Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trade War to Trade Deal

Recently China and the United States struck a new trade deal that will look to open up the movement of beef, natural gas, and cooked chicken. I encourage you to read through the linked article that shares some of the details of the recent trade talks. At the bottom of the article there is a five minute video clip of analysts looking closer at the trade deal and bringing up some intriguing points. We encourage you to explore the article and video and use the discussion points below to guide your conversations.

China, US Reach Agreement

Discussion Points

  • What are the initial details of this trade agreement? 
  • To you what is the most significant part of this trade agreement and why?
  • Why have some cautioned against immediate excitement over the trade deal?
  • Give your predictions of this trade deal. What will be the impact of beef, pork, and/or natural gas prices in your home country for the consumer and producers? Explain and justify your reasonings.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Silos in Afghanistan

In developing countries there are often solutions that can be introduced that seem "simple" to the developed world. Things that we take for granted can be life changing to developing countries. An example of this is when we shared in season fertilizer practices with our partner university in Haiti. By using fertilizer sources available to them and the concept of in season fertilizers yields tripled in one year. Below is a video from the FAO that shares how a silo project in Afghanistan is positively impacting agriculture. Watch the short video (under two minutes) linked below and utilize the discussion points to guide your conversations around the globe.

Silos for Afghanistan 

Discussion Points

  • Explain the silo project implemented in Afghanistan.
  • How has this project benefited farmers and citizens of Afghanistan?
  • Why is it key that this project utilized locals to create the silos?
  • This project was tabbed "a simple solution to food and seed loss." What are other "simple solutions" that you can think of that could improve agriculture in developing countries? What are the possible benefits and negatives of your potential solution? What are potential challenges facing your solution and how would you overcome them?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Climate Smart Agriculture

At a recent event of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) farmers from different areas of the world shared successes utilizing climate smart agriculture practices. The linked article below explains climate smart agriculture and explains the successful practices utilized in Tanzania and Vietnam. Read the linked article below and utilize the discussion points to guide your conversations around the globe!

Countries Share Lessons on How to Tackle Climate Change

Discussion Points

  • In your own words explain "Climate Smart" agriculture. 
  • Explain the successful climate smart practices utilized in Tanzania and their impacts.
  • Explain the successful climate smart practices implemented in Vietnam and their impacts.
  • Of all of the climate smart practices in agriculture that were shared which do you feel is the greatest innovation and why?
  • What additional practices do you feel could be implemented to promote climate smart agriculture around the world?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wastewater Farming Contorversy

A new water treatment plant is coming to Mexico. Most would see this as a good thing, however some are not so happy. The water that will be treated is currently a fertilizer source for a group of farmers in Mexico. Read through the article linked below and utilize the discussion points below to guide conversations around the globe. 

Discussion Points
  • Explain the benefits of wastewater farming.
  • Explain the problems with wastewater farming.
  • What past historical event or events complicate this situation more?
  • After reading this article what would your recommendation by and why? Plant, no plant, compromise, or something else?
  • This situation is an excellent example of how something that can benefit so many can have a negative impact on others. Can you think of other examples of this? 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

From Sea to Plate

Did you know that keeping illegally captured fish off supermarket shelves is a problem around the world? This is a challenge that is facing the fishing/seafood industry and one of the heaviest traded commodities in the world. We encourage you to read the linked article and then utilize the discussion points provided below to guide conversations around the globe.

Discussion Points
  • Why is it so important to track and monitor the sale and trade of seafood products around the world?
  • Explain what is being proposed to help protect against illegal, unprotected and unreported fishing. 
  • Why is international buy-in so crucial to this initiative? 
  • Which countries have led the way by already adopting similar initiatives? How can buy-in be increased globally in your opinion?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pollen Spread: GM and non-GM Crops

Before we have highlighted pieces on GMO vs. non-GMO products and practices. This week we look at how the two can work together and what is needed for separation to protect against pollen spread. We encourage you to look at the linked study from a scientist in Canada and utilize the discussion points to guide conversations around the globe!

New Tool Helps Estimate GM Pollen Spread

Discussion Points

  • Why is it important to have an area of separation between GM products and non-GM products?
  • What did the study find as a suitable separation space? How does this compare to what some have suggested? (You may need to convert measurements to standard if your home country does not utilize metric.)
  • Do some additional research. In your home area what is the required separation distance when planting GM next to non-GM crops? How does this distance measure up to the suggested distance in this latest research?
  • Often things can get contentious between individuals and groups when you have growers producing GM and non-GM crops close in proximity. What suggestions would you have for both sides to ensure successful experiences for all?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Syrian Agriculture Needs Help Now

We have all heard about the horrifying events taking place in Syria. Agriculture is, also, hurting in Syria. The linked article takes a look at a recent report put out on the struggles of agriculture in Syria and the need for action to improve it. We encourage you to read the linked article and then utilize the discussion points to spark conversations around the world! If you are looking for further information the full report and a video summary can be found at the right side of the linked article.

Syrian Farmers Call to Kick-Start Agriculture Now

Discussion Points

  • Why is it so important to give attention to agriculture in Syria sooner, rather than later?
  • Under the heading "Other main findings are:" in the article there are five findings listed. Of these five which stands out to you the most and why?
  • How has agriculture been impacted in Syria and to what extent?
  • What do you believe are the first steps to improving agriculture in Syria and why?