Saturday, April 30, 2016

The "Unhealthy Hegemony" of Extroverts

"More generally, the ability to focus on a single task for an extended period is a talent that's underappreciated—especially by extroverts, who continue to exercise an unhealthy hegemony over most workplaces".

Kevin Drum

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bullwhipping Phd

Via Scholarly Kitchen, this video.

Gaining and Losing Employment

The Times  reports that there was a decrease in tomato picker/processors in CA from 45,000 to 5,000 handling 5 times the tonnage between 1950 and now.  It also reports that making Greek yogurt, specifically Chobani, has increased employment from 0 to 2,000 over the last 15 years.

And finally, FiveThirty Eight reports an increase in statistical analysts from 44 in 2099 to 156 now.  The number of scouts has also increased from 124 to 153.

I'm not sure whether food processing counts as manufacturing?  Given the proliferation of food products on grocery store shelves, you'd think that area at least would have seen big growth over the last 50 years. 

I Was Wrong

See my political prediction here. 

It's obvious now my Republican prediction is wrong.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pocahontas and Martha Washington

What do the two women share?  The distinction of preceding Harriet Tubman as women on US currency.

But the Confederates honored Lucy Pickens first.  And private banks  had images of slaves on their bills.

Cyber security for Farmers?

FBI says farmers vulnerable to hacking of digitized data. 

I'm not sure what the motivation would be.  The piece discusses the possible theft of bulk data for use in market manipulation and such.  That's possible I suppose, perhaps particularly at the state and corporation level, but I'd think it unlikely.  What other motivation: ransom, as has happened with hospitals.  I don't think farm-level data is that crucial or time sensitive. 

I know the ag lobby has put in legal provisions requiring FSA to keep secret some data, but that's more anti-EWG measures than anything else.

Call me cynical, but the cyber-security/industrial complex has an interest in alarming everyone they can, so they can sell their services. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cover Crops

I feels as if I've mentioned this before, but anyway.

Tamar Haspel has an article in the Post on changes in "big ag", which affect the environment, such as "no-till". She focuses on cover crops, noting that sometimes they pay off financially, but often they don't. Also, farmers who rent are less motivated to use cover crops on the rented ground.

I'll quote my comment:

"Once upon a time, there was a program called the Agricultural Conservation Program. It included cost sharing for various conservation practices, including winter cover crops. Then into this idyllic picture came a President, elected by the people. This President refused to spend the money Congress appropriated for the program, thinking it was a waste of money. After much toing and froing, and a few lawsuits IIRC, Congress and the President compromise by calling the program a new name and by killing some of the conservation practices, including the cover crop practice." 

The toing and froing was partly over whether the President had the authority not to spend the money.  IIRC the Supreme Court eventually said no.

The President was Nixon.

Personal Note

In 75 years I can't ever remember seeing another person's genitalia in a bathroom, nor do I think anyone has seen mine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monarchs: Planting Milkweed Isn't the Answer?

We Americans like the simple technological solutions to problems.  (We American analysts like to over-generalize.)

Recently people have been planting milkweed to help the endangered monarch butterfly.

Now comes a report (from my alma mater) which says it's not so simple. Looks like the true causes are going to be harder to fix: lack of nectar in fall, weather, fragmentation of habitat.  Can't see a Kickstarter campaign developing around these.

[Hat tip: Tamar Haspel retweet of Brad Plumer.]

Influence of the Past

The Post had  a piece the other day on a school in Alabama with only an aged T-1 line to support their Internet usage.  Upgrading is complicated because two different companies provide service in the area and a river isolates the school.

A Vox report on how Amazon's same-day service  reflects past discrimination.  Its availability is based on the number of Prime customers in an area, which in turn reflects past housing patterns.

These are instances of how the past weighs on the present, or how "them that has gets". 

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Problem of the Small Diverse Farmer

One of the boasts of a farmer is she is a jack [jill?] of all trades.I've seen this a number of times over the years; even used it myself in writing about my father.  It's true enough: being a successful farmer requires a broad spectrum of skills. What's often not considered though is the difficulty a small diverse farmer has.  This thought was triggered by this post on learning to be a stockman.  It's from a blog I just discovered, the Foothill Agrarian blog (mostly sheep), a farmer in California.

