GEOGRAPHY IN THE NEWS:
U.S. farmers have always changed their crops to suit markets and climate. This article looks at the shifts currently underway. "Geography isn’t static. Rivers change course, mountains erode, and islands disappear under rising seas. The geography of farming and food changes, too. For example, 180 years ago my home county was the castor bean and castor oil capital of the U.S. Both titles, however, slipped into irrelevance as a new resource, crude oil, rose to dominate the lubricant business. Today, fewer and fewer Americans have ever heard of castor beans or castor oil. Those long-forgotten twins seem to have a modern equivalent. Total U.S. wheat acres peaked at 88 million in 1981. Last year, the most recently completed reporting year, total U.S. wheat acres were about half of that, or 45.6 million acres. ... It’s no surprise that the two biggest benefactors of wheat’s decline are America’s two biggest crops, corn and soybeans. ... There are two critical (among other) reasons for the big switch: Government ethanol blending mandates have fueled corn’s rise and fast-growing soy exports, especially to China, have pushed soybean acres higher. Both forces, however, are losing steam. Increased use of electric cars and, soon, trucks, already has flat-lined the once-voracious U.S. gasoline — and, in turn, ethanol — appetite and continued global competition in the soy trade is pinching U.S. soybean margins toward break-even."
Leave a Reply.
Blog sharing news about geography, philosophy, world affairs, and outside-the-box learning
This blog also appears on Facebook: