Food shortages are seldom about a lack of food -- there is plenty of food in the world -- the shortages occur because of the inability to get food where it is needed and the inability of the hungry to afford it. Unable to afford the grain, the hungry depend on the government to distribute food. Apparently that's not going so well. Not everyone living in a poor country goes hungry; those with money eat. Poverty and inequality cause hunger -- a higher value should be placed on people than on corporate profit.
The framework of international trade and the rules imposed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on developing countries, place emphasis on crops for export, not crops for feeding a hungry population. The greatest portion of the world's diet still relies on crops and farming systems developed and cultivated by the indigenous for centuries. The best hope for ending hunger lies with local, traditional, farmer controlled agricultural production, not high tech industrial agriculture.
Civil wars, structural adjustment policies, inadequate distribution systems, international commodity speculation, and corporate control of food from seed to table -- these are the causes of hunger, the stimulus for food crises.
August 10, 2011
Perry Vieth baled hay on a neighbor’s farm in Wisconsin for two summers during high school in 1972 and 1973. The grueling labor left him with no doubt about getting a college degree so that he’d never have to work as hard again for a paycheck. Thirty-eight years later, and after a career as a securities lawyer and fixed-income trader, Vieth is back on the farm.
Except, now, he owns it. As co-founder of Ceres Partners LLC, a Granger, Indiana-based investment firm, Vieth oversees 61 farms valued at $63.3 million in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee. He’s so enthusiastic about the investments that he quit a job in 2008 overseeing $7 billion in fixed-income assets at PanAgora Asset Management Inc., a Boston-based quantitative money management firm, to focus full time on farming, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.
On a spring afternoon, Vieth, 54, barrels along backcountry roads in a Jeep Cherokee in Indiana and Michigan to scout a fruit orchard and corn and soybean farms to buy. Rural towns with names such as Three Rivers pass by in a blur, separated by a wide horizon of fields with young crops popping up.
“When I told people I was leaving to start an investment fund in farmland, they said, ‘You’re doing what?’” says Vieth, in a red polo golf shirt and khakis. “It will always be difficult for Wall Street firms to understand. It’s not like buying stocks on a computer.”
It’s much better: Returns from farmland have trounced those of equities. Ceres Partners produced an average annual gain of 16.4 percent after fees from January 2008, just after the firm started, through June of this year, Vieth says.George Soros
The bulk of the returns are in rent payments from tenant farmers who grow and sell the crops and from land appreciation. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Agriculture Index of eight raw materials gained 5.3 percent annually over the same period, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) dropped almost 1 percent.
Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar. A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA.
Hedge funds Ospraie Management LLC and Passport Capital LLC as well as Harvard University’s endowment are also betting on farming. TIAA-CREF, the $466 billion financial services giant, has $2 billion invested in some 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of farmland in Australia, Brazil and North America and wants to double the size of its investment.Jim Rogers
“I have frequently told people that one of the best investments in the world will be farmland,” says Jim Rogers, 68, chairman of Singapore-based Rogers Holdings, who predicted the start of the global commodities rally in 1996. “You’ve got to buy in a place where it rains, and you have to have a farmer who knows what he’s doing. If you can do that, you will make a double whammy because the crops are becoming more valuable.”
The growth in demand for food, spurred by the rising middle classes in China, India and other emerging markets, shows no signs of abating. Food prices in June, as measured by a United Nations index of 55 food commodities, were just slightly below their peak in February. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a June report that it expects food costs to remain high through 2012.
So many investors have rushed to capitalize on food prices in the past three years that they may be creating a farmland bubble. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and other agricultural states, said in May that farmland prices had surged 20 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.Safe Haven
“Yes, farmland will be a bubble again; all agricultural products will be in a bubble again,” says Rogers, who is an investor in Agrifirma Brazil Ltd., a South American farmland owner.
