Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday's reads

I absent-mindedly took the calendar off my wall at work so I could put it on my wall at home, so today I have no idea what the date is, much less the holidays. Sorry. I do have some reads for you, though.

Via the often excellent Freakonomics blog, I found this NY Times story on wineries in Iowa. Some salient points:

“I will make as much selling grape plants off of two acres this year as I did many years on 1,000 acres of corn and raising 3,000 head of hogs,” said Mr. Olson, who makes much of his money selling cuttings to other aspiring vintners.

Corey Goodhue is one such young farmer. His family cultivates 3,300 acres of corn and soybeans near Des Moines. Upon graduation from Iowa State University in December, Mr. Goodhue, 23, will have many options but says he will go back to the farm. He has big ideas about grapes.

“We’re not getting enough value out of corn and beans,” he said. “But these grapes, there’s a tremendous market emerging. On one acre of ground, if we net $40 with corn or beans we’ve done good. With grapes, you could net upwards of $1,500 an acre. For us, growing grapes, it’s the holy grail of high-value crops.”

It all comes back to diversity. We can plow all of Iowa under and use it to make ethanol, or we can diversify and make our family farms profitable again. It really is that simple.

Moving on, there's no way I could provide coverage of the U of I presidential search to compare to what Nick Johnson has done, so again today I'll link you to his coverage.

Finally, BREAKING NEWS: Vegetarian didn't like steakhouse. This story is one of those stories that Chelsea writes every now and then that you think just might end in sex. It doesn't, of course, but it could have.



RF said...

Too bad we didn't get a SOA who understands the importance of diversity in farming.... I know, still a little bitter. Long live Farm Bureau money and nasty personal attacks!

Anonymous said...

Northey understands diversity in ag as well as how to succeed in farming...and it's not his fault the O'Brien-Harris family starved their cows on purpose.

KL Snow said...

And here's what I said yesterday:

I'm going to say here what I should have said before the election, and what I wish the O'Brien campaign would have shouted from the rooftops:

I know Denise O'Brien and her husband personally. I've worked with them, I've seen their farm and I've eaten at their table. I find it impossible to believe they would make a conscious decision to starve cattle.

So, now that we've removed malice from the equation, what's left is negligence, and I think there's some truth to that. But I'd still rather have a family farmer in that office than a puppet of big ag. Sadly, about 50.1% of voters disagree with me.

The Real Sporer said...

Give Bill a chance-he's a good guy and not a pawn of big agriculture. No one really gave Bill a lot of money and he comes into the office beholden to few if any particular constituents.

Having said that, let's support both diversity in agriculture and ethanol. They aren't mutually exclusive.

In fact, a better small business oriented business climate would produce the very diversity you desire? Almost every historical business model would support that conclusion.