Editorial: The “buy-a-bale-of-cotton” movement now promoted in Georgia would be another failed attempt to artificially support a commodity by taking it off the market, as previously tried unsuccessfully with coffee, cotton, and wheat. The “success” of the earlier buy-a-bale movement in 1914 is mythical; cotton prices didn't peak until 1917 due to heavy wartime demand and short crops.
Monday, August 31, 2009
[Note: I believe Dept. of Fisheries later produced educational film with Dean Martin titled That's A Moray.] US Dept. of Agriculture has extensive department producing educational films, including T.B or not T.B., Insect Allies, That Brush Fire, and Persimmon Harvesting and Storage in China.
In that sense, it is worth recalling that the European Parliament is unlike almost any other Parliament in the world in that voting sometimes divides down Party lines (and there are now 6 big Party groups), but it also sometimes divides along national lines. [In my experience, farm policy initiatives tend to be voted along national lines.] Anyway, looking at past battles in the US Congress, we may now face additional divisions based on Committee loyalties, i.e. Ag Committee vs Budget or Environment or Development Aid Committee.That's the way the Senate works on agriculture, although given the breadth of the farm bill it's sometimes obscured.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Minnesota Gov. T Christianson says doubts success of Farm Board campaign to reduce wheat acreage; approach should start at the smalller cooperative units and build up rather than working top down from national agency, and should be focused on substituting other crops such as flax for wheat. Requiring farmers to restrict output of all products would be strongly opposed as it “would permanently subordinate agriculture to industry,” since farmers wouldn't be able to produce a surplus to sell abroad as industry can.
Friday, August 28, 2009
"The shrinking backlog of unused agricultural technology and the associated loss of momentum in raising cropland productivity are found worldwide. Between 1950 and 1990, world grain yield per hectare climbed by 2.1 percent a year, ensuring rapid growth in the world grain harvest. From 1990 to 2008, however, it rose only 1.3 percent annually."This sounds like disaster in the works. What Mr. Brown doesn't do is compare the rates of increase of population and food production on the same graph. Looking at a table of world population growth, we see that in 1962 and 1963, the rate of population increase was 2.19 percent. But those were the only years in which the rate was over 2.1 percent. So between 1950 and 1990 food production outstripped population. Now since 1990 the rate of population increase has declined steadily, reaching 1.25 in 2000 and 1.11 percent this year. So, once again, the rate of food production is higher than population.
Although this part of the piece is misleading, he has an interesting discussion of various techniques, especially doublecropping, which might be possible. And he doesn't hit the locavore/organic drum at all.
"Please be advised that 2008 13th month data has been applied to the FAS U.S. Foreign Agricultural Trade Database "(The Foreign Ag Service has redone their statistics database here and "13th month" is a term for a catchall of corrections and late reports.
[Updated with the link I intended]
The press release announcing it observes he has more than 50 years service in, meaning he's basically donating his time to public service. (He really does have more brains than that might indicate, lots more.)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Anyhow, when I was young, the press would focus on a few metrics: cars, tons of steel, tons of coal, houses. Those were the measures of how well the economy was going and where the US stood compared to the Soviets.
So this figure surprised me:
Currently,85,000 people in the United States are employed by the wind industry; Slightly more than the 81,000 in the United States working as coal miners.
Changes in women's dress styles have enabled Princeton to reduce width of stadium seats from 19 inches to 17.5, allowing 6,000 more seats in stadium.Found this bit Googling:
The standard airline seat is 17.2" wide, while seat pitch ranges from 28" on some short-haul, down-and-dirty charters, to 33-34" on some planes.
Actuarial Society of America survey reports death rate for passengers travelling on scheduled airlines is 1 in 5,000, or 200 times railroad death rate; safety increases by 63% after pilot has had 400 flight hours.
I like Haruf--one of the few serious fiction writers I've read in the last few years. And McCullough is maybe a little popular (as a failed historian I'm implied by the historians' creed to look down on any popular writer) but the man can tell a story.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We fail to remember, that our founding fathers operated in the dark, using an "Agreement of Secrecy" to cloak their treason against the king.
Musings from a STonehead, the small farmer/pig grower in Scotland, runs into a case of that. He knows his product, but his potential customers often don't know pigs from pokes. As he writes:
The typical customer wants a fantasy, a lifestyle statement, a “product” that says something about them, and they want it now because that’s the fantasy of the moment.