Hedge-fund manager Stephen Diggle calls farming the ultimate safe haven. Diggle began buying farms with his own money in 2008 after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) filed for bankruptcy in September of that year and the S&P 500 plunged 43 percent in the next six months. He purchased 8,000 acres in Uruguay, three smaller plots in southern Illinois and an 80-acre New Zealand kiwi-and-avocado orchard.
“We really thought all the investment banks would go under,” says Diggle, who as a hedge-fund manager uses options and warrants to bet on price swings in the market. “Everyone said, ‘Buy gold.’ But at the end of the day, you can’t eat it. If everything else goes and I just have these farms, it makes me moderately wealthy.”‘Prosperous China’
The hedge fund Diggle co-founded, Artradis Fund Management Pte in Singapore, suffered about $700 million in losses. He closed it in March and opened another Singapore-based hedge fund, Vulpes Investment Management Pte. Diggle plans to incorporate his five farms into an investment management group run by Vulpes.
From his vantage point in Asia, where the British expatriate has worked for the past two decades, Diggle says he’s witnessed aspiring locals eating their way up the food chain.
“You can see what a more prosperous China will consume,” Diggle, 47, says. “It means more dairy, more meat -- not just pork and chicken.”
Investors find in farmland a respite from the cyclical price swings of the commodities market. Since 1970, there have been at least four price jumps of at least 100 percent that were followed by steep declines in the S&P agriculture commodities index. By contrast, the average value of an acre of farmland tracked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been on a mostly steady climb from $737 in 1980 to $2,350 in 2011.Leaving BlackRock
“Farmland is the lowest-risk part of the value chain, but it’s also a key part of production,” says Jose Minaya, TIAA- CREF’s head of natural resources and infrastructure investments.
In the U.K., where farm prices are also rising, one money manager traded his career at BlackRock Inc. (BLK) for one in farming. Graham Birch, 51, left in 2009 as the London-based head of the natural resources team at BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, to run his two dairy, wheat and barley farms in southwest England full time.
Birch, who says farming has suffered from a lack of investment and management talent, has spent $1 million on improvements. He now captures all of the effluent from his 600- cow herd, stores it in a 4 million-liter (1-million-gallon) steel tank and uses it as fertilizer for his crops.
“At heart, I am basically a businessman, and I want to try to apply the things I learned over the years to see what I could do,” Birch says.Wall Street Roots
Ceres Partners’ Wall Street roots are evident in the firm’s makeshift office in an old clapboard farmhouse that sits in the middle of cropland. Lucite tombstones resting on a shelf in a small room mark deals done by Brandon Zick, a former vice president of strategic acquisitions at Morgan Stanley (MS)’s investment management unit. Vieth hired Zick in January to help analyze and manage farm purchases.
Vieth, a 1982 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, began his career as a securities and corporate lawyer before moving to the pits of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he traded S&P 500 options. After a series of stints running an arbitrage team for Fuji Securities Inc. and other firms, he was hired as chief investment officer of fixed income at PanAgora, the quant firm, in 1999.
By about 2006, Vieth’s concerns about the economy were mounting: Inflation was at a low, and the dollar had peaked as U.S. debt and deficits soared. So he searched for an asset class that would benefit from a currency decline and rising prices. His research led him to farms, since a falling dollar boosts U.S. crop exports.Falling Dollar
Vieth then connected with Paul Blum, a fellow Notre Dame alumnus who spent some of his youth on a farm in upstate New York and today acts as Ceres’s point person with tenant farmers.
As the dollar fell 24 percent against the euro from January 2006 through May 2008, the pair started buying land as personal investments until the business grew too big for Vieth to manage during evenings and weekends. So, in late 2007, he founded Ceres, just as tightening credit markets began to push the global economy into a recession.
He named the firm Ceres for both the Roman goddess of agriculture and a bar he frequented during his trading days in Chicago.
