Author: Steve Savage

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Imitating Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus is a hero of mine.  He was a 16th century monk from Rotterdam who maintained correspondence with most of the educated world of his day.  He translated the Hebrew Scriptures to the vernacular language.  On behalf of the Pope, he wrote grand theological works like “The Freedom of the Will,” which was a […]

July 13th

Are High Global Food Prices A New Norm?

  FAO (The food and agriculture organization of the United Nations) released their June estimate of global food price indices yesterday.  The new numbers were mixed, but not encouraging overall. Sugar was up 15% over the month. All the other indices were nearly flat: Dairy up 0.2%, Oils down 0.6%, Meat down 1.5%, Cereals down 1.3%. […]

July 8th

10 Existential Threats To Global Agriculture

I tend to be a “glass half full” sort of person, particularly about the prospects of successfully feeding the 9-10 billion people we expect by 2050.  My optimism is based on daily contact with the innovative public and private entities who develop technology for agriculture.  It is also based on the track record of small […]

June 27th

Apple Crop for 2009: Safest On Record

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published a new version of their criminally misleading, “Dirty Dozen list” based on data from the 2009 crop that the USDA released this spring.  Apples got the questionable honor of topping that list. I know a lot about apple growers and the Integrated Pest Management techniques that they employ […]

June 21st

A Rational Analysis of the USDA Pesticide Residue Data

    When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes its annual “Dirty Dozen List” of fruits and vegetables with pesticide residues, it does so without paying any attention to which chemicals were found or what level was detected. This is why it is so misleading.  To do the analysis properly does take a lot more […]

June 15th

My Dirty Dozen List

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a “dirty dozen” list each year based on a criminally misleading interpretation of the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service, PDP pesticide residue data.  The data actually demonstrates that the pesticide residues on foods are virtually all lower than the strict tolerances that have been set by the EPA.  What the […]

June 10th

Way Too Much Angst About GMO Crops

From what I read on various blogs and comment streams, there is WAY TOO MUCH ANGST OUT THERE about GMO crops. Too much angst because every significant panel of scientists that has reviewed this technology has concluded that it is as safe as any other domesticated food crop.  Too much angst because the reality is […]

June 8th

Food Price Spike Continues But Slows

Today, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released it’s food price indices for May 2011.  It was a mixture of somewhat encouraging news and not so encouraging news.  There are indications that we may have reached the peak of the spike at levels comparable to the last spike in 2008, but there is no […]

June 7th

Bacteria Made Your Lunch – Revisited

Bacteria are one of the few reasons that I can remain optimistic about future prospects for feeding humanity.  We who are involved in feeding the world face many challenges in addition to population growth (climate change, peak oil, growing Asian middle classes..).  Still, we might just pull it off because we have microscopic friends that […]

June 6th

Sustainable Wheat Production Through Intensification

Last week I had the honor of meeting Dr. Jason Clay, Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund.  We were on the same panel at CropLife America’s second annual National Policy Conference.  Jason got the opportunity to promote his main project which is influencing major commercial entities in the food chain to promote intensification of agriculture […]

May 25th