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Author Topic: Sustainable Farming  (Read 2121 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2017, 08:48:38 pm »
Regenerative Agriculture Can Help Solve Many of Our Problems

SNIPPET:

Around the world, farmers are waking up to the many adverse effects of industrialized agriculture. While chemicals and machines have allowed farms to expand and increase production, there's growing awareness about how these strategies harm the soil, ecology and, ultimately, human health.

As a result, a growing number of farmers are transitioning over to more sustainable and regenerative methods that do not rely so heavily on chemical and technological means. While regenerative strategies may appear "novel" to born-and-raised city slickers, it's really more of a revival of ancestral knowledge. In the video above, Dr. Joel Gruver demonstrates sustainable agriculture techniques taking place at Allison Farm, the largest organic research farm in Illinois.

Regenerative agriculture — which includes strategies such as crop rotation, diversification, cover crops, no-till, agroforestry and integrated herd management — can help rehabilitate land turned to desert, improve water management and protect water quality. It also eliminates the need for toxic fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.15 Importantly, by improving soil quality, regenerative farmers can produce more nutrient-dense foods.

You can also consider attending a Regeneration International event of webinar. Regeneration International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving soil fertility and biodiversity through regenerative agriculture techniques. Click below for a list of upcoming events.


Lengthy article:

Industrial Farming Threatens Food Security in the US

January 10, 2017 | 72,055 views

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/01/10/industrialization-versus-regenerative-agriculture.aspx
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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #61 on: January 17, 2017, 06:36:03 pm »
World’s Last Intact Forests Are Becoming Increasingly Fragmented
by Susan Minnemeyer Susan Minnemeyer, Peter Potapov and Lars Laestadius - January 17, 2017

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/01/world%E2%80%99s-last-intact-forests-are-becoming-increasingly-fragmented
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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2017, 04:44:17 pm »
Argentina’s Rising Grains Production Strands Vessels in River Traffic

February 16, 2017 by Reuters

Ships used to carry grains for export are seen next to a dredging boat (L) on the Parana river near Rosario, Argentina, January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci (at article link)
[/color]
Reuters By Hugh Bronstein

ROSARIO, Argentina, Feb 16 (Reuters) – When a boat carrying soy oil destined for India ran aground on the Parana River near Buenos Aires in late January, ships loaded with most of Argentina’s grains exports were blocked for hours.

It was the latest accident on one of the world’s great food highways, which is straining to carry rising volumes of Argentine agricultural products embarking on the first leg of the journey from the fields of the Pampas to the feeding troughs of cattle, pigs and chickens worldwide.

Increasing congestion on the Parana, which carries 80 percent of Argentina’s grains exports, could hamper President Mauricio Macri’s efforts to expand farm output and pull the country out of recession.

Macri wants Argentina to grow 25 percent more grains to boost rural income and has cut export taxes to attract more investment in the sector. But to haul all that grain to market, Macri needs the log jams on the river to end.

The government is studying how to accommodate the growing flotilla plying the waterway without driving up shipping costs – which could cancel out the benefits of the export tax cut to farmers and agricultural businesses.

“The entire river system is at its current limit,” said Koen Robijns, Argentine operations manager for Jan De Nul, the privately-owned, Luxemburg-based company that operates the Parana and is responsible for dredging.

The grounding in January made commerce grind to a halt, Robijns said in an interview aboard one of the company’s dredging vessels near Argentina’s main grains hub of Rosario, some 300 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires.

“Every ship behind it, all the way up to Rosario, had to stop or slow down for more than an hour,” he said.

Efforts to develop the waterway to carry more of Argentina’s burgeoning exports, however, could be delayed by negotiations between the channel’s operator and the traders that ship grain along it.

Jan De Nul favors dredging the channel deeper. The firm declined to provide an estimate on how much that would cost, but the shippers say the bill would be billions of dollars. That would likely mean an increase in the toll, currently $3 per net tonne, which the shippers would pass on by paying the farmers less for their grains.

The world’s largest bulk grains traders Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus Company and ADM – who together ship much of the grain exported via the Parana – would prefer the less expensive option of widening the river at trouble spots, said two industry groups representing the shippers and traders using the waterway.