“I was more convinced hard assets were where you wanted to be, and farmland was the best investment I could identify,” Vieth says.By May 2011, he had collected 17,238 acres, mostly in the Midwest. Shade and Rocks
When Vieth wants land, he goes shopping, as he does with Zick and Blum under a partly cloudy southern Michigan sky in May. Armed with aerial and soil maps, they look for farms with predictable rainfall, mineral-rich land and good drainage. They avoid land that slopes too much, which could lead to soil erosion.
The trio drive by a 337-acre farm for sale by a bank, and Vieth frowns at the slant of the land and the trees that line the perimeter.
“Those trees will shade the corn and stunt growth,” he says.Blum doesn’t like the many rocks scattered on the unplanted dirt. Zick is skeptical that the bank will get its asking price of $7,000 an acre in a foreclosure sale.
The investors next visit a farmer they hired, Ed Kerlikowske Jr., who grows watermelon, peas and corn on their 782-acre spread near Berrien Springs, Michigan. Kerlikowske. For farmers such as Kerlikowske, the entry of outside investors frees up money for new equipment that they would otherwise have to spend on land.
“To really grow the business in today’s economy, you need partners,” Kerlikowske says as he passes around slices of fresh watermelon.Possible Bubble
The farm-investing boom is making lots of people happy, but could it all end in tears? The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which regulates banks that lend to farmers, has examined whether investors may be pumping up prices and creating the conditions for a crash like the one that devastated the market in the 1980s, resulting in the failure of 300 farm banks.
In March, then-FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair devoted a symposium to the topic in Washington with the participation of economists, bankers and agricultural experts.
“If there is a bubble in farmland prices, I hope the bulk of any correction is borne by investors such as hedge funds and not by the banking industry,” William Isaac, chairman of the FDIC during the farm banking bust and now senior managing director of FTI Consulting Inc. (FCN) said during the event.Overpaying
Charles McNairy, whose family has been involved in agriculture since 1871, says neophyte investors who lack a deep understanding of farming are making bad deals. In 2009, McNairy started U.S. Farming Realty Trust LP, a fund based in Kinston, North Carolina, that had raised $261 million as of late May to buy farms, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
McNairy says funds such as Ceres have been overpaying for land, based on the return from crops.
“Ceres shouldn’t be buying in the Midwest,” says McNairy, who declined to disclose the states he invests in. “It’s crazy to be buying up there.”
Vieth disagrees, saying Ceres’s returns prove that his strategy is working.
“I certainly don’t want to start slinging mud, but I don’t know what the heck he’s talking about.”
Greyson Colvin, who started farming fund Colvin & Co. LLP in Anoka, Minnesota, in 2009, dismisses the idea of an overheated market.
“After the housing bubble, people are a little too quick to assign the word bubble these days,” says Colvin, whose two funds and separately managed accounts hold 2,300 acres of farmland in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota valued at more than $10 million.Head Winds
Colvin, a former analyst at UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), says U.S. farmers aren’t carrying as much debt as they did during the 1980s crisis, which contributed to the downfall of banks as agriculture loans defaulted. The farm debt-to-asset ratio, which peaked in 1985 at 23 percent, is expected to fall to 10.7 percent in 2011, according to Agriculture Department estimates.
Vieth’s farm funds are facing head winds in coming months and years: A likely rise in interest rates will push up his acquisition costs and the value of the dollar, which in turn might hurt commodity exports. While the former trader keeps a close eye on the dollar, he says farming will continue to thrive.
Investors seem to agree. At a dining-room table in the farmhouse in Granger, Vieth sits down at his computer one evening and totals the day’s haul: another $900,000 from investors looking for comfort -- and profits -- in one of the oldest and most essential industries on the planet.
Politicians and warmongers know it. Activists who go on hunger strikes know it. Controlling food is an effective means to manipulate people. In wartime, aggressors attempt to cut off their enemies supply lines — starve out the enemy and perhaps they’ll simply surrender.
