Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

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Fancy Plans Guide to Kansas

December 8, 2009

As part of a non-sustainable push to secure government funding, we are temporarily rebranding Fancy Plans as “blogucational” and fully compliant with the No Troll Left Behind Act. As part of our educational lip service, we are pleased to present our well-rounded profile of the great state of Kansas, birthplace of “The Wave.”

(It may also be noted that we have previously provided such educational features as the Fancy Plans Guide to Wisconsin, the Fancy Plans Guide to Minnesota and the Fancy Plans Guide to North American Trees.)

Kansas: home of the first flag entirely created with MS Paint.

Kansas
A dry, dusty state whose most prominent geographic feature is the horizon, Kansas has long been associated with the twin industries of agriculture and ranching. Referred to as “America’s Breadbasket,” Kansas has also been saddled with less-complimentary slogans such as, “America’s Dustbowl,” “America’s Killing Floor” and most recently, “What Happens in Kansas Doesn’t Matter Anywhere Else.”

Kansas has fought (mostly unsuccessfully) its image as a state routinely ravaged by tornadoes and infested with witches. This image has been reinforced by Kansas’ dry and dusty prog rock (especially Dust in the Wind; Arid as Hell) and Elton John’s hit song Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, in which he deserts Kansas for its lack of shiny red shoes and singing midgets.

Should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself unable to fly over the mostly fruitless plains, here are some points of “interest” which should fully earn any sarcastic air quotes you wish to deploy while recounting this visit to annoyed loved ones and co-workers.

What you call "farming," I call "stealing from God."

Topeka Wind Farm
Contrary to popular misconception, the Wind Farm does not actually produce wind but rather reaps the benefits of an energy source produced by someone else. (Much like a “collective” farm or California’s parasitic electricity usage.)

A joyous Chiefs player receives news he has just been traded.

The Kansas City Chiefs
Long gone are the days of regular season competitiveness and playoff appearances. Presently the franchise is attempting to become the New England Patriots farm team through the acquisition of cast-off benchwarmers and assistant coaches. Catch this excercise in futility while you still can as the owners have made attempts to relocate the team to New Haven, CT, where they hope to complete the metaphor as the Connecticut Minutemen.

The Royals run another "Buy One, Get Three Empty Seats" special.

The Kansas City Royals
Speaking of exercises in futility… The Kansas City Royals continue their bold experiment to operate a major league franchise on a minor league budget. This stems from a settlement reached with their last superstar (George Brett) in which they have agreed to retire his number and avoid competitiveness until “ten (10) years after Brett’s death.”

After four sheaves, Art Mitchum found himself pitching a shutout. So to speak.

Wichita Threshing Dome
Although a yearly high point for many Kansas locals, what with its heady combination of agriculture and pointless competition, the Threshing Dome can be very intimidating for the uninitiated. Trying to grasp the nuance of chaff dispersal only becomes more difficult as the competition heats up and bloodthirsty cries of “Two men enter; one man leaves!” fill the dry and dusty air.

Two members of the Dodge City chapter of Improv Everywhere demonstrate the Wild West Reacharound.

Dodge City, Kansas
The ending point of many dry and dusty cattle drives, Dodge City is also famous for playing host to Wyatt Earp’s early experiments with vigilante justice. In addition to slapping a male prostitute, Earp also winged alleged gunman George Hoy and gave a stern talking-to to hitman Clay Allison.

Visitors often note that Tombstone, AZ is a much more exciting destination, if equally dry and dusty. The Dodge City Chamber of Commerce has countered by stating that “although Tombstone bears more historical locations and an incredible performance by Val Kilmer, the O.K. Corral is just that. ‘O.K.’ If you like your entertainment to be merely serviceable, why not stay in Dodge City and visit our old-timey Adequate General Store or grab a bite to eat at the locally renowned Passable Buffet, which has been hailed by Zagat’s as ‘not terrible; you could do worse.'”

-CLT

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Starving? Maybe You’re Just Eating the Wrong Food

April 18, 2009
Local green partiers announce that they are "full of shit."

Local green partiers announce that they are "full of shit."

Apologies in advance for the length of this post…

You hear altogether too much these days about how far we have strayed from the purer, more organic ways of our predecessors. Let’s go ahead and set that straight:

Although it is widely held that modern food is “less natural” than it used to be, mealtimes in the nineteenth century were a far riskier activity.