He's relatively specialized, compared to some.  The accumulation of knowledge from academic research and the more efficient sharing of knowledge means there's more and more to learn.  It's one of the ways in which the market economy leads to greater specialization.  Not only can a larger more specialized operation cut costs, but the operator can learn more and put it to use more effectively.

There are still people like Walt Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm who are able to combine many skills and out-compete the rest.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Walking the Nation and Trolling Comments

NYTimes has a piece today by a guy who walked the route of the Keystone pipeline, which turns out to be the hook for a proposal that people should be able to walk where they please, as they can in the UK and other nations.

I suspect in the UK an etiquette has developed over the years (centuries?) for walking, an etiquette which we would lack in the US.  An etiquette which might include:
  • no trash
  • no feeding the animals, domestic or wild
  • no scaring the animals
  • avoid the bulls
  • no trash 
 Anytime you open a new frontier, it takes a while for etiquette/manners to develop for it.  That was true when railroads were invented, it would be true for national walking.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Driverless Cars Revisited

Vox describes the detailed mapping Google and others will have to do to support their autonomous cars. And Brad Plumer describes five challenges: mapping; social interactions between car and other people; bad weather; regulations; cybersecurity.

These innovations seem to be coming from different directions: cars which drive themselves on preregistered courses (there was a piece on an outfit in the Netherlands which produces upscale gold carts for such applications); cars with improvements, like today's safety stuff; cars which are as independent of outside help as the old model of human driving car (the Tesla model).  It's partly the old question, which is better distributed intelligence or central guidance.  We shall see.

Locavores Need Wool Suits?

A post here from USDA on the use of sheep to reduce tillage in an organic farming setup.  The idea seems to be to control weeds by grazing sheep on land for a year between row crops.

My comment is, as with other organic rotations like using alfalfa in a rotation, it's fine if you have a market/use for the product.  Sheep herds have declined over the decades as we turned away from wool suits and mutton.  The knitters of the world can absorb only so much wool from small sheep farms (which doesn't mean the prices of skeins of yarn are low). In the old days of horses and dairy grazing you had use for fields of grass; in the days of tractors and barn-housed cows you don't.

Farming like most any human industry is more complex than it looks from the outside.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Coitus Interruptus

Five-thirty-eight has a post on the always interesting subject of penises (actually "wieners" in their terminology), which includes this:
"That’s partly because it’s difficult to study how male and female genitalia interact during sex. For example, Kelly told me that, in order to study fruit flies, scientists drop mating pairs into liquid nitrogen to freeze them mid-flagrante."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dairy, Grandin and NPR

I seen Prof. Grandin a number of times, including the biopic of her life. I respect the work she's done on animal welfare.  I don't listen much to public radio, using WETA mostly as background, but we're probably generally in tune.  So I'm surprised to find myself generally opposing their take on dairy cows.  Yes, our cows were good producers and probably averaged 12,000 lbs a year.  These days average production is 22,000 lbs.

This Post article quotes these two paragraphs from NPR:

"Since dairy cows were first brought to the United States, their owners have been trying to coax more and more milk out of them. They've done that through dairy parlor design, barn layout, feed rations, milk scheduling and hormone treatments.
Now the focus is on genetics: Cows are being bred to be larger, hungrier, and more productive. But this drive to raise ever-larger, hulking Holsteins has some prominent livestock advocates ringing alarm bells."
That's misleading, if not wrong. Farmers have been breeding cows for greater milk production ever since humans domesticated them.  That's what we do, not only with cows but all our grains, fruits, and vegetables. We had registered Holsteins on the farm, meaning we submitted pictures or drawings of each cow added to the herd to the central registry, along with data on their dam and sire.  When the inseminator came, he and dad consulted over which bull to choose (he carried vials of semen from 3 or 4 bulls with him). That was one of the big advantages of artificial insemination, the choice of bulls, by looking at the production of the bull's offspring.  

Since the Derby is coming along, I can't resist noting that similar efforts have been going on in racing for years, probably earlier than dairy because the potential payout for a great foal is so much greater than a great calf.

So the reality is: breeding has always been there. In the last half of the twentieth century we also started to pay attention to dairy rations,barn/parlor design, etc. Grandin would know this, so the writer has misled by using NPR to lead into her position, which is "[good dairymen] raise smaller cows that tend to be healthier, as well as productive over a longer period, and opting to feed their herds grass as often as possible. The latter [bad dairymen], meanwhile, are driving up the efficiency numbers you see in the chart above, selecting for cows that tend to suffer from a number of adverse health outcomes."