Well, there is a more surreptitious war going on within our own country, and it concerns our food. Who are the aggressors? Multi-billion dollar corporations in collusion with government agencies where they have easily managed to place toadies who insure that policy favors their true masters.
Watch documentaries like Food Inc, The Future of Food, Farmageddon; read books from Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, and Marion Nestle and you’ll see specific examples of how this has happened and continues to shape food policy in our nation.
Do you want the same company that brought us DDT and Agent Orange deciding what kind of food should be available to you and your family? Well, too bad if you don’t, because they already are. Monsanto and other mega corporations have a tight grip on the FDA and USDA, many of our legislatures, and the agricultural departments of many of the land-grant universities.
It is terribly overwhelming for those of us who have educated ourselves about many of the issues with genetic modification of our food to know how to fight back. After all, most of us simply do not have the funding that these mega corporations do.
Monsanto, for instance, has a team of ex-military commandos as who patrol the country to inspect farmers and then enforce the company’s will. Because they have well-placed officials guarding their interests with the government, such as the FDA’s Michael Taylor (former chief lobbyist for Monsanto) they are able to get away with atrocities against small farmers, and ultimately, all of us.
Monsanto has modified their seeds so that they are dependent upon their herbicide Round-Up to grow, and so that the seeds terminate after one generation. You must go back to Monsanto year after year to get more seed, and cannot save seed. Even if you do, it won’t grow properly. But the seed is only neutered in that regard — it will, in fact, infect neighboring fields with its genetic material, so that those “friendly inspectors” I mentioned earlier can show up on a farm and accuse them of patent infringement.
Many family farms have been hurt because of this tactic. And it is, make no mistake, a strategy on their part. After all, it insures their growth — like the 77% increase in profits reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. That funds a huge legal department that is aggressive in its pursuit of anyone who does not kneel before Monsanto, which fancies itself a sort of feudal lord.
So what do we do?
Well, what we can do best — act locally. Grow some of your own food. Buy heirloom seeds (http://rareseeds.com/, http://www.seedsavers.org/, http://sustainableseedco.com/) and plant them, even if you can only do container gardening on a balcony. And save the new seeds created when you grow those vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Share them. Protect them. They are under attack.
So, what happens when you do just that, and your local government decides to punish you for it? “That would never happen,” you say, “why would any municipality get upset over one of its citizens trying to do something positive in the community?”
Well, that’s what the city of Oak Park, Michigan is doing. There is a resident family who have chosen to plant a vegetable garden, instead of wasting their front lawn on grass. And now they are facing court action and possible jail time for daring to reject having grass lawn. You know, the stuff that let’s face it, is not sustainable, and its history isn’t exactly something to be celebrated. As the book Food Not Lawns points out:
“French aristocrats popularized the idea of the green, grassy lawns in the eighteenth century when they planted the agricultural fields around their estates to grass to send the message that they had more land than they needed and could therefore afford to waste some. Meanwhile French peasants starved for lack of available farmland, and the resulting frustration might well have had something to do with the French Revolution in 1789. (p. 12)”
These days, in the U.S., the roles have reversed somewhat. We “peasants” are encouraged to grow lawns and let the “aristocrats” grow the food, because the leaders must have learned something from the French Revolution — it’s better for them to control our food under lock and key while keeping the peasants mollified with other distractions.
Also, so long as the aristocrats are in charge of food, why not make changes to it that will create even more dependence, like controlling seed availability and distribution so that it is only given to those who bow before the masters who hold the seeds year after year?
But — there is hope. The situation in Oak Park is one that local folk can fight face-to-face. Maybe the officials in Oak Park don’t see the bigger picture, and providing them with information that helps them to see that they are really not pursuing what can be described as the best interests of their citizenry will change their minds. I mean, let’s face it, growing up in the age of the “Little Houses” that Malvina Reynolds wrote about, it is easy to simply not think for one’s self about why you wouldn’t want to have a grass lawn, but the world in which that idea of suburbia was created no longer exists.
