution reads:

“’NAWG is opposed to greenhouse gas legislation or regulation that has a negative impact on production agriculture. NAWG will strive for a net economic benefit to farmers, agriculture and food production. We believe neither greenhouse gas regulation nor legislation should take effect until the major carbon emitting countries of the world have agreed to regulate their own greenhouse gases in a like manner to ours. NAWG urges USDA to do a detailed economic analysis of any legislation or regulation before it becomes law. Furthermore, NAWG will oppose EPA regulation and will work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.’

NAWG staff and grower-leaders plan to continue to work on this issue to achieve an outcome that the Board feels is in the best interest of our grower-members. “

Here is the official NAWG resolution statement at the NAGW website

h/t to WUWT reader “CuriousGeorge)

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146 thoughts on “National Association of Wheat Growers reverses policy on climate change – opposes EPA regulation

  1. For a moment while reading this I though they were going to say that reducing greenhouse gas (i.e. CO2) would be detrimental to all crops and plants. It would be agricultural suicide to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere since plants would certainly not benefit from any cut in CO2, etc, etc, etc…

    But no this is not what followed… and I thought they understood how plants grow. Well, I am sure the farmers do.

  2. This would seem a gutsy move on their part as I am sure that they have been threatened with the removal of subsidies if they don’t cooperate. The potential negatives of CO2 regulation must be very large for them to risk that. Of course, they may just be trolling for pork in exchange for cooperation, but that is a dangerous game.

  3. Why should anyone other than wheat growers have any interest in what a wheat growers lobby organisation has to say?

    Ray, I think you’ve been taken in by the “CO2 is plant food” propaganda. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food.

  4. RW, Are you really suggesting that:
    a) O2 is not important to humans?
    b) CO2 is not important to plants?

  5. And how long can you go without breathing? A human being can survive days without food or water. O2, not so long.

    This is open defiance of the AGW religion. It doesn’t matter by who, so much, as just the fact of the public defiance itself.

  6. Three cheers for NAWG. I especially liked the sentence “Furthermore, NAWG will oppose EPA regulation and will work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.”

    I might even cough up a small donation to such a cause, should a reliable legal-expense fund be established and identified to the public.

    I wonder if NAWG ever considered the alternative name “Domestic Association of Wheat Growers.” We country boys could more easily relate to the acronym.

  7. Narrow mindedness. We all eat and benefit from wheat. Low prices and higher yields are beneficial. I can’t imagine tax collected from CO2 output would be directed to American Farmers. I do know that taxes will increase fuel prices.

  8. LOL – O2 is not “food” to humans in the same way CO2 is “food” to plants… frankly I was literally laughing out loud at your comment, RW.

    And seriously, if you don’t care, why on Earth did you click in????

    Meanwhile, GOOD for NAWG… next step for them is to create a better name ;) As more and more groups start reading the fine print and realizing all of this C&T and other regulation is just going to kill them, more will push back.

    By the way, if anyone thinks these are “dumb farmers”, I urge them to find out just how many college educated farmers there are, percentage wise. You’d probably be surprised.

  9. Wheat farmers can benefit through Carbon Credit programs that provide $2 to $4 per acre of zero-till or pasture land. But lately, the Carbon Credit markets have tanked so those options may not be available unless the market improves. Cap-and-trade will make that market more viable again so wheat farmers should generally be in favor of the regulations.

    Eventually, however, the EPA is going to go after Nitrogen fertilizer as well since it is the biggest source of N20, the third biggest greenhouse gas. Wheat farmers need a lot of Nitrogen. A very large percentage of Nitrogen fertilizer ends up in the atmosphere as N20 and its greenhouse potential is 300 times that of CO2.

  10. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food.

    I think you may be neglecting the “C” on the front of “CO2”. That stands for Carbon which the plant uses to grow. That makes CO2 a plant food just as our Carbon sources are foods for us. It is odd to think of something “eating” the air, but that’s what happens. There’s Carbon in the air just as there’s Carbon in a BK Broiler.

  11. Another part of this is that a large part of the farming community would not benefit from the carbon offset provisions in the House climate bill.

    From the Texas A&M report
    Partial excerpt (conclusions): “In general, the feedgrain/oilseed farms located in or near the Corn Belt and wheat farms located in the Great Plains, have higher average annual net cash farm income under the three cap and trade alternatives.
    Most cotton and dairy farms and all of the rice farms and ranches will likely experience lower net cash farm incomes under the cap and trade alternatives. The rice farms and cattle ranches, are assumed to not participate in carbon sequestration activities so they experience higher costs, without carbon revenue and their commodity prices do not increase enough to offset higher costs.
    Most of the feedgrain and plains wheat farms have higher average ending cash reserves under either of the C&T without Ag Carbon Credits or C&T with Ag Carbon Credits scenarios. In addition, all but a few of the feedgrain/oilseed farms end the analysis period with higher cash reserves even under the saturation scenario. Eight wheat farms are better off under the C&T with Ag Carbon Credits scenario, while one cotton and no rice farms or cattle ranches are better off. One dairy (WID145) is better off because it produces and sells surplus corn and soybeans which are projected to see higher prices as a result of cap and trade.
    The average level of carbon prices necessary for the farms to be as well off as under the Baseline were estimated for farms who would be worse off under the C&T with Ag Carbon Credits scenario. Given the assumptions in this study, for some farms such as rice and the cattle ranches, no level of carbon prices
    would make them as well off as the Baseline. While a few farms would be as well off as the Baseline with only slightly higher carbon prices each year, there are also several farms that would need carbon prices of $80 per ton per year or more to make them as well off as the Baseline. ”

    End excerpt

    Here’s the A&M report (pdf). Contains a US map showing representative farms and expect gain or loss. They only considered Feedgrain, Dairy, Wheat, Beef Cattle, Cotton, and Rice, so the timber, fruit, and veggie folks are not included. I have no idea how they (timber, etc. ) might fare, but probably in line with the Cotton and rice producers. In other words; a loss due to higher input costs, and the unwillingness of consumers to foot the bill.

    http://www.afpc.tamu.edu/pubs/2/526/rr%2009-2%20paper%20-%20for%20web.pdf

    This means veggies, cotton, root crops, fruits, livestock, etc. are left out of any potential benefit (or offset of increased costs ) if this or similar legislation were to pass. This inequitable treatment (aside from the science debate ) is one of the major issues with this poorly crafted bill (Waxman-Markey and it’s cousins or potential offspring ).

    And it hi-lites the widespread incompetence, in dealing with reality, that is being demonstrated in DC.

  12. In the future, agriculture will mop up the huge unemployment caused by cap and trade. I envision a new green agrarian economy in which 25% of the population toil in the fields, singing songs as they wield hoes made from sustainable wood in a carbon neutral economy.

  13. Sorry, RW, I beg to differ with both your points . . . .

    WRT “Why should anyone other than wheat growers have any interest in what a wheat growers lobby organisation has to say?”

    There is often a flip side to every cause for which lobbyists lobby. To take an example from recent news . . . . a fishermen’s association that lobbys for more water for fish, if successful, could mean less water for farmers; note the current “drought” in California’s San Joachim valley.

    I hate it when politicians use “special interests” as a dirty word. We all have aspirations and objectives and they can often be in competition or even conflict with each other. It’s good to know what other “interests” are out there and in what they are interested.

    WRT “CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food”

    No one, probably disagrees. What humans need to live is food, air and water. I think that most agree that “food” has caloric value but that does not make air or water any less essential for life.

    Green plants manufacture their own “food” but that process does not run without CO2 being available.

    Anyway, that’s what I think.

  14. Who Cares??

    Every farm state has TWO SENATORS who care, deeply, what “wheat growers” think. And, Obama had better “care deeply” what those “Farm State Senators” think.

  15. In France, recently there was a poll concerning the carbon tax that should brought into operation in 2010. The result is: 74% of the interviewees are opposed to it, of which 56% are totally opposed!
    This tax will make energies that produce CO2 (oil, gas, coal) more expensive and this in a time of deep crisis. Electricity should be excluded from this new tax. (Most of electricity in France is produced by nuclear energy.) There is still much discussion concerning the amount of the increase.

    The government is not amused. Now, they propose to give another name to the tax. Instead of the name “carbon tax”, they may speak in the future of “energy climate tax”.

    The poll has been done by telephone on 2 and 3 September among a sample selection of the population of 1,006 persons of more than 18 years.

    French website: http://info.france2.fr/france/75-des-Fran%C3%A7ais-oppos%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-la-taxe-carbone-56970853.html

  16. The statement is half a loaf. All they say is they aren’t going to suffer the consequences of a handicap if others don’t too.

  17. “’NAWG is opposed to greenhouse gas legislation or regulation that has a negative impact on production agriculture. NAWG will strive for a net economic benefit to farmers, agriculture and food production. We believe neither greenhouse gas regulation nor legislation should take effect until the major carbon emitting countries of the world have agreed to regulate their own greenhouse gases in a like manner to ours. NAWG urges USDA to do a detailed economic analysis of any legislation or regulation before it becomes law. Furthermore, NAWG will oppose EPA regulation and will work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.’”

    That is a clear text, except for this part:
    “We believe neither greenhouse gas regulation nor legislation should take effect until the major carbon emitting countries of the world have agreed to regulate their own greenhouse gases in a like manner to ours”.

    In other words, “We are prepared to jump of the cliff if other countries make a similar decision”.

    I think they have made a mistake to add this text in their declaration since we do not know what the outcome of Copenhagen will be.
    The chances that we will see a Global Climate Treaty get slimmer by the day but…
    why take the risk.

    What’s also missed is a clear rejection of the science behind CO2 and a reference to the current cooling trend that already effects crop yields in Canada and North America.

