Cyclical Debt: Agriculture and Interest Rates

I read this article/ blog post, which touched on the cyclical nature of most agriculture. Basically, most farmers and ranchers get all of their income in a fairly small window of time, then need to use it for the rest of the year. There aren’t a lot of jobs or industries where this is such a common occurrence. Coupled with the fact that many of farmer’s costs are incurred during planting, then again as harvest approaches, this results in cyclical debt for farmers. Add in the long-term loans for land and capital, and it all adds up to significant debt. Continue reading Cyclical Debt: Agriculture and Interest Rates

Hops and Craft Beer: Are We in a Bubble?

Depending on your beer knowledge, you may be wondering, what are hops? Hops are one of the three main ingredients for beer, along with barley and water. In the United States, they are primarily grown in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. My family actually grows hops, among other things, and I decided to write this post after my mom mentioned an article she read. (Thanks Mom) The article covered some troubling trends in the hops market, most likely stemming from a boom in craft breweries over the last 5 years. In fact, we have seen about a 116% increase in the total Continue reading Hops and Craft Beer: Are We in a Bubble?

Looking Closer at the US Farm Bill: Food Stamps

    In the most recent US Farm Bill signed by President Obama, Food Stamps are set to be cut $8 billion over the next decade. This comes after a discontinuation of the $5 billion a year increase in funding that was allocated because of increased need during the recession. Also known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the program provided assistance to 46.8 million Americans in 2013, a full 15.1% of the US population. Supporters of the recent cuts argue that programs like SNAP create a “dependence” on government and reduce incentives to work, while opponents point out that without SNAP, an Continue reading Looking Closer at the US Farm Bill: Food Stamps

Food for Thought

In a world that wastes one-third of its food each year, how is it that hunger is still one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide? Apparently, according to an article in Foreign Policy,  how food gets wasted depends on where you live.      In developing countries, consumers tend to not waste much food because food consumes a much larger portion of personal income. Much of the waste comes from the production side where “crops are inefficiently farmed with outdated tools, and often harvested early because farmers are under economic and climactic duress. To get meat, fruits, vegetables and Continue reading Food for Thought