Grazing the Net
Greg Henderson and Friends
Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining.
FBI Uncovers GMO Seed Thief
Dec 16, 2013
Mo Hailong, a Chinese national, is having a hard time explaining why he was allegedly found driving around rural Iowa cornfields in a rental car, and why he was seen on his knees in a field recently planted to corn. Unfamiliar vehicles in rural areas always draw the attention of local farmers and they usually turn out to be somebody's Uncle George looking for an old family farmstead. The FBI, however, alleges that Mo was looking to steal genetically engineered seeds and ship them back to China. Further, the FBI says they've uncovered a conspiracy to steal the intellectual property of DuPont Co., and Monsanto Co., and that company employees may be involved in the plot. Mo claims his innocence, but the fact that he was employed as director of international business at Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. (which has a corn seed unit), further raises suspicions. The FBI estimates the loss of a GMO seed line to be a "minimum of $30 to $40 million."
The Price We Pay for Cheap Journalism
Last week we told you about the Rolling Stone's sensationalized article, "Animal Cruelty is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat." We weren’t the only ones disappointed in Paul Solotaroff's reporting. Wanda Patsche is a wife, mother and grandmother, who writes the blog Minnesota Farm Living, and she believes Solotaroff's article "is laden with lies and misinformation." She also points out there were no family famers interviewed for the article despite the fact 96% of hog farms are family farms. Regarding the hog diets that include "garbage" as described by Solotaroff, Patsche says, "The truth is our pigs eat more nutritiously than my family." That's probably an exaggeration because we're guessing Patsche cooks a tasty pork roast.
California is facing a water disaster. So is India. California imports its water for human use and irrigation through a complex plumbing system that transports snow from the Sierra Nevada to the Golden State. Governor Jerry Brown has published a 34,000-page draft plan to re-engineer much of the state's water supply system to "fit the scientific, engineering and political pieces together in order to allow Californians to adapt to climate change while sustaining both the environment and the economy." The water supply in India is drying up, too, but their source is the estimated 27 million wells drilled in recent years. India has successfully increased food production since the 1960s, but now the wells that help produce three-fifths of India's grain harvest are starting to go dry. The country is experiencing a "food bubble," increased production with water that will soon play out, leaving 190 million people hungry in the future.
Another Horse Meat Scandal
French officials arrested 21 people in connection with an investigation that found meat from horses used in laboratory procedures landed on French dinner tables. The horses were used to create antibodies against rabies and tetanus, and after about three years the horses are often sold to vet schools or individuals. Officials charge, however, that the horses were sold to a slaughter facility that put the meat into the human food chain.