Food shortages are already occurring, and predictions are that they will only get worse. We are dealing with oil shortages, whether real or manufactured — but what’s the difference when your gasoline costs $4+ a gallon? That means it’s more expensive to go and get food from the store, as well as the cost of the food having gone up because of the petroleum products that went into growing, packaging, and transporting it. People have been especially hard-hit by unemployment in Michigan, and while there are “improved” numbers, most people aren’t dealing with a surplus of income these days, so their food budgets are tight. I know ours is!
So why in the world would local officials want to discourage local gardens? Surely they recognize the issues described in the previous paragraph, in addition to the weaknesses within the corporate food system — and if they do not, then it is their responsibility to educate themselves in order to best serve their citizens. How can they responsibly suggest that they have the authority to determine food policy in their community if they don’t possess the knowledge to make educated decisions about it?
Let’s not allow our right — or that of anyone else– to grow our own food be eroded. Speak up. Fight back. Let’s not forget what Thomas Jefferson said: “All authority belongs to the people.” This truly is OUR LAND. Let’s not forget that, friends.CommonDreams.org
October 1, 2010
The food crisis of 2008 never really ended, it was ignored and forgotten. The rich and powerful are well fed; they had no food crisis, no shortage; so in the West, it was little more than a short lived sound bite, tragic but forgettable.
To the poor in the developing world, whose ability to afford food is no better now than in 2008, the hunger continues.
Hunger can have many contributing factors: natural disaster, discrimination, war, poor infrastructure.
So why, regardless of the situation, is high tech agriculture always assumed to be the only the solution? This premise is put forward and supported by those who would benefit financially if their “solution” were implemented. Corporations peddle their high technology genetically-engineered seed and chemical packages, their genetically-altered animals, always with the “promise” of feeding the world.
Politicians and philanthropists, who may mean well, jump on the high technology band wagon. Could the promise of financial support or investment return fuel their apparent compassion?
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, supposedly works to achieve a food secure and prosperous Africa. While these sentiments and goals may be philanthropy at its best, some of the coalition partners have a different agenda.
One of the key players in AGRA, Monsanto, hopes to spread its genetically-engineered seed throughout Africa by promising better yields, drought resistance, an end to hunger, etc. etc. Could a New Green Revolution succeed where the original Green Revolution had failed? Or was the whole concept of a Green Revolution a pig in a poke to begin with?
Monsanto giving free seed to poor small holder farmers sounds great, or are they just setting the hook? Remember, next year those farmers will have to buy their seed. Interesting to note that the Gates Foundation purchased $23.1 million worth of Monsanto stock in the second quarter of 2010. Do they also see the food crisis in Africa as a potential to turn a nice profit? Every corporation has one overriding interest -- self-interest, but surely not charitable foundations?
Food shortages are seldom about a lack of food -- there is plenty of food in the world -- the shortages occur because of the inability to get food where it is needed and the inability of the hungry to afford it. These two problems are principally caused by, as Francis Moore Lappe' put it, a lack of justice. There are also ethical considerations: a higher value should be placed on people than on corporate profit; this must be at the forefront, not an afterthought.
In 2008 there were shortages of food in some places, for some people. There was never a shortage of food in 2008 on a global basis, nor is there currently. True, some countries, in Africa for example, do not have enough food where it is needed, yet people with money have their fill no matter where they live. Poverty and inequality cause hunger.
The current food riots in Mozambique were a result of increased wheat prices on the world market. The UN Food and Agriculture organization (FAO) estimates the world is on course to the third largest wheat harvest in history, so increasing wheat prices were not caused by actual shortages, but rather by speculation on the price of wheat in the international market.
While millions of people go hungry in India, thousands of kilos of grain rot in storage. Unable to afford the grain, the hungry depend on the government to distribute food. Apparently that's not going so well.