The industry groups declined to give an estimate on how much cheaper it would be to widen rather than deepen the river.

“Rather than dredging deeper, we need wider curves in places where vessels have run aground,” said Guillermo Wade, a spokesman for the Rosario-based maritime chamber.

Macri’s government says it aims to cut the cost of exporting grains by 30 percent, including lowering tolls on waterways. But the government has not said yet which option it favors, and is unlikely to do so until a report on the project is completed.

Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus declined to comment. ADM, in a statement, said it “supports the expansion of the Parana River and Paraguay-Parana waterway to meet the growth needs of the entire region.”

The company did not specify how the river should be expanded.

PUSHING THE LIMIT

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal feed for animals  :o, key to global meat production and meeting the protein needs of a global population growing toward 9 billion. The South American country is also the world’s third-largest supplier of corn and soybeans and the seventh largest supplier of wheat.

Macri’s government expects farm output of 130 million tonnes this season, up from 123 million before he took office. Macri is targeting 150 million tonnes by the end of his first term in late 2019.

Groundings are becoming more common as exporters, under pressure to haul as much grain as possible, often overload vessels. There were 15 groundings on the waterway last year, up from 12 in 2015 and nine the previous year, according to port data.

The January accident took place in the Mitre section of the Parana, just north of the capital city Buenos Aires.

Theresa Success

The same vessel, the Theresa Success, ran aground near Rosario several days earlier. That time, it took longer for tug boats to pry the vessel loose, but traffic was able to move around the blockage as the river was wider there.

Baltzer, the vessel’s Rosario-based shipping agency, declined to comment on the groundings.

Other incidents have seen ships stuck for days while floating cranes arrive to unload cargo until vessels are light enough to float.

TOLLS AND TOP OFFS

Jan De Nul has had the Parana concession since 1995. The contract ends in 2021, and the company wants to renew it.

The toll it charges for plying the waterway is negotiated by Jan De Nul, the port terminal owners and the government.

The Parana’s shipping canal is maintained at 34 feet from the ocean to the port of San Martin, 35 kilometers north of Rosario, said Pieter Jan De Nul, an area manager for the company and son of its owner.

The firm could easily dredge to 36 feet, he said.

The additional two feet of depth would allow larger vessels carrying several thousand tonnes more cargo to load in Rosario before heading out to sea, he said. Larger cargoes would reduce shipping costs.

Currently, traders have to load part of their cargo in Rosario and then stop to add more in deep-water Atlantic ports before heading into international waters. That means additional port and loading costs, as well as longer shipping times.

The privately-owned Rosario Grains Exchange favors deepening, because larger ships could load and therefore fewer vessels would be needed to carry the rising volume of grains.

“Everyone wins with the deepening of the Parana River,” analysts for the exchange said in a report.

Deputy Transport Secretary Jorge Metz said the service on the river needs to improve, as delays can cost shippers $40,000 to $50,000 a day, a cost that is eventually passed on to farmers.

Decades of underinvestment in roads and rail have made transportation one of the biggest costs faced by growers, said Martin Fraguio, executive director of the Maizar corn industry chamber.

“Argentina has the possibility of increasing its farm production enormously,” he said. “We need the Parana to be as competitive as possible, as soon as possible.” (Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017
http://gcaptain.com/argentinas-rising-grains-production-strands-vessels-in-river-traffic/
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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #63 on: February 21, 2017, 07:54:10 pm »
What You Didn't Know About Soil...But Should     
 


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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #64 on: May 05, 2017, 02:00:33 pm »
BIOPLASTICS are REPLACING PETROCHEMICAL-BASED PLASTICS

In the years 2000 to 2008, worldwide consumption of biodegradable plastics based on starch, sugar, and cellulose – so far the three most important raw materials – has increased by 600%.[32] The NNFCC predicted global annual capacity would grow more than six-fold to 2.1 million tonnes by 2013.[30] BCC Research forecasts the global market for biodegradable polymers to grow at a compound average growth rate of more than 17 percent through 2012. Even so, bioplastics will encompass a small niche of the overall plastic market, which is forecast to reach 500 billion pounds (220 million tonnes) globally by 2010.[33]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

Agelbert NOTE:The "NICHE" that bioplastics are occupying will grow to destroy the fossil fuel based plastics plastic poisons simply because bioplastics are sustainable AND cheaper now.


