Agriculture

Record Farm Yields Contradict Climate Doomsayers’ Claims

U.S. and global crop production continue to set new records, even as climate activists ramp up a campaign to convince people that climate change is decimating crop production and forcing farmers out of business. The latest misinformation was spread by Politico. Politico in October published an article titled, “‘I’m standing right here in the middle of climate change’: How USDA is failing farmers.” On December 9, Politico followed up with an article titled, “How a closed-door meeting shows farmers are waking up on climate change.” The October article claimed “American farmers are reeling” from extreme weather caused by climate change. The article also complained that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not devoting more money toward climate change programs. The December article asserted horrible “destruction wrought by catastrophic weather this year.” The article placed the blame on climate change and then trumpeted efforts to change government agriculture policy to focus on climate change. The Politico articles generated substantial attention from the media echo chamber, including Google News searches for “climate change” placing the Politico articles at the top of search results. Unfortunately for climate activists – but fortunately for farmers and the rest of us – the climate change crop scare is pure fiction. Presenting crop data collected by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Economy website documents that U.S. crop yields are enjoying excellent short-term, mid-term, and long-term growth, with new records being set almost every year. According to the USDA publication, “Crop Production Historical Track Records,” the past three years produced the three highest U.S. wheat yields per acre in history. The past five years produced the five highest U.S. corn yields and the five highest soybean yields per acre in history. U.S. and global crop production are a story of steady growth and almost yearly new records as the Earth modestly warms. Even with the “catastrophic weather this year,” the USDA projects this year’s corn, soybean, and wheat yields to each be among the top six years all-time. Also, much of the problematic “catastrophic weather” occurred as part of early-spring snowstorms and late-fall snowstorms, which will continue to become less frequent and severe with ongoing modest warming. At the global level, the UN Food and Agriculture’s “World Food Situation” website documents the same strong, consistent crop growth globally, with new records being set virtually every year. The UN global crop production data is particularly helpful getting to the bottom of claims that climate change is a major factor in people attempting to enter the United States from Central America. NBC News, for example, published a July 2019 article titled, “Central America’s choice: Pray for rain or migrate.” The subtitle read, “Ravaged by drought, farmers in rural Honduras and Guatemala live on the edge of hunger.” The article placed the blame for drought, crop failures, and resultant migration on global warming. UN Food and Agriculture data, however, show Honduras and Guatemala are enjoying long-term growth in crop yields per acre, with record crop yields being set throughout the past decade. The same holds true for Mexico and nearly every other country in Central America. Ultimately, more atmospheric carbon dioxide has the same beneficial impact on farm production as it does in greenhouse growing facilities. Also, warmer temperatures bring longer growing seasons and fewer devastating frost events. U.S., Honduran, Guatemalan, and global crop data show that climate activists are telling tall tales when they assert that climate change is causing global or regional crop devastation. The proof is in the objective crop production data.

John Adams once said that “facts are stubborn things.”  Indeed..  Thanks to James Taylor (no, not the singer) for that enlightening op/ed. James is director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute.  He can be reached at: JTaylor@heartland.org      Excellent!!      🙂

Farmers to feed cows seaweed to cut down on gas emissions

Coastal Maine has a lot of seaweed, and a fair number of cows. A group of scientists and farmers think that pairing the two could help unlock a way to cope with a warming world. The researchers — from a marine science lab, an agriculture center and universities in northern New England — are working on a plan to feed seaweed to cows to gauge whether that can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. About a quarter of the methane in the country comes from cattle, which produce the gas when they belch or flatulate. The concept of feeding seaweed to cows has gained traction in recent years because of some studies that have shown its potential to cut back on methane. The reduction might be because the seaweed interrupts the process of production of the gas in the animals’ guts. One of the big questions is which kinds of seaweed offer the highest benefit to farmers looking to cut methane, and the researchers hope to find out, said Nichole Price, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine, and the project’s leader. “What on that list has the ability to do two things — not just reduce methane emissions, but have some health benefits for the cow that have a cost savings or cost efficiency for the farmer?” Price said. The researchers plan to conduct feeding trials with cows in Maine and New Hampshire in 2020 and 2021 to see whether seaweeds that can be used as cattle feed can cut the methane. They also intend to screen seaweeds for compounds that make them useful as cattle feed additives. The lab work to determine whether the seaweeds succeed in reducing methane will take place at University of Vermont.

Ok.. Let’s get this straight… Some eco-nerd scientists from the northeast are feeding cows SEAWEED (something that is NOT part of their normal diet) in an attempt to cut back on their farting. Even IF their weird science experience bears some fruit in terms of reduced cow farting, it opens up all sorts of questions like.. What effects will it have on the cows? Will the taste of the cow’s milk or steak be altered? And, will some federal or state governmental agency (or Dem-controlled legislature) seize on this and force farmers in the Midwest to feed their cows SEAWEED?…like that’ll ever happen, lol. For more of this crazy AP story, click on the text above.

Corn War? U.S. Farmers Say Mexico Needs American Corn

Some U.S. farmers say a Mexican lawmaker’s plans to introduce a new bill requiring the country to stop buying American corn and shift those purchases to South America seems more like tough talk than anything else. Mexico currently buys nearly all its corn from the U.S., totaling a quarter of all U.S. corn exports. While it’s a big market, American corn farmers describe it as a mutually beneficial relationship. “It’s not going to make sense for Mexico to buy from South America, from what they’re saying because they are going to see 10 –12 –15% increase in their costs. And, then you’re [going to] have to ship it on top of that,” Chad Etheridge, CEO of Growing America and Founder of Farmers for Trump, told FOX Business. “The likelihood of them actually doing that and spending an extra 15%, just because they’re unhappy with us, doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he adds. Currently, Mexico, which is the largest buyer of U.S. corn at 27%, (surpassing Japan last year, which fell to 22%), is also getting the crop at a very cheap price as the U.S. is seeing a surplus of the commodity in recent years. “Corn prices are now below the cost of production. There is just a lot of corn sitting around because we’ve had several good years of corn yields,” Kurt Hora, a corn farmer from Washington, Iowa and president of Iowa Corn Growers..

Definitely something to keep an eye on..  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.