August 18, 2013
One Of The Highest-Paid Jobs You Can Get Out Of College Is One I've Never Even Thought Twice About

We typically don’t think of manufacturing as part of our food system but it is. Well, obviously not all manufacturing. But a commitment to food systems does not eliminate participation in the manufacturing sector. Food processing at a certain level is manufacturing. (At a different level such as restaurant and artisanal production it may not be manufactured but many of the same production concepts are applicable.) Processing equipment production is manufacturing. Agriculture equipment production is manufacturing and has the additional benefit of often being based in rural areas. 

Takeaway: If you’re looking for a career, don’t discount manufacturing. And not all position require a degree in industrial engineering.

May 3, 2013
Record Junk Sale Funds Fertilizer After Texas Blast: Muni Credit

fertilizermarkets:

The Iowa Finance Authority plans to issue $1.2 billion in tax-exempt debt this week to fund the building of a 320-acre nitrogen fertilizer plant by Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt’s biggest publicly traded company. Bond documents cite the hazards of ammonia, which may have contributed to the Texas blast, while saying that the facility won’t make solid ammonium nitrate, the most explosive type of nitrogen fertilizer.

Read more at Bloomberg

I blogged last year on the Egyptian investment in U.S. fertilizer production expressing my surprise. Apparently I misinterpreted the source of the investment. Maybe I should start an “I called it wrong..” series.

April 4, 2013
Take time to read the linked article and while you do so, consider the innovation from the perspectives of economics, law, and only then engineering.  And, if you recall the extraordinary impact rural electrification had in both the U.S. (a cooperative based model), and the Soviet Union (a centralized command economy), clap your hands.
Possibly the most exciting thing I’ve read this month.
fastcompany:

How To Power 10 Million Off-Grid African Homes In 10 Years
Taking cues from the pay-as-you-go mobile phone market, Erica Mackey and Off.Grid:Electric are working to deliver clean, affordable energy to the world’s rural poor.

“The poorest people people pay the most money for the dirtiest power,” says Mackey, the 30-year-old COO. “And these people are technically the most risk averse, because anything they lose is a huge hit to them. What we do is centralize that risk. And that allows us to serve the people the national grid doesn’t find profitable.”

Find out how they plan to do it here.

Take time to read the linked article and while you do so, consider the innovation from the perspectives of economics, law, and only then engineering.  And, if you recall the extraordinary impact rural electrification had in both the U.S. (a cooperative based model), and the Soviet Union (a centralized command economy), clap your hands.

Possibly the most exciting thing I’ve read this month.

fastcompany:

How To Power 10 Million Off-Grid African Homes In 10 Years

Taking cues from the pay-as-you-go mobile phone market, Erica Mackey and Off.Grid:Electric are working to deliver clean, affordable energy to the world’s rural poor.

“The poorest people people pay the most money for the dirtiest power,” says Mackey, the 30-year-old COO. “And these people are technically the most risk averse, because anything they lose is a huge hit to them. What we do is centralize that risk. And that allows us to serve the people the national grid doesn’t find profitable.”

Find out how they plan to do it here.

(via utnereader)

October 9, 2012
Moving from farms to cities does not always bring economic growth

Two charts, a gazillion questions. Click here to follow a working link to the blurb in The Economist

worldbank:

Moving from farms to cities does not always bring economic growth, shows the latest World Development Report 2013. Also featured by The Economist.

Data Source: World Development Indicators - GDP Per Capita, Urban Population.

(Source: bit.ly, via sunfoundation)

April 5, 2012
When Monsanto Does Good...

Contradictions are so confounding.

April 3, 2012
Nigeria: 'Agriculture Remains the Fastest Means of Job Creation'

It’s not necessary to read the complete article before launching into the mental exercise. Consider yesterday’s post on urbanization in light of this statement on economic development. Allowing that rural economics in Nigeria may not represent all nations (but certainly seems to represent many) what to the two posts mean when taken together?

fertilizermarkets:

Regular meetings of the National Council of Agriculture and Rural Development have always been an opportunity for state commissioners in charge of agriculture in the country to meet yearly.

The council meeting is the highest fora in agriculture to dialogue, resolve and share experiences on challenges facing the industry.

The 39th session held in Enugu last week was not an exception as 36 state commissioners from the federation gathered for three days to discuss on the global food crisis, production shortfall, pricing and consumption of agricultural commodities.

The host commissioner, Professor Martin Anikwe, Enugu state commissioner for Agriculture set the ball rolling when he told the delegates that agriculture should go beyond putting food on the table but should be seen within the context of contributing to the growth and sustainability of other sectors.

It was on the basis of his presentation that the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said that agricultural growth is the fastest way to creating Jobs in Nigeria.

Dr. Adesina noted that Nigeria’s unemployment rate is spiraling upwards, growing at 11 per cent yearly, “Youth unemployment rate is over 50 per cent.

Read more at All Africa

November 26, 2011
Oh wow. Save for the ridge of mountains in the background this could be home. There are no credits given for the picture, and while license plates aren’t visible the vehicle models appear to be relatively recent. We can also surmise from the number of vehicles and quality of awnings that this is still a moderately active downtown. Now, assuming that this is actually the midwestern or western United States, some pure speculation. While we can’t see the names and types of stores I suspect that along with a “Gutschow’s Hardware” and “Somsohr Cafe” there is a panaderia, carniceria and several tiendas. Small towns that were dying in the eighties are again vibrant with their latest generation of immigrants. Not that there aren’t challenges or that all residents are happy about things, but immigration, some of it illegal, has repopulated the prairie and plains.

Oh wow. Save for the ridge of mountains in the background this could be home. There are no credits given for the picture, and while license plates aren’t visible the vehicle models appear to be relatively recent. We can also surmise from the number of vehicles and quality of awnings that this is still a moderately active downtown. Now, assuming that this is actually the midwestern or western United States, some pure speculation. While we can’t see the names and types of stores I suspect that along with a “Gutschow’s Hardware” and “Somsohr Cafe” there is a panaderia, carniceria and several tiendas. Small towns that were dying in the eighties are again vibrant with their latest generation of immigrants. Not that there aren’t challenges or that all residents are happy about things, but immigration, some of it illegal, has repopulated the prairie and plains.

(Source: midwestaesthetic)

November 24, 2011
I’m stunned. I last looked at this distribution in the early ’90s and while I was aware that it remained a concern with respect to rural development and land tenure I had no idea at the rate of divergence. Mr. Phillpot took the chart from the National Young Farmers Coalition. You can find the complete study at their website, www.youngfarmers.org . 
motherjones:

Going to a farmers market today? (Or ever?) Read this from Tom Philpott: “The local food economy in two charts.”

I’m stunned. I last looked at this distribution in the early ’90s and while I was aware that it remained a concern with respect to rural development and land tenure I had no idea at the rate of divergence. Mr. Phillpot took the chart from the National Young Farmers Coalition. You can find the complete study at their website, www.youngfarmers.org

motherjones:

Going to a farmers market today? (Or ever?) Read this from Tom Philpott: “The local food economy in two charts.”

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