Cost

At one time bioplastics were too expensive for consideration as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics.The lower temperatures needed to process bioplastics and the more stable supply of biomass combined with the increasing cost of crude oil make bioplastics price [34] more competitive with regular plastics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic


Applications

Biodegradable bioplastics are used for disposable items, such as packaging and catering items (crockery, cutlery, pots, bowls, straws). They are also often used for bags, trays, containers for fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat, bottles for soft drinks and dairy products, and blister foils for fruit and vegetables.

Nondisposable applications include mobile phone casings, carpet fibres, and car interiors, fuel line and plastic pipe applications, and new electroactive bioplastics are being developed that can be used to carry electrical current.[5] In these areas, the goal is not biodegradability, but to create items from sustainable resources.

Medical implants made of PLA, which dissolve in the body, save patients a second operation. Compostable mulch films for agriculture, already often produced from starch polymers, do not have to be collected after use and can be left on the fields.[6]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic


Bioplastic Car Parts

In constructing the Prius, Toyota used a new range of plant-derived ecological bioplastics, made out of cellulose derived from wood or grass instead of petroleum. The two principal crops used are kenaf and ramie. Kenaf is a member of the hibiscus family, a relative to cotton and okra; ramie, commonly known as China grass, is a member of the nettle family and one of the strongest natural fibres, with a density and absorbency comparable to flax.
Toyota says this is a particularly timely breakthrough for plant-based eco-plastics because 2009 is the United Nations’ International Year of Natural Fibres, which spotlights kenaf and ramie among others.[56]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius

Prius bioplastic parts

Polylactic acid (PLA) plastics can replace petrochemical-based mass plastics (e.g. PET, PS or PE)


Mulch film made of polylactic acid (PLA)-blend bio-flex

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a transparent plastic produced from corn[12] or dextrose. It not only resembles conventional petrochemical-based mass plastics (like PET, PS or PE) in its characteristics, but it can also be processed on standard equipment that already exists for the production of some conventional plastics. PLA and PLA blends generally come in the form of granulates with various properties, and are used in the plastic processing industry for the production of films, fibers, plastic containers, cups and bottles.

A pen made with bioplastics (Polylactide, PLA) 

Tea bags made from PLA

Packaging air pillow made of PLA-blend bio-flex

A bioplastic shampoo bottle made of PLA-blend bio-flex

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

Biopolymer BHP can replace petroplastic polypropylene

Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB)


The biopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) is a polyester produced by certain bacteria processing glucose, corn starch[13] or wastewater.[14] Its characteristics are similar to those of the petroplastic polypropylene. The South American sugar industry, for example, has decided to expand PHB production to an industrial scale. PHB is distinguished primarily by its physical characteristics. It produces transparent film at a melting point higher than 130 degrees Celsius, and is biodegradable without residue.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are linear polyesters produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. They are produced by the bacteria to store carbon and energy. In industrial production, the polyester is extracted and purified from the bacteria by optimizing the conditions for the fermentation of sugar. More than 150 different monomers can be combined within this family to give materials with extremely different properties. PHA is more ductile and less elastic than other plastics, and it is also biodegradable. These plastics are being widely used in the medical industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

How to tell if plastic was made from fossil fuels or plants: Fossil fuel derived plastic has NO carbon-14!