Here I feel only qualified to say:if dairymen have overbred, it's little different than turkey growers raising turkeys which can't reproduce because their breasts are too big or Great Dane breeders raising dogs doomed to hip displasia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How White Polar Bears Stay Warm

We all know that white reflects the sun's rays and black absorbs it, right?  So how do polar bears stay warm?

I don't guarantee the accuracy of this sentence from a Jstor daily on solar panel improvements:
Polar bears help stay warm using transparent fur (which appears white at a distance) that reflects light onto the bear’s heat-trapping black skin.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Yglesias and Jacobin Are Both Wrong

Matt Yglesias tweeted that this paragraph in a Jacobin article attacking incremental liberalism is mostly right.
The simple truth is that virtually every significant and lasting progressive achievement of the past hundred years was achieved not by patient, responsible gradualism, but through brief flurries of bold action. The Second New Deal in 1935–36 and Civil Rights and the Great Society in 1964–65 are the outstanding examples, but the more ambiguous victories of the Obama era fit the pattern, too.
The writer is sly, setting himself up to deny the "significance" of any achievement which was achieved by "gradualism", with the  fallback position of "virtually". Incrementalism often works by getting a piece of the pie now, another in a few years, so the argument is weighted. And the examples suggest that only legislative achievements count.  Wrong again.

One hundred years goes back to 1916, so here goes:
  • Nineteenth Amendment (women's suffrage) 1919
  • Brown versus Board of Education 1954  (the greatest example of incremental progress by liberals)
  • Twenty-Fourth Amendment (poll tax) 1962 (so long a battle the ultimate victory became meaningless)
  • Americans with Disability Act 1990
  • federal aid to education (a long battle beginning in the 1950's to establish the principle and expand the pot)
  • Equal Rights Amendment (a battle in which liberals were defeated, but the victory is being won incrementally)
  • gay rights.
  • Medicare, Part D, and CHIPS.
 More time to think would yield more examples.

IMHO what's right is this: sometimes liberals/progressives win victories by slow and patient work; sometimes we win victories by a breakthrough, a popular movement.  And sometimes we "win" something history shows was the wrong way to go.  Does anyone remember the progressive cause: public power, building hydroelectric dams? 

[Updated: Kevin Drum seems to take a similar position here. ]

    Counter-Clerks: What Scalia Got Right

    A former law clerk for Justice Scalia writes about Scalia's "counter-clerks".  Usually each year he'd hire one of his four law clerks as a liberal, a devil's advocate whose mission was to keep his arguments honest.  Seems to me it's the sort of thing each Justice should have.  And not a bad thing for everyone.

    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    George Washington Never Took a Bath? Not

    In a tub, that is.  We have it on the authority of H.L. Mencken, who says Millard Fillmore was the first president to take a bath in a tub.  The tub, it seems, had just been invented.

    Of course, Mencken later admitted the article was a complete hoax.

    Pearlie Reed Dies

    See Vilsack's statement,his obituary,a new story and a personal memory.

    Saturday, April 16, 2016

    Japan and America

    Via Marginal Revolution, a Mental Floss post of 10 tips for Japanese visiting the US.  Provides a glimpse of the cultural differences between the societies.

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Organic Does Not Equal Small or American

    Modern Farmer has a piece on the costs of converting farmland to organic (it requires a multi-year history of only organic methods being used, which is costly) so Costco is going to finance some vertical integration:
    "This first initiative will find Costco partnering with Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, based in San Diego, to buy equipment and 1,200 acres of land just south of the border."
    As I say in the previous post, the organic premium and demand is there now, but I predict an overbuilding of capacity. 

    Organic Does Not Equal Locavore

    A Bloomberg piece on the importing of organic grain from Romania and India.  It's certainly not energy-efficient.

    This is related to the next post on Costco springing for the costs of converting farmland to organic.  I'd interpret both as saying the price premium for organic is promising enough to warrant these measures.  I'd also guess there will be at some point down the road an overbuilding of organic capacity, because farmers usually overshoot their market corrections.

