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Dock Strikes Highlight Food Imports

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Touch the Soil News #648 (Feature Photo – CCA 3.0) With troubles brewing at East Coast docks, the labor tremors conjure up concerns about American Food Imports. Estimates are that the U.S. imports 19 percent of its food – 123 billion pounds. That’s almost 400 pounds per person here in the USA. Much of the imported food represents items more efficiently raised in warmer climates outside the nation. Given the volume of imports and the related economic impact on internal trucking, grocery chains and other industries affected, dock strikes can be economically punishing. For 2017, the USDA projects that agricultural exports will reach $134 billion while agricultural imports will reach…

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The Risk of Politicians Overlooking Food

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Touch the Soil News #458 The world’s issues are complex and it is easy for policymakers (and politicians) to overlook the importance of food and farming. While it has not been in the forefront of the news the past month, the pending exit of Great Britain from the European Union is getting closer scrutiny. While the U.K is far away, it is not out of the question that lack of political focus on food may impact the U.S. more in the future. For over 40 years, the British food chain has become intertwined with that of  Europe. Today Britain’s food security materially rests with the European Union. Recently, the Los…

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Sketchy Pork Info – But Worth Following

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Touch the Soil News #421 In the world of commodities – including agricultural – when China consumes, the whole world feels it. Global Meat News (http://www.globalmeatnews.com/Industry-Markets/China-s-pork-imports-booming) recently reported that environmental and economic issues in China are causing domestic reductions in the production of pork. While there are no definitive statistics, pollution problems with large pork operations near cities has resulted in some closures. In addition, there have been many closures of small “mom “and “pop” pork farms contributing to supply declines. China leads the world in pork consumption and per-capita consumption is going up. The net result is significant: Pork prices in China have gone up almost 40 percent over the past 12…

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Russia to the World – We’re Curtailing Food Imports and Raising Our Own

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Touch the Soil News #368 Amid Western economic sanctions against Russia – for its intervention into the Ukraine – Russia decided to fight back economically to the Western World. One of Russia’s actions included the stopping of food imports from Europe and other Western nations. At stake are historical Russian purchases (imports) of foreign food to the tune of almost $44 billion a year. By 2015, Russia had cut those purchases by almost 40 percent. They plan more cuts in the future. Farmers in Europe and other parts are feeling the economic pain of this large market loss. A recent Bloomberg report found that Russia is working diligently to increase…

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A Spooky Food and Gardening Awareness

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Touch the Soil News #285 Imagine one day waking up and realizing you need to go home, but you are a million miles from home. Home in this sense is the family farm of three to four generations ago that had a vegetable garden, a couple of milk cows, chickens for eggs, a few acres of grain for bread and some meat animals. The reason you want to go home is that you have found yourself in a city of 7.5 million people (Hong Kong) that is on the edge of China with 1.4 billion people all looking for more food. The realization hits you that everything must be imported.…

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WOW – World’s Largest Food-Purchase in One Day

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Touch the Soil News #194 Most of us would not use soybeans in a typical meal. However, we will eat meat most every day from animals fed soybeans. So, to make the point, soybeans are a foundation of modern diets. Now, in one day – September 24, 2015 – Chinese officials (visiting Iowa – signed 24 contracts to buy U.S. soybeans worth $5.3 billion. Now that’s what we can call a grocery shopping record. In actual volume, these contracts call for buying 13.2 million metric tonnes of U.S. soybeans (a metric tonne is 2,205 lbs.). China will use these soybeans primarily to feed livestock and poultry. In number crunching terms,…

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