Cockroaches being raised for cosmetics, medicine and food.
"The 43-year-old businessman is the largest cockroach producer in China (and thus probably in the world), with six farms populated by an estimated 10 million cockroaches. He sells them to producers of Asian medicine and to cosmetic companies that value the insects as a cheap source of protein as well as for the cellulose-like substance on their wings."
posted by ChuckRamone
on Oct 15, 2013 -
"...Winter Storm Atlas took a huge toll on folks in Western South Dakota earlier this month.
With reports of up to 58″ of snow and almost hurricane-force winds, South Dakotans were struck hard with an early season blizzard of historic proportions...Estimates are that upwards of 70,000 cattle, horses, and livestock perished in the storm. That means many ranchers lost all of this year’s calf crop and a good majority of their cow herds...I’ve encountered many losses in ranching, having several cattle at once struck dead by lightning, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to see dead cattle and horses strung out for more than 100 miles." [more inside]
posted by bakerina
on Oct 12, 2013 -
How do farmers deal with wasted acreage at the corners of their crop circles?
Some add corner systems, so water sprayers can reach the otherwise untouched land at the edges of the sprayers' reach. But as Edible Geography points out, "ecologists are preaching the potential of pivot corners. In a simplified landscape of monoculture crop circles, the corners can restore complexity: left as native perennial grassland or managed as early successional habitat, these concave triangles can provide valuable habitat for bees, birds, and predatory insects to support crop pollination and natural pest control." A short look at the costs and benefits of pivot discards.
posted by MonkeyToes
on Sep 9, 2013 -
You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry
. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard
has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry
first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas
. [more inside]
posted by oulipian
on May 26, 2013 -
Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers.... And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.
posted by Cash4Lead
on May 22, 2013 -
Death Of A Pig
, E.B. White.
I spent several days and nights in mid-September with an ailing pig and I feel driven to account for this stretch of time, more particularly since the pig died at last, and I lived, and things might easily have gone the other way round and none left to do the accounting. Even now, so close to the event, I cannot recall the hours sharply and am not ready to say whether death came on the third night or the fourth night. This uncertainty afflicts me with a sense of personal deterioration; if I were in decent health I would know how many nights I had sat up with a pig. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Feb 26, 2013 -
Mark Lynas, author of several
books on climate change
and once a leading figurehead of the anti-GMO movement, has made an about turn on his opinions regarding GM crops
. In an address to the Oxford Farming Conference
, he stated:
"For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist." [more inside]
posted by rattleandhum
on Jan 4, 2013 -
"Farmer Bowman began purchasing Monsanto’s patented seeds in 1999 and, because of the licensing agreement, did not save any of the seed for future planting.
But he also bought so-called “commodity” seed from a local grain elevator, which acts as a clearinghouse for farmers to buy and sell seed.
But given that more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted in the area were Roundup Ready crops, the elevator’s seed was contaminated with Monsanto’s patented seed.
Farmer Bowman planted that commodity seed, which was substantially cheaper to purchase, to produce a second, late-season crop, which is generally more risky and lower yielding. He then used seeds generated in one late-season harvest to help produce subsequent late-season crops.
Monsanto sued him for patent infringement, and he lost." [more inside]
posted by sio42
on Oct 11, 2012 -
Go Pro Grain Farming
Good, watchable videos of grain farming are hard to find, but using a Go Pro camera to document 2012 crop production on the Canadian prairies was a great idea.
posted by bluebelle
on Sep 30, 2012 -
Poor potato crop leaves processors short of spuds
Canada is facing a potato shortage, mainly because of poor growing conditions last summer. That has sent wholesale prices for some spuds soaring and forced processors such as Toronto-based McCain Foods Ltd. to temporarily close some plants.
