Thursday, May 22, 2014

United States & European Union Trade Deal

Currently their are negotiations taking place with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States. If this trade deal is accepted this could be financially beneficial for both. However, they are hitting some snags and GMO's, food labels, and limits on US beef imports are at the center of the conversation. British farmers are showing great concerns as they do not want the imports to come in and undercut their current prices. There are many other issues and sides addressed in the articles below. I encourage you to look over the articles then discuss with others!

Article on Farming Divisions with TTIP

TTIP Information from the United States

TTIP Information from the European Commission

Discussion Questions

  1. If the TTIP is agreed upon what could this do to markets and jobs in both the European Union and United States?
  2. Who do you feel will have to compromise more in regards to the agriculture issues mentioned in the above article and why?
  3. The TTIP talks have been going on for awhile now. What do you see as the time table and justify?

Ag Education Challenge

Divide students into two different groups (may have to do several times depending on class sizes). Assign one group to represent the EU and the other the US. Have the two separate groups research their respective sides and beliefs for TTIP as is relates to agriculture. Have mock discussion and see if the class can come up with an agreement for the TTIP. Make sure each groups points are rooted in facts and data. Students may want to prepare an outline for use during mock trade talks.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tell Your Story!

Infographics are a popular way of sharing information. They are showing up all over social media from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest. They inform, start conversations, make you think, or tell a story. Here are a few simple ones that I came across. After looking them over check out the challenge below!

Ag Education Challenge:

Now is the time to tell your story. In groups of 3-4 create Agriculture Infographics to share in your school/community. The key is to use visuals to help explain your information. If you are having trouble coming up with topic ideas below is a list. Think outside the box! Don't limit yourself to this list.

Possible Topics

  • Global Agriculture
  • Feeding the World
  • GMO Facts and Myths
  • Agriculture Commodities
  • Women in Agriculture
  • Agriculture Employment
  • Agriculture and the Environment
  • Family Farms
  • Agriculture Practices
Now it's time to get to work! Tell your story!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Philippines Agriculture Recovery

Just six months ago the Philippines were ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Around 600,000 hectares (1,482,000 acres) of farmland were destroyed. The hardest hit areas were rice production, coconut farms, and fisheries. Many agencies and entities stepped in to assist and because of their efforts Philippine agriculture is on the rebound. Read the article: Philippine Agriculture on the Mend then discuss the points below.

Discussion Points

  1. Do you feel the response by others following the disaster were appropriate from an agriculture standpoint? Would you have done anything differently?
  2. There are many benefits to farmers receiving certified rice seed. Discuss all of the benefits.
  3. Why is diversification the key for many of the small farmers, specifically the coconut farmers?

Additional Challenge

Ag InstructorS—Challenge your students to be policy makers and decision makers. Take your area and give a hypothetical scenario where agriculture products are destroyed due to a natural disaster (flood, drought, hurricane, wildfires, pest infestation, etc.). Take crop insurance out of the equation. How would they respond? What services would they offer? Who would provide this support? Play devil's advocate and have students justify their responses.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Corn: The China Impact

For years we have known the importance of soybeans to China and the huge player China is in regards to soybean imports. Could we see the same thing developing in regards to corn demand in China? The linked Bloomberg report certainly says so. It is predicted that by 2021 China will become the largest importer of corn around the world. Note the chart from Bloomberg and read the linked article.

China to Surpass Japan as Top Corn Buyer

Discussion Points

  1. What have been the historical trends in corn imports and exports around the globe?
  2. What is driving the increase demand for corn in China?
  3. What countries will benefit from the trend we are seeing? How will they benefit?