Hi Ag 2.0 Readers – I’m short on time this week so I’m providing links to some of the more interesting articles that I read in the last few days.
1. “Soil Leadership Academy” formed by Syngenta and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (http://bit.ly/1prluVy).
Some interesting facts from the press release and related links:
- UNCCD estimates that globally, at least, 24 percent of usable land is already degraded.
- On average, every year we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil to degradation. As a result, more than 12 million hectares of productive land becomes barren due to desertification and drought processes.
- Syngenta estimates that we lose a soccer field of farmland every second to soil degradation.
- Through its Good Growth Plan (cool website: http://bit.ly/1hDofek), Syngenta has committed to improve the fertility of 10 million hectares of farmland on the brink of degradation.
2. Chipotle has launched a mini series on Hulu called “Farmed and Dangerous”: See the 4 episodes at this link: http://farmedanddangerous.com/#. I’ll admit, I haven’t watched it all, but it’s already stirring up some controversy (http://bit.ly/1lJ4lS7). One of the plot lines: fictional industrial company “Animoil” comes up with an animal feed made out of petroleum, called “Petro Pellets”. Laughable as this idea sounds (maybe?), it’s not laughable to link the attitudes of Big Ag to those of Big Oil. Entrenched companies in both industries seem to often think of innovation as “how to sell more oil” and “how to sell more corn seed”.
3. President Obama openly gets behind ag biotech: Obama recently wrote a letter to the family of Dr. Norman Borlaug (the “Father of the Green Revolution”) to mark the the dedication of his statue in the US Capitol (http://bit.ly/1l7ihEA). Obama hasn’t been very public on this issue, leading some to think that he might be in the anti-GMO camp. But in this letter, he clearly states: ““I share [Dr. Borlaug’s] belief that investment in enhanced biotechnology is an essential component of the solution to some of our planet’s most pressing agricultural problems”. I agree with the President on this issue, and it’s good to see him put out his opinion on it.
Naveen is TerViva’s CEO and hopes that one day the President visits a field of pongamia in Florida, where we are helping to combat citrus greening disease with a form of crop diversification.