Keeping an eye on the big playas

by Jeremy Cherfas on October 17, 2012

To find out what mainstream agriculture is up to, you have to follow mainstream media outlets, and some of those are behind a paywall much of the time.1 So I’m glad that both Kay McDonald at Big Picture Agriculture and Thomas Barnett at Globlogization subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. From Big Picture Agriculture we learn that yesterday, World Food Day, the WSJ devoted a lot of space to Innovations in Agriculture. There’s a lot there to pore over. And both Kay and Tom go large on the WSJ’s report on no-till farming, largely as a response to high energy costs.

Also for World Food Day, Kay shares this little insight into professional doomsayers:

Lester Brown must be astonished that there are 130 million fewer hungry people now than there were 20 years ago even though we have over 1.5 billion more people to feed. But, undaunted, this week he continues to warn that we will soon be running out of food. One of these years he’ll be right, but I doubt that it’ll be this next year. His logic makes sense and grabs headlines around the world’s leading news publications except he lacks one element in his analysis and that is the economics of supply and demand for food production. Food commodity prices are high right now and the whole world is responding, anxious to cash in on some profits.

To which I, an unprofessional doomsayer, would like to add only that there are limits to productivity, even if mainstream economists don’t always recognise them.

Footnotes:
  1. There’s a metaphor in here somewhere, struggling to get out. []

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cédric Jeanneret October 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Talking about cashing in on some profit, GRAIN.org has compiled a list of the big playas in land grabbing.

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Martha October 18, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hopefully these large food industries are aware of the importance of cooperating with others. Many people die every day and this should not be allowed. In http://www.agronet.gov.co I’ve read more things about it, I recommend it.

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Ford Denison October 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Higher prices will also encourage people to eat less-expensive foods (e.g., grain rather than grain-fed beef) but there, too, there are limits.

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