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Commodity Speculation – Another Reason to Raise Your Own Food?

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Touch the Soil News #410 Most of the primary food commodities are traded on commodity exchanges such as the Chicago Board of Trade. Depending upon how speculators buy contracts as long positions or short bets, can influence the price of the major commodities. Yes, billions of dollars flow into these commodity exchanges to speculate on prices. A significant portion of these bets are by hedge funds or other speculative parties that do not grow food, do not buy food and do not process and manufacture food products. Yet, these speculative dollars pose two significant risks to humanity: Lower the price of a farm product below the cost of production –…

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Is Something Wrong With This Picture?

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Touch the Soil News #382 Every month, the USDA puts out numbers on what grain farmers – around the world – are going to produce for the current farming season. Remember that grains (corn, wheat, rice, etc.) are the backbone of the world’s diets both for human food and livestock feed. The USDA numbers quickly become the fodder for speculators – gambling on which way the price of commodities will go. Unfortunately – these financial gambling mechanisms – often drive the prices farmers receive artificially above or below what would happen without speculative pressures. These gambling mechanisms operate in disregard to the almost 1 billion starving people and hundreds of…

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More Voices Against Food Speculation – Good News for Humanity

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Touch the Soil News #320 In the throes of the 2008 financial crisis, there was a concurrent food crises unfolding as well. For those that might remember, financial speculators betting on global grain shortages caused prices in the actual market to spike – sending entire nations into food crisis mode. Almost overnight, the number of people starving around the world jumped from around 800 million to 1 billion. The memory of the effects of this artificially contrived human starvation event (from low-consciousness speculators) has been simmering around the globe. Back in early 2014, the European Union agreed to introduce controls to regulate price speculation on basic foodstuffs such as sugar,…

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Does the Macadamia Nut Market Have a Message for the World?

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Touch the Soil News #295 First, a few words about Macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts are the seeds of the macadamia tree. To establish a Macadamia orchard is no simple task. A Macadamia tree does not start reaching full commercial production of seeds (nuts) until it is 12-15 years old. However, once it is producing it can give seeds for 100 years. Macadamia trees are fragile and susceptible to frost, blown over in high winds due to their shallow roots and susceptible to root diseases. Now, have you noticed how high the price is for Macadamia nuts in the grocery store? Prices can range from $15 a pound upwards to over…

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Mainstream Farming Facing Chronic Crises

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Touch the Soil News #168 Recently (8/27/2015), Bloomberg Business writer, Alan Bjerga, did a story on FarmLink, which has a subsidiary called “MachineryLink.” The idea is that many farmers plant and harvest at different times – creating an opportunity to share equipment. MachineryLink is in the business of facilitating farmers sharing equipment – helping offset low income levels. While the idea has merit, it will fall short in addressing the recent announcement by the USDA that 2015 net farm income will be over 50 percent less than in 2013. Large pieces of equipment, like combines, are often used only 20 to 30 days a year. New combines can range in…

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