Not everyone living in a poor country goes hungry; those with money eat. Not everyone living in a rich country is well fed; those without money go hungry. We in the US are said to have the safest and most abundant food supply in the world; yet even here, surrounded by an over abundance of food, there are plenty of hungry people and their numbers are growing. Do we too have a food crisis concurrent with an obesity crisis?
Why is there widespread hunger? Is food a right? Is profit taking through speculation that drives food prices out of the reach of the poor a right? Is pushing high technology agriculture on an entire continent at that could feed itself a (corporate) right?
In developing countries, those with hunger and poor food distribution, the small farmers, most of whom are women, have little say in agricultural policy. The framework of international trade and the rules imposed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on developing countries, places emphasis on crops for export, not crops for feeding a hungry population.
Despite what we hope are the best intentions of the Gates Foundation, a New Green Revolution based on genetically engineered crops, imported fertilizer and government imposed agricultural policy will not feed the world. Women, not Monsanto, feed most of the world's population; and the greatest portion of the world's diet still relies on crops and farming systems developed and cultivated by the indigenous for centuries, systems that still work, systems that offer real promise.
The report of 400 experts from around the world, The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), is ignored by the proponents of a New Green Revolution, precisely because it shows that the best hope for ending hunger lies with local, traditional, farmer controlled agricultural production, not high tech industrial agriculture.
To feed the world, fair methods of land distribution must be considered. A fair and just food system depends on small holder farmers having access to land. The function of a just farming system is to insure that everyone gets to eat; industrial agriculture functions to insure those corporations controlling the system make a profit.
The ultimate cause of hunger is not a lack of Western agricultural technology; rather, hunger results when people are not allowed to participate in a food system of their choosing. Civil wars, structural adjustment policies, inadequate distribution systems, international commodity speculation, and corporate control of food from seed to table -- these are the causes of hunger, the stimulus for food crises.
If the Gates Foundation is serious about ending hunger in Africa, they need to read the IAASTD report, not Monsanto's quarterly profit report. Then they can decide how their money might best be spent.
August 14, 2011
Between 40 and 50 million Chinese farmers have lost their farmland since Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms began in the late 1970s, according to a recent report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The number is increasing at a rate of three million farmers per year, and will reach 110 million around 2030.
The report, titled, China Urban Development Report of 2011 and published by the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies of CASS, states that large areas of farmland have been and are being expropriated as China’s industrialization and urbanization accelerates.
According to the directive “national land use planning” published by the Ministry of Land and Resources in October 2008, from 2000 to 2030, over 8.6 million acres of farmland will be expropriated and over 100 million farmers will lose their land.
The report also states that, while farmland is being lost, there is a serious trend of urban land being insufficiently utilized. According to the “national land use planning” directive, there are about 657,000 acres of unused land in China. This leads to the conclusion that the scale of land expropriation is greater than the actual need.
Regarding the farmers who lost their farmland, the official news website Red Net of Hunan Province reported a survey of 132 households on the issue on March 29. It stated that 97 percent of farmers are not satisfied with the compensation. The standard compensation rate to the farmer for commercial land use is about US$20,000 to US$35,000 per acre. But this farmland is often situated in a newly developed urban area, which could fetch over 10 times its current value.
The Director of the State Council’s Development Research Center, Han Jun, said in 2003 that since the start of economic reforms until 2003, the Chinese regime has taken US$312.8 billion from farmers by expropriating farmland at a low price and then reselling it at a high price.
The Red Net survey also stated that 85.61 percent of farmers do not have any kind of social security and insurance and that only 12 percent have medical insurance. When asked what they fear the most, 15.91 percent said not having medical insurance, 27.27 percent said retirement insurance and 75 percent feared unemployment.
The farmers who lost their land have no stable jobs and income. After losing their ownership, rights to use and derive an income from their farmland, they have no financial security.