    I applaud their intention to overturn the Supreme Court ruling and to oppose EPA.

    The only opening

  18. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone claim that CO2 is not a plant food. But of course, by nit-picking definitions of ‘plant food,’ Humpty Dumpty could make it mean whatever he wants it to mean. Freeman Dyson points out that corn [maize] will stop growing completely if denied CO2 for even five minutes. If carbon dioxide isn’t a plant food, what is it? Chopped liver? [I note that greenhouse growers don’t put chopped liver into the greenhouse atmosphere. That’s because CO2 works much better.]

    Plants take in CO2, strip out the carbon atom to build cellulose, and emit an O2 molecule. When people eat protein, their bodies use it similarly to plants using the carbon from CO2. Only someone really, really desperate would make a flat statement that CO2 is not a plant food. Any farmer will disagree; fertilizer can be effectively sprayed on plant leaves, as well as being put in the soil.

    But claiming that CO2 isn’t a plant food has now become a necessary fallback position for the climate alarmists; they must demonize CO2, instead of simply admitting the truth: that it is an entirely beneficial, completely harmless, *very* minor trace gas. And if it weren’t for fallback positions, climate alarmists wouldn’t have a position.

    Without CO2 there would be no life on Earth. And if CO2 levels increased from 4 parts in ten thousand to 5 parts in ten thousand, the result would be entirely beneficial. There would be no runaway global warming, no climate catastrophe, no problem of any kind. Plant life would get a boost from the extra plant food. Fewer people would die of starvation — not that Al Gore or Rajendra Pachauri cares.

    All life on Earth will benefit from an increase in atmospheric CO2. That’s exactly what happened when CO2 levels were thousands of parts per million — for hundreds of millions of years at a time: [click on image to expand]. When CO2 levels were higher, the planet was teeming with life. We need more CO2, not less. That’s simply a fact of life.

  19. Curiousgeorge (12:43:39) :

    Another part of this is that a large part of the farming community would not benefit from the carbon offset provisions in the House climate bill.

    Let us not forget the National corn growers were responsible for getting some improvement in the house legislation for farmers. They pushed for and got USDA to be the regulator for carbon sequestration on farm land. Of course they pushed for farming praticed that benifited corn production.

  20. we already have a climate change levy here in the UK, so here’s a thought:

    Climate taxes should become their equivalent as rebates depending on the average monthly temperature if we’re having them at all.

    My only qualm is that these things are natural cycles, so that means the standing joke of the 70’s has become a truth. Taxing us for the air that we breath

  21. And my second proposition is that only believers in AGW, such as Gore, The Royal Society etc should be levied with climate taxes. This rate ought to be increased according to the passion with which they hold the belief. They ought to put their hands in their pockets for what they believe and show that they are backing what they propose

  22. Jerry Lee Davis (12:32:52) :
    “I wonder if NAWG ever considered the alternative name “Domestic Association of Wheat Growers.” ”

    I wonder what title they would then give to the second-in-command of the Association.

  23. Doesn’t mention the real problem, which is wheat is the crop most at risk from global cooling.

    Historically, cold periods reduced wheat production and caused famine.

    And as for CO2 not being plant food. Plants synthesize and animals metabolize (with a few exceptions). A plant denied CO2 will stop growing and then die. Just like an animal would if denied food.

    CO2 is plant food in exactly the same way a hamburger is human food. To claim otherwise is just scientific ignorance.

  24. photosynthesis

    6H2O + 6CO2+ Light Energy —-> C6H12O6+ 6O2

    6 molecules of water + 6 molecules of carbon dioxide —>1 molecule of glucose + 6 molecules of oxygen

    CO2 looks like plant food to me.

  25. I infer that NAWG’s leaderships was hustled into hopping aboard the science-is-settled bandwagon and has since been getting pushback from its membership, causing it to reconsider its stand.

    I hope this is a straw in the wind, and that similar belated pushbacks are occurring in other organizations.

    Its indicative of the slick politicking of the CAWGers, both tactically and strategically, that they’ve managed to enlist so many groups’ Boards and Managements before a reaction occurred. They almost put one over on the public.

  26. “”” RW (12:19:26) :

    Why should anyone other than wheat growers have any interest in what a wheat growers lobby organisation has to say?

    Ray, I think you’ve been taken in by the “CO2 is plant food” propaganda. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food. “””

    Where does all that carbon in plants come from if CO2 is not plant food. Just imagine you are a hydroponic gardner essentially growing plants in air (and water) much like a bromeliad; how are you going to get carbon to make plant material if CO2 isn’t the source of it ?

    Just asking; I’m sure you have a good explanation RW.

  27. Kum Dollison: A drop in global temps. that much is amazing if you look at where temperatures seem like they should be from the SST run-up starting a few months back. Or maybe declining solar output is messing with that mechanism or something, the recent volcanic activity, the effect of 1998 wearing off ect…

    Anyway, my state of Kansas is pretty much in the epicenter of the wheat industry (along with North Dakota) so good for them trying to step back from cap & trade for now.

  28. Farmers. Gotta Luv ’em. Always quick to change when they see what the weather is really doing…

    RW (12:19:26) :
    Why should anyone other than wheat growers have any interest in what a wheat growers lobby organisation has to say?

    Well, for starters, anyone who eats wheat, noodles, bread, …

    There is a very direct connection between weather, government policy, farmers actions in response, and the price of your food.

    Ray, I think you’ve been taken in by the “CO2 is plant food” propaganda. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food.

    Sigh. Have you no clue where the Carbohydrate gets it’s Carbo? From CARBOn in the CO2. Yes, it is most certainly “plant food”.

    And it is well established in the greenhouse operations literature that you experience “co2 fertilization” up to about 2000 ppm at a rate sufficient to justify spending money to add the CO2.

    So, in summary:

    No CO2, No Carbohydrate.

    Got it?

    (If you would like to argue that a gas can not be a fertilizer: First, please look up the TONNAGE of anhydrous ammonia applied as fertilizers to croplands each year. That is not the watery stuff you clean windows with. Anhydrous NH3 is a gas at STP and is sometimes used in refrigeration units as a refrigerant gas since it stays a gas to low temperatures but can be liquified under modest pressures. It is carried in tanks on the tractor and injected into the soil with nozzles as a pressurized liquid, where it promptly evaporates to a gas that mostly adsorbs onto the soil particles and partially absorbs into any moisture in the soil. Gas, as fertilizer, is very well attested. Second, try growing a photosynthetic plant in a zero CO2 atmosphere. Third, measure growth rates as you ramp the CO2 ppm from 100 to 2000 ppm; or just consult the published peer reviewed literature.)

    Now if you want the advanced course… do the math on how much CO2 is sucked out of the air by an acre of trees (or wheat) and ask how long it would take to suck the air to “empty” of CO2. Then ask why is the air not at zero CO2. Then look up the lower bound at which plants stop growing due to CO2 starvation. I did.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/of-trees-volcanos-and-pond-scum/

    My conclusion is that the 2xx ppm level, where xx is below about 50, is darned near the lower limit for reasonable growth in the C3 metabolism plants (which may explain why C4 plants started to evolve when they did – they can work a bit more efficiently with lower CO2, but only a bit.)

    That implies that the world plant growth is strongly CO2 limited and that plant variations (cover, extent, tonnage, growth rate) are far more important than a whole lot of other things in stabilizing CO2 levels. And they stabilize it at the onset of starvation levels for plants (as evidenced by their dramatic response to CO2 fertilization. See the graph in the link).

    CodeTech (12:35:24) :

    Meanwhile, GOOD for NAWG… next step for them is to create a better name ;) As more and more groups start reading the fine print and realizing all of this C&T and other regulation is just going to kill them, more will push back.

    It starts when one, just 1, stands up and says: “The Emperor Has No Clothes”. Watch for more farm groups to do the same. The truckers will not be far behind. Then come the “ag inputs” folks. Shortly after, the grocers will “catch clue”… And as soon as the first person has to buy an $8 loaf of plain white bread; well, look up the history of “bread riots”… There is a very important historical precedent here for our president…

    By the way, if anyone thinks these are “dumb farmers”, I urge them to find out just how many college educated farmers there are, percentage wise. You’d probably be surprised.

    My alma mater has an entire major in Ag. Econ. It was a bigger department and more rigorous than the Econ department from which I graduated. I wanted a “business major” but was told that this U.C. Campus did not have one, and since Ag. Econ was almost the same and I ought to just take that. (And they were right – but I didn’t want to be explaining why I had an “Ag” degree the rest of my life, so I “wimpped out” and took regular Econ. I was from farm country and trying to “cut the leash”. Wish now I’d embraced it more…)

    Realize that was just ONE of the Ag related majors. (One of the “fun” elective folks would take was “Tractor Driving 10” … for non-majors. Majors got to learn the mechanics and operations of the bigger stuff.) Most of it was biology or related. Some was vet med. We had cows with “portholes” in their sides for feed and digestion studies. Viticulture and Enology was it’s own school (complete with winery and brandy distillery a few stories tall – all glass for observation / instruction. Just gorgeous.)

    The Ag College was one of the biggest on the campus. We had 3000 acres+ planted in many crops. And any farm kid with a dad who could pay and the GPA to get in wanted that degree. And not just as a paper chase, but because they learned how to get more money out of less dirt. And they knew they would be making those decisions when they inherited the land.

    Look around the country. The number of “Ag Land Grant” colleges is very large, and they crank out a LOT of degree bearing farmers every year. Texas A & M, for example. Even some you may not think of, like U.C. Riverside (not my alma mater) that was an orange / citrus farming Ag school at it’s start. Still has a lot of Ag majors, IIRC. Still big in citrus R&D.