Business morals in the British catering industry were never lower than in Queen Victoria’s day. Deliberate food adulteration, with no laws to prevent it, grew to horrific proportions as food suppliers cheerfully ripped off and poisoned their customers at the same time.

Some of the most common frauds included the use of ground Derbyshire stone instead of flour, fake Gloucester cheese colored with red lead, baked horse offal from the knacker’s yard in coffee, lead chromate in mustard and even iron bars baked in loaves to make weight.

People died after eating green blancmange colored with copper sulphate and yellow Bath buns colored with arsenic. Fifteen people died after buying sweets from a Bradford market which were found to be laced with white arsenic.

Beer drinking was possibly the most dangerous activity of all: in one year there were over 100 breweries were convicted for contaminating beer with poisonous substances, including sulphuric acid, which was added to “harden” new beer, and iron sulphate, added to give it a good frothy head.

Source: The Little Book of Bad Taste by Karl Shaw, Robinson Publishing Ltd., London

It’s an indication that life has been far too good for far too long when certain people begin bitching about the steady supply of food. Large parts of the world suffer from food shortages and near starvation, but rather than support the advances made in agriculture, they would rather turn back the clock.

Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug has been fighting an uphill battle against world hunger since the 1940’s. Reason has a great interview with him here. Despite his work in eliminating food shortages in Pakistan and India as well as ongoing efforts in other countries, groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club cast him as the villain, due to his support of pesticides, hormones and hybrids.

Norman outlines some of the roadblocks that these self-righteous jackasses have erected to slow agricultural progress in Africa. DDT was outlawed so draft animals die of sleeping sickness meaning that all farm work tends to be human-powered. Pesticides and Roundup-ready crops have been blocked, meaning that native grasses quickly overrun any productive crops. Projects to create roads have been rejected which prevents quick input and output of crops, fertilizers, etc.

As for organic farming being better for human health and the environment?

That’s ridiculous. This shouldn’t even be a debate. Even if you could use all the organic material that you have–the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues–and get them back on the soil, you couldn’t feed more than 4 billion people. In addition, if all agriculture were organic, you would have to increase cropland area dramatically, spreading out into marginal areas and cutting down millions of acres of forests.

At the present time, approximately 80 million tons of nitrogen nutrients are utilized each year. If you tried to produce this nitrogen organically, you would require an additional 5 or 6 billion head of cattle to supply the manure. How much wild land would you have to sacrifice just to produce the forage for these cows? There’s a lot of nonsense going on here.

The real miracle in our lifetime is that anyone in America, Europe or other parts of the developed world can drive or walk to the nearest grocery store and find all the food they need. Years of development in the agricultural field has taken us to a point that many places in the world can only dream about.

The other miracle? Your grocery store is full of reasonably priced food despite the fact that everyone in the supply chain is out to make a buck. The other great “evil” of our time, the market system, turns a profit and yet you still won’t go hungry.

And yet, these elitists and supposed do-gooders aren’t happy. The produce comes from hybrids, growth hormones “infect” the meat, the chickens are restrained and force fed, the box stores are eating up too much real estate and the supply trucks cause too much pollution.

They have the money to live how they want. And they should. If they want to buy only organic produce and pure, hormone-free meat, then they definitely should.

But what they definitely SHOULD NOT FUCKING DO is impose THEIR standards on everyone else. I would say that they don’t have that right, but since our legislative system seems to more than willing to be abused by every special interest group, no matter how regressive or ridiculous. The extremists are willing to use their wealth, influence and special brand of guilt to tear down the food chain and rebuild it in their own image.

Borlaug again:

As a matter of fact, I think this [lack of perspective] is true of our whole food situation. Our elites live in big cities and are far removed from the fields. Whether it’s Brown or Ehrlich or the head of the Sierra Club or the head of Greenpeace, they’ve never been hungry.

The end result will be an expensive, limited food supply that will cause shortages the world over and price the lower classes right the fuck out of the market.

The arrogance of these groups is astounding. What sort of Marie Antoinette rationale will they pull out their superior asses when the less-fortunate can’t put food on the table? “Let them eat video lottery?”

Perhaps they would be happier with some state-blessed genocide to rid the world of those who are content simply knowing where their next meal is coming from.

-CLT