posted by Blake
on Jun 11, 2012 -
Last night, author and farmer Wendell Berry delivered a powerful lecture
[video; full text here
includes portions not delivered verbally] to a full house on the occasion of his accepting the National Endowment of the Humanities' Jefferson Award. The famous PC holdout
has appeared previously
in the blue, but this lecture is not to be missed. Here is soul nourishment for the long-time Berry follower, and for the newcomer a superb introduction to one of our time's greatest intellects. [more inside]
posted by maniabug
on Apr 25, 2012 -
Feral swine (aka feral hogs, wild pigs) incur an estimated $1 billion (US) in property damage and control costs, according to the USDA
(.pdf). They rip up crops, root up native plans, injure and kill other wildlife and carry disease. As of April 1, 2012, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources
them, permitting "any licensed hunter [to] shoot
feral swine on sight." The relevant Invasive Species Order
(.pdf), and its convoluted implementation, has a number of hog farmers up in arms
over the state's new ability to slaughter farm-raised pigs that meet the state DNR's description of "feral swine." [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes
on Apr 4, 2012 -
So you wake up tomorrow morning to find almost everyone on Earth missing. The Internet will continue to work for a few hours
: what information could you download to ensure your survival and rebuild civilization? A few suggestions: The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
. Third Word Development
(18 GB of information on agriculture, livestock, food processing, construction, water, sanitation, health and much more). The Global Village Construction Set (previously)
. Copies of Gray's Anatomy
, Where There Is No Doctor
, and The Ship Captain’s Medical Guide
A few more that might be handy even in ordinary times: all of Wikipedia
, or perhaps just a portion
. (Ideally, of course, you’d already have a bound, printed copy
), Offline Google Mail (Chrome)
to save correspondence; SiteSucker
to download sites you’d like to keep around while offline.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul
on Jan 5, 2012 -
The government of Canada has decided to end
the Canadian Wheat Board
's single desk system for the sale and export of wheat and barley. This has been on the Conservative agenda
for some time
now, despite some claims that farmers support
the Wheat Board. Many are suggesting that the repercussions could stretch beyond wheat farmers; including concern for the town of Churchill, known mostly for the local bear
population, which does 95%
of their port business through the Wheat Board.
of the Wheat Board.
week on metafiler?
posted by Stagger Lee
on Oct 17, 2011 -
Let's say just for a moment that you were ready to cash out. Quit your job. Sell your house. Take you and yours out of the rat race with a few hundred of your friends and family and relocate onto arable land. What tools would you need to sustain a livable—maybe even comfortable—lifestyle? Open Source Ecology
suggests you start with ~2.6 million dollars and these
| machines (← watch this first)
, collectively referred to as the Global Village Construction Set.
posted by carsonb
on Mar 28, 2011 -
Now that winter is officially here, maybe you're thinking about warmer times, and your vegetable garden. Here are some online tools and resources to help you plan your next bumper crop.
Mother Earth News Garden Planner
is an online app that can help you layout your garden, and once you've done that, it'll tell you when you should start planting, based on your location. It even takes into account things like successive sowing and crop rotation, all with an eye towards organic farming practices. (Don't like associating with the Mother Earthers? The same app is available via GrowVeg.com
Considering more unusual varieties this year? How about heirloom varieties? Seed Savers Exchange
| Victory Seeds
| Seeds of Change
. And of course, there's always Burpee
for your more garden variety seeds.
And be sure to check out these composting tips
Or if all of this is just too much work, you can always sign up for a share in a nearby CSA
posted by crunchland
on Dec 22, 2010 -
The Cornucopia Institute's Organic Egg Scorecard
ranks egg producers on a scale from 1 to 5 eggs,
using criteria like outdoor access, indoor space per bird, ownership structure, beak trimming and other factors
[pdf]. The scorecard is part of the Institute's new report, Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture
. The executive summary
[pdf] provides some political context.
"Whole Foods, Walmart, A&P, Costco, Meijer, Safeway, and Trader Joe's store-brand eggs all received the lowest possible rating in Cornucopia's study.
posted by mediareport
on Oct 5, 2010 -
Last year, Yang Youde learned that his land had been requisitioned. Since the compensation terms for breaking the contract had not been settled, he has refused to move out. "The evictors said many times that they will move on me." Earlier this year, Yang took measures to protect himself. He took a hand-truck and removed the front. Then he put in a set of rockets for use as an artillery battery.
posted by Artw
on Jun 8, 2010 -
"is a blog that examines topics in Asia through the perspectives of interesting people interviewed by a group of bloggers in Mainland China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and more." Meet Gao Qingrong and family
, who along with seven other households are part of an organic farm co-op in Anlong Village, Sichuan
. Or there's the tale of how one of the bloggers met Jun Jun, a male prostitute in Beijing
; an encounter with Silang Laji, a road maintenance worker in Kham
, a Tibetan region of China; and Gege, an enterprising journalist in Chengdu
posted by Abiezer
on Feb 28, 2010 -