    So when the Wheat Growers are meeting, there will be a lot of degrees in the room, and a lot of them will be very technical. (I still shudder when I think of the “soil structure” class I audited – complete with physical chemistry of adsorbed fertilizers and biology of soil organism; including their impact on the soil and the plants therein. Another part of why I decided against Ag. Econ… )

  29. Jerry (13:48:42) :

    photosynthesis

    6H2O + 6CO2+ Light Energy —-> C6H12O6+ 6O2

    6 molecules of water + 6 molecules of carbon dioxide —>1 molecule of glucose + 6 molecules of oxygen

    CO2 looks like plant food to me.

    This is analogous to herbivores (and omnivores) consuming starch, breaking it into glucose (and water) and the glucose is used by mitochondria to power cells. In both cases feedstock (CO2 and sunlight for plants, starch for animals) produces glucose. In both cases glucose reserves are used for power throughout the day and night.

    RW, (the other RW, not this RW), if CO2 isn’t plant food, what is it?

  30. A legal word here, on overturning U.S. Supreme Court decisions (they are not rulings, by the way).

    Only the U.S. Supreme Court can overturn its decisions. The Court does not like to do this, and seldom does. Generally, many years must pass before the Court will even hear another case that would have a chance of overturning a previous decision.

    A famous example is the Brown v Board of Education case, that overturned Plessy v Ferguson; both cases addressed the rights of blacks in the U.S. Plessy was decided in 1896, Brown in 1954, nearly 60 years later. The passage of time, different Justices on the Court that change the judicial philosophy – liberal vs conservative, and changes in society all are conducive to overturning a decision.

    At this time, even with Sotomayor now on the court, and even if Stevens does retire and Obama appoints his successor – without doubt another liberal – the Court’s philosophy does not change. It will remain the Kennedy Court, because Justice Kennedy so often represents the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision. The conservatives on the Court are Justices Thomas, Scalia, Alito, and Chief Justice Roberts. Presently, the liberals are Justices Breyer, Stevens, Ginsberg, and Sotomayor. Justice Kennedy votes both liberal and conservative.

    It is no accident that liberal Justice Souter waited until a liberal Democrat (Obama) was president before he retired. It is also no accident that liberal Justice Stevens does, too, assuming he does indeed retire very soon.

  31. RW … though I’m sure this has been beat to the ground …

    I can’t believe you think CO2 is not Plant Food. That’s funny.

  32. Roger Sowell (14:42:42) :
    Thanks for the insight.
    The American public should be very worried to have a court that follows the political agenda of the President of the USA.

  33. 78% of the atmosphere is Nitrogen. So much for fear of it as a greenhouse gas.

    Higher concentrtations of CO2 decrease the need for water consumption for plants to grow. How about that. Farmers have a lot more science behind them than city slickers have. In fact, The urban folk are a disaster when it comes to ag practices. Read some of the wild notions from Waxmman

  34. “NAWG will oppose EPA regulation and will work to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.”

    That, to me, is the most interesting comment. Thanks for your legal analysis, too, Roger.

    Personally, I think the power ceded to bureaucracies such as the EPA is unconstitutional in the first place, but that’s just my opinion.

    Oh, and RW, I’m assuming you just forgot to find out exactly how photosynthesis works and what it’s purpose is, correct? Hehe…

    Mark

  35. Climate change is a crock… we all know that the moon has more influence than my neighbour’s SUV! When will people learn! (PS The moon’s not welcome at my house any more… I am a man of principles!)

  36. Mark T, and Ron de Haan, thanks fellows. Glad I could contribute.

    Mark T, re unconstitutional power ceded to bureaucracies such as EPA. This is constitutional, if it is done properly. The reasoning is that the business of the government is so vast and so specialized that the elected officials, Senators and Representatives in the House, cannot possibly “do it all.” Thus, specialized agencies were established, sometimes known as the fourth branch of government. Where it gets tricky is the Agencies have power to write regulations, police those regulations, and hold quasi-judicial hearings on those regulations — this is NOT separation of powers. Parties brought before the Agency’s judicial arm can appeal an adverse ruling into the appropriate court.

    Recently all this was seen in action as President Bush established new government agencies such as the Transportation Security Agency for frisking airport passengers, and Obama is proposing a few, too.

  37. There’s also an international trade aspect with this. Assuming a cap&trade passes that results in a net increase in input costs, farmers will demand some kind of arrangement to offset their costs. Without it some domestic producers would face stiffer competition from foreign producers, who may very well be on the receiving (handout ) end of international carbon credits (subsidy). In effect our farmers (and consumers) would be paying foreign farmers to compete with our domestic farm industry. This is especially true of imported fruits and veggies and other farm products that are traded internationally. If there is no subsidy, tax break, etc. to offset additional cost they will have to raise wholesale prices. Either way, the consumer can expect higher prices at the supermarket if any kind of bill imposes additional cost on producers in this country.

    I know the talk is that such costs could be offset thru “efficiency”, etc., but there are limits to efficiency and yield and there’s damn little “fat” left in the system.

    Could even develop into a trade war.

  38. Bill McClure (13:30:22) : I applaud you for mentioning how the USDA will be regulator for agricultural-impacted parts of the Cap&Trade bill rather than the EPA. Pushed by Representative Peterson from Minnesota, this switch of responsibility is a huge relief to agricultural interests — the EPA is not thought of fondly in most farming circles, but the USDA is a dear friend with huge benefits. This move has been apparently neglected by MSM.

  39. Deanster (14:48:59) :

    RW … though I’m sure this has been beat to the ground …

    No, no – the CO2 has been beaten through the stomata and into the chloroplasts. Plants release CO2 into the ground through respiration since roots grow where the sun don’t shine. :-)

  40. RW. Thank for for your information regarding the uselessness of CO2 for life. I have now returned my CO2 incubator to the manufacturer, as I obviously was conned into thinking that my laboratory cell cultures require it (strange how those same cultures are now dying).

  41. Roger Sowell (15:12:56) :

    Where it gets tricky is the Agencies have power to write regulations, police those regulations, and hold quasi-judicial hearings on those regulations — this is NOT separation of powers.

    This is more of my problem rather than the simple existence of these agencies. The President can essentially bypass the legislative branch through use of agencies such as the EPA (since they serve at his behest), which is unconstitutional. If they were serving merely as advisors to Congress and/or the President, I would not mind, but that is clearly not the case.

    Mark

  42. Wheat farmers will fold on this issue as soon as they are reminded of how quickly their $2 Billion per year subsidies can be cut from the budget.

    It’s unfortunate but people have demonstrated repeatedly that they prefer government handouts to freedom.

    If I’m wrong and the farmers stand strong on this issue even after having their subsidies threatened, then it will be an important sign that the Warmer/Regulator alliance is in real trouble.

  43. All,

    Nowhere in this discussion did I see a mention that the carbon tax will increase fuel prices. Somehow the ground has to be tilled, the crop planted, fertilizer and other stuff added, harvested, transported, prepared and such. All through this process is the buring of fuel. For the citified in the crowd, sometimes that means many miles between field and elevator because the farms that produce this stuff run to the hundreds of acres – um a whole bunch of city blocks!

    Do yourselves a favor and get out of your pollution and come to the country – the real country with growing plants, cows, pigs and such. For a real kick tour a feed lot to see what happens. Ya know, that produce did one time have dirt on it – that steak had legs and mooed (sp?) it doesn’t just appear in the grocers case by magic.

    And yup, (takes wheat stalk out of mouth and spits) I agree, there’s lots o smart farmers around – they have to be, takes smart people to feed most of the world!

    Mike

  44. H chance
    I do know that taxes will increase fuel prices

    Bentley
    All,

    Nowhere in this discussion did I see a mention that the carbon tax will increase fuel prices. Somehow the ground has to be tilled, the crop planted, fertilizer and other stuff added, harvested, transported, prepared and such

    I mentioned fuel costs. Last year Nitrogen hit 1,000 dollars a ton mid 2008

    I saw a lot of acres in CRP which is a crop subsidy for idling land. If the liberals tried to raise crops, we would become like russia and be a food importer very soon.

  45. RW… thrown a firecracker and then disappeared? Afraid to debate? Afraid to think again? Afraid to look at the real science that’s been offered you?

    NAWG “We believe neither greenhouse gas regulation nor legislation should take effect until the major carbon emitting countries of the world have agreed to regulate their own greenhouse gases in a like manner to ours” seems like the sensible thing to say, policy-wise – it doesn’t mean they don’t see through the science scam.

  46. It is a big mistake for any person or organization not to question the science behind the CO2 hoax.

    The simple statement that CO2 is not a climate driver but an essential gas that supports all life on this planet should do it. End of discussion.

    The same goes for AGW.
    What AGW?

    There has not been any rise in temperature on the Southern Hemisphere and the temperature rise in the Northers Hemisphere stopped ten years ago and reversed into cooling.

    The failure to address the basic science will cost us dearly as long as long as the subject stays on the negotiating table.

    In the end it will bite us in the ass because any negotiable subject ends up as a compromise agreement.

    If the “problem” is off the table there is no room for any dealing and no compromise can be made.

    I know I am not a diplomat or a politician but I think that organizations like th NAWG should be as clear as some of their members who stated that Global Warming was nothing more but “a bunch of Hog Wash” and he did not accept any Carbon subsidies
    because he new who in the end would have to pay the bill.

    I don’t know what you think about this view but in my opinion it’s the kind of clear common sense we need to get out of this mess.

    No compromise.

  47. Henry,

    Oops! missed that in my read through, sorry!

    Even so, I wanted to lay out why fuel is so important to a large group that has never seen a farm. I think some believe the farmer hops in his pickup, drives to the field and pulls the already wrapped and priced product from some natural freezer.

    One of the most enlightening trips I’ve taken was to Jamaca and a banana plantation. opened my eyes!

    Mike

  48. My advice to climate nuts: If they feel over-exited and mentally disturbed by not achieving their dream climate change/ global warming/cap & trade/ communist phantasies, it is because they are over-oxygenated (hyper-ventilated) so the best procedure for them to relax is, everytime they feel this way, to take a paper bag, put it over your mouth and nose, and breath and exhale in it: The CO2 intake will alcalinize their blood and make these sympthoms disappear.
    Just cool it down!

  49. @ Michael J. Bentley (15:56:35) : You make a good point. The issue of fuel (and electricity ) in farming is pretty well known in general terms I think, although the details of those and other “inputs” such as INPK (Industrial fertilizers from mining & natural gas, etc. ) isn’t generally known among consumers, other than thru the price they pay at the grocery or the bag of fertilizer they buy for their lawn or garden. It’s been rather thoroughly covered at farming websites such as the DTN/Progressive Farmer site among others including govt. and university studies. Not sure it would be worthwhile to reiterate all that here. Farms ( for the “city folk” ) also us a heck of a lot of electricity to run the business.

    Of course, it doesn’t stop at the farm as I’m sure you know, but trickles down thru the entire economy any time a staple commodity is impacted, including non-farm wages, welfare and food stamp costs and so on.

    @ Lucy Skywalker (16:24:59) : NAWG is making the point with that statement that they are concerned about unfair foreign competition , and letting the politicians know they expect a level playing field. Think cotton, citrus, etc., also. NAWG is only the latest in a string of ag groups who have problems with this bill and other similar bills and regulations. Secretary Vilsack has taken a beating from many of these groups.

  50. Why in the Hell would these guys have EVER been against something that clearly helps their product (wheat) grow significantly better???

  51. Ron de Haan (16:48:22) :

    No compromises. Put the Wheat Ears back on the penny, not on G&H trading stamps.

  52. MattN (17:45:51) :

    Ask Bernie Madeoff how he managed to con so many for so long. You mix one part Truth with 1 part con, stir thoroughly and serve with a reassuring smile.

  53. MattN (17:45:51) :

    Id wager as an educated guess, that with AGW, comes bio fuels, which increases demand on their product, and generally pushes up land and commodity prices, supply and demand and all that eh…. they stood to gain out of it on face value.;-)

  54. Good on the farmers and it’s representative organization. They have denounced the politics and policies of reducing CO2 and refuse to participate in perpetrating economic suicide. They also need to state an anti AGW position using several scientists papers and conclusions that cast doubt on the AGW Hypothesis as well.

    The bad science of the AGW hypothesis needs more attention.

  55. >> RW (12:19:26) :

    Ray, I think you’ve been taken in by the “CO2 is plant food” propaganda. CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food. <<

    I recall a famous experiment performed several centuries ago (but I had to look it up). Jan Baptist van Helmont (1580-1644) performed the famous experiment. The experiment was incorrectly conceived, incorrectly executed, and incorrectly analyzed, but it led to other experiments demonstrating that plants obtain all but a few percent of their mass from the air. Essentially your botany knowledge is about 400 years behind the times.

    Jim


  56. Henry chancre (16/17/07)

    “I saw a lot of acres in CRP which is a crop subsidy for idling land. If the liberals tried to raise crops, we would become like russia and be a food importer very soon.”

    Care to explain how paying landowners to NOT grow food increases food production?

    “God gave us farmers two strong hands so we could grab all we can get.” Thanks to J. Heller

    All together now

    Farm subsidies good, other subsidies bad(evil communism)
    Farm subsidies good, other subsidies bad
    Farm subsidies good, other subsidies bad

    Ah, now I feel better.

    Rw’s statement is what I believe is called a Narrow Semantic Quibble in Philosophy circles(but I could be wrong).

  57. rbateman (17:49:29) :

    Ron de Haan (16:48:22) :

    “No compromises. Put the Wheat Ears back on the penny, not on G&H trading stamps”.

    Yes, that’s the idea.
    in the mean time the Third World needs modern coal plants, an electric grid and free trade without intervention of subsidized food products that are flushed into their home markets and kill their local businesses.

    There is so much opportunity and progress to be made if we lift the Third World out of poverty. We can do it at a fraction of the costs of the current “Development Budgets” distributed via the UN and related NGO’s.

  58. Michael J. Bentley (15:56:35) : “All, (n)owhere in this discussion did I see a mention that the carbon tax will increase fuel prices.”

    Nor that a major part of the price of water is pumping cost, which is related to energy and fuel prices. Ever try to farm without water?

  59. USDA Wheat Baseline, 2005-14

    The U.S. wheat sector is facing challenges to its long-term profitability. Planted area in the United States has dropped as wheat loses its competitiveness to other U.S. crops, particularly soybeans and corn. Domestic food use of wheat has declined in recent years as a result of changing consumer preferences and improved bread preservation technology. Ukraine and Russia are competitive with the United States in foreign markets in years when their production is high. The effects of these and other changes on the U.S. wheat sector were evaluated in the preparation of USDA’s 10-year baseline projections.

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/Wheat/2005baseline.htm

    So when are the Dems going to start talking about high tariffs to non carbon tax countries? Because that is another solution to the wheat farmers objections.

    And it seems that the biofuel crops are also threatening our daily bread.

  60. Roger Sowell (14:42:42) :
    A legal word here, on overturning U.S. Supreme Court decisions (they are not rulings, by the way). Only the U.S. Supreme Court can overturn its decisions. The Court does not like to do this, and seldom does. Generally, many years must pass before the Court will even hear another case that would have a chance of overturning a previous decision.

    Congress may overturn a Supreme Court decision.

    In the CO2 case, it may declare CO2 not a pollutant, or limit the EPA’s ability to regulate it.

    Congress may also limit the Court’s jurisdiction per Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution –
    In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall
    have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    Given the rubber stamp composition of the current Congress, neither is likely.

  61. I always knew CO2 was essential, but RW caused me to look a bit more, and I discover it really is the most essential compound of life. Thankd for that, RW!

    Here’s what I discovered, although much of it is not ‘peer-reviewed’, I’ll wager, most of it seems to agree:

    1. Below 150 ppm of CO2, plants will just die. That may be 100 ppm, depending on the plant.

    2. Below 200 ppm plants will have restricted growth. That may be as high as 250 ppm, though.

    3. Doubling CO2 levels (from normal) will increase plant growth by about 40% is all other resources are abundant.

    4. Doubling CO2 levels if any other resources is limited can increase growth levels by as much as 100%.

    That last one is the kicker. Anywhere there is a shortage of resources for plants, you could double plant growth by doubling CO2 levels. So all those poor countries, that are typically poor because of a lack of abundant food in the past, unlike Europe, would benefit MOST from increased CO2.

    A fairly sobering thought.

    The other thing that I considered is this: All of the carbon (well, to all intents and purposes) in a plant comes from CO2. All of the carbon in animals comes from plants or other animals, and therefore plants. Everything we (and all animals) are made of is, in essence, carbon, proteins being the building blocks of life, and carbohydrates the fuel or energy.

    So all living things originated as CO2. CO2 is not just plant food, it IS life!

  62. The American Farmer and Rancher feed more people than any one other group of
    producers on earth.Wreck that, and people will starve.But then again that may be the
    idea…

  63. BTW, I know not ALL of us is carbon, there is water to keep it all in solution and chemical reactions happening (in fact almost all of the extraordinary properties of water are what makes life possible), and funny bits like calcium to build s skeleton.

    I always used to think that if we designed a body (robot), we’d improve on nature by making the skeleton from hollow tubes of metal, light and strong. Then I discovered that calcium is a metal, and not only are bones hollow tubes, they are lighter, stronger and more flexible than much of what we make with metals.

    It’s almost as if it were designed ….. No, let’s not go there!

  64. RW (12:19:26) :
    . . .CO2 is no more plant food than O2 is human food.

    RW, ya gotta learn to follow my sterling example and save the goofy comments until last when the thread is losing followers. Unless, of course, you mistakenly thought you were posting on RealClimate.

    The original Graybill (of Mannian hockey stick infamy) tree ring paper – LaMarche, et al, 1984 – proposed widened bristlecone pine tree rings were the result of CO2 fertilization, not global warming, so the roots of CO2 as tree fodder predate the current faddish notion CO2 as blanket.

  65. It wasn’t long ago – last year? – that we had a shortage of wheat where I live, along with the higher prices that one might expect. At about the same time, I took a trip to Idaho and was astonished to see tens of thousands of acres that used to grow wheat now growing weeds, sagebrush, and windmills. And the owners of the land were driving fancy new trucks and building fancy new houses. Your tax dollars at work.

  66. Mike McMillan (19:50:33)

    No, only the Supreme Court can overturn any of its decisions. The Supreme Court interprets the law, whereas Congress passes laws.

    If Congress does not like a Supreme Court decision, Congress may pass a new law that the Supreme Court may then rule on. Thus, you are correct that the Congress may pass a law regarding CO2 as a pollutant.

    And what the Supreme Court actually held was that the EPA had the authority to regulate CO2. The Bush administration’s EPA chose not to regulate CO2, but Obama in his vast wisdom is now regulating CO2 as a dangerous pollutant.

    The actual language from the case, Massachusetts v EPA, is “Because greenhouse gases fit well within the Clean Air Act’s capacious definition of “air pollutant,” we hold that EPA has the statutory authority to regulate the emission of such gases from new motor vehicles.”

