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China’s New Direct Link to America’s Agricultural Heartland

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Touch the Soil News #785 (Feature photo – Mississippi River Barge – Public Domain) Most folks have never heard of Growmark. Growmark, headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, is the nation’s second largest agricultural cooperative. It has operations in more than 40 states and is owned by over 10,000 farmers. Established in 1927, Growmark helps its farmer-owners sell their grain – over 200 million bushels a year. Chances are high that Growmark is in a community in your state. So what is so special about Growmark? Besides being one of the world’s largest farmer cooperatives, Growmark recently established strategic ties with COFCO. COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation). COFCO is…

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When the Big Overshadows the Little

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Touch the Soil News #774 (feature photo – Coat of Arms for the Nation of Zambia – Public Domain) In the wide world of food and agriculture, the world is undergoing a new colonialism. Big nations that are far beyond their capacity to feed themselves are creating tight economic and political relationships with smaller nations that have excess farmland and water. It’s a global game of chess in which the stakes are higher than oil – food. While our big player today is China, there are other powerful food-insecure players on the horizon such as India and oil rich but food poor Middle East nations. Hitting the news recently is…

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Holy Cow!

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Touch the Soil News #765 Belarus, a small Eastern European nation is inking a big cow deal with China as we speak. While details are still sketchy, the scope of the proposed project is stunning. Chinese agricultural giant DRex Food Group is wanting to build out a giant dairy in Belarus that will probably be over 50,000 cows. The real kicker is not so much the number of cows, but the massive land area that will become part of the Dairy – most of it to provide feed for the cows. The first farm will be around 110,000 acres and talk is there might be 4 or 5 more dairies…

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China – Where Will Food Come From?

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Touch the Soil News #706 Bloomberg News recently reported that China is scratching its head as to how to feed its 1.4 billion people in the future. China can’t feed its people today on its own as it must import millions of tons of staple crops each year. The problem is that by 2050 there will be another 2 billion people (besides the Chinese) that the world will have to feed. Much of China’s original farmable land has been urbanized, industrialized and polluted, leaving it unable to feed itself. China has 290 million acres of prime farm ground – roughly two tenths of an acre per person. The U.S. has…

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Fonterra – How Complicated Can the Milk Business Get?

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Touch the Soil News #617 Fonterra means “spring from the land.” Fonterra is one of the world’s largest dairy producers and manufacturers headquartered in New Zealand. The company is responsible for about 30 percent of the global dairy trade and is the largest company in New Zealand. New Zealand in general and Fonterra in specifics are to dairy what Saudi Arabia is to oil. No, you probably won’t see Fonterra dairy products at the grocery store. However, you might be eating them when you go to McDonalds. Fonterra supplies enough cheese to McDonalds to create a cheese ring that goes 3.5 times around the Earth. Fonterra is a dairy cooperative…

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Bits and Pieces of a Bigger Story

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Touch the Soil News #526 While we are going to explore a major food development in Cambodia, the world’s food chain connects the well-being of all nations (feature photo is the official coat of arms for Cambodia). Far from American consciousness is the nation of Cambodia. Cambodia is a country of 16 million people whose political and business sectors are notorious for corruption. The average per-capita GDP is only $1,150 per person per year. In a rather incomplete news piece by Cambodia Times, a prominent news story was put forth about a new Chinese investment in Cambodia – A $2 billion food freezing and processing center close to Phnom Penh…

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China – Looking for Food

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Touch the Soil News #279 While Chinese national and corporate interests now own millions of acres in countries around the world – including chunks in the United States, these resources are not enough to feed its 1.4 billion people. Estimates are that China controls between 12 and 15 million acres in other countries for food production. However, while that may sound like a large number, there are other ways that China gets food into its nation – outright purchases of basic agricultural commodities that are imported. For the 2015 agricultural season, it is projected that China will import 80 million metric tons of soybeans. Soybeans are the foundation feed for…

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