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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lab Grown Meat

This week we look at a new and controversial way to produce meat. Some scientists around the globe are working on ways to produce meat in a lab from cells. The linked article below was first printed last fall, but gives interesting insight into the task. There is a video that is included with the article that has one of the scientists explaining the process. We encourage you to look over the linked article and encourage you to start up conversations in your classrooms, communities, and around the world utilizing the discussion points below!

Team Wants to Sell Lab Grown Meat

Discussion Points

  • Explain why scientists are pushing for this. What are the benefits they shared?
  • How is this process achieved? How is lab grown meat created?
  • At this time what are the challenges/drawbacks of lab grown meat?
  • Currently how is lab grown meat similar/different than meat from animal production?
  • How do you think this method of meat production will be perceived in your local community and around the world? Be sure to explain your response. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Reform Needed for China Agriculture

China is facing many challenges in agriculture and the agriculture minister in China is calling for some needed reform. One major issue that the agriculture minister is wanting to address is the supply of corn and policies that are in place. Linked below is an article that takes a closer look at this issue along with others. We encourage you to read through the linked article and then utilize the discussion points below to jump start conversation in your classrooms, coffee shops, and communities around the world!

China Farm Sector Needs Supply-Side Reform

Discussion Points

  • Why is the agriculture minister calling for "supply-side" reform? How could this reform affect prices and supply globally and in your local communities?
  • Explain the corn production in China and policies surrounding production over the last couple of years? What are your thoughts on what has been happening? Explain.
  • What recommendation is the agriculture minister making to increase farmers profitability while calling for reform at the same time? Does his recommendation apply to farmers around the world?
  • There are two other areas that the government is stepping in and creating law/policy for that are mentioned towards the end of the article. What are these two recommendations? Why are these recommendations important?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sharing Agricultural Innovations Around the World

Today was a great first day at the Global Agriculture Summit at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa! This event is designed to create connections and relationships locally and globally in agriculture while encouraging action. To open the conference four key words were highlighted and shared as the theme of the conference. These are as follows: inspire, connect, equip, and act. Below you will find some highlights from the conference, a recap of the Agri-Ed Talk that I presented, and then discussion points to foster conversations in your classrooms, communities, and around the globe.

Some key quotes from the conference:

  • "My African friends say, We want trade, not aid." Doug Seebeck
  • "You have to experience a life changing event before you can change the world." Doug Seebeck
  • "We are making stunning progress in feeding our growing world." David Beckmann
  • "We must focus and invest in agriculture and nutrition in our poorest countries." David Beckmann
  • Two-thirds of those living in poverty depend on agriculture as their livelihood." David Beckmann
  • "Soil and life are married." Fred Kirschenmann
  • "We always have to change to stay sustainable." Fred Kirschenmann
  • "Change has to come from the bottom up, not the top down." Fred Kirschenmann
As part of the day I represented the Global Agriculture Learning Center and gave a short talk titled "Sharing Agricultural Innovations Around the World." This talk addressed the following areas: 
  • Definition of innovation
  • Why is it important/needed to share innovation in agriculture 
  • What innovation looks like in different parts of the world
  • How the Global Agriculture Learning Center is sharing innovation around the world
  • Challenged participants to find opportunities to share innovation in agriculture with others

Discussion Points
  • Explain your interpretation of the quote that Fred made above "Soil and life are married."
  • Which one of the other "key quotes" sticks out to you? Why? Explain and expand on the quote.
  • Why is sharing innovation in agriculture with others around the world important? 
  • How can you share innovation in agriculture with others in your local community, state, country, and around the world? I challenge you to take action regarding your response!
We look forward to great day two at the Global Agriculture Summit!