OK, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think that this year’s climate extremes are linked to human-caused climate change. We might not really have the definitive answer on whether that is true for 20 years, but I would like nothing better than to be proven wrong about the linkage I’m making today. From a global food supply perspective, the effects of weather on 2012 food production is problematic no matter what its cause. As bad as it seems, it might just be a “shot over the bow” relative to what me might expect in the future.
Author: Steve Savage
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Yesterday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released it’s monthly update on global food trade pricing. The overall “Food Price Index” that combines all categories did decline slightly, but less than the previous month. The index is still substantially higher than it was at a comparable period during the last cycle.
On Thursday (6/7/12), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) released it’s indices for food prices in international trade. Most of the news coverage was upbeat because May showed the largest drop in some time. For instance, the allAfrica website had a headline, “FAO Food Price Index Drops Sharply.” It was a 4% drop; however that comes after several months where the index stayed flat and failed to show the sort of major correction that occurred after the last spike (2007-9). Even with the drop in May, the index is still nearly as high as it’s highest level in that previous spike.
One of the most toxic and carcinogenic threats in the human food supply is a natural chemical called “aflatoxin”; the chance that it will contaminate a crop is enhanced by drought and/or insect damage – both conditions expected to be more common with the onset of climate change.
Most public health and nutrition experts would say that it would be better if Americans ate even more fruit and vegetables than they do because of their value in addressing obesity, cancer and other health concerns. How does that goal reconcile with these recent supply statistics?
The UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization has released its monthly index of global food prices for November, and it shows persistently high prices across major food categories.
Nationwide, farmers only own 60% of the land they farm. In many of the most productive row cropping areas of the Midwest, the percent of farmer-owned land is significantly lower (see Map above from the USDA, 2007 Census of Agriculture). Much of our farmland resource is owned by non-farmers and rented to those who actually […]
The current food price spike is looking an awful lot like the similar rise in prices that occurred in 2008-09.
For a long time we have been hearing that “Organic is the fastest growing segment of the food industry.” Organic advocates make the claim that Organic could “feed the world” or that it could be “the solution to global warming.” There is definitely enough buzz about Organic to make all of this seem plausible. The […]
(8/11 edits in italics below based on feedback from citrus industry scientists). A recent blog post on a site called “Food Renegade” is apparently getting quite a bit of attention on the internet. It was critical of not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice because it involves the use of flavor additives and because oxygen is removed from the […]
In the debate about GMO crops, the “threat of genetic contamination” is often raised as a reason to reject the technology. Is this threat real? Does it justify acts of vandalism? Could it lead to the “End of Organics“? Is it actually an over-blown issue? To answer these questions it is necessary to put this […]
Each year, the USDA generates an extensive set of data which demonstrates that modern American consumers face no real threat from toxic pesticide residues on their food. This is particularly true in terms of “acute toxicity,” or short-term poisoning. Someone would have to eat thousands to millions times their own body weight to kill themselves […]
On July, 14, three Greenpeace activists dressed in hazmat suits scaled a fence, and used weed whips to destroy a GMO wheat experiment in Canberra, Australia. The experiment was being conducted by CSIRO (the USDA equivalent for Australia). The activists posted video of the attack on You Tube. They also posted “explanations” by activists who could […]