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News Roundup

No Food Abundance on Earth The World Agricultural Outlook Board just published how much grain farmers produced this farming season around the world. It was 2,476,040,000 metric tons. The Board also estimated how much we would use this year. It will be 2,469,120,000 metric tons. When we do the math, the world’s farmers only produced 2 lbs. of grain more per person than what the world will buy. Now, there are lots of folks who can’t buy enough. If they had money, it is likely that this year folks would eat more than farmers produced. Watch Out for Food in Cans A recent study by Stanford University suggests children may…

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Quotes to Raise Your Food and Agriculture IQ

Touch the Soil News #211 One of the things we follow is the emergence of a world in which food is less than abundant. It’s a Some of the best sources of information about this topic come from Investment and Venture Capital – viewing food and agriculture as arenas with tremendous investment opportunity. What makes them different is that they are putting their money where their mouth is – pouring billions of dollars into a convergence of food need and limited supply. One such company is Anterra Capital located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Anterra is backed by two of the world’s largest privately held financial institutions – Rabobank and Fidelity…

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Flash Announcement – Special SPIN Farming Webinar

Touch the Soil News # 160 If you’ve ever wanted to become an urban farmer / market gardener here’s a chance to participate in an online webinar that gives you the scoop of how to do it with a minimum of capital outlay and a maximum of return. Following are the Details:   What: SPIN farming is hosting a Webinar featuring Jared Regier of Chain Reaction Urban Farm.   When: August 27, 2015 (Thursday) at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (make sure you log in according to your own time zone).   How: Click on the following link to register and get other details: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1043325852552174850 SPIN Farming is “production” oriented to…

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Kelp4Less Product News – Discovering Kelp’s Secrets

Touch the Soil News #143 The use of Kelp as a plant growth supplement has been documented back to Roman times. In the early days, folks would scavenge the beach for kelp washed ashore and work it into their fields nearby. In rather recent times (1979) it was discovered that high levels of biostimulants were present in the cells of fresh kelp. These biostimulants later became known as Auxin and Cytokinin. The Auxin compound was found to cause increased root development. The Cytokinin compound produces greater flower initiation and augments cell division. Kelp is rich in amino acids and is 28 percent minerals by weight – including a large number…

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Grow A Row – Is This a Window into the Future of Food?

Touch the Soil News # 127 The non-profit  “America’s Grow a Row” was started by a non-farmer – Chip Paillex – some 14 years ago in New Jersey. Back in 2002, Chip and his daughter rented a small 30’ X 30’ plot and started planting food crops for the first time in his life. One day they saw a three-line article in the paper that said if you ever have extra produce, “grow-a-row” for the hungry and bring it down to the food pantry. Chip Paillex – Founder of Grow A Row (photo courtesy of Grow A Row) Moved by the simplicity of the message Paillex and his daughter began…

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Besides the Farmers, What Other Costs Are in Our Food Dollar?

Touch the Soil News # 126 The USDA just released a corrected and updated estimate of where pieces of the food dollar go.  The USDA data on this report is always a couple of years behind, thus represented here by 2013 numbers. Info graphic #1 below shows how many pennies out of each dollar go to the respective pieces of the food chain. Farm Production, the actual money that goes into producing food, is 10.5 cents. For clarification, grocery stores fall under Retail Costs and restaurants fall under Food Services. When one studies Info graphic #1, the food chain has become so complex and expensive that it is no wonder…

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Jon Lockhart – Taking Up the Trend and Following the Leads to Urban Farming

Touch the Soil News # 117 Jon Lockhart with niece and nephews Bryce, Mee Mai, and Miles Meet Jon Lockhart from Oakdale, Minnesota. Oakdale is on the eastern edge of the much larger Minneapolis / St. Paul metropolitan area – a population center of 3.8 million people. Lockhart explains that while Minneapolis proper has a thriving local foods culture, the St. Paul area and East into Oakdale is far less developed when it comes to a local food chain. Feedback that Lockhart is getting is that local food in his area is on a trend upwards. Lockhart has an established wholesale propagation business raising and selling perennial and shrub plant…

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Agricultural Innovations on the Rise

Touch the Soil News #113 –– includes 5 videos Agricultural innovations are on the rise to address all kinds of issues such as nutrition, recycling food waste, labor shortages and more. Following is a sampling of new innovations: California Safe Soils The Company has developed a recycling process that turns waste food into farm fertilizer for a complete harvest to harvest recycling program. See video: Edyn Smart Garden Sensor The company has developed technology that lets you know what’s happening in your garden at all times. Whether you are a novice gardener or managing a small-scale organic farm. The garden sensor gathers and analyzes data about weather and soil conditions-…

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“Irrigation Subsidence” – Is This the Makings of a Hollywood Thriller?

Touch the Soil News #106  –  includes 1 info graphic and 2 videos With California providing over 50 percent of the nation’s primary fruit and vegetables, water will be directed towards fruit and veggie production at the expense of other crops. Some of the crops getting the ax include alfalfa (hay), rice, cotton, wheat and barley. American consumers will see short-term benefits from this water allocation in that increases in the price of our fresh fruits and vegetables is forecast to be modest this year. However, in California proper, there will be around 560,000 acres fallowed (not farmed) and a loss of around 19,000 jobs. See (info graphic #1) below…

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California – Water Cuts to Agriculture

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Following the food-chain news frequently ends up in California. Unfortunately, there has been another turn of events in California’s “water-desperation” saga. In an Associated Press article today (5/15/2015) more water curtailments are in the near future for California. Up until now, California Governor Jerry Brown limited water cuts to urban cities – requiring cities to cut 25 percent of their historical usage. Sparing agriculture from water curtailments changed today as California farmers who hold rights to water that date back as far as the Gold Rush are bracing for their first state-ordered conservation in decades, as a record drought prompts some of the deepest cuts yet in the country’s most…

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