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    More Divorce Equals Less Geographic Mobility

    Joel Achenbach has a good post tied to his article in the Post on the increase in mortality rates among middle-aged white women.  This from a comment started me thinking:
    "(Before you ask why he didn't just move to find a job: he couldn't leave the area because his ex-wife was still alive and he couldn't move the girls more than an hour from their mother, so he was pretty much stuck.) "
    To the extent we have increased the number of children living in one-parent households over the years, we may have increased the obstacles to moving for jobs.  Similarly, the number of two-job households would also increase the obstacles.  For example, in the most extreme case a two-professor marriage needs complex negotiations with a new school in order to obtain new jobs for both.

    Net result, the decline in mobility noted here.(Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution says it's land use restrictions.)

    Which Branch Will Shoot Down Drones?

    Politico has a piece on a US Army analysis of Russian military capabilities as demonstrated in Ukraine.  One paragraph:
    Karber says the lethality of new Russian munitions has been striking, including the use of scatterable mines, which the U.S. States no longer possesses. And he counts at least 14 different types of drones used in the conflict and reports that one Ukrainian unit he was embedded with witnessed up to eight drone flights in a single day. “How do you attack an adversary’s UAV?” asks Clark. “Can we blind, disrupt or shoot down these systems? The U.S. military hasn’t suffered any significant air attacks since 1943.”
     Knowing the military bureaucracy, it's safe to predict that the Navy, the Marines, the Army, and the Air Force, not to mention the Secret Service and other bureaucracies will all invest in anti-drone research, set up anti-drone units, and lobby Congress to be the lead agency.

    Speculation: I'd guess the easiest way to go with drones is to jam their communications, but we'll see.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    We Ran a Micro-Dairy

    Moliere had a character who was surprised to be told he was speaking prose.  I'm surprised to learn I grew up on a micro-dairy.  That's according to a NYTimes piece today.  No specifics on what constitutes a "micro-dairy"; one instance mentioned has 12 cows so I guess we qualify.

    The characteristic which we didn't share with the dairies described is: processing.  These dairies do their own processing and then sell into a niche market.

    This is all fine, but I wonder what grass the Wisconsin dairyman finds to feed his cows in the winter? Or did the writer just simplify and omit mention of "hay".  These cows are going to be less productive.  Yes, dairy cattle evolved to eat only grass.  But we've bred them to produce milk longer than needed by their calves and much more volume.  To sustain the production they need grain as well as forage.  

    So micro-dairies are fine to provide a niche product marketed to gourmet types, those who have the money to spend on refined tastes, but they won't do anything for the environment.

    U.S. Is Not a New Nation

    Ron Charles includes this sentence in a review of a novel focused on Thomas Jefferson:
    "We’re a young nation, and like any adolescent, nothing rouses us to fits of bitter delight more than detecting hypocrisy in others [i.e., Jefferson]."
    I disagree.  You can define "nation" different ways.  One looks at the government and the land included in the nation, another at the "people", an approach which has lost favor.  (Hitler conflated the Reich and the German people.)

    Nations like France, Italy, and Germany really were formed in the 19th century, as a government consolidated control over its territory.  "England" and "Britain" form something of an exception--England has been consolidated under the crown since the Norman Conquest, give or take the odd civil war.  Britain still isn't sure whether it includes the Scots or not.

    There are nations which have been around in some form or other for centuries: China, Japan, Ethiopia. And if you allow for boundaries to change, Russia, Persia/Iran, Egypt, and others can qualify.  But when you look Latin America, Africa, Australia, and South and Southwest Asia you see the impact of colonialism and nationalism, recent phenomena.

    So I repeat: we aren't a young nation, considering the histories of all the nations in the world.  The young nation meme is just a way to claim American exceptionalism.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    Courier All Caps Is No No

    One of my pet peeves, which I may have mentioned before, is the failure of people to take advantage of the possibilities the computer has given us: specifically the failure to use proportionally spaced type and lower case when communicating.

    Back in the early 70's my boss gave me a research project: see if I could find a replacement for our IBM MT/ST typewriters.  As part of the research I read a paper on the benefits of proportional spacing: more legible, easier and faster to read, less misunderstanding.  That's why for hundreds of years printed material was in various proportionally space fonts. 

    At that time, typewriters were limited; the usual choices were 10 pt courier and 12 pt. elite, though the IBM Selectric offered more variety, but only the IBM Composer offered proportional spacing for print shop/forms design use.

    Meanwhile we still had telegraphs going, which mostly were all cap and monospaced. IIRC even in teletype terminals which used CRT's, that was true. 

