Nine grain companies owning 16 elevators in Texas have gone out of business in the last two years, closures that have cost several hundred farmers millions of dollars. Tim Eaton of the Austin American-Statesman reports:
“Hundreds of farmers statewide have been left clinging to their livelihoods as several million dollars in unsold grain became inaccessible — locked inside the shut-down storage facilities, the Farm Bureau said. Several farmers lost of tens of thousands of dollars, and many more lost hundreds of thousands when the failed elevators closed their doors.”
The story blames the collapse on the national recession. But there has been recession whatsoever in the grain business.
These elevators were under the supervision of the state. One legislator (a Republican) is preparing new legislation to increase the state’s control over these businesses.
The story hints at shenanigans. At one elevator, the state found that the books didn’t add up. The elevator was missing 648,000 bushels of grain, all unaccounted for.
•”King Cotton (above) is back,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
P. J. Huffstutter writes: “More than a decade after the state’s “white gold” crop started losing its luster, booming commodity prices have farmers cashing in on growing export demands — and have turned great swaths of Central California a snowy white during harvest season.”
• This is the “decade of agriculture in Africa,” says one non profit leader. Prices are up. So are the number of hungry people. And that has led both non profits and for profits to come to Africa, increasingly together.
Non profits are investing in profit-making ventures aimed at increasing food production. The Washington Post spotlights one that is attempting to increase production among small landholders.
• Both the Southwest and Southeast have water shortages, reports the Western Farm Press.
A new study of water supplies finds that the “Southeast has a relatively low capacity for water storage,” according to the authors. Neither the Southwest nor the Southeast have enough water to meet their needs and so both regions import water. The Southeast, according to the report, is near its limit in terms of water capacity.
“We need a new strategy for water storage and conservation in the U.S., including the Southeast,” said one of the report’s authors. “Because we have mostly inland metropolitan areas in small watersheds, we need to use less water. Less water comes to us, and our ability to store water is challenged by our climate and geographic location.”