Agriculture Articles – Recommended Reading for July 13th

The following are Agriculture Articles I have excerpted as Recommended Reading for July 13th, 2011. To Read the full articles, simply click on the titles.

Fred Kirschenmann: The New Food Revolution (Organic Connections)

EXCERPT: “There are two schools of thought about industrial agriculture now,” Kirschenmann says. “One is that the only way to feed the world is to intensify what we have been doing over the last 60 years. After all, it’s been successful, right? I mean, we’ve doubled and tripled and in some instances quadrupled yields of a few crops, and so what we’ve got to do is simply apply more technology and do more of the same. “The other school of thought is, we have used and are using up our resources and we’ve had a lot of unintended consequences that nobody wanted to see happen, which are creating big problems for us. We now have over 400 ecological dead zones as a result of the kind of farming that we’re doing.”

Five Steps for a Successful Return to the Farm (by Elizabeth Williams DTN Progressive Farmer)

EXCERPT: “Many farmers dream of passing the family business to the next generation, but a strong business relationship between two generations is a two-way street. Avoiding the potholes is the key. The older generation needs to give up some control and decision-making, and the younger generation needs to prepare and adjust their work and communication skills to get the partnership started on the right foot.”

For rural economies, hi-tech training more effective than tax breaks (Penn State Press Release)

EXCERPT: High-tech training may trump tax breaks for creating more jobs and improving a state’s economy, according to a team of economists. “We found that lower state taxes were not statistically associated with a state’s economic performance,” said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural economics and regional economics in College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. “The tax climate was not linked to either growth or income distribution.” Goetz, who serves as director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, said states that favor low taxes do not necessarily spend funds efficiently. They may skimp on funding needed public services such as road maintenance and education. Those costs often are transferred to businesses directly or become obstacles for businesses seeking to attract qualified workers to the state.  States with more technology classes in school, higher domain name registrations and more people online tended to economically outperform states with a lower emphasis on technology. “It does indicate that states that have already moved into the online economy are better able to create jobs,” Goetz said.

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