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Banana Tech

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Touch the Soil News #568 Global banana production is over 300 billion pounds a year – that’s 40 lbs. of bananas for every person in the world. It can take 3-4 years to grow a banana tree from seed and up to two (2) years when planting a banana sapling. In addition, bananas need tropical weather to produce. Given the time frames, and geographical constraints, it takes lots of logistics to get enough bananas to meet the global appetite. However, some amazing banana technology is being developed. One in particular is very promising if not downright odd. Banana researchers in Japan have discovered that if you take a banana sapling…

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The External Tentacles on American Agriculture

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Touch the Soil News #501 Few folks realize that global trade agreements mean that foreign interests can own and operate agricultural enterprises in America the same as Americans. Back in 2013, the world’s largest pork processing company – Smithfield Foods – was purchased by Chinese state-supported company Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. for $14 billion. Brands such as Smithfield, Nathan’s, Armour and Farmland are icons in America – but are Chinese owned. Today, Smithfield has over 50,000 employees in the U.S., Mexico and 10 European countries. The company also owns the world’s largest slaughterhouse and meat-processing plan in the world located in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Overall, the company processes over…

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Food and Cities – This is Way Out!! (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #407 As we covered in Part 1, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs sponsored the 140 page report called: GROWING FOOD FOR GROWING CITIES – Transforming Food Systems in an Urbanizing World. After reviewing much data and providing much dialogue, the report issued its recommendations on what should be done about global food and agriculture. As you will see, many of the recommendations require action by Congress. Do you think Congress should follow the lead of this “think tank” material? The report had four (4) broad recommendations: Develop, implement, and strengthen policies for global food security. Included were recommendations that the U.S. Congress pass authorizing legislation…

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Almonds for 10.5 million Americans Taken out of Production

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Touch the Soil News #342 The U.S. is the world’s largest almond producer. California is the largest almond producing state. With prices more than 1/3 below historical averages and severe water shortages in California, a big hit is coming. The nation’s largest almond grower – Wonderful Orchards – recently announced it was taking out 10,000 acres of almonds due to water constraints and poor prices. One acre of almond trees produces about 2,100 lbs. of almonds a year. Americans eat an average of 2 lbs. of almonds a year. The 10,000-acre curtailment of almond orchards represents the annual consumption of 10.5 million Americans. It’s hard to imagine taking a buldozer…

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