Food and Agriculture News 8/11/22

Food and Agriculture News 8/11/22

Adapting Georgia’s famous peaches to the changing climate - WABE 

This article is essentially a follow up to a Modern Farmer article a few weeks back – we’re back at Pearson Farm again to talk about “chill hours.” With climate change, Georgia sees fewer and fewer chill hours, which means peach crops are more susceptible to disease. 

Scientists at UGA are on the case, breeding newer varieties of peaches that require fewer and fewer chill hours. 

Fear not, says Pam Knox. “ Georgia is not going to become the ‘no Peach State.”

Rise of precision agriculture exposes food system to new threats - Yahoo 

Here’s something I didn’t expect to write: our food system is becoming susceptible to hackers. 

“Precision agriculture” is a fancy (or perhaps Orwellian) way of saying tractors controlled by machines – things like using GPS to run tractors or extremely targeted use of sprays like fertilizer or pesticides. In both cases, agriculture should be more efficient in terms of energy use and reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals sprayed. Sounds like a win-win, in theory. 

The problem, as stated above, is that these technologies are vulnerable to hackers. From shutting down processing plants to adjusting the amount of fertilizer sprayed so that crops don’t perform, there’s a wide range of ways hackers could disrupt agriculture. 

In the height of irony, the methods used to defend against these hackers are being called the “all-hands approach.” 

Harvesting Wheat in Drought-Parched Kansas - New Yorker 

Farming truly touches every aspect of our society. Throughout this story, you’ll learn about global politics, war, famine, inflation, and climate change. 

It’s the last one that's the most scary. In this dispatch, they note that climate change is turning the dust bowl from a once a century event into a once every forty years event. 

“A study led by researchers from Columbia University’s Earth Institute estimates that, if Dust Bowl conditions return, the U.S. would exhaust ninety-four per cent of its wheat reserves in four years, reducing the worldwide stockpile by nearly a third.”


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