Here’s five stories you should read today, February 20, 2014.
National Public Radio reporter Dan Charles took a close look at how chicken farming works in the United States with his story, “Is Tyson Foods’ Chicken Empire a ‘Meat Racket’?” Today, however, instead of focusing on the company, Charles focused on the system, often called a tournament, that incentivizes chicken farmers by paying more efficient farmers more money. The system pits farmer against farmer.
When residents of large cities seek local produce, there’s a bit of a supply problem. Generally, there’s no orchards or produce farms in major cities. Why not grow food in the city? Though it seems like a sensible solution, Louis Albright, an emeritus professor of biological and environmental engineering who helped pioneer controlled-environment agriculture, warned that growing produce in a closed-system urban farm based on electricity would result in high production costs and a large carbon footprint.
California Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the $4.1 million Agricultural Education Incentive Grant from his 2014 budget, which could cut high school agriculture programs. The grant works by providing matching funds for school districts that meet state-approved standards in agriculture education.
Agriculture is the engine driving many African economies, but young people link agriculture with the labour their parents did. The image farming has in Africa is a tough one to shake, but African agriculture could be worth $1 trillion by 2030, according to the World Bank. Experts are alarmed at Africa’s youth unemployment, but agriculture could be the sector many young people will find work in the near future.
When South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard made a pitch to California dairy farmers at the annual World Ag Expo, he caught the farmers’ attention. Apparently the great weather and vast farmland isn’t enough to keep dairy farmers in California, especially if the cost of business is increasing. Gov. Daugaard promised cheaper land, cheaper feed and fewer regulations.
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