My Generation
The Friday Five: Numbers Edition

The Friday Five: Numbers Edition

Immigration, data, Scotland, GMOs and more: here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and agriculture.

On U.S. farms, fewer hands for the harvest: This is an in-depth piece from the Wall Street Journal's business section. It looks at what's happened on produce farms now that the federal immigration crackdown  has slowed migrant workers from coming into the U.S., plus a look at the incentives farms are now offering potential workers – to the tune of 20% raises, technical education and housing below market rates. More numbers: "Nationwide, the average hourly wages for crop workers hired directly by farmers have climbed 5.3% to $11.33, adjusted for inflation, in the past four years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. That runs counter to the overall long-term trend for low-skilled work in U.S. retail and other industries, where there has been little real-wage growth."

To feed billions, farms are about data as much as dirt: Another good piece from the Wall Street Journal looking at what's happening to data on the farm.

Food for thought: If you've ever had a conversation with someone about GMOs, this is the story for you. Will Saletan did an in-depth piece on the flaws in the anti-GMO movement about a month ago, and I shared his story here when it first ran. This latest piece lays out 13 well thought-out, succinct ways to think critically about the anti-GMO arguments. Definitely worth the read.

Scotland to outlaw cultivation of genetically modified crops: This caught my eye because we were in Scotland last year, and the talk of GMOs continues on the isle. Their situation is incredibly unique, however, given Scotland's position within Great Britain and Great Britain's position in Europe's Common Agriculture Policy. Not exactly the same, but a little like if Indiana decided to ban cultivation of GMOs and told their farmers, "good luck competing with the guys across the border now."

USDA crop report: Corn, soy production raised; futures tumble: Think USDA got it wrong with their 13.686-billion-bushel corn estimate? Prairie Farmer marketing editor Bryce Knorr says it isn't far off from his yield models, based on nationwide crop ratings.


Bonus #6 in video form:

John Oliver on Whole Foods: You guys, it's just so funny, despite the language. Asparagus water for $6? We're talking about a company that makes nearly as much as Monsanto, doesn't do anything for anybody in third world countries, but somehow remains an urban darling. "Artisanal-moistened asparagus? It's the Whole Foods way!" And please, somebody get on that bucket of water that's run off a cow's back. There's gotta be a market for that.

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