Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, June 30, 2013
ISSUE #764
Ukraine farm land is special

I’m back home after a week in Ukraine. I was one of three American speakers at a no-till conference hosted and sponsored by a large agriculture business/farming company, Agro-Soyuz. The farm has 50,000 acres of crop land, plus hogs and a dairy.  The operation is located near Dnipropetrovsk, a city of a million people.

Ukraine is slightly bigger than Texas. It is a major player in global agriculture, and positioned to become more important. This country is the largest entirely in Europe and has 17% of the best soil in the world (USA and Russia each have just over 20%). They have a high potential for increased food production: huge farms, deep topsoil, good climate. Rainfall is limiting (20 inches at Agro-Soyuz) but continuous no-till with crop rotation and cover crops can probably double crop yields (wheat, corn, sunflowers, canola and more).

Politically, it is in our best interest to totally support Ukraine and keep them independent of Russia’s influence. Putin would like nothing better than to take over Ukraine, which until 1991 was part of the USSR.

I read that President Obama is committing $7 Billion to improve the electric power system. With concerns about blackouts and brownouts during this record heat wave, it sure makes sense to invest in the electric grid and construction and expansion of power generating plants. But then I read further. He doesn’t want to want to invest $7 Billion here, he wants to invest it in Africa.

The President announced that he wants to shut down the coal industry, both here and around the world. More than 40% of electricity is generated from coal, and I doubt you want to cut back 40% to help the President. If we can’t even persuade China and Russia to return an American spy, do you think we can convince them to quit burning coal?

Back to Africa. I’m glad the President is visiting three countries there. We need to stay on friendly terms and help them develop. But the big question is, will he let them burn coal? If they can only spend that $7 Billion on solar panels and wind machines they will be sorely disappointed. Already Europe refuses to let hungry Africans eat genetically modified foods, so these Africans may be on the verge of telling us outsiders to go home and leave them alone.

In other news, the Senate passed a 5-year “Free Food Bill,” but the House turned it down. You may know it as the “Farm Bill”, but when 80% of the money is for food stamps, it deserves a different name. And free food is the part of the bill they are arguing over. Democrats want to hand out more of it to people who aren’t working; Republicans want to put ‘em to work and let them buy their own food.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Who hasn’t pictured Odessa on the Black Sea? Russia and Turkey have been fighting over this for a thousand years.” DT #2520, Sept. 2, 1934
“I run my ranch, you run your ranch. What you do with yours has nothing to do with me.”
 WA #552, July 23, 1933


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