Whole Foods highlights through a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system how animals are raised before being purchased by consumers. Global Animal Partnership (GAP), developers of Whole Foods' rating system, seeks to achieve higher welfare for farm animals by building partnerships, working in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, food retail, and animal science experts.
Whole Foods Market harbors the same hopes for its chickens that many parents do for their kids: That they'll get plenty of fresh air, live at home until they reach maturity and avoid gaining weight so fast that they can't walk.
While Whole Foods Market was the driving force behind developing the standards, GAP Executive Director Miyun Park believes they will move well beyond the chain, spurring "massive improvements in the way animals are raised in this country."
Dr. Robert Wisner, University Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, has published an in depth report on the corn and soybean availability for biofuels in 2011.
Corn use for fuel ethanol production has become the second largest source of demand for the U.S. crop, with total corn use for this purpose expected to be only about 10% less than its use for livestock and poultry feeding in the year ahead.
He offers several points that those in animal production and crop production need to keep in mind:
Corn supplies will be tight and some rationing of demand likely will be needed in the year ahead.
With the very small reserve supplies of corn that are expected at the end of August 2011, more corn acres almost certainly will be needed next year to meet continuing demand growth.
In the year ahead, we anticipate further ethanol expansion, but at a much slower pace than in recent years as the industry approaches a “blend wall”.
With low stocks, corn prices have the potential to be very volatile.
Stephanie Rutten, DVM, PhD, offers advice to fourth-year veterinary students and graduate students about swine production and disease prevention. Best advice? Good hygiene.
First, never underestimate the value of good hygiene! When disease occurs, most people are inclined to reach for a product. We see this often in our own healthcare—if you’re sick and go to the doctor, you expect to get a prescription.
Second piece of advice? Understand the difference between a field trial and a field test. "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" reminds us that numbers can be used in a variety of ways and it is important in science and management to understand their meaning.
China's need for feed material is going beyond corn. This year the need for additional feed inputs is moving China to import DDGs (Dried Distillers Grains).
China’s demand for dried distillers’ grains and solubles, a by-product of turning corn into ethanol, may rise to more than 10 million metric tons per year in the future, an executive at Cofco Ltd. said today.
DDGs for 2010 are expected to exceed last year’s record 5.65 million tons.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects [corn] consumption to expand by 2.6 percent in China to 160 million tons in the year from Oct. 1.
The Planet Money team produces some of the best shows on the economy, in a form we can all understand. This recent show continues their work on creating a Planet Money T-shirt.
After hearing a young activist ask the question, "Who made your T-shirt?" [Pietra ] Rivoli, a Georgetown economist, realized she didn't know, but she wanted to. She followed the story of one t-shirt across three continents and along the way she witnessed the many ways government impacted its production.
The Planet Money team borrowed the idea of following cotton and T-shirts from Pietra Rivoli, who wrote the book, The Travels of a T-shirt in a Global Economy. Rivoli details not just basic logistics of moving goods but also lays out the complicated global trade policies that governments and businesses negotiate to protect their specific interests.
This particular episode follows cotton fibers from Lubbock, Texas to tossed out T-shirts in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
While this episode talks about cotton, the same issues on trade and policy apply to many other agricultural goods the United States imports and exports.