They have an image of themselves as a “modern urban farmer”, as a “saviour of rare breeds”, as someone capturing “the good life”, of being a “modern smallholder”, of joining the ranks of “celebrity pig keepers”, showing their “anti-supermarket” credentials, and so on.
Certainly, we do have people that come to us with a genuine, practical, reality based desire to fatten a couple of pigs but they are in the minority.
But I also know from talking to the wide array of people that come to us, that the real motivation for buying pigs is to “live the dream”, just as it is for buying any other consumer item.
(I'd suspect this is a symptom of the fact the blog isn't integrated into the USDA institution yet. It takes a while to make such changes.)
Don't know enough to argue, but to observe this is our democracy's version of: "the king is dead, long live the king."
Monday, August 24, 2009
When we track our children and our pets, why not track our food?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Well, I've not received a final answer to the message, just a boilerplate interim message. And the MIDAS report still has a 4/28/2009 date on it. But the overview ARRA page has been updated.
I wonder if students still do that, or are they too blase, too wrapped up in their laptops?
I suspect maybe Brad DeLong might get applauded occasionally. If not, I hereby applaud his philosophy, as stated here, despite the obvious error in his first sentence:
This is the University of California at Berkeley, the finest public university in the world. You are all upper-middle class or upper class--if not in the size of your parents' houses in your options and expections--and thus much richer than the average taxpayer of California. Yet, even at today's reduced funding levels, the taxpayers of California are spending $10,000 a year subsidizing your education. Why are they doing this? Because they believe that if your brains get crammed full of knowledge and skills than many of you will do great things that will redound to the benefit of the state, the country, and the world. Therefore it is my business to cram your brains full of knowledge and skills. It is then your business to go out and try to do great things--and if those great things happen to involve a lot of money, remember the investment that the poorer-than-you taxpayers of California made in your education, and pass some of the resources you will earn on to your successors here at Berkeley. If I am happy in December with how the course has gone, the median grade will be a low B+. If I am mezza-mezza, the median grade will be a low B. If I am unhappy, the median grade will be a B-. If people don't do the work I assign--or if I were to assign less work--I assure you I will not be happy come December.
1. It's all socialized medicine out there.
2. Overseas, care is rationed through limited choices or long lines.
3. Foreign health-care systems are inefficient, bloated bureaucracies.
4. Cost controls stifle innovation
5. Health insurance has to be cruel.
He claims to have researched Canada and many of the EU countries.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
- the 2008 farm bill was 673 pages, I think (based on a quick Google).
- you need to distinguish between legislation starting from scratch and legislation amending existing laws.
- The first is conceivably something a layman, a high schooler, or even a Congress person could understand. The reason is if you're outlining a brand new program (like maybe Cash for Clunkers), you have to define your terms and specify the processes. Hopefully the definitions don't rely much on pre-existing law. (For example, if Cash for Clunkers was available in "the United States", did that mean just the 50 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, etc.?
- But when the legislation changes and modifies existing law, it's very difficult for even experts to understand. The reason is lawyers write it, and they somehow think it makes more sense to specify minute changes than to provide text that's understandable. I don't know why, except that's the way they've done it. Perhaps it's because they want to minimize the number of words used, perhaps because it takes so much time and money to set the text of laws in hot lead.
True enough, but it's still working its way through society.
"Back in the early days of the Web, every document had at the bottom, “Copyright 1997. Do not redistribute.” Now every document has at the bottom, “Copyright 2008. Click here to send to your friends.” So there’s already been a big revolution in how we view intellectual property."
Friday, August 21, 2009
See his post.
The basis for the assertion is a paper from farmgate, where some ag economists tried to assess what farmland would be worth if there were no farm programs. They came to the conclusion Texas cropland was worth $0. Or, actually, they said 100 percent of the value of Texas cropland was due to farm programs. Economists have long said the value of farm programs was capitalized into the value of cropland. It makes sense--an owner can get higher rent for land with bases, and therefore higher sales prices too.
There's some modifications and qualifications, as you'd expect with any scholarly paper from economists, but I like my first impression: Texas is worthless.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
if anyone wonders why animal ID is so screwed up, it's partially because USDA gets no definitive direction from Congress on just what should happen with the program. Some members in the House and Senate want a national, mandatory program. Others say no way. So now, USDA gets potentially half the money to keep the program on some sort of life support.That's the way legislation works. If Congress comes to agreement, fine. If Congress fudges, and papers over disagreements in order to get a piece of legisltion, the poor bureaucrat suffers.