Xu Zhiyong, a faculty member at the Beijing Post and Telecommunications University, told China Youth Daily:
“The dispute arising from farmland expropriation is not a regional problem. It exists in almost every big and small city, county and township.”According to statistics given in the CASS report, among the farmers who appeal to higher authorities for help, 60 percent of the appeals are related to the farmland, and 30 percent are related to land expropriation.
Among farmers who lost their land, 60 percent of them said that they are in a state of economic hardship, and 81 percent are worried about their future livelihoods.
According to a random sample of 2,942 farmers who lost their land, the National Bureau of Statistics of China found that there are only 2.7 percent who received employment after expropriation; 24.8 percent went out to look for work on their own; 27.3 percent have opened a small business; and 20 percent stays at home, unemployed.
Sometimes, those who have had their land taken from them have responded violently.
In May a series of explosions hit Fuzhou City, Jiangxi Province, after Qian Mingqi, 52, failed to obtain redress for land that was expropriated but for which he was never properly compensated. After a decade of unsuccessfully attempting to get proper compensation (he says his losses were up to two million yuan, or around US$300,000), he set up a Sina Weibo account documenting his final thoughts, and proceeded to make fertilizer bombs. He said that he was left with no choice.
“I wanted to take genuine action to get rid of the bad guys for the people,” Qian said.He was killed in one of the blasts.
In other cases people have climbed atop their house roofs and set themselves on fire. In yet other cases people have used violence against the gangs of thugs that are hired by local officials to carry out the eviction and demolition work that is often involved in land expropriation.
Read the original Chinese article.
U.S. Government is Flooding Farmland, Which May Leave It Damaged for Years and, in Turn Would Allow Private Equity Firms to Snatch It Up for Pennies on the DollarThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee at Birds Point, resulting in the flooding of thousands of acres of Missouri prime farmland as well as damage and destruction to homes and buildings. "Farmers in the affected area will not only lose this year's crop, but have a long-term cleanup and restoration project if they hope to return their land to production, and we fear much of the flooded land might never be able to recover to its prior productivity," Hurst said. "Farm Bureau will do everything possible to ensure the farmers are compensated and receive all the help available to restore their farmland to productivity. It is vital the government rebuilds the levee as soon as possible, and cuts through red tape to get the compensation and help to those affected by this disaster immediately." - Farm Bureau seeks compensation for flooded farmland, May 22, 2011
Arizona Daily Star
May 6, 2011
This week's explosions to ease the Mississippi River flooding threatening the town of Cairo, Ill., appear to have succeeded -- but their effect on the farmland, where wheat, corn and soybeans are grown, could take months or even years to become clear. The Missouri Farm Bureau said the damage will likely exceed $100 million for this year alone.
"Where the breach is, water just roars through and scours the ground. It's like pouring water in a sand pile. There is that deep crevice that's created," said John Hawkins, a spokesman for the Illinois Farm Bureau. "For some farmers, it could take a generation to recoup that area."
The issue is vital to farmers and the state of Missouri, whose attorney general repeatedly tried to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan to break the levee. Opponents of the move argued it would leave the farmland buried under feet of sand and silt, rendering it useless for years.
It's still not clear how much damage the intentional flooding will cause and how farmers will be compensated for losses to the land and roughly 100 houses scattered through the area. Experts said the extent of the damage can't be accurately assessed until the floodwaters recede, and that likely will take months.
The river level itself is going to have to fall from its high flood stage before the water covering the fields can even begin to drain, said Jim Pogue, a corps spokesman. That could take a significant amount of time, he said.
"This is the greatest flood we've seen since 1937. We're tying records, breaking records, all down the river," Pogue said. "This is likely to be once-in-a-lifetime event."
By Robert Singer, The Truth of the Fight
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), based in Rome, Italy is an international organization jointly created in 1962 by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations “allegedly” to protect the health of consumers with guidelines for food standards.
Codex Alimentarius may present the greatest disaster for our food supply and thus our health this country has ever seen, and if not stopped is likely to be implemented in 2011.
