Wal-Mart Gets Healthy & The Need For Biotech Crops plus Food Forethought. I'm Greg Martin with today's Northwest Report.
Biotech has been at the forefront of a battle... Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee why biotech crops have to be a big part of world food production.
VILSACK: We have a growing world population. The amount of land capable of producing crop is not necessarily going to grow. The chances are that it could very well shrink with urbanization and the spreading of cities and that's why we are looking at a multitude of ways to try to deal with this issue of do we have food security, will we have food security, how ill we accomplish it. One way to do that is by figuring out how to increase productivity.
Wal-Mart has announced a 5-year plan to make thousands of its packaged foods lower in unhealthy salts, fats and sugars, and to drop prices on fruits and vegetables. The decision came out of discussions with First Lady Michelle Obama. By lowering prices on fresh fruits and vegetables, Wal-Mart says it will cut into its own profits but hopes to make up for it in sales volume and according a Wal-Mart spokesperson, "This is not about asking the farmers to accept less for their crops." A broad array of foods under the company's house brand, Great Value, including rice, soups, canned beans, salad dressings and snacks like potato chips are being targeted.
Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were "smart irrigation systems" available for farmers that would ensure more efficient water usage. Guess who saw the need and are developing a computer program to do just that, NASA. With nearly seventy percent of the U.S. water supply being used for crop irrigation helping farmers to better manage their irrigation systems is not only important, its crucial to the nation's water supply. Right now farmers in California are partaking in an eighteen-month research project to make irrigation management as effective as possible. What an incredible boon this will be if farmers can simply check their cell phones or iPads to see satellite images of their fields with various data points overlaid on top, and have connection to their drip-irrigation system for "touch of a finger control". With a glance they'll be able to know which field areas need more or less water, and deal with it accordingly. The software being used is an extension of NASA's Terrestrial Observation and Prediction System; using satellites to collect weather information, surface observations and crop development. The satellite view for the future of farming looks very exciting indeed.
Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.