Biobased – ASTM D6866

The ASTM D6866 method has been developed to certify the biologically derived content of bioplastics. Cosmic rays colliding with the atmosphere mean that some of the carbon is the radioactive isotope carbon-14. CO2 from the atmosphere is used by plants in photosynthesis, so new plant material will contain both carbon-14 and carbon-12. Under the right conditions, and over geological timescales, the remains of living organisms can be transformed into fossil fuels. After ~100,000 years all the carbon-14 present in the original organic material will have undergone radioactive decay leaving only carbon-12. A product made from biomass will have a relatively high level of carbon-14, while a product made from petrochemicals will have no carbon-14. The percentage of renewable carbon in a material (solid or liquid) can be measured with an accelerator mass spectrometer.[41][42]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

Plastic made from plants is NOT a guarantee of biodegradability

There is an important difference between biodegradability and biobased content. A bioplastic such as high density polyethylene (HDPE)[43] can be 100% biobased (i.e. contain 100% renewable carbon), yet be non-biodegradable. These bioplastics such as HDPE nonetheless play an important role in greenhouse gas abatement, particularly when they are combusted for energy production. The biobased component of these bioplastics is considered carbon-neutral since their origin is from biomass.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

Agelbert NOTE:[/b] As I've said before, products from corn for plastics or biofuel are a bad deal. At the end of the wikipeda bioplastics article, a "study" from scientists in 2010 cautions against corn based bioplastics because they are so polluting from the pesticide and CO2 releasing properties  (as if petrochemical fuels and plastics weren't measurably MORE polluting... ??? ).

Sure. That's why BIG OIL wants us to keep using that corn for ethanol and bioplastics!  ;) It's never going to be competitive! Corn uses pesticides and plowing. The plastics made from the corn starch will have pesticide residue. Growing corn is an excellent way to ruin top soil and is second only to fossil fuels (because it uses so much of them) in biosphere damage. :P  >:(

This is stupid when, duckweed, hemp, sugar cane, switchgrass, Kenaf , a member of the hibiscus family, a relative to cotton and okra and  Ramie, commonly known as China grass, a member of the nettle family and one of the strongest natural fibres, with a density and absorbency comparable to flax are all available, easier to grow WITHOUT PESTICIDES and provide a much higher EROEI.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 03:25:25 pm by AGelbert »
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AGelbert

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Re: Sustainable Farming
« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2017, 08:45:08 pm »
German Nonprofit Creates New Open Source License for Seeds 

Friday, June 30, 2017

By Nithin Coca, Shareable | Interview

SNIPPET:

Why is having a special license with definable rights so important to protecting seeds and promoting diversity in global agriculture?

Our license is quite radical. It says that if a seed is licensed, this seed, and all further developments and modifications [of that seed] fall under this license. So this means you start a chain of contracts -- if the person who has got the seed is giving further developments of this seed to a third person, he becomes a licenser, which means he or she is licensing a new variety

In theory, this can be indefinite. There is no way back to private domain. [Our license] does not allow any seed company to take the seed, use it for breeding, and put a patent on it. You can work with us, you can earn your money with it, but you have no exclusivity.

This is important because we are living in a time of not only privatization of genetic resources, but the monopolization of genetic resources. Big companies, they are interested in producing few varieties and extending and distributing these varieties for large acreages -- the larger the acreage, the larger their return through royalties.

But what we need is diversity in production, diversity in genetic resources, and we need diversity in breeders. It is a danger if you are depending on a few companies -- because they tend towards uniformity, their energy for creating innovation is decreasing because competition is getting less and less. They are also producing variety that do not respond to the needs we have. For example, these big seed companies do not provide what is needed for adaptation to climate change.

Monsanto and Bayer, for example, you will have a concentration of a company which has dominating position in producing pesticides and herbicides, and dominating the seed sector -- they will link these two businesses together. They will produce seeds that correspondent with sales of agrochemicals. But in agriculture we need less pesticides, more agroecology. We need genetic resources and plants that fight pest and diseases by resistance, not by chemicals.

Can you tell me a bit about what it means if a farmer uses an open-source seed rather than a private, or corporate alternative?

License, first all of all says, there is no limitation to the use of this seed by the farmer. The only limitation is to refrain from privatization. Commercial seeds have become extremely costly, but the other point which is more important, the characteristics of a variety are not fully meeting the needs farmers have today.

And this applies, in particular, to small farmers in the world who are not able to pay the high costs of seeds for seeds from the big companies, or who may not need the varieties which are offered.

Full interview:   

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41118-german-nonprofit-creates-new-open-source-license-for-seeds
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