    Anyhow, places like the State Department and Weather Service which had the telegraph system incorporated into their bones have continued to use monospacing and all caps well into the 21st century.  State may have transitioned off.  And now Brad Plumer at Vox tells us that the Weather Service is going half-way, abandoning the all-caps, but not the Courier font.

    IMHO this is a fine case study in bureaucratic inertia.

    Monday, April 11, 2016

    The Scandal of Trump's Children

    Turns out two of Trump's children weren't registered to vote in time for the primary.  What's a scandal to me is that the kids are 33 and 31 years old, meaning they've missed 3 presidential elections and many state and local elections. What sort of citizens don't vote?

    Yalie Getting Hands Dirty

    It's probably true that fewer (in proportion) youngsters get their hands dirty these days than before.  There's not much real dirt on a cellphone screen. And my impression is part-time jobs during high school aren't very usual any more.  This post on the Yale Sustainable Food Project describes the benefits one Yalie gets from working in the Yale garden.  It's partly the hands-dirty thing and partly having a community.

    I can identify with latter.  I worked for 4 years in the cafeteria in one of the women's dorms.  My co-workers gave me a community which, given my shyness, I couldn't have found on my own.  While you can get lost in a big university, there are also niches to find, more than in a smaller place.

    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    How Many Corporations Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?

    I don't know, but 250,000 can use the same address.

    "The single-story brick building at 1209 North Orange St. in downtown Wilmington, Del., looks bland and innocuous. But the building, home to the Corporation Trust Company, has an intriguing claim to fame. In the last few years, it has served as the registered address for more than 250,000 businesses, giving companies around the world access to Delaware’s business-friendly laws."

    First paragraph of a piece on how the US became a tax haven.

    Fourteen Differences Between Pigs and Dogs

    Walt Jeffries has a long interesting post on the differences between pigs and dogs, the differences meaning dogs can go to war with us and pigs can't.

    Saturday, April 09, 2016

    Why We're on the Right Path

    I don't think much of Corey Robin; he's too liberal for my taste.

    This morning's papers reported that Americans were pessimistic about the country, which isn't an opinion I share.

    Why not?  Well, Prof. Robin nicely encapsulated my biggest reason in this post on his students.

    Bottomline: I like the melting pot, the reunification of the human race.

    [Update: Also see this assessment.]

    Thursday, April 07, 2016

    Cells on the Modern Farm

    Life on a Colorado Farm incidentally causes me to realize the benefits of cell phones on modern farms.  When you're farming thousands of acres (not that the writer and husband are), coordinating schedules, even the most chauvinistic--when are you stopping for supper, becomes a big issue, an issue solved by carrying your cell phone with you.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2016

    The Importance of Oyster Shell

    Oyster shells are important.  Back on the farm we used to buy bags and put out a supply in a separate feeder for the hens.

    Why?  See this Modern Farmer post.

    [Updated: more on oysters]

    The Last White House Garden?

    Recently there's not been much publicity about the Obama White House Garden, which I've noted.  Apparently part of that is due to my lagging involvement in social media.  Turns out Obamafoodorama has moved to twitter, it seems. [Updated:  seems I saw that last year, but failed to follow Ms.Gehman Kohan on twitter.]

    Anyhow, this week the final spring planting of the garden in Obama's terms of office took place, and the White House posted about it. Mrs. Obama can claim some credit for gains in health.

    The really interesting question for a follower of politics and government is: what happens next spring?  Will Bill Clinton be out there planting, or Jane Sanders?  Somehow I don't see Trump's wife doing the planting, nor Mrs. Cruz.

    The garden was a personal project of Michelle Obama, meaning it's doomed.  At best the new occupants of the White House will find the money in the budget to continue having the Park Service care for it.  But I remember that President Carter's solar panels were removed by the Reagans.  Each spouse has had her own personal projects, so my prediction is: no garden in 2017.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2016

    Mexico and Blacks: Demography

    Booker T. Washington noted that the black population of the U.S. was close to that of Mexico.  This was in 1899, in an article in Atlantic Monthly.  Actually 8.8 million.

    This aroused my curiosity since Mexican population is now almost 120 million, and black US population is nearly 40 million, so the rates of increase differ. The US demography post in wikipedia notes the US almost quadrupled its population since 1900, which puts the black increase in line with the overall increase.  The Mexican increase was over 8 times.

