agriculture * food * energy * environment
As society advances the standard of poverty rises.
According to an article in the New York Times:
“Across Africa and the developing world, a new global land rush is gobbling up large expanses of arable land. Despite their ageless traditions, stunned villagers are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come.
“Organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank say the practice, if done equitably, could help feed the growing global population by introducing large-scale commercial farming to places without it.
“But others condemn the deals as neocolonial land grabs that destroy villages, uproot tens of thousands of farmers and create a volatile mass of landless poor. Making matters worse, they contend, much of the food is bound for wealthier nations.”
Is that what globalism is all about, corporations and rich individuals buying water rights and land across the world?
How much can you help people by teaching them how to cope and survive on another level of poverty?
How much more can we take away people’s dignity and rob them of their pride?
Aren’t we better off teaching people how to grow food than having them stand in line with their families waiting for someone to hand them a bag of rice?
Maybe we should give them a tax cut?
New 2010 Census numbers show that Nebraska will be able to keep all three of its Congressional seats, probably due to the population growth in the Omaha and Lincoln area.
The Associated Press reports that the Census bureau said Tuesday that Nebraska’s population grew 6.7 percent to top 1.8 million people in 2010.
The biggest change will probably be in Rep. Adrian Smith’s 3rd Congressional District, which will surely grow larger and encompass a bigger part of the state.
The new census numbers will probably show that urban areas continued to grow and will add new Congressional seats and that rural areas will have less representation in Congress, nationwide. With all areas of governments, including local, state and federal, facing tough budget decisions, the question is, will rural areas disportionately suffer more than its growing urban counter parts?
In Nebraska’s case, though, agriculture is the dominate driver of the state’s economy and all issues facing agriculture in the upcoming years will united Nebraska’s representatives to the House and Senate to make decisions beneficial to rural Nebraska.
Here is a stark reality: “The use of food stamps has increased dramatically in the U.S., as the federal government ramps up basic assistance to meet the demands of an increasingly desperate population.”
That is according to a CNN story. The story said that, “The number of food stamp recipients increased 16 percent over last year. This means that 14 percent of the population is now living on food stamps. That’s about 43 million people, or about one out of every seven Americans.”
Contress recently passed Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 and signed into law by President Obama last week.
According to Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said the legislation avoids a $3.8 trillion tax increase on all Americans by providing a two-year extension of all current tax rates, as well as the 15 percent rate on capital gains and dividends.
“Raising taxes during a time when our economy is struggling to recover is absolutely the wrong direction,” Smith said. “Had Congress not acted, every single American would have seen their taxes go up on Jan. 1st.”
While Smith voted for the bill because he is against tax increases, according to a Dec. 10 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the tax legislation will add $374 billion to the deficit in the current fiscal year and $423 billion in the next. Over the 10-year projection time frame, the net impact is to increase the deficit by $858 billion.
But what is the greater reality about the tax cut: A family making more than $1 million will receive more than five times the tax cut benefit, in dollar terms, as a middle-class family or 14 percent of the population now living on food stamps?
Food for thought: Food stamps funding comes from the Farm Bill, which is due for renewal next year. If food stamps and other nutritional programs demands on the rise and the deficit on the increase, Congress faces a hard decision: Pay the farmer or feed the people.
Here’s a good example why a public investment in growing the research capability at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is not only important to the state and this country, but for the world.
When it come to public investments, we can’t always look for the economic return as the immediate reward, but what can it do for the greater good of humanity. Seeing the world in terms of only dollars and cents blurs our vision in what can we do collectively to improve the human conditions. There’s much compassion in science when it used for the greater good for both humankind and the environment.
In a recent new items from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researchers there are looking at ways to control the fungus that causes rice blast disease, which can cause yield losses of 10 to 30 percent a year, and annually destroys enough rice to feed 60 million people.
The research could have broader implications in the United States as a similar fungus causes disease in wheat, said Richard Wilson, UNL plant pathologist who’s leading the effort.