Right now, the government pays about half of the health care bill, insurance pays roughly a third, and around 10 percent is paid directly by patients either through things like deductibles and copays or simply when you go to a doctor, you hand over a check or cash.Via several sources, but originally spurred on by a statement in Understanding America, private insurance covers about 15 percent of the British population.
It says to me the easy rhetoric about a proposed government takeover of health care is much too simplistic.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Decline in steel production blamed on drought; with extent of crop damage still uncertain, industries dependent on farm purchasing [emphasis added] are curtailing steel buying. These include low cost autos, farm machinery, can companies. Structural steel remains strong. Some price declines seen in steel and iron products; steel down to lowest price since 1922.The first bit shows the importance of farming back in the 1930's. And steel was one of the basic industries then (coal and autos being others).
Synthetic nitrate producers reach agreement; German industry expects it's first step to forming cartel to bring production in line with consumption, but initial agreement considered unsatisfactory due to short duration and lack of commitments to reduce production.
The second supports my doubts over Prof. Pollan's (and others) narrative of the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer (post WWII war surplus nitrates from explosives).
The article emphasizes the entertainment value because apparently such broadcasts are de rigeur at medical conferences. And they're done live, not on DVD, because it's more grabby.
There's little discussion of education, but there must be a lot of that going on in med schools. Remembering shows like St. Elsewhere (with a young Denzel) using DVD's of laparoscopic procedures have got to improve education productivity by a lot, a whole lot.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Is that a stretch? Probably not--there's a nice book on Poincare (a French physicist who came close to the theory around the turn of the century--he was dealing with the problem of timing across zones--at the end of the 19th century they'd reached the point of technology where setting simultaneous time at two different points on the globe was impossible--the time it took for an electrical signal to cross the telegraph wire (moving at the speed of light) was that long, compared to the accuracy of the time pieces. That's not clear, I know, but search for Poincare in Amazon and you'll find the book. I'm feeling lazy today.)
Maybe planting corn at midnight is the reason our farmers surprised the crop estimators by getting the crop planted so fast. That and 60-acre per hour corn planters.
Monday, August 17, 2009
But one of the contractors who role plays uses the idea Rahm is the Anti-Christ in his dialog with the agents. I figured that was pure imagination, but when I google it, there's over 10,000 hits.
I guess I underestimated the delusions of some people.
Middlemarch, by George Eliot. No other book I have tried so profits by a reread on Kindle. Given its density of information, it's simply much better when there is less on each page.(Never thought I'd see him admit to an overload of information--he seems to drink from the fire hydrant better than most people online.)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
From a Times article on the scarcity of left-handed catchers in baseball:
But right-handed catchers do not seem to struggle throwing past lefties; besides, while right-handed hitters made 62 percent of major league plate appearances 50 years ago, it is now almost even, 56 percent to 44.I know Mickey Mantle wasn't the first switch hitter in baseball, but he was the greatest one .
From a human perspective it's a lesson in how adaptable people can be, particularly when they have large financial incentives.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
ARS is so-so, RD looks good, OIG is poor (an Excel worksheet that's not very informative in my eyes).
And FSA? FSA is absolutely terrible. The link for "more" leads to a page which was last updated on April 28, 2009. I know they've had 3 administrators in the last 6 months (one acting, then Doug Caruso, then Mr. Coppess). I used their "Ask FSA" function to ask about the status. We'll see if they live up to their promises (of course, I didn't ask their support department, I asked Mr. Coppess when he was going to get it updated):
"The reference number for your question is '090815-000001'.You should receive a response by email from our support department within the next business day.If you need to add information to or cancel your question, you can do so by updating it through the questions sub area of the 'My Stuff' section of this site."I must be feeling mean today, because I'm tempted to carry things up the line if I don't see action. One of the things that a bureaucracy needs is countervailing pressure. In other words some retired geezer with nothing better to do than fuss and nitpick.
(One of the biggest surprises of my brief and involuntary Army career was the extent to which the Army had manuals, though for me mostly technical manuals on generators, etc.)
- on the one hand I like the concept. Wikipedia mostly has good to excellent quality in their articles, so it is possible. I like the idea of spreading the workload and getting the input from diverse sources. (Note my prior post on the burden FSA field offices when their directives are dispersed.)
- on the other hand, having participated in the open government experiments of OSTP, I'm dubious over the practicality. After all, Wikipedia has been around for years and survived some rough times. They've had a learning curve, and still have issues. I'm suspicious a high-level bureaucrat will see wikipedia software as a silver bullet and will kill the project when it turns out to be a long hard slog up the hill.