    From wikipedia: "In 1900, the Mexican population was 13.6 million.[4] During the period of economic prosperity that was dubbed by economists as the "Mexican Miracle", the government invested in efficient social programs that reduced the infant mortality rate and increased life expectancy. These measures jointly led to an intense demographic increase between 1930 and 1980."

    Is that an explanation--Mexico improved its social programs more than the U.S. did over that period?  Or was the reproduction rate for the US lower because it was wealthier, even though we're talking about the poorer segment of the US population? 

    Monday, April 04, 2016

    Housing Segregation: Is Government Tail or Dog?

    TaNehisi Coates has popularized some academic research showing how geographically segregated America is.  Sometimes the assertion is that white-dominated government programs have enforced and propagated segregated housing. 

    The assertion is true.  But it's also incomplete.

    Emily Badger in the Post reports on" research,[studying]  how the arrival of blacks in 10 northern cities at the time influenced white behavior. Over the course of the first three decades after the turn of the century, coinciding with the start of the Great Migration of blacks out of the South, this pattern accelerated: As blacks arrived in northern neighborhoods, more whites left. By the 1920s, there were more than three white departures for every black arrival."

    These patterns mostly preceded formal and legal patterns (restrictive covenants, redlining).

    The Post article doesn't mention it, but there's also the phenomena of chain migration leading to ethnic neighborhoods.  We can see that in American history as Irish, Italians, East European Jews,  Germans, each settled in distinct neighborhoods.  I suspect that's the result of mixed forces: the comfort and familiarity of living close to others from the same country, sometimes the same town and the economics of buying and selling--the newcomer is willing to pay higher prices (usually in the form of crowding) for housing than other potential buyers, so you get a force which leads to segregation.  (See Schelling and his general theory of tipping.) 

    What the economist doesn't throw into the mix, at least as I remember the essay which is 45 years old now, is the emotions generated by attachments to home and fear of the "other".  Nor does he address the effects of a general level of bias.   

    So, in my mind, we have a vicious circle which can start relatively innocently, is propelled by economic logic, and becomes intermixed with emotion and bias, leading finally to the erection of legal and formal barriers.  We saw the extreme case of that in South Africa in the days of apartheid, and in Nazi Germany.

    So my answer to the question asked in the title: government is often, at least in the US, more the tail than the dog.  

    The next question is: can you make government the dog and reverse the vicious circle? That's what we've been trying, fitfully, off and on since the New Deal.

    Sunday, April 03, 2016

    Bureaucratuc Conflict in Acreage Reporting

    Just read a report of research on the effectiveness of resolving civil wars by joining the opposing armies into a unified command.  (I forget where--Crooked Timber perhaps.)  The bottomline was that incorporating two armies into one didn't work to create peace.  If the underlying conditions were right, there might not be failure of peace to hold, but it wasn't a magic bullet.

    So too in bureaucracy, maybe.  Different bureaucracies have different cultures and norms, and different interests.  The idea of helping farmers to file one acreage report to serve both crop insurance and farm programs is nice, but it doesn't resolve the underlying tensions.  Take this from a recent NASCOE post:
    NASCOE provided DAFP leaders several of the documents that some of the Approved Insurance Providers have mailed producers soliciting them to not report to FSA but to them instead. This has been troubling to county office field level personnel and NASCOE membership. ACRSI was designed to be able to transfer common data between RMA and FSA. The two pilots have reinforced that FSA is good at taking comprehensive acreage reports. Regardless of what some of these AIP documents are saying, producers should have every confidence that FSA stands prepared to continue to accept the producer supplied aerial photos and complete the producer’s comprehensive acreage report.
    Presumably crop insurance agents get paid for taking acreage reports just as FSA positions depend on taking acreage reports.  So each bureaucracy has a rational motive to try to monopolize acreage reports. In addition, the bureaucracy which deals with the farmer face-to-face will reap some benefits; whether in supplemental information or simply loyalty, the benefits are real.

    These are interesting times.

    Saturday, April 02, 2016

    World Hunger at an End?

    The title cheats, because Bloomberg is just saying the world may have too much food, as reported by the World Health Organization in a study:
     "The main takeaway? Excess weight has become a far bigger global health problem than weighing too little. While low body weight is still a substantial health risk for parts of Africa and South Asia, being too heavy is a much more common hazard around the globe."

    To someone who remembers famines in India and China, this is incredible (something I seem to be writing more every year).