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Will Farm Labor See a Resurgence?

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Touch the Soil News #778 Farm labor is not a profession that is taught at schools or universities -an interesting situation in a nation whose roots are in agriculture. Established in 1910, is an organization called the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA). The organization has 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. The non-profit occupies its time with issues related to agriculture and food. Recently, the AAEA has concerned itself with farm labor, particularly here in the U.S. Their concern is over immigration from Mexico – the source of U.S. farm labor. Stephen Devadoss of Texas Tech University is preparing a paper for the AAEA and reveals that labor…

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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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What Should Be Done?

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Touch the Soil News #671 (feature photo – USDA) Folks in Oregon are in an uproar over the recent Oregon DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) decision to permit a new 30,000 head dairy. The dairy is located in Eastern Oregon (Boardman) about 10 miles from the Columbia River. The Columbia River is the largest river on the West Coast that drains waters from millions of square miles into the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon. The Oregon DEQ has reported over 4,200 comments from the public, many of them in protest. Boardman is in a rural and remote area far from the majority of Oregon’s population centered around Portland. To be…

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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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Get a Load of these Cow Genes

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Touch the Soil News #288 Recently, the USA Holstein Association announced a 365 day record for milk production. The winner was a cow named Gigi. Gigi is 9 years old and is bred and owned by Bur-Wall Holsteins of Brooklyn, Wisconsin. Bur-Wall Holsteins is owned by Bob and Denise Behnke who operate a 50-cow registered Holstein dairy. They have become famous for the genetics of their cows. Their cows produce an average of 32,377 lbs. of milk a year – that’s an average of 10.5 gallons of milk per day per cow and 60 percent higher than the national average. Gigi – America’s top producing milk cow (photo by Nick…

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Hometown Versus Wall Street

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Touch the Soil News #172 Going public (your stock is sold on Wall Street) means you’ve achieved a certain size, standardized financial control and a potential for growth. Going public means you can sell stock to savvy investors. First and foremost in the minds of investors is the return. We are all familiar with the kinds of things that getting a return sacrifices in order to deliver gratuitous CEO salaries, stock dividends and rising stock values. To corral all the money investors want, we can generally expect: 1) A decline in product quality. 2) Pressure to keep folks at low wages. 3) Taking environmental shortcuts. 4) Exporting jobs overseas. However,…

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