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The Enormous Pig Factor

Touch the Soil News #241 Population is becoming a popular topic – particularly as relates to food. Sometimes the oddest of events can rock the food chain – and impact the population clinging to it. Recently, low pork prices in China resulted in millions of breeding sows heading to the butcher . From 2014 to 2015, the number of producing pig sows in China dropped by 7.5 million. For perspective, the U.S. sow herd is around 6 million head. Some global food analysts expect pork prices to increase so pork producers step up to the plate and bring on more sows. Global pork production stands at around 112 million tons…

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Stalking Farmland Around the Globe

Touch the Soil News # 150 The flow of money from America’s workforce into investment and retirement accounts has created one of the largest pools of capital ever to assemble itself in the world. Retirement assets alone in the U.S. today exceed $24 trillion. Combine this with wealth accumulation in other parts of society and you have an army of dollars whose appetite for more money far exceeds what the world’s borrowers and workers can deliver. As this phenomenon grows, Investors must look farther and wider for a place to extract a return. Recently, one of the world’s largest retirement and wealth investing companies TIAA-CREF announced its success in attracting billions…

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Food-Chain News Roundup

Touch the Soil News # 149 Billionaires and Food Vietnam’s only billionaire, Pham Nhat Vuong, through his investment company Vingroup, is putting together a $46.5 million dollar greenhouse food enterprise. Up till now, Vuong has been involved in property development – making agriculture a total departure from his norm. Helping in the project is Israeli company Netafim. Netafim builds out greenhouses and is the world’s leader in drip irrigation products and technology. Vuong represents just one small investor, among a growing flock of investors looking to harness their dollars in food and agriculture. Greenhouse food production near cities attracts billionaire Farmers Open Grocery Store Two Canadian farmers – Simone Rudge…

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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News # 146 Forbes Magazine and News has been one of the closest followers of Cargill, its finances and its global footprint. In its November 23, 2104 issue, Forbes writer Dan Alexander provided some rare insights into what Cargill is presently doing: Creating a $100 million cocoa plant in Indonesia. Putting in a $91 million livestock-feed factory in Korea. Building a large dairy feed facility in India capable of producing 1.2 million metric tons a year. All in all, Cargill has poured more than $3 billion into upgraded facilities, acquisitions and new projects around the world over the past year. Besides being directly involved with food production,…

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Got Milk? International Tensions Behind Building World’s Largest Dairy

Touch the Soil News # 139 Unable to produce all the milk products it needs, Russia has historically relied heavily on dairy imports from Europe. Recently, the EU extended economic sanctions against Russia. In Retaliation, Russia has worked out a deal with China to take their milk business to China. The deal is to build a 100,000 cow dairy in China and then create a farm in Russia to raise all the feed. The projects are financed by both Russian and Chinese investors. European Union farmers are already uneasy. The proposed China dairy is under construction and will take away 30 percent of the EU’s dairy exports to Russia. The…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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High Pressure Food Preservation – Is This the Next Food Rage?

Touch the Soil News # 131 “Treating foods with high pressure rather than high heat or chemicals is a natural choice for better maintaining flavor and nutrients,” says biologist Carole Tonello. A high pressure processing machine (photo – courtesy of Hiperbaric) Tonello works for Hiperbaric, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of high pressure processing machines. High pressure processing evenly subjects fresh foods to high pressures in the range of 70,000 pounds per square inch and higher. The effect of this high pressure is to kill microorganisms while maintaining the biochemical properties of food. Tonello explains that with high pressure, there is very little effect on a food’s flavor, nutrients and…

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Should Home Gardeners Get Into Producing Their Own Meat/Proteins?

Touch the Soil News # 130 The logistics of raising fruit and vegetables are one thing. The pursuit of meat and protein is another.  There has been a revival of backyard chickens for eggs and meat. More and more cities that had restrictions on urban chickens are lifting or reducing them. It is hard to imagine that in 1859, residents of Manhattan were keeping over 50,000 pigs in the city. Posing the question as to whether or not home gardeners should be concerned about their own meat stems from a more basic question: Should meatpacking be more decentralized and are meat companies getting to big? This question came again to…

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The World’s Largest Food “Manufacturing” Companies – Behind the Scenes (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1, we covered some background on the 10 largest food manufacturing companies plus behind-the-scenes information on the first five companies. In Part 2, we will look at the last five companies with #1 being the largest food manufacturing company in the world. Company #5 – Mondelez International Mondelez International split off from Kraft Foods in 2012, taking with it all the snack and candy brands such as Cadbury, Nabisco, Oreo, Trident gum, Wheat Thins, Ritz crackers, Sour Patch Kids and many others. Headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey, the Company has annual revenues of $35.3 billion annually. It is the world’s largest snack food company. The CEO of…

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Home Gardens and Local Food – Can they Carry More Responsibility?

Touch the Soil News #114 –– includes 2 videos If there is one urban farmer trying to make a go of it, there are thousands. If there is one home gardener trying to make a difference, there are millions throughout the nation. America has millions of acres in lawns and vacant city lots (estimates are over 40 million acres). Most urbanites have access to water for gardens. Access to assets that can produce food may be a welcome buffer as national interests around the world are scurrying to control farmland and food production for their respective homeland security interests. This brings an entirely different investment mindset coming to the table.…

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