Friday, August 14, 2009
But not so for FSA workers. Those busy bees in the South Building put out 6 notices today and 12 yesterday. That's a heavy workload, both for the directives people in DC and especially for the county people, who have to sit down and digest the meaning and significance of the words.
(I remember a group studying ASCS directives back in 1973 or 4, I think it was. We heard lots from the county people, griping about the number of notices. They particularly griped about permanent instructions in notices. If you have 3 or 4 directives on a subject, the clerk (that was the approved terminology back then) would have to thread between them to come up with a consolidated understanding of the subject. Multiply one clerk by 2800 county offices (the count then) and you have lots of waste, not to mention potential errors. I wonder whether the situation has improved any.)
- there's no mention so far of Baker vs Carr, which was the big Supreme Court decision enforcing "one man, one vote". (Actually, it seems to have said the Supreme Court would have a say in reapportionment of legislative districts, with subsequent decisions actually saying one man, one vote.) Chief Justice thought these cases the most important set of decisions of his term. The significance was that both in the House of Representatives and in the State legislatures rural areas had a disproportionate representation. If memory serves, in some States the ratio was as bad as 1 to 10 (i.e, a rural voter had the same representation as 10 urban voters).
- the end of "blue laws". Don't rely on wikipedia--it's not a good summary. These were laws restricting the times stores could open (like only Thursday night and never on Sunday). I'd also include the "fair trade" laws, which required merchants not to discount their merchandise.
I'm prompted to write this because Dirk Beauregard, at the end of his post on the Miracle Weekend in France, observes that new French laws will legitimize Sunday openings.
I'm constantly awed by what is available on the Internet through Google, but what isn't available and what we lose is the social context of the material.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
It's good to see USDA outdoing the boss (Obama) in some respect--at least in transparency as regards garden harvests.
The critics have often dissed the Amy Adams character, saying she's self-centered and whines. That's true in the movie, but as a fellow blogger I couldn't complain, I identified with her.
Ezra Klein offers a perceptive comment:
"Grand Rapids, Mich.: What is your take on "Julie and Julia"? I thought the movie was fun, and enjoyed the scenes with Julia Child and her husband (their relationship was interesting). But I found Julie's side of the story to be less interesting and, at times, poorly constructed.
Ezra Klein: Nora Ephron did Julie Powell a disservice. Powell's story is banal in a respectable way: She's underemployed, bored, and young, and she discovers a passion. That doesn't normally merit a movie. But since it did in this case, Ephron had to give the character a conflict. And that conflict was that she was a self-absorbed child.
Take all the stuff about Julia Child "teaching" Powell so much. Child taught her nothing except how to make food. it was Powell who woke up at 5:30am to cook. Powell who kept to a grueling schedule. Powell who kept the blog updated. Powell who developed an appealing writing voice. Powell who didn't stop cooking when she was tired or busy. But in the movie, Powell just gives all credit to Julia, and the movie is constructed to make that plausible. The pity is that it isn't plausible, and it doesn't need to be. The parallel between Child and Powell isn't that they both cook. It's that they found passions. And while it's very good at explaining why Child loved French cuisine, it's too interested in explaining why Powell loved Child to explain why Powell loved writing."
But later I read the projections lessen the odds of ACRE kicking into effect. It's all very confusing and makes me glad I've resolved not to waste minutes of my remaining life in trying to figure it out. Good luck to those who have to.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
What comes out on top, though? It comes down to effectively implementing caps on catch levels using two key tools: reducing the Total Allowable Catch and putting in place catch shares. (You can look at their table where a solution was identified in at least five of the ten fisheries, and was usually ranked an “essential” part of the solution.) This is strong stuff!Somehow the logic is the same. You have a common resource: in the case of fish it's the stock which reproduces and grows without human input; in the case of tobacco and peanuts, it was the market, which although it was developed by humans, in the short term it's outside human control Then you have a set of players: for fish, the fishermen; for tobacco and peanuts, the growers. And you have a free-rider problem: if fishermen don't coordinate their efforts they destroy the fishery; if the growers don't coordinate they destroy the market price.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Obamafoodorama posts about the late blight, claiming it hasn't hit the White House garden. But I'm still waiting for evidence the White House planted tomatoes.
