Tag Archives: food production

Farming, Employed labour and political power.

Not to vote really should be a punishable offence. However, what will the elected politicians do for farming?

 

The more cynical might notice that, during the run up to an election, a large number of organisations and individuals become suddenly vocal in putting their case and asking for cash, pointing out that such additions would earn votes. Those wishing to be elected make promises which those with any intelligence take with a very small pinch of salt and then vote, not for their approved candidate but against those they like least.

For over 200 years, farming has become more and more efficient, employing less and less labour and has become a smaller and smaller proportion of the voting electorate.

The truth is that farming needs to forget the politicians (all of them) which will forget farming and, instead, get on with cutting costs (recycle wastes instead of buying mineral fertilisers), growing higher value crops and adding value to their production.  However, that is still not enough, farming has to market itself and its products better.  Much better and much more actively. Doing all of this will employ more labour which will, in due course, make it politically more influential.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 31 May 17

 

Farming, Global Warming and Profit

Farming is the fundamental key to removing Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and giving back our Oxygen.

A UK-based development programme has shown that a wide range of urban and agricultural wastes can be recycled as fertilisers, to the exclusion of manufactured mineral fertilisers, to produce sustainable, high-yielding agriculture and increase bio-diversity and populations. The programme has shown how that technology can be used to develop sustainable worldwide agriculture and dramatically reduce irrigation requirements including in arid and desert soils. This, in turn, closes the loop on recycling potentially significant amounts of global Carbon dioxide by changing the hydrological cycle, and increasing the global soil Carbon sink and releasing Oxygen back to atmosphere. Click here.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 16 May 17

Global Food Shortages and Water Supply

Courtesy of “The Furrow” (John Deere) this shows global farmed area shrinking and population exploding. Now ad water and forests. This is dynamite.

It is worth clicking on the link (WRI – the World Researches Institute) below for a clear view of how forests affect our water supply.  The authors point out that “The world’s major watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014. Today, about 31 percent of the world’s watershed area is covered by forests.”

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/03/3-surprising-ways-water-depends-healthy-forests?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2017-03-21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=learnmore

The problem is a tension between the facts they point out and the needs of an expanding global population to have food, energy and occupy land. The tension between the two is an exponential curve related to population growth.  Something will give.  Unless, that is, we control population growth and very urgently.

Click here for an expansion of this discussion, and what to do about it,

Land Research   12 May 2017

Farming, Brexit and Le Pen

A major reason for Le Pen’s capture of a third of the vote was immigration. Can Macron manage immigration and population growth?

Water is the link between farming and immigration as a major issue connected with Brexit and Marine Le Pen. It is worth clicking on the link below (WRI – the World Researches Institute) for a clear view of how forests affect our water supply.  The authors point out that “The world’s major watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014. Today, about 31 percent of the world’s watershed area is covered by forests.”

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/03/3-surprising-ways-water-depends-healthy-forests?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2017-03-21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=learnmore

The problem is a tension between the facts they point out and the needs of an expanding global population to have food, energy and occupy land. The tension between the two is an exponential curve related to population growth.  Something will give.  Unless, that is, we control population growth and very urgently.

Land Research   8 May 2017

Farm Product Branding

Cheese for sale in Devizes market, Wiltshire. So why do people therE buy Lancashire chees, rather than just “cheese”?

Developing a brand can generate not just loyalty but higher margins.. So, how can a farmer go about branding?  Well, his or her own name is a start.  The problem there is that it takes a long time to get the word known and usually costs significant resource, too.  One step easier is to use the farm name, but again, time and resource are involved in creating memorable images in enough individual minds is a problem.  One step easier is to use a place name that is easily identified.  One successful example of this is cheeses; Cheddar, Wensleydale, Cheshire and many more.  Choosing a name which is easily identified adds familiarity and that is part of developing and recognising trust.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 1 May 2017

Farming; Adding Safety as Value

 

 

Bread from Morrisons. Yes, the UK does produce the safest food in the world. Here, the rules are more sophisticated and better policed than anywhere else.

The whole of agricultural policy following two world wars, was food security and “food” was identified as farm crops as harvested. . While we forget that lesson at our peril, we now have to think in terms of Adding Value.  Doing that by taking a harvested crop (such as vegetables) and processing and packaging them is certainly a step in the right direction.  However, there is another way of looking at Adding Value and that is at an industry level for the national economy. One of the most important ways we can do that is to accept, co-operate with and seek to influence and re-direct regulation and regulators to deliver what is, and should be recognised as already the case, the safest food in the world.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  26 April 2017

Click here for Survival

Ferguson and Conservation Agriculture

Ferguson was a revolution which will always be part of production on the land. However, there are opportunities to add new dimensions.

There is no doubt that Sir Harry Ferguson’s invention of the farm tractor 3-point linkage, which gave weight transfer off the cultivation tool down the top link onto the driving wheels of the tractor, revolutionised world farming and has saved many millions of the human race, including ourselves in the West, from starvation. There is no doubt that it is still relevant.

Nevertheless, we have moved on into an era where we need less damage to soil structure, less nutrient loss to ground water, less energy use, less pressure on climate change. And more food to feed a rocketing population.

Quite simply, we need to recycle urban waste to land and use zero till wherever feasible. To do this, another step in tractor development is now a marketing opportunity. Back in the1970’s, I published an article in the then journal “Big Farm Management” which predicted that the global tractor market would split into 5 roughly equal sectors; (i) mid-range, Ferguson design “maid of all work”, (i)  similar but small, up to 30 horse power, (iii) very large over 150 hp and moving to tracked, rather than wheeled, (iv) MHT’s – materials handling tractors, mainly telescopic loaders, and (v) HST’s – High Speed Transport tractors; lighter-weight, transport tractors equipped with PTO and capable of field work.

That prophesy has turned out as predicted for the first 4 categories.  Now, the need to move to conservation agriculture and zero-till, makes the move to this last category of lighter weight, transport-capable, versatile tractors,  over-due and a real opportunity for the tractor trade to supply emerging trends on conservation coupled to more efficient production.

Land Research Ltd, 14 April 2017