Crystal Balls and Ivory Halls? Take the Food Price Debate Back to the Farm

In Food Prices by Cathryn

In the war over whose crystal ball sees how the drought will impact the average American, experts send volleys to and fro.  Citing their own models, they argue until in a rabid fervor defending their ability to play pretend the best. In the immortal words of Kevin Bacon, “Remain calm. All is well.” No matter how carefully constructed the estimate, …

Self-Appointed Pseudo-Scholars Use Common Misperception, Not Common Sense

In Food, Food Prices by Cathryn

Lately, articles have flooded the internet claiming that the drought will cause food prices to skyrocket.  Combining the idea that a wide variety of grocery items contain corn and the fact that the hot, dry weather has damaged the U.S. corn crop, they loudly announce their “expert” analysis.  Obviously, food prices will go up soon. Unfortunately, these “Einsteins” based their …

Global Warming: Could Media-Generated Hot Air Be a Cause?

In Farming, Food, Food Prices, Food vs Fuel, General, Media, Production, weather by Cathryn

As temperatures across the Midwest soar into the triple digits with little chance for rain or relief in sight, talking heads have started to blabber on again about how the drought will hit consumer’s wallets.  Adding further pain to the heat-induced misery, these armchair economists stoke the fires of already burning financial concerns. Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater may …

Talking Turkey About Food Prices

In Ethanol, Food, Food Prices, Food vs Fuel by Cindy

Thanksgiving dinner this year will cost more, but it’s still a bargain no matter how you slice it. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the retail cost of menu items for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 13 percent this year. That may seem like a lot, …

Thinking the Local Food Movement Would Be Good for the Economy? Think Again.

In Farming, Food, Food Prices, Politics, Sustainability by Cathryn

Local food is sexy.  Like any trend, interesting, powerful people seem to love it. From Michelle Obama to a slew of celebrity chefs, everyone seems to be talking about the exact farmer from which they purchased their lettuce.  The hottest restaurants include menu descriptions that read like a list of the most prominent family from every bordering local community.  On …

Occupy Wall Street, Not My Belly

In Activism, Current News, Farming, Food, Food Prices, General, Media, Politics, Social Media by Cathryn

For more than a month and a half now, Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over city parks and the national news programs protesting social and economic inequality and corporate greed and power.  Within weeks of its beginning, the movement grew not just geographically, with satellite protests springing up across the nation, but also internally. By now, some protesters even …

Media Babble is Cheap, but the Corn in Your Cereal is Cheaper

In Food, Food Prices by Cathryn

By watching and reading the news, many people are coming to believe that farmers today are making a killing at their expense.  News articles attribute higher food costs to rising commodity prices while blogs offer suggestions to help cash strapped consumers stick to their food budget.  It seems logical, given these sources, that people looking for a scapegoat would turn …

You Always Pay in the End

In Ethanol, feed, Food, Food Prices, Food vs Fuel, Livestock, poultry by Cathryn

Every reasonable adult knows that you always end up paying in the end.  If you skimp in one area, you tend to make up the difference somewhere else in your life.  So why does a small group of meat and poultry producers think that consumers are so reactionary they will thoughtlessly support short-sighted energy policies to save a few bucks?  …

USDA Tackles ‘Why Food Prices are Up’ Question

In Food Prices, USDA by Cindy

Every time I go grocery shopping lately, I hear at least one person complain about high food prices, and everyone seems to want to know why. USDA’s Economic Research Service recently released a new report that attempts to answer the question “Why Have Food Commodity Prices Risen Again?” The report provides a comparison between the 2008 price spike and the …

Busted! Argonne Scientist Counters Ethanol Myths

In Current News, Environmental, Ethanol, Food, Food Prices, Food vs Fuel, Research, Water by Cathryn

With all of the misinformation about ethanol flying around, some consumers have become confused about who they can and cannot trust as a source of information.  Why not go straight to the experts?  An Argonne National Laboratory Transportation Technology R&D Center Mechanical Engineer has decided to clear the air and let everyone in on what scientists already know – ethanol …