Friday, May 13, 2016

Rice and Drought in Asia

Currently there is a drought impacting Asia due to the El Nino weather pattern. It is causing havoc for farmers and drying up rivers in Asia. While the drought has impacted rice production there has not been a big change in rice prices. These details are discussed in the article linked below and discussion points have been provided to guide conversations in your classrooms and communities around the world.

Rice Prices Stay Sideways Despite Drought

Discussion Points

  • Why is this region that is being affected by drought so important to rice production?
  • Why has there not been a big change to rice prices in Asia despite the drought?
  • What is the impact of construction of hydroelectric dams in this same area?
  • Will this impact growers and/or rice prices in the United States? Explain.
  • At what point do you believe rice prices could be impacted in Asia? Explain your reasoning.
  • How would a severe drought impact your local agriculture economy?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Farming in the Sky

Urban farming is gaining momentum across the globe and this is evident in the Netherlands which now claims fame to the largest urban farm in Europe. Urban Farmers, the company behind this urban farm, hope to provide 900 families along with local restaurants and a cooking school with vegetables and fish. Read the linked article below detailing this project and utilize the discussion points provided to create conversations in your classrooms and communities.

Greenhouse in the Sky

Discussion Points

  • Why is there a demand for urban farms like this around the world? 
  • Why is there great potential to replicate this type of production?
  • Explain the aquaponics system explained in this article and the efficiency that it brings.
  • Do you see something like this taking off in your local community? Explain.
  • Discuss the proposal by a hog farmer to integrate hog production into the urban scene? Do you think one day this will be accomplished? Explain.
  • Is urban farming a fad? React to the following statement from the article: “I always refer to the debates about parks in the city in the past. I think in 100 years, urban agriculture will be as normal as the city parks we have today.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Vietnam and the United States: The Possibilities

If you have been around agriculture and trade discussions lately you are well aware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that is in the works. This is something that many in agriculture in the United States wish was already in place due to the markets it would open. The linked article is a report from the USDA that highlights the opportunities that are availability for trade between Vietnam and the United States. After reading the linked article use the discussion points below to guide conversations in your classrooms and communities around the world!

TPP: New Opportunities for Vietnam and the U.S.

Discussion Points

  • What are the advantages to both Vietnam and the United States if the TPP agreement happens?
  • If the TPP agreement fails what is likely to happen with the trade relations between Vietnam and the United States considering other factors mentioned in this article?
  • How would the TPP agreement affect the following groups if it gets put into place?
    • Agriculture producers in the United States
    • Agriculture producers in Vietnam
    • Consumers in the United States
    • Consumers in Vietnam
  • Who and why might someone be against the TPP agreement?
  • Pick out one specific area (livestock, horticulture, or grains and oil seeds) mentioned in the article and analyze more in depth the impacts of TPP. Share your findings with others.  
Do a little more research: Give us an overall summary of the TPP agreement.
  • How long has this been in the works?
  • What countries does it involve?
  • What is overall public perception regarding the agreement?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Agriculture Key to Peace

The President of Central African Republic (CAR) has made improving agriculture production and practices across CAR a priority. The linked article takes a deeper look at the importance of focusing on and improving agriculture. Look over the article linked below and strike up conversation in your communities and classrooms utilizing the discussion points provided.

Ag is Key to Achieving Lasting Peace in Central African Republic

Discussion Points

  • Explain the importance of agriculture to CAR. 
    • How much of the countries population relies on agriculture? 
    • Why is there so much potential for growth in agriculture?
  • What is needed to improve agriculture in CAR? How could this be done?
  • Why is agriculture key to peace and stability in CAR or any country for that matter?
  • What do you predict would happen if agriculture was to collapse in your home community/country?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

China Key for EU Pork Producers

Pork prices have been struggling in the European Union, but there is hope ahead. Linked below is an article that discusses the many factors that have lead to declining pork prices for the EU and why there is hope ahead. Read through the linked article and utilize the discussion points to spark conversations in your classrooms and communities around the world.

Struggling EU Pig Farmers Look to China for Hope

Discussion Points

  • What has caused a decline in pork prices for the European Union?
  • Why is the demand for pork imports into China increasing?
  • What has the European Commission done to protect farmers in the EU? Does your home country have similar protection policies like this in place? Are these policies fair?
  • Why is China likely to turn to the EU, before the US to acquire additional pork imports?
  • This article tells a great story of international trade and world markets. Recently at a conference I attended the following was stated, "This isolation theory that is out there is scary for agriculture." What does this mean to you and how would isolation of a country affect it's agriculture and food supply?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Tilapia in Danger

There is a new virus that has been discovered that is causing tilapia fish to die around the world. This is affecting wild and farm raised tilapia. Linked below is an article that discusses the details behind this new virus that is having a huge impact on tilapia production and implications on feeding our world. Use the discussion points below to guide your conversations around the world in classrooms to coffee shops.

Researchers Discover New Fish Virus

Discussion Points

  • Why are talapia so important to feeding our world?
  • Explain how the talapia is truly a global fish.
  • How did researchers determine this was a new virus affecting talapia?
  • Why is it troubling that the same new virus was found so far apart throughout the world?
  • Hypothesize how the disease could have traveled so far, as it is affecting talapia in Israel and Ecuador.
  • How would you recommend to stop the spread of this new virus among talapia? 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Soybeans: To Accept or Not

Featured below is an article from Ag Web that discusses the possibility of some elevators not accepting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in the United States due to policies in place around the world with different countries. We encourage you to explore the linked article and startup conversations around the world in your classrooms and communities utilizing the provided discussion questions.

Elevators Say 'No Thanks' to Extend Soybeans

Discussion Points

  • Why are some elevators not accepting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in the United States?
  • Why are many confident that in the future Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will be accepted by the EU?
  • How could the decision of the EU affect markets, supply, etc. in regards to accepting or not accepting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans? 
  • If you were a farmer and preparing for planting, would you plant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans or go with another option? Justify your response.