3. Agile development is a programmer’s fantasy and a manager’s nightmare. In my more than 20 years of software development experience, I have never met a government program manager who is available on a daily or even weekly basis to help design an application on the fly....Mr. Daconta, you never met me. Of course the problem is I was a frustrated programmer at heart, so the time I was spending giving input on the program was mostly time I should have been spending elsewhere, like developing my employees.
Monday, August 10, 2009
A quote: "(On some estimates, as much as half of the measured difference in per capita income between America and the typical western European country would disappear if output were redefined to include meal preparation and similar work done at home.)" What I think this says is Americans eat out a lot more than Europeans. Because home cooking doesn't show in GDP calculations, the picture is skewed. Seems amazing to me.
The other item, also from Benjamin Friedman's chapter on economics, is just prolonged laughter at his description of the advantages of our economic system. He obviously was writing in 2007 or so and I just finished reading Fool's Gold, on the crash.
There's no email address for the blog to notify them of this problem. One place where transparency is not a priority in the Obama administration. :-(
Sunday, August 09, 2009
"The food community has a role to play, too — by taking another look at plant-breeding programs, another major fixture of our nation’s land-grant universities, and their efforts to develop new varieties of fruits and vegetables. To many advocates of sustainability, science, when it’s applied to agriculture, is considered suspect, a violation of the slow food aesthetic. It’s a nostalgia I’m guilty of promoting as a chef when I celebrate only heirloom tomatoes on my menus. These venerable tomato varieties are indeed important to preserve, and they’re often more flavorful than conventional varieties. But in our feverish pursuit of what’s old, we can marginalize the development of what could be new."Mr. Barber even cites the extension people at Cornell
Saturday, August 08, 2009
“They take into consideration [when selecting seed] a multitude of factors which vary annually, including soil type, elevation, and temperature,” according to the study done by Barbara A. Schaal, Ph.D., the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and her colleagues at Chiang Mai University in Thailand.How do soil type and elevation vary annually?
Of course, those who remember I'm a liberal with a soft spot for government bureaucracy willb suspicious of those brackets. And indeed, you should be. The words inside the brackets were originally: "company or corporate" and the quote is from this NYTimes article on the problems of getting private unemployment insurance or salary gap insurance.
"“It was just one thing after another,” he recalled. “I don’t want to speak ill of anyone’s [agency or organizational] culture, but the bottom line is that these people are committed to death. They’re encumbered by their own bureaucracy. It’s almost as if you went to the C.D.C. and said, ‘I have a cure for the common cold,’ and they said, ‘Oh, no thanks.’ ”
Friday, August 07, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
That's what John Phipps means by industrial farming. And it's why we have cheap calories.
By use of radio links, any Bell system phone can now connect to about 30M of world's 34.5M phones in 25 countries, including most of Europe and parts of South America and Africa, and to several ocean liners at sea. US-Europe are connected by 4 radio channels and so can have 4 simultaneous conversations.I wouldn't expect a great expansion of phones to have occurred before 1941, so in my lifetime. we've gone from 30,000,000 to at least 3,000,000,000 (this source says there's 2.1 billion cell phones in the world now--add another 900,000,000 for land lines--my guess.)
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency concluded that in 2007, only 2.8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from animal agriculture.Meanwhile, at farmgate, I get this:
Agriculture contributes 6.7% of the total greenhouse gases emitted by the US, but the legislation so far does not penalize agriculture.And Tom Philpott at Grist provides a useful explanation of the discrepancy between Klein and the Meat people (different denominators, different things included) and provides this ending:
So if Boyle’s 2.8 percent figure is off the mark, what percentage of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions does actually stem from meat production? Loglisci of The Center for a Livable Future says it’s hard to pinpoint. “As far as I know, no one has crunched the numbers to determine a comparable GHG emissions number for U.S. livestock,” he writes.
Working with a Johns Hopkins researcher, Loglisci compiled some rough numbers and came out with an estimate of about 9 percent—half of the global FAO number cited by Klein, but three times the figure pushed by Boyle. “And in real numbers, not percentages, U.S. livestock production’s GHG contribution could still be the largest in the world,” Loglisci writes.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
But here's a link to a post with a picture showing the complexity of the oversight(?) suffered by one department. No one, neither Republican nor Democrat, is pushing to revamp Congressional oversight, yet it's probably the first step to a more effective government.