  67. When the crap & fade house of cards comes tumbling down, it will make fanny & freddy look like schoolyard play.

  68. Why is it whenever I read about Co2 everybody gets it wrong?

    Plant Basics: 1. Plants generally require a medium to grow in.
    2. Hydroponics either require a soiless mix or straight water.
    The water solution must have a proper nutrient mix (n-p-k)
    or the plant will die (even with lots of CO2). The nutrients are
    the food:nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. The nutrients
    are drawn up through the ROOTS.
    3. CO2 is a heavy odorless colorless gas which is critical to the
    process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis produces chlorophyll.
    Chlorophyll is green and gives plants their basic colour, so it
    really is the plants blood so to speak.
    4. CO2 fertilization is a misnomer and is wholly incorrect. Increasing
    the concentration of CO2 increases the RATE of phtosynthesis and
    thereby the plant grows larger by increasing its volume. This
    includes ALL of the plant, from its roots to its tip and any fruit
    associated with it. Therefore CO2 is solely involved in the
    transpiration (breathing process) of the plant.
    5. Chlorophyll allows the plants to absorb the sun’s energy and
    produce carbohydrates(simple sugars and starches).

    To recap:The plants food is drawn from the soil along with water
    through the roots. In the presence of sunlight and air
    the plant is able to synthesize what it needs to grow.
    Enhancing CO2 makes the whole process much more
    efficient. So CO2 in, and, of itself is technically NOT
    plant food. Plants can draw nutrients and water through
    their leaves but one cannot grow a plant decently only
    by spraying the leaves.

    Also when talking about CO2 one cannot separate the C from the
    O2 since the carbon is covalently bonded to the two oxygen atoms.
    The ridiculous nonsense that CO2 is toxic or a pollutant makes my
    hair stand on end whenever I read or hear it. Reducing CO2 from
    present levels will only ensure smaller crop sizes and many people
    will indeed end up starving(not the elite). The wingnut politicians
    who are apparently a separate species of nitwits will be the ones
    responsible.

    Whether a skeptic or alarmist lets just get the basic facts straight.

  69. “”Brian (00:26:12) :

    Whether a skeptic or alarmist lets just get the basic facts straight.””

    Thanks. Appreciate the distinction now. You are quite right. Sad lack of knowledge on both sides of the divide.


  70. 5. Chlorophyll allows the plants to absorb the sun’s energy and
    produce carbohydrates(simple sugars and starches).


    The sugars, starches and cellulose are primarily made from H2O and CO2 from the air. Thus almost all the weight of the plant is from the air, and all its carbon from CO2.

  71. Brian (00:26:12) :

    Why is it whenever I read about Co2 everybody gets it wrong?

    3. CO2 is a heavy odorless colorless gas which is critical to the
    process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis produces chlorophyll.
    Chlorophyll is green and gives plants their basic colour, so it
    really is the plants blood so to speak.

    Photosynthesis takes place in chlorophyll, one does not directly produce the other. Chlorophyll’s photosynthesis produces sugar and oxygen, some of both are needed by the plant. The blood of plants is sap and is not usually green; the green in leaves is because the chlorophyll in their cells is near the surface. You might be bright red or bluish, but you might have noticed that most people aren’t. Put some maple syrup on your pancakes and keep reading.

  72. First, we have to get our definitions straight.

    From my handy on-line dictionary:

    Food n. “Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.”

    CO2 is plant food. QED.

  73. All,

    To put a point on my comments (and thanks to all who elaborated)

    Those that control energy control the people…totally…

    No wonder the EPA is quietly going about its power grab –
    while the gov’munt dazzles the elecorate with glitzy expensive health
    care and bailout legislation.

    Mike

  74. Congress can also pass a law removing things from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. They have done so in the past but not very often.

  75. Since plants are mostly carbohydrates (carbon and water) and only contain minerals/nutrients from the soil as a minor constituent, one can fairly say plants necessarily get most of their food from the air. To take it to the extreme consider lichens and spanish moss that take everything from the air except for a few minerals they take from the rock or tree upon which they live. Actually many plants can be grown like that, consider aeroponics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroponics

  76. The guvm’t does not want farmers in charge of food prices. Some time ago, some politician came up with the notion that people tend to vote based on how full their stomachs are versus how empty their pocketbooks are. So price subsidies came into being in order to provide cheap food to the voting public. In exchange for removing a farmer’s ability to set the price for wheat, the guvm’t pays us not to grow it. With price controls on food, farmers would go broke in a hurry if they grew food on erodible land (the only kind that can be put in CRP). Without price controls, the cost of growing wheat plus whatever kind of profit a farmer wanted to make would raise the price of bread every time fuel or fertilizer costs increased. Not to mention weather or fire disasters.

    So what does this farmer think about the CRP land I have? I was raised on a farm and manage that same farm today (I rent it out to others and keep track of how the land is being used, so it isn’t a big deal). I wish there were no subsidies and I could sell and profit from whatever I grow, adjusting my prices accordingly to keep me in business. So in reality, it wasn’t the farmers who begged for things like CRP subsidies. It was the people who voted for politicians who promised cheap food.

  77. acementhead (18:59:58) : The government pays farmers not to grow certain crops all the time . As I understand it , it is an attempt to keep a surplus down and prices up . CRP keeps land out of production therby preserving topsoil and supposedly preventing excess fertilizer runoff and improving water quality . It has also been a boon to wildlife as most critters don’t live in crop rows . I’m sure there are other posters here who can explain this better .

  78. Pamela is absolutely right about the CRP. I have 20 acres, 5 of them in “the program”. The gov’t pays me the huge sum of $240/year to grow loblolly pine trees on it for eventual harvest in about 10 more years. And it’s taxable income. What a deal.

  79. “We all eat and benefit from wheat. Low prices and higher yields are beneficial.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, wheat is a terrible food for humans. Always has been, always will be, despite the USDA “food pyramid” (designed to encourage the consumption of the US grain surplus) and the labels proclaiming “whole grains” on the processed cereal boxes and junk foods. We’ve only been eating wheat for about 8-10,000 years or so (some populations far less time), about 300 generations (a drop in the human evolutionary bucket), but we evolved for millions of years without significant sources of annual grasses in the hominid diet. Our “still-paleolithic” physiology does not really deal well with lots of wheat and the protein it contains (gluten), or with the other gluten-containing relatives, rye and barley.

    There is ample evidence that wheat consumption wreaks havoc on human bodies. The damage is very obvious in the fossil and bone records, not to mention the stats kept by colonial physicians: shortened stature, rampant dental decay, and evidence of increases rates of chronic disease occurred whenever hunter-gatherers/non-grain eaters took to eating Western foods like wheat flour. Height wasn’t regained until fairly recently, when Europeans relocated to the Western hemisphere (lots of game and pasture) and again had access to more meat (protein and natural fats in the first two decades promote growth in height in adulthood).

    In the Industrial Age, wheat hybridization for traits conducive to industry and changes in wheat processing (faster industrial processing which skips traditional soaking/fermentation steps that neutralize anti-nutrients such as phytic acid) have only hastened the physiologic damage to humans who consume a lot of wheat, resulting in rapidly increased rates of “diseases of civilization”* such as cancer, CVD, diabetes, dental disease, allergies, and auto-immune diseases. Those diseases go where wheat goes (concentrated sugar and industrial seed oils, too). The rising tide of disease increased even faster (and in younger humans) since the gov’t started the well-intentioned (but disastrous) experiment in the 1980s, advising reduced saturated fat/higher carb diets for the entire population, in which the processing industry was only too happy to participate with their reformulated edible food-like products emblazoned with low-fat, non-fat, no cholesterol, “lite”, and so on.

    Keep in mind that “civilization” is synonymous with grain cultivation and monoculture crop production. In Western civilization, growth of concentrated populations, “culture”, and government began with human manipulation of annual seed crops, primarily wheat (which inevitably leads to the need for armies, accounting, grain storage, bureaucracies, and massive amounts of slave or peasant labor and human subjugation/suppression in general).

    Additionally, the monoculture production of wheat is inherently unsustainable, as it eventually wrecks the land and ecosystem of the population it initially supported (go steal more land). But now most people are so entrenched in the culture of wheat (and other annual seeds/grains) that they cannot separate the wheat from the chafe, so to speak.

    Back to the blog post. Of course the NAWG is not going to go along with CO2 regulations until the major CO2-emitting nations of the world also agree to do the same. They know that will never happen. And they know that wheat can’t be grown in the massive yields per acre now expected without huge inputs of petrochemicals that result in lots of CO2 emissions.

    The NAWG is singularly focused on the short term profitability of wheat cultivation. There is no sustainable way to grow wheat in the long run without killing the land or fouling the environment or reducing profits (for the grain cartels, the farmers don’t even profit much anyway).

    Look at the “Fertile Crescent”, the so-called “cradle of civilization”. It isn’t fertile anymore, eh? Fast forward through history and we find that the need to feed the now swollen populations (of grain-eating cultures) involves either implosion from within or imperial expansion to more distant and fertile (undisturbed) soils (oh yes, also massive death and destruction to humans and the environment with wars, dams, stripped and eroded soils, dust storms & so on).

    Now the last remaining grasslands are spoiled the world over. In North America that came about more recently and even faster by removal of the American bison to displace the Native Americans, displacing native perennial grasses (with wheat crops ) that held the ancient soil in place with extremely deep root structures (fossil-fueled mechanized farm equipment sped that up even more), and depleting the underground water sources, all which contributed to drought, dust storms, and disaster on a massive scale. How soon we forgot the “Dirty 30s” dust storms that dropped hundreds of millions of *tons* of great plains soil all over eh Eastern Seaboard and onto ships hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. We failed to learn the right lessons, because wheat cultivation got a reprieve with the development of fossil fuel-derived fertilizers and massive irrigation projects, so what cultivation continues apace in the North American Midwest. Consider that there simply are no more pristine and fertile grasslands to displace and disrupt for grain production anymore and we are going to run out of fossil fuels very soon. Water is increasingly scarce and competing demands on water further degrade the environment. Wheat and all the other grains are not sustainable much longer, no matter the checkout price rings high or low. The true price is really astronomically high, but most don’t recognize it.

