Friday, July 19, 2013

Production increases stagnating?

Use of fertilizer and wheat genotypes constrain production. For a long time we've continued to be more productive by improving fertilizers and recently with GMOs, but this article contends that we are falling behind the rate of population growth. It's a modern Malthus.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Role Reversal

I am totally confused about the latest on Congress' approach to the farm bill. Let me see if I get this right.

The old farm bill featured agricultural subsidies and food stamps. Republicans didn't like the food stamps, so some amended the bill to make people work harder to qualify for food stamps. Some Republicans didn't want to support food stamps even with the new tougher standards, and Democrats backed out after the standards were made tougher, so there wasn't enough support for the bill.

What surprises me is that Republicans aren't interested in gutting the agricultural portion of the bill, which is as close to literal pork as you can get. I guess that since they mostly come from rural states, it's another one of these "Get your government hands off my Medicare" situations: cut funding for everyone but me.

This writer says that nutrition, agricultural, and environmental lobbyists oppose the splitting of the bill. I'd usually describe myself as in the pro-nutrition and pro-environment groups (as well as pro-agriculture under some circumstances) but I'd kind of like to see it split just to see the Tea Party activists voting for big government subsidies. Down is up and black is white....