Opinion | Trump’s Shutdown Is a Sucker Punch for Struggling Farmers – By Robert Leonard – The New York Times

The president’s tariffs were the jab. Closing off his aid payments could be a knockout for many family farms.By Robert Leonard
Mr. Leonard is the news director for the Iowa radio stations KNIA and KRLS.
Jan. 14, 2019
Winter at a corn and soybean farm in Maple Park in northern Illinois.CreditWhitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageWinter at a corn and soybean farm in Maple Park in northern Illinois. CreditCreditWhitten Sabbatini for The New York Times

“KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Today President Trump will address the American Farm Bureau’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans. But any promises of help will be too late for many farmers.Had he set out to ruin America’s small farmers, he could hardly have come up with a more effective, potentially ruinous one-two combination punch than tariffs and the shutdown.The trade wars collapsed farmers’ markets. Now, with farmers down, he’s kicking them with a partial shutdown that has effectively slammed the door on farm payments, loans and more. It’s hurting rural Americans — those who formed a big part of the base of Mr. Trump’s support in 2016.Normally, January is a special and often joyous month for farmers, as they recover from the hard work of harvest and look to spring and a new planting season. They have sold much of their crops and are paying bills, taking out new operating loans for the coming year and buying seed, fertilizer and more.”

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Why Thunderstorms and Lightning are good for the garden. » My Productive Backyard » Learn to Grow your Own Food at Home

“Thunderstorms result in lightning and although lightning is associated with extreme weather, as long as nobody gets hit or a fire isn’t started, lightning is advantageous for the garden.

Have you ever wondered why the garden looks so green after a thunderstorm?
It is because the chemistry happening in the air above us.

As you are probably aware, about 79% of our atmosphere is nitrogen, but not in a form that plants can absorb or take up. This is where lightning can make a difference. The energy created during a lightning event can convert atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen into nitric oxide (NO) which then oxides into nitrogen dioxide(NO2) then to nitric acid (HNO3) which is then deposited onto the earth’s surface in the ensuing rain, hail ( or snow in colder climates) and in a form that can be taken up by plant.

The garden looking very lush

So to simplify that statement.
Nitrogen in the atmosphere is not available for plants to absorb; the energy caused by lightning converts it into a form that can be absorbed by plants.”

Source: Why Thunderstorms and Lightning are good for the garden. » My Productive Backyard » Learn to Grow your Own Food at Home

Kimbal Musk Wants to Feed America Silicon Valley-Style – The New York Times

“MEMPHIS — It’s easy to understand why some people in this town of soul music and dry-rub ribs don’t know what to make of the tall tech billionaire in a big white cowboy hat who has been opening restaurants and buying up hundreds of acres of land that used to grow cotton.

Kimbal Musk, 45, got rich working in tech alongside his older brother, Elon. Now he wants to do for food what his brother has done for electric cars and space travel.Although Mr. Musk has food ventures humming along in Colorado, where he lives, as well as in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, he has become enamored of places like Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio — parts of the country he believes are the ripest for a revolution in eating and agriculture.

“The Americana here gives me goose bumps,” Mr. Musk, who grew up in South Africa, said during a visit to Memphis last spring. “I’ve been to Graceland twice. The community has been so welcoming, it’s just ridiculous.”Mr. Musk is promoting a philosophy he calls “real food,” which nourishes the body, the farmer and the planet. It doesn’t sound much different than what writers like Michael Pollan and everyone who has ever helped start a farmers’ market or community garden have preached for years.”