    The bigger question is will our mistake in relying on wheat and other grains be universally recognized soon enough and will we adopt a more sustainable/healthy way to produce food for our swollen (in more ways than one) populations? Will we transition to sustainable polycultural systems that mimic nature with many species of plant and animal foods that coexist instead of trying to beat nature into submission by dominating with one crop. Will that occur soon enough? Will it be widespread enough to feed enough people? Or will we remain asleep at the combine harvester wheel?

  80. @ Anna (12:18:15) :

    Really good post. Really. I think we read many of the same books. Ever read any of Marvin Harris’ books(Cannibals and Kings, etc. ) ?

  81. Anna (12:18:15) : I believe that bison were displaced in order to free the grasslands for cattle grazing – the effect it had on indigenous populations may or may not have been intended , but had the same result . It seems to me that the early cattle ranchers despised the farmers who came later . BTW , barley , in its liquid form , is fine stuff ( I don’t mean broth ) . Otherwise it is inedible .

  82. Re: Anna (12:18:15)
    Interesting comments – but I suggest you reconsider the anthropocentric dirty 30s propaganda – that was a time of major change in the Earth system.

  83. P Walker (14:42:02):

    You are correct that after bison, cattle ranged the Great Plains for a time (relatively short, though), then the plains were torn up for wheat cultivation.

    The Great Plains were actually the last areas of the US (and I think Canada) to be settled intensely by means of the Homestead Act. However, the Native Americans were deliberately driven off the land to make way for Homesteaders by several means, including massive elimination of the bison, a major source of their food supply. Bison are exquisitely suited for this habitat of extremes and were once an integral part of this formerly very biodiverse area (flora, fauna, and micro-fauna) – keeping the grass growth in check, returning vital nutrients to the land, dispersing the many varieties of seeds, and more).

    European breeds of cattle were not suited for the Great Plains, which was hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, plus the region is subject to constant high winds. The cattle operations were generally unsuccessful in the long run, and those that remained when wheat was introduced were quickly eliminated.

    The boom-and-bust fluctuation of wheat prices in the US was a major factor in the expansion of wheat cultivation in the last few decades of the 19th century through the first third of the 20th century. Key to this expansion was the introduction of a breed of Russian/German wheat that was relatively hardy in the Great Plains climate of extremes (the Russian thistle, otherwise known as the tumbleweed hitched along with the wheat seed and established itself, too). The strong-willed immigrants who brought the wheat were extremely resilient, too. Major fortunes were made and lost in the handful of interior states with massive cultivation of wheat, especially by “suitcase farmers” during the ‘boom years”, who would arrive on the train to plant the land, then leave, only to return at harvest-time. The transition from horse-drawn plows to tractors really accelerated the number of acres of wheat cultivation and increased yields, which rapidly dropped the bushel price due to supply and demand. Eventually, the only way to make money/stay afloat was to cultivate more acreage. Sound familiar?

    But after a few decades of ripping up the sod (the new residents of this area were walled “sod-busters”), the problems with western wheat cultivation started accumulating, with increasing soil erosion, dust storms, continual drought, and so on, culminating in the massively destructive decade called the “dirty thirties” (but the devastation really started even before the 30s and even before the Stock Market fall in 1929). The human toll was paid not only in declining local, regional, and national economies, but in hellish living conditions (houses filled with soil dust, dying babies and children), poor health, increased mental anguish, and torn-apart families.

    New Deal research into improved farming practices that reduced soil degradation and loss brought some relief eventually, as did the post-WWII practice of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as deeper wells into the ancient underground aquifer. But truly, the tide of destruction was just slowed; it never really stopped.

    A really excellent book on this subject is The Worst Hard Times, an historical account of that era in settlement and agriculture in the US. The research for that book is incredible, with truly moving accounts from interviews with survivors, heart-wrenching journal entries of people who lived through it, and records from the public statistics and various bureaus (weather, farm, and govt agencies). There are lessons for us in what happened, but so few have any idea. You know, the “staff of life” and all. ha! That sort of agriculture and intense reliance on monoculture ends in desertification on a massive scale the world over, and I fail to see how we will stop the destruction if we keep doing what we’ve been doing.

    Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel is another good peek at the downside of grain crops.

  84. “Anna, you have been drinking way too much kool-aid.”

    Never touch the stuff. We are not well-adapted that much concentrated sugar. LOL ;-) Plus it tastes nasty.

    I’m trying very hard not to drink any “Koolaid” anymore – “unlearning” all the stuff I was taught in my first few decades. And that includes the GW/CG koolaid.

  85. Curiousgeorge (13:45:15) :
    “Really good post. Really. I think we read many of the same books. Ever read any of Marvin Harris’ books(Cannibals and Kings, etc. ) ?”

    Thanks very much. No, I don’t know that one, but I’ll look it up.

  86. Wikipedia states under plant nutrition:Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen
    are essential for plants BUT are NOT considered plant nutrients. Gee
    maybe wikipedia is wrong. Is it? Macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus,
    Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur and Silicon. Micronutrients are
    Chlorine, Iron, Boron, Manganese, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Nickel and
    Molybdenum. These are nutrients! Also note that under fertilizers CO2
    is not even discussed until the global issues section and this is ONLY
    in relation to AGW. Again CO2 fertilization is a misnomer.
    CO2 is used by plants during photosynthesis to make sugars(glucose)
    which may either be consumed in respiration or used as a RAW material
    to produce other organic compounds needed for plant GROWTH and
    development. Respiration is the process in which plants burn(metabolize)
    sugar to yield energy for growth.
    The verdict is clear:plants make their own food! And since CO2 is on the
    input side it clearly is NOT a plant food. This makes ALL previous
    arguments claiming CO2 is a plant food null and void. Lets illustrate
    another way;sunlight + air + macro and micro nutrients = plant FOOD
    + oxygen. Glucose is the real plant food. Since all sugar requires carbon
    (as well as starches and cellulose) it simply has to be present for the
    plant to exist.
    The skeptic side should not use the CO2 as plant food claim as it gives
    bad optics and gives fuel to the alarmists.
    CO2 is absolutely essential for plants and they freakin love the stuff.
    Btw I am a hardcore skeptic so don’t paint me as an alarmist. I am only
    interested in the truth of the matter and the truth is better than any
    label any day of the year.

  87. I was at an energy rally in Livonia Michigan this week against the Cap & Trade Bill. The president from either the Michigan Farmers Association or Dairy Farmers pointed out that vegetable, fruit and nut crops and trees are exempt from providing carbon credits in the bill. This organization is now against the bill in any form.


  88. Brian
    The skeptic side should not use the CO2 as plant food claim as it gives
    bad optics and gives fuel to the alarmists.

    CO2 is absolutely essential for plants and they freakin love the stuff.

    As acementhead put it eariler: this represents “a Narrow Semantic Quibble (in Philosophy circles)” …

    Could it have been an otherwise slow ‘news day’ and a short, inciting post was ‘synthesized’ by a sock poppet nom de plume’d “RW“, not intended to have any resemblance to any person ficticiously living, and being stingingly concidental and in character nonetheless?

    Naw …
    .
    .

  89. Plant “food” vs. “nutrients” vs. “essentials” vs. whatever makes for a dull read and certainly does not flatten the “plant food” arguments (unless one is hung up on semantics, at the expense of common sense).


    Anna, you are seriously overestimating the human role in the dust bowl. Humans were a factor in the blowing soil, but they didn’t stop the rains, nor did they make them resume (via implemented US government policies) years later. Nonetheless, I admire your dedication to soil conservation.

  90. I think that Anna is an anti-glutite. I have seen some of the books and claims against wheat and most grains in general. It seems that nowadays anyone can pick any topic and write a book and start a website and collect a following. Of course, most of them initiate it with gloom and doom and then offer (at a cost) to deliver you.

    My best retort to all the gloomer’s is; why does our life expectancy keep going up?

  91. acementhead (18:59:58) : Care to explain how paying landowners to NOT grow food increases food production?

    It doesn’t. The purpose is to raise PRICES to the farmers by reducing aggregate supply. You pay some farmers not to grow so all farmers get more money. The historical problem in agricultural policy has always been over production leading to price collapse / bankruptcy leading to cyclical shortages. It’s an unstable oscillating system which is why it’s called a “price stabilization” program. Rather similar to the Texas Railroad Commission and oil price “stabilization” that lead to OPEC.

    Rw’s statement is what I believe is called a Narrow Semantic Quibble in Philosophy circles(but I could be wrong).

    No, it’s what is called a flat out blatant error. Mistake. Wrong.

  92. Van Jones resigned. Now to get rid of the rest of them. Hansen, Sunstein, and related, & Pelosi, Reid, and eventually Obama.

  93. gtrip (00:52:22) :
    ” why does our life expectancy keep going up?”

    This is getting a bit off-topic, but life expectancy for industrial nations has risen in the 20th century due to improvements in hygiene, public sanitation, occupational safety, and medical developments. In fact we’ve become *very* good at keeping people alive who would previously have perished, especially in the critical stages of infancy and later old age. Most of the hazards and forces that previously influenced premature mortality are now quite removed from the lives of people in industrial cultures. The key seems to be keeping infants alive until the teenage years, then life expectancy is excellent.