Monday, August 03, 2009
I like it, amazingly enough. This quote:
Not that I didn’t also owe Swanson, because we also ate TV dinners, and those were pretty good, too. [Admitting to owing Julia Child for teaching his mother to cook better.]And most of all, this quote, which should replace Pollan's famous seven word message from "in Defense of Food" with the three word motto:
“Easy. You want Americans to eat less? I have the diet for you. It’s short, and it’s simple. Here’s my diet plan: Cook it yourself. That’s it. Eat anything you want — just as long as you’re willing to cook it yourself.”For some reason, it rings a bell with John Phipps post on music, the virtures of creating it. For both food and music, we find the things we can buy superior to those we can make.
Comments on NAIS
I grew up on a small dairy/poultry farm so I can understand some of the concerns of the small producers. As a retired bureaucrat I also see the fix APHIS finds itself in. It seems to me APHIS is stuck--there's no way to go forward on your current lines because the opposition is too vocal, too numerous, and too dug in. You can't get the participation without paying the freight; you can't get the dollars from Congress to pay the freight because you can't get a broad consensus in the field.You need something different to break the logjam.
I think there are historical analogues that can be instructive. In the 1960's USDA maintained a food and feed facility directory. In the case of a nuclear attack USDA field offices would have been responsible for inventorying what was left and coordinating its use.Thank goodness it was never put to the test.
Also in the 50's and 60's we had the fluoridation controversy and the fight over whether seatbelts should be required in cars. In both cases time has cooled the flame of conflict, particularly as the older geezers died and the new generations came along. There are some issues where that's the best you can do in the U.S.--the founding fathers didn't design the government for fast efficient action.
- First, you need a more accurate title. "National Animal Identification System" must have been invented by a bureaucrat. It sucks. No wonder small farmers are scared of it. In the U.S. we rarely have national systems for anything, not in the sense the French or Japanese have a national education system, for example. What you have under the title "NAIS" is a typical federal mish-mash of organizations and standards which is successfully creating confusion. A better name for what you're doing might be: "Standards for Animal Identification Systems"--more descriptive and more accurate, and possibly less scary for NAIS opponents.
- Rely on the USDA field offices (i.e., FSA and NRCS) to create and maintain a national list of names and addresses of people and legal entities who are raising animals and the types of animals raised. There shouldn't be much additional work required, because they already should have all farmers in the Service Center Information Management system. You'd need to get animal type information added and give access to APHIS field personnel. The offices should also try to increase their efforts to give farmers their own access info.
- Add layers to the geographical information system (GIS) used by NRCS and FSA to reflect the addresses recorded in item 2. Ideally separate animal types by layer, so one view shows all cattle ranchers, another all sheep, etc.
The idea would be, after items 2 and 3 are complete, if there's a report of a disease occurrence in hogs, say H1N1 flu, you could display the locations of all hog farmers within a radius of 30 miles, 100 miles, or whatever and have a listing of their phone numbers and email addresses to use in making contact. Time required: minutes, leaving you 47 hours to work the list. This seems to me to be easily doable and it gives you a national quick response system with, I hope, a minimal intrusion on the concerns of the No-NAIS people.
My comments on the remaining issues: think tiers and 6 degrees of connection.
By "tiers" you apply different rules for producers the products of whose animals may be exported than those which sell to neighbors. (Just as OSHA applies different rules for large factories than small shops.) You apply different rules for animals whose birth is separated by 6 steps from death to consumption than those which only have 2 steps.
Finally, I think you may be relying too much on the idea of identifying animals for small farmers That was the only way to go back in the days of tuberculosis and brucellosis, pushing paper, and IBM punch card sorters. But these days, when schools have moved from sending letters home to parents to automated calling and tweets, you should be flexible and innovative.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
For Stonehead doing what one loves is reward enough for labor. It's an enviable situation to be in, if not so rewarding after hours of hard outside work dealing with some farm emergency.
We do not include labour, a profit margin or taxes in the cost as we’re running a business-like “hobby” and not a business.
We aim to recover the costs of working the croft, while feeding ourselves from it and maintaining it.
If we were to run the croft as a business, the additional costs would be unrecoverable and we’d not be able to keep it on.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
"In the new treatment, it appears Americans are spending more on financial services and insurance — $823 billion a year at the current rate, or 8.2 percent of personal consumption spending — than they are on food and beverages to be consumed at home — $788 billion, or 7.9 percent."Note the $823 billion is much more than we spend on national security. Where's William Jennings Bryan and his Cross of Gold speech?
"To be blunt: If you're driving a car and you have a truck in front and a truck behind and a truck passing you, it's not difficult to determine who the jelly in the sandwich is if things go bad," said Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.