Thursday, November 20, 2014

China Rejects Corn, Lawsuits Follow

Recent shipments of corn to China have been rejected due to genetic modification. ADM (Archer-Daniels-Midland) and other companies are suing Syngenta claiming that Switzerland based Basel sold seed corn with unapproved traits for China ports and did not take the proper precautions to keep corn from co-mingling with approved traits. Read the linked article below and use the discussion point to guide conversations.

ADM Sues Syngenta

Discussion Points

  1. Who do you feel is responsible for this? Syngenta, ADM, or someone else? Justify your response.
  2. What are the possible effects this mix up could have down the road for producers?
  3. What should be done in the future to avoid mistakes like this? What checks and balances would you implement?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

China's Record Corn Production Halts

Since 2010 China has seen record growth in corn production as a country. This past year that has slowed and production has fallen. The linked article talks about the reasons for this and the effects on Chinese farmers and the global economy. Read through the linked article and use the discussion questions below to lead your conversations with others.

China's Record Corn Harvest Run Ends

Discussion Points and Questions:

  1. The article stated that China is becoming less able to grow as much corn as it consumes. What will the effect of this be on agriculture globally?
  2. The article also shared the fact that in the last decade the China economy has exploded. What has this done to the demand of meat in China? 
  3. Although China is seeing a decline in corn production this year the article stated that there is not likely to be a large impact on prices globally. Why is this? 
  4. What has corn production (decline or growth) looked like since 2010? As a result to this what has the Chinese government done for farmers in China? Should the government continue this practice? Explain all of your responses.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Agriculture is the Key

The United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, recently spoke of the importance of agriculture to our global economy and the United States impact on it. Linked you will find a summary of Vilsack's comments and thoughts in moving agriculture forward and improving food needs worldwide. Read through the linked article and use the discussion questions below to guide your conversations in classrooms, coffee shops, and community groups!

Vilsack: Ag at the Center of Strengthening World Economy

Discussion Points

  1. Vilsack mentioned "Agriculture is often not fully appreciated." Why is this? What could be done to change this?
  2. The impact of climate on agriculture was emphasized. What is the U.S. doing to monitor climate's effects on agriculture? What is the value in this?
  3. Recently the USDA announced the open data initiative to share data. What does this mean for agriculture? What are the possibilities? 
  4. It was stated that there is a need for cooperation with other countries in biotechnology policy. What is the importance of this and how do we go about this in your opinion?
  5. Vilsack stated “It has been tough to convince Congress to continue to invest in agriculture research to the same extent they invest in health research.” Do you feel this should be the case? Why or why not?