Food & Agriculture News: 3/30/23

Food & Agriculture News: 3/30/23

Rick Ross' wandering pet buffalos anger Georgia neighbors - FOX 5 Atlanta 

Finally, we have reached the peak story in the history of this newsletter. This story has it all: wandering buffaloes, a famous rapper, angry neighbors, the use of the term “Hustlin’” by a Fox News entity. 

The chef’s kiss is Rozay’s response to the neighbor calling the police. "...when you see my buffalo, give them a carrot. Give it an apple. They're so kind and so peaceful."

(Editor's note: do not feed the buffalo) 

New program helps East Point families donate food waste to grow healthy vegetables - FOX 5 Atlanta

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming. The City of East Point announced a new community composting initiative where residents can donate food scraps that will be turned into compost by local company CompostNow. That nutrient dense compost will then be offered to local farmers to help them grow nutritious produce. 

Also quoted in this story is the Godfather of Fathers Jam, Tenisio Seanima. Love this line about our role in growing vegetables – which is actually more about producing healthy soil.

"[Compost] is extremely beneficial. Number one, the soil is the source. As a farmer our job is not necessarily to grow those vegetables, we take care of those vegetables. Nature grows them, and you need to have a source of nutrients for them to survive," he said.

Q&A: Georgia’s new ag commissioner says agriculture is more than ‘cows, sows & plows’ - State Affairs 

Can’t say I have a whole lot to report from this article, but I don’t think it’s a great sign that Commissioner Harper says the number one issue in agriculture is federal overreach.

For me, the top issue is that the average age of farmers is approaching 60. Combine that with the increasingly high price of farmland, which makes it near impossible for younger farmers to get involved. To protect our number one industry, we need younger people running farms. 

At any rate, I don’t anticipate much in the way of significant changes for Georgia Agriculture under Commissioner Harper, but I will wager that he won’t stay in this job as long as former Commissioner Gary Black, who served from 2010-2022. I get the sense Harper has his eyes on a bigger job, which might explain his focus on DC at the top of this interview. 

No California salmon: Fishery to be shut down this year - Cal Matters 

We’ve heard a lot about water in California over the last few years, mainly that they are running out. This winter, Cali had a deluge of rain, leaving most of their reservoirs over 80% capacity.

However, that won’t do much for fish this year. In addition to drought, dams and agricultural diversions from reservoirs (which have increased in recent years due to the drought) compound to leave very little water left for fish. What has remained heats up too easily because there isn’t enough to stay cool. For species like salmon, that wipes out entire populations. 

Good news may be on the horizon. There are several dams slated for removal, which will help salmon swim upstream to lay eggs, in an initiative led by local tribes of Native people. Additionally, CA’s Fish and Wildlife Division reports that they tend to see the fish numbers jump up three years later after winters with more rain. 

Unfortunately, that won’t do much for fishing operations in the meantime, putting further pressure on an industry that has seen commercial fishing fleets shrink from 5,000 in the 1980s to just 464 today.  

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