    Average life expectancy remained quite low from late paleolithic times into the neolithic age until around 1900 (rarely moving past 40 yoa). 15,000 years ago the weak and sick had absolutely no chance. If the perils of the natural world didn’t do them in, the tribe probably eliminated them to avoid risking the entire group’s survival.

  94. Paul Vaughan (23:41:03) :
    “Humans were a factor in the blowing soil, but they didn’t stop the rains, nor did they make them resume (via implemented US government policies) years later.”

    I don’t think humans had anything to do with the rains. Humans removed the sod that held the soil, exposed the soil when they tilled, and when the drought came the soil dried out. When the storms came, there was nothing to hold the loose soil so it was picked up and carried away in massive dust storm clouds.

    Additionally, human well drilling lowered the water table. The native grasses had much deeper roots than wheat did and could probably have survived the droughts (though without the bison ranging anymore, I don’t really know if that is the case).

  95. Anna : I wasn’t trying to pick a fight , just a nit regarding bison . Oh , and having fun with the barley byproduct bit – cocktail hour was approaching at the time I commented . As far as the grain as food thing goes , I have nothing to say,except that nearly everything I’ve heard about nutrition over the last forty years has been disputed , debunked and forgotten in that same time frame . I say live as you like , die when you should .

  96. Anna, you are wrong about soil erosion being the fault of exposed land due to tillage. Think of palouse soil. Any dig through palouse prone areas will show stratification of large and small deposits of windblown soil way before tilling was even the apple of someone’s eye. You give way too much weight to human influence on more than just a locally restricted area.

  97. P Walker (10:01:08) :

    Didn’t think you were picking a fight; no worries (while I hum that song from Oklahoma about why can’t the cowboy and the farmer be friends). At the time I didn’t get your barley beverage reference, but now that you mention cocktail hour I see clearly what you meant ;-). Completely in agreement.

  98. Pamela Gray (10:10:10) :
    “You give way too much weight to human influence on more than just a locally restricted area.”

    Could be. I’m not a soil expert, though my entire childhood was permeated with my dad’s Rodale influence so I know the difference between soil and dirt ;-). In recent years I just keep running across soil degradation and soil fertility issues connected to monoculture in a really wide range of contemporary, historical, and prehistorical contexts. Clearly, there’s a lot more I can learn about soil.

  99. >> Anna (12:18:15) :

    There is ample evidence that wheat consumption wreaks havoc on human bodies. The damage is very obvious in the fossil and bone records, not to mention the stats kept by colonial physicians: shortened stature, rampant dental decay, and evidence of increases rates of chronic disease occurred whenever hunter-gatherers/non-grain eaters took to eating Western foods like wheat flour. <<

    The dental decay part of your diatribe doesn’t ring true. I read an archeological report some time back about a new cash of bodies recovered from either Pompeii or Herculaneum. (It was probably Herculaneum as the dig was near the water’s edge and Pompeii is inland.) I remember a comment about the teeth. They were in excellent condition, because the Roman diet was mostly grain.

    Jim

  100. Jim Masterson (10:53:47) :

    “I remember a comment about the teeth. They were in excellent condition, because the Roman diet was mostly grain.”

    What evidence was cited that the wheat grain was the primary factor in the excellent condition of the teeth? The Romans were quite practiced in the field of dentistry, even before they had doctors. Ancient Roman dental tools are not much different than many of the tools used by dentists today. To me that suggests Romans might have had a lot of dental problems overall though of course there may be exceptions.

    I suggest a wider review of dental evidence from a variety of widespread populations in past eras (paleolithic and neolithic), not just one cache of remains. Dental conditions reveal a quite a bit about overall health and illness, including nutrition status, dominance of plant or ruminant animal foods in the diet, infectious and chronic disease, etc.

  101. Anna –
    “There is ample evidence that wheat consumption wreaks havoc on human bodies.” Citations from the SCIENTIFIC literature, please. Sure, some people have allergies to gluten, some people have lactose intolerance, some people lack alcohol dehydrogenase, some people have allergies to almost anything. A wheat based diet deficient in other nutrients, OK, but wheat as a poison, I ain’t buyin’ (excess sugar and fat consumption, yes.) Sugar and lack of dental hygiene lead to tooth and gum disease. A diet contaminated with sand and other abrasives causes earlier dental wear (well documented in people and range cattle.) There’s a reason that wheat is called the staff of life. Without it there would be widespread malnutrition, indeed, famine. Same for rice, barley and other grains. That’s not to say that poor agricultural practices don’t lead to soil erosion and water problems. They do. Any agriculture leads to some.

  102. >> Anna (11:33:54) :

    What evidence was cited that the wheat grain was the primary factor in the excellent condition of the teeth? <<

    I’m not an archeologist, nor do I play one on TV. You’ll have to ask an expert on Roman Archeology. However, the comment in the paper implied that most Roman remains show the same teeth characteristic, and the grain diet was the reason.

    >> The Romans were quite practiced in the field of dentistry, even before they had doctors. Ancient Roman dental tools are not much different than many of the tools used by dentists today. To me that suggests Romans might have had a lot of dental problems overall though of course there may be exceptions. <<

    The lack of dental repair would indicate healthy teeth to begin with. I think you’re trying to reach on this point.

    >> Dental conditions reveal a quite a bit about overall health and illness, including nutrition status, dominance of plant or ruminant animal foods in the diet, infectious and chronic disease, etc. <<

    So I’ve been told.

    Jim

  103. David in Davis (12:44:00) :
    ” wheat as a poison, I ain’t buyin’ (excess sugar and fat consumption, yes.) Sugar and lack of dental hygiene lead to tooth and gum disease. ”

    Ok, don’t buy into it. You won’t like contrary views on fat, either (I like natural fasts very much and avoid modern industrial seed oils).

    In addition to straying much too far from the original topic, I also suspect a few scientific citations wouldn’t satisfy your doubt; after all, wheat consumption is ubiquitous in our society (and certainly “engrained” in Western civilization). It is quite rare to even question wheat, though that is changing slowly. Awareness and a new view of wheat is occurring even in Italy, the current hotbed of gluten-related research.

    A decade+ and a lot of determined curiosity were required to shift my wheat/grain paradigm (sparked by a high blood glucose condition that was discovered when I was pregnant 11 yeas ago – in fact my dentist caught it first and my doctor missed it at first). In my search for more information I was aided and resisted simultaneously by my very skeptical husband, who is a croissant-loving research biochemist ;-).

    I’m not naive or evangelical enough to think I can dislodge a major brick in the foundation of Western civilization (or even one resistant mind) with a few links to studies, and frankly, neither of us have the time that would take convince you and the others who cling to grains so I’m not going to provide you with citations (though there are more links than you’ll care to follow at the very scientific Whole Health Source or Hyperlipid blogs). I’d rather sow a few seeds of doubt; perhaps a few will germinate out of curiosity. Or not.

  104. Other possibilities exist (other than a grain diet) for giving the Romans good teeth. One is that it could be the water. The Romans used a lot of lead in their plumbing (the root word in plumbing is plumbium which is Latin for lead). Lead appeared everywhere. If the Romans didn’t want to bother building an aqueduct across a valley then they used a siphon. The pipes in a siphon were usually made of lead. The higher up in the Roman aristocracy you were, the more indoor plumbing you had. Roman indoor plumbing was made of lead. That is probably why most of the Roman leaders were loony-tunes.

    So does lead in your water give you good teeth?

    Jim

  105. Jim –
    Actually it appears from both epidemiological and animal studies that the opposite is the case for the relationship between lead and dental caries:
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/281/24/2294, but this isn’t yet regarded as completely definitive since no causal mechanism has been demonstrated.
    Maybe they had sufficient exposure to fluoride in the water or elsewhere that was counteracted by the lead. However, assuming they really did have good teeth, I suspect it was a lack of sugar in their diet, not to mention that Coca Cola had not yet been invented.
    David

  106. Curiousgeorge (04:55:36) :
    “Van Jones resigned. Now to get rid of the rest of them. Hansen, Sunstein, and related, & Pelosi, Reid, and eventually Obama.”

    Now George, that’s a pretty blatant political statement that I’m rather surprised escaped moderation. You don’t have to be a conservative to have doubts about AGW. It is and should be all about the science (or lack thereof).
    Best,
    David
    p.s. You forgot Chu, but at least he’s for nuclear.

  107. I was unable to find much information on US wheat and corn yields, but it appears that yields have recovered from a very slow start and are now headed for about average results.

    Is this correct?

  108. Re: Anna (09:35:20)

    I do have a background in soil science, including some engineering courses on the mechanics, and I agree that the natural vegetation would have kept far more of the soil anchored (with some regional/local exceptions).

    My concern is that those lacking broader perspective when reading about the 1930s drought will not be aware that the 30s were a time of major changes in the Earth system – i.e. even with state-of-the-art conservation practices (had they been in place) the 30s would still have been a time of severe problems for humans, plants, animals, etc. in the affected region.





    The following is a global-scale synchrony that existed after but not before:

    I wrote to leading world authorities regarding the preceding findings. Regrettably, atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) records do not go back far enough to answer some of the fundamental questions which have arisen. My guess is that a few (fundamental) things will be learned about climate the next time the synchrony breaks down.

  109. >> David in Davis (19:28:51) :

    Actually it appears from both epidemiological and animal studies that the opposite is the case for the relationship between lead and dental caries:
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/281/24/2294, but this isn’t yet regarded as completely definitive since no causal mechanism has been demonstrated.
    Maybe they had sufficient exposure to fluoride in the water or elsewhere that was counteracted by the lead. However, assuming they really did have good teeth, I suspect it was a lack of sugar in their diet, not to mention that Coca Cola had not yet been invented. <<

    Thanks for the link. It’s an interesting paper.

