Thursday, April 15, 2010

Allergies worse? Climate change could be culprit, study finds

"Climate change could allow highly allergenic trees like oaks and hickories to start replacing pines, spruces, and firs that generally don't cause allergies, exposing many more people to springtime allergy triggers," says lead author Amanda Staudt, a National Wildlife Federation climate scientist."

What a load of crap literally. I have just addressed this issue in the most recent issue of Feedstuffs. Click here to read

Here is highlight

In the late 1990s, Dr. Erika von Mutius, a health researcher, compared the rates of allergies and asthma in eastern and western Germany. Her hypothesis was that children growing up in the poorer, dirtier and generally less healthful cities of eastern Germany would suffer more from allergy and asthma than children in western Germany, with its cleaner and more modern environment.

When the two regions were reunified, von Mutius compared the disease rates. "What we found was exactly the opposite" of the hypothesis, she recalled.

Children in the polluted areas of eastern Germany had lower allergic reactions and fewer cases of asthma than children in the west. What was going on?

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Defense of Farming

Embracing Technology . Feeding the World

FACT #1: Over 98% of all farms in America are family farms. Family farms can be large, small or somewhere in between. Each farmer today feeds 150 people versus only 9 in 1940.

FACT #2: Recent study published in the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics indicates Pollan’s view of food production would cause need for an additional 214 million acres of farmland. That is an area twice the size of California.

FACT #3: Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University has found eggs purchased from a farmers market leave a carbon footprint 4.5 larger than those purchased at a supermarket.

FACT #4: Adrian Williams, agricultural researcher at Cranfield University in England, says “food miles” is a foolish concept that is provincial, damaging and simplistic. “The idea that a product travels a certain distance and is, therefore, worse than one you raised nearby – well, it’s just idiotic.”

FACT #5: Americans spend less than 10% of their income on food. In European countries it is over 16%.

FACT #6: CAFOs have reduced stress levels in food animals. Modern barns on dairy farms have contributed greatly to cows increasing milk production by 2.7 times annually in the past 60 years.

FACT #7: Grass-based organic beef requires more than 5 acre days to produce a pound of beef. Less than 1.7 acre days are needed in a grain-fed feedlot system using growth-enhancing technology.

FACT #8: Farm subsidies cost each American citizen only $25/year. While air travel and energy subsidies cost $50 and $250 per year respectively. Taxpayer investment in food is minimal.

FACT #9: Cornell University has proven per gallon of milk produced farmers use 35% of the water and 10% of the land mass and omit 63% less carbon than they did in 1945.

FACT #10: The global population is expected to be 9 billion by 2050 and that will require a doubling of food production in the next years. That can only be done through technological advancements as we can’t make more land.

Literally behind the scenes