The Codex and its regulations affecting our food sovereignty go back to 1962. Fortunately in 1994 Congress passed the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) which for the moment preserved the definition of vitamins, minerals and herbs as foods.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the “World According to Monsanto,” should be required viewing and are related to the Codex. In the U.S. and in the Codex, GMO’s do not require labeling making in impossible to know what you are eating.
Without congressional oversight the U.S. will move towards the policies of Canada and Mexico where supplements are considered drugs, not foods. Codex if implemented will reverse DSHEA and the U.S. will no longer treat dietary supplements as foods, but as toxins.
For 18 years Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, the European Union and most African countries have fought the U.S. unsuccessfully to require labeling of GMOs. The U.S. erroneously considers GMOs equal to non-GMOs based solely on a 1992 Executive Order from then Skull and Bones president George H. Bush.
The Codex will be enforced by the barrel of a gun.
The FDA will use their power to outlaw more than raw almonds and tryptophan. In Ohio a food co-op was raided Gestapo style by the USDA because they sold a dozen eggs to an aggressive undercover agent “without a business license.”
Is the FDA looking out for consumers … unlikely.
Half of the 198 new drugs the FDA approved from 1976 to 1985 had to be withdrawn or relabeled because they caused unexpected side effects. Predictably, no one at the FDA withdrew Donald Rumsfeld’s Aspartame sold under the trade names Equal and NutraSweet. Aspartame is a deadly carcinogen made from the feces of e coli bacteria that we can’t avoid because it’s an additive in just about every food we eat.
The story gets even more interesting when you find out NAZI Germany’s notorious I.G. Farben cartel is behind Codex and the proposals that would drastically curtail our health care freedoms.
Catherine Bertini, the head of the UN food programs in 1995, paraphrased the famous Kissinger statement,
“Food is power. We use it to change behavior.”
Is this the first time you have heard of “Codex Alimentarius?” That’s not unusual because Codex is an “open secret.” The information is available if you want to look for it but the corporate controlled media isn’t going to tell you about it until its already too late.
Monsanto, Big Pharma, Chema and Agra have convinced most companies “Codex is a non-issue,” and that they will actually gain market share when Codex is implemented.
So who is raising awareness about this issue?
John C. Hammell of International Advocates for Health Freedom and Ian Crane an ex oil field executive. Ian lectures and writes on U.S. Hegemony and the NWO agenda for control of Global Resources. Mr Crane says,
“After spending the past twelve months investigating Codex Alimentarius, I am deeply disturbed by the almost total lack of awareness (or even interest) with regard to the implications of this pernicious global Commission, particularly amongst those most affected by the excesses of this restrictive legislation.”
The general lack of public awareness is well illustrated by the low traffic volume visiting his website.
Ian warns of the “pernicious” effects legislation will have believing “without a shadow of a doubt” there is a plot by major food and pharmaceutical companies to see that the Codex proposals become international law.
Codex is laying siege to our freedom of choice, let’s stop it.
Normally I don’t recommend those take action campaigns. But Codex Alemintarius is different.
The inconvenient truth for our elected representatives, their families and staff is they have to eat and take vitamins and supplements… just like us. So go ahead and email, fax and phone. This is one email campaign that might just work.
It’s going to come down to a massive rebellion.
The DSHEA law that kept the FDA off our backs was passed because millions and millions of letters were sent to people in Congress demanding health freedom. International Advocates for Health Freedom website has a “take action” page.
Think buying organic will help you? Well, not as much as you think, because the U.S. currently allows for up to 10% of GMO contamination of organic foods (the highest of any country in the world, most permit 0.1%).
You can make a difference by support local self sustaining farmers who refuse to use GMO seeds. And of course start a garden and grow your own food.
Because guess what? …..They can’t stop us from growing our own food.For more information on Codex Alimentarius and the Food Safety Modernization Act, click here.