Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Roundup

Good morning, all!  I didn't get a chance to get to the roundup for the past few days, so we've got a pretty good selection of links this morning.
From the Chicago Tribune, a story on the "locavore" movement.  It's a fairly in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages, and even includes a somewhat critical discussion of its inefficiencies.  I can certainly sympathize with the concept; a freezer full of meat you've met before is a good and delicious thing.  But I'm not convinced that everything in your refrigerator and pantry can or even should be locally procured.  To me, it seems like taking a good idea too far.  This may take the form of a longer essay in the future.  Until then, does anyone have any thoughts? 
Locusts have been a major pest since the days recounted in the Bible.  Now, scientists in Australia are attempting to model the swarms of immature locusts as they walk, in an attempt to be able to destroy them before they take flight.  The model of the marching swarm is unpredictable, so scientists are attempting to observe swarms using unmanned aircraft, to either identify a pattern, or, more likely, to figure out what influences a swarm to change direction. 
Part of the aim of the Rural Republic is not only to discuss purely rural issues, but to observe and comment on the faults in society as a whole between the rural and the more urban way of life, whether that fault is social, economic, cultural, or, in this case, political.  The Denver Post reports on the Republican candidate for Senate, Ken Buck, attempting to woo suburban voters.  While Greeley isn't exactly the middle of nowhere, he seems to identify more strongly with the rural than the suburban way of life, as evidenced by a previous proud proclamation that his boots had real, eh, bull manure on them, rather than just the more figurative variety.  In the article, one such targeted suburban voter comments that "He definitely doesn't act like he's lived in Denver in the commercials."  I'm inclined to view that as a positive attribute, but, then again, this is the Rural Republic.  Others may feel differently.  As we approach November, this election in particular may be an interesting study in the population at large's preference for either the social elite, or the "country bumpkin."
From the Financial Times, a few updates on the markets.  First, corn prices are on the rise, over $5/bushel at the time of this story.  This is mostly attributable to yields that are a little lower than average, though being coupled with a larger commodities rally in general doesn't exactly hurt.  Additionally, we've been keeping up with the issues involving the Russian wheat crop this year.  Unfortunately, it seems their woes may continue.  Unless the Russian breadbasket can get some timely rains, the soil may be too dry on the planting of their winter wheat crop to germinate a successful crop next year.  We'll keep an eye on this story. 
The FDA is going to hear arguments this week regarding the approval of the first genetically-modified meat; a breed of salmon that has been modified to continue producing growth hormone throughout its lifetime, and in effect grow very, very large.  In light of recent GM plant rulings, this could really go either way.  No word on how the monster salmon tastes. 
Finally, from Farm Industry News, a list of 20 things everyone needs to know about the past, present, and future of agriculture.  It's a really fascinating list, and I guarantee that everyone will learn something.  If you click through to any of the articles in this roundup, click through to this one. 
Thanks for reading!  Keep coming back for more updates later this week.

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