Food & Agriculture News: 12/1/22

Food & Agriculture News: 12/1/22

Wells are running dry in drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas - Mercury News

In the past couple of months, I have almost included articles about this. The problem is, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. I mean, the premise is insane. In a drought prone area, you’re going to sell your water? Not only that, you’re going to sell it at cut market rates for an extremely inefficient use of water that won’t even be sold back to your own population? 

But yes, all of that is exactly what’s happening. Arizona is selling water to the United Arab Emirates at extremely cheap prices so they can feed cattle. 

Here’s the loophole: it’s actually illegal to export water from Arizona! However, you can export products like alfalfa that are full of water in order to feed livestock. 

The wild part is that countries like Saudi Arabia banned growing alfalfa because they use so much water and it’s so inefficient in a drought ridden part of the world. 

But in America, I guess everyone has their price. 

This article is exactly why we started this newsletter: it combines climate change, national security, and agriculture all in one. And yet, you probably won't hear a peep about it on national news.

Food of the future: London air raid shelter to underground farm - Reuters 

This enterprise seems to get written up every couple of years, and I always read the updates because it’s such a cool project and a great use of space. As far as I can tell, I haven’t shared this in our newsletter, so I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. 

Here’s my philosophy on the matter: greens and herbs should be grown as close to the point of consumption as possible. They can both be grown in windowsills – and evidently, in bomb shelters. How's that for range?

Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska - PHI17 

No way to look at it – this is extremely depressing. 

The truth is, modern day chicken farming is a bit like modern technology. When it works, it’s extremely efficient and you barely have to think about it. When it doesn’t the consequences are devastating. 

The difference, of course, is that in technology it might mean trouble boarding your flight or accessing the concert tickets you bought. In agriculture, it means millions of chickens die. Absolutely brutal.

Cutting-edge tech made this tiny country a major exporter of food - Washington Post 

If you’re following the World Cup, it may seem in poor taste (ahem) to share an article about the Dutch – but trust me, this is well worth reading. 

You’ll know by now that I’m a big skeptic about the insane amount of money being poured into vertical agriculture, or even cultured meat. But THIS is how it’s done folks. Targeted investments designed to achieve maximum results.

If you’d prefer not to read the entire thing -- although I highly recommend it -- please digest (ahem) this mind blowing paragraph:

The country has nearly 24,000 acres — almost twice the size of Manhattan — of crops growing in greenhouses. These greenhouses, with less fertilizer and water, can grow in a single acre what would take 10 acres of traditional dirt farming to achieve. Dutch farms use only a half-gallon of water to grow about a pound of tomatoes, while the global average is more than 28 gallons.

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