    Yes, I think a low sugar diet would be quite beneficial to my teeth. My Coca Cola addiction will be my teeth’s undoing.

    Jim

  110. I think the headline should have read “NAWG Shoots Self in Foot”.

    In the very short term, this may be a profitable position. In the long term, can you say “Dust Bowl”? I say this because by all indications, this is what will be seen in the wheat belt if we let BAU continue.

  111. Anna,

    Nice brief account of the history of wheat cultivation on the short grass prairie. It hasn’t been pretty and rain certainly did not follow the plow.

  112. Fascinating debate – even RW’s contentious (TIC?) remark has thrown up some useful detail. FWIW, I have two comments:

    1) I recall that a wheat shortage was predicted this year, due to late planting in many states (I live in the UK, but am considering the more significant situation in N.America). Has this materialised, or is the harvest OK?

    2) WRT Anna’s piece, I believe that selective breeding of crop varieties (the monoculture problem) has had the unintended consequence of removing selenium in wheat. As this is an essential trace element for development of the immune system and thyroid function, perhaps it is an even worse food now than previously.
    Still a good drink, though.. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_beer)

  113. Jim

    “My Coca Cola addiction will be my teeth’s undoing”

    Better that than your brain. The ‘diet’ versions all contain aspartame, the well-know neurotoxin…

    If you have time, Google ‘nutrasweet’ and ‘rumsfeld’ (yes, him). I’m not sure I’d call it fun, but it’s illuminating.

  114. I’ve said this before I’ll say it again.
    Grain is unique among commodities because it is not existing.
    Where is next years grain? We assume it will exist.
    World wheat usage is around 650 million metric tons!
    Take a look at the world grain usage tables.
    Often we have as little as 90 days of supply in the world.
    What on earth do you propose to replace that 650MMT with?
    What do you suppose would happen if even 1/3 of that 650MMT
    Did not materialize?
    Bottom line here, Grain is a gift.

  115. David

    “You don’t have to be a conservative to have doubts about AGW”

    Hear, hear. This is such a widespread over-simplification. I regard myself as liberal (in the UK, anyway!) and am generally concerned about the environment, waste, sustainability and so on, but thanks to sites like this, I am now satisfied that the AGW hypothesis is (and always was) complete hokum.

    I think the fact that George W Bush resisted it so strongly put a lot of people on the wrong side ( on the basis that he was wrong about most things) but even he could be right occasionally, whether or not for the right reasons!

    It saddens me that groups like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, whom one might expect to be objective, are as craven as any politician when a gravy train appears at the platform…

  116. P Walker

    “nearly everything I’ve heard about nutrition over the last forty years has been disputed”

    Slightly OT, but whenever our family hears about another food fad, we invoke Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’, where he wakes up 200 years in the future, to a dish of chocolate fudge cake. He protests and demands something healthier, only to be told, “but this is health food”.

  117. gtrip

    “why does our life expectancy keep going up?”

    Because infant mortality keeps going down. In other words, this is a statistical issue rather than one of longevity. Even in central Africa, there are people who live to a good age, it’s just that to get that opportunity, you have to survive into adulthood, which is a lot less likely.

    If you add up the ages of everyone who has died and obtain an average, it will give a low figure, but that doesn’t mean that no-one lives beyond middle age, or that the life expectancy of a healthy adult is badly affected.

    I suspect, however, that the general health of the elderly in affluent societies is worsening, even if more of them being kept alive. How much of this is due to diet is a moot point…

  118. Jim, re: your Coca Cola addiction
    And it’s not just the sugar. This is one place that CO2 really is bad for us. When ever we consume soft drinks we are bathing our teeth in carbonic acid due to the CO2 added for the fizz. However, fruit juices and fruit based carbonated drinks are apparently even worse. Next to plain water, unflavored mineral water is least detrimental (but, of course, you get no caffeine kick):

    “Buffering capacities of soft drinks: the potential influence on dental erosion
    M. Edwards, S. L. Creanor, R. H. Foye & W. H. Gilmour
    Hard Tissue Research Group, University of Glasgow Dental School, U.K.
    Correspondence: Dr S. L. Creanor, University of Glasgow Dental School, 378 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JZ, U.K. E-mail: s.creanor@dental.gla.ac.uk
    Copyright Blackwell Science Ltd 1999
    ABSTRACT

    The pH of fruit juices and carbonated drinks are known to be low and have, therefore, been implicated in the increasing incidence of erosion. The ability of a drink to resist pH changes brought about by salivary buffering may play an important part in the erosion process. The aims of this study were to measure the initial pH of several widely available soft drinks and determine their buffering capacities. As part of a larger study, the following groups of drinks were tested: pure fruit juices, non-fruit-based carbonated drinks, fruit-based carbonated drinks, flavoured spring waters, and plain carbonated mineral waters as positive controls with still water as the negative control. The measurement of pH was carried out using a pH electrode connected to an Orion EA940 Ionanalyser. One hundred millilitres of each drink was then titrated with 1 m sodium hydroxide, added in 0·5 mL increments, until the pH reached 10. Each titration was repeated three times. The average initial pH was lowest for the non-fruit-based drinks (2·81±0·274) and highest for plain mineral water (7·4±0·1002). The buffering capacities can be ordered as follows: fruit juices>fruit-based carbonated drinks and flavoured mineral waters>non-fruit-based carbonated drinks>sparkling mineral waters>still mineral water. It is concluded that fruit juices and fruit-based carbonated beverages, with their increased buffering capacities, may induce a prolonged drop in oral pH.”

    Since they provide no information on beer or champagne, let’s just assume the more the better and stay away from that nasty fruit juice!

    David

  119. James P (06:46:22) :
    P Walker

    “nearly everything I’ve heard about nutrition over the last forty years has been disputed”

    Woody Allen’s ‘Sleeper’ reference: Bingo! I love that part of the movie.

    I find the newest “health foods” such as HFCS-sweetened yogurt puddings with added probiotic “regularity” bacteria amusing. Wow, they are expensive, too, compared to old-fashioned lacto-fermented cabbage like our great-grandmothers and their ancestors made and consumed (so easy – essentially grate the sauerkraut and let it sit a bit – the friendly bacteria do the rest). I don’t put “healthy” candy-bars, um, I mean granola bars with added omega 3 FA or whatever the nutrient du jour is, in his lunch box, I put a handful of soaked and slow-dried raw nuts. Eating old-fashioned real food (not boneless, not skinless, with the super nutritious yolks, with the natural fat) that better fits our paleolithic physiology isn’t hard or even that laborious – my slow cooker and the rotisserie on the grill sub in beautifully for a grandmother cooking at the hearth or indeed the ancient practice of slow cooking with heated stones in buried in a hole (mmm, bone broth with oxtail simmering right now, much more delicious and absorbable than a calcium-fortified frankenfood).

    farmersteve (06:31:35) :

    “Grain is unique among commodities because it is not existing.
    Where is next years grain? We assume it will exist.”
    World wheat usage is around 650 million metric tons!

    What do you suppose would happen if even 1/3 of that 650MMT
    Did not materialize?
    Bottom line here, Grain is a gift.”

    Thanks for those figures. You are absolutely right; we should be worried about the yield figures. We are hooked on wheat and we are once again facing a supply issue (no more great plains to left in the world to exploit and wheat sure isn’t going to be grown in space). But is wheat really such a “gift”? Perhaps a back-handed gift sort of like cocaine – it’s great while we’re “up” but now we are now addicted to it and need it to get us through the day. Is it any wonder that wheat has opioid-like chemicals that tickle opioid receptors? Wheat is very hard to give up – I know this first-hand. But if, no, when, the world runs suddenly runs extremely short on wheat, watch out – the wheat-junkies will be jonesing’ for a fix and it won’t be pretty. We’ve already seen a preview with the recent food riots in some places.

  120. According to today’s Calgary Herald, harvest in Alberta is one-to-three weeks behind, as a dry and cool spring, followed by frosts and a chilly summer, stalled crop development.

    August and September have been warm, which is fortunate.

    Sorry, do not have information for the rest of the grain belt.

    “According to Alberta Agriculture’s latest crop report, yield estimates for most crops had improved by three to four bushels per acre from the previous report. Estimates remained below 80 per cent of the last five-year average, however. The Sept. 1 report added the province needs another two weeks of frost-free weather to get the crop past frost danger.
    Farmers may get their wish, as Environment Canada is forecasting above-normal temperatures for the weekend and into next week in central and southern Alberta. Meteorologist Bill McMurtry said there could be some frost warnings issued for east-central Alberta, but killing frosts aren’t in the picture. “

  121. While their reversal on EPA regulation is a good start for them, the tougher nut to crack is their continued endorsement of growing ‘biomass’ which brings them subsidies as welll as potentially much more profit for growing fuel for houses and automobiles than they were earning by growing food for people.

    http://www.wheatworld.org/html2/biomass.cfm?ID=42

    “Many agricultural producers who will grow dedicated energy crops in the near future grow wheat now or have acres in CRP that previously produced wheat. As an association, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure both wheat growers and biomass growers are accurately and adequately represented in policy discussions. ”

    Besides increasing the price of food and further burdening taxpayers with subsidies, it puts farmers squarely in a camp to favor higher oil and natural gas prices. That will have them lobbying against offshore oil exploration and fighting things like new coal fired electricity plants. If your intent is to ultimately starve off the third world, mandating biofuel consumption is an easy policy choice to make.

    Even though Oxfam still does not understand the overall carbon scam they are beginning to realize the problem with biofuel – http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp114-inconvenient-truth-biofuels-0806.pdf

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