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Dry Boring Bankers – Reading Between the Lines

Touch the Soil News #1174 (Feature photo – Rabobank Headquarters in the Netherlands – CCA SA 4.0 International) Experts from the world’s largest agricultural bank – Rabobank – have a rather dry conversation about the outlook for agriculture in 2019. However, as bankers, they try to stay away from politics. Concerns over the trade wars between the U.S. and China has become a driving force of uncertainty. Of particular concern is the future for American farmers. As China backs away from U.S. Soybean purchases, it is not unlikely that financial losses can visit America’s heartland. A small note is made about the African Swine Fever erupting in China. There has…

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Cropland Values & the Future Affordability Food

Touch the Soil News #1173 (Feature photo – American Farmland – Public Domain) The USDA tracks the value of American cropland – that is land used for crops, not livestock pasture. In their latest report of August 2018, the average value of an acre of cropland grew from $1,750 in 2004 to $4,130 in 2018. This equates to an average increase of 5 percent a year. All of this, as land is sold and traded, adds to the increase of the cost of food. Has the value of our purchasing power (income) gone up by 5 percent a year? Said in another way, have our incomes (since 2004) gone up…

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Who is Responsible for Food Waste?

Phil Lempert (https://www.supermarketguru.com/) delves into what group of consumers waste the most food. Global food loss is estimated at one-third to one-half of all food produced globally. This occurs on the farm, through processing, loss at the retail level and finally food-waste at home/restaurant. The large scope of food waste has now become an international issue as the world tries to cope with declining sources of fresh water to raise food and loss of rainforests to add new farmland. What do you think? Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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How Organic is Restaurant Food Touted as Organic?

Touch the Soil News #1170 (Feature photo – USDA Organic Logo – public domain) Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert discovers that strict definitions of what is organic does not apply to restaurants. Restaurants must only make a reasonable effort to ensure the food is organic, but they are not required to adhere to the same rigorous certifying process as farms and food companies.   Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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The Changing Face of Farmland Ownership

Touch the Soil News #1169 (Feature photo – Fig Tree -CCA SA 3.0 Unported) Gladstone Land is a company that specializes in owning farms and leasing them back to qualified operators. In a press release, Gladstone just announced it had acquired a 951 acre farm in Madera County, California. The farm includes 715 acres of fig trees and 224 acres of pistachio trees. The land will be leased to The Specialty Crop Company for 8 years to do the actual farming. The Specialty Crop Company touts that it is the world’s largest grower of fresh and dried figs. Gladstone reports that fig and pistachio trees can potentially remain in peak…

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Will City Governments Take On Larger Roles in Food Security?

Touch the Soil News #1168 (Feature photo – Quezon City Needs More than Money to Feed Itself – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) While we all enjoy the convenience of having “cash” purchasing power, what happens when cash is insufficient to acquire life’s key necessities? Quezon City, Philippines – with a population of 3 million people – is part of the much larger Manila metro area of some 24 million people. The region has been experiencing food-price inflation to a point where Quezon City officials decided action was necessary. In 2010, they implemented a program called the “Joy of Urban Farming”. The goal is to reduce the cost of food through…

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The Coming Era of Food Halls

Touch the Soil News #1167 (Feature photo – Upscale Food Hall – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) The rage over eating at food trucks circled in busy city centers has softened. A much larger food experience is now unfolding in what is called food halls. Food halls can be large multi-story buildings with dozens of high-end and high-quality food options. At year-end 2015 there were only 70 food halls. By year end 2017, the number had risen to 118. Phil Lempert (Supermarket Guru https://www.supermarketguru.com/) takes on a journey into food halls. Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Cowboy Robot

Touch the Soil News #1166 (Feature photo – Large Feedlot – Public Domian) Cargill just announced the offering of its “Cowboy Robot”. Colored green and weighing in at 1,500 pounds, the robot can help large feedlots move animals safely. Livestock are unpredictable and can turn on an employee unexpectedly. Cargill’s cowboy robot is remotely controlled by employees standing on the sidelines and moving livestock through chutes: Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Food Tremor – Toxic Corn

Touch the Soil News #1165 (Feature photo – Corn Fields – Public Domain) Corn is the largest crop by acres in the U.S. For 2018, farmers planted 89.1 million acres. That is equivalent to a farm 100 miles long and 1,400 miles wide. The problem is that wet weather this fall promoted the growth of fungus that in turn creates vomitoxin in the corn. Vomitoxin can make animals and humans sick. The poison is being found in Canadian and U.S. fields. You can read the full story here: http://www.envirolink.org/2018/11/05/toxin-in-u-s-corn-harvest-poses-latest-headache-for-farmers/ Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Education on Growing Food – A Good Way to Improve the World

Touch the Soil News #1164 (Feature photo – Aquaponics System – CCA SA 2.0 Generic) When we think about our education, very rarely – if ever – do we recount growing grapes and potatoes in high school. We know nothing about aquaponics or how to bake bread from scratch using an outdoor wood-fired oven. Dan Kunanec, from the Don Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada is setting a new global standard on what should be in public education. In short, students should be conversant in a broad range of urban food-growing skills. You can read the full story on the following link: http://www.agri-tecture.com/ Want More? – Sign up below Special…

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