February 3, 2006
Satellites spy on farmers
The Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency has increased the use of satellite imagery to detect crop insurance fraud, water rights abuse, environmental pollution, forest harvesting and other agricultural operations.
Satellite imagery of individual sections of ground occurs about every eight days, according to an Associated Press article. The high-level, high-resolution photos can detect farmer planting, irrigation, crops in production and crop growth. Most farmers would be shocked by the detail that it shows, said G.A. "Art" Barnaby Jr., an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.
There have been several cases where satellite imagery was used to prosecute farmers.
"What it does is keep honest folks honest," Barnaby said about the use of satellite imagery.
Since 2001, the USDA Risk Management Agency has been
compiling an annual list of about 1,500 farms to "watch," both aerially and on
'Sausage King' dies in prison
Alexander was convicted of murdering three meat inspectors at his San Leandro, Calif., sausage factory in 2002.
Build your own
Users can plug in information about feedstock availability and costs, byproduct disposition, location, transportation and other data. The program will evaluate three or five-year projections for return on investment.
To access the site, visit http://www.value-added.org/.
Ag export dollars
In calendar year 2004, each farm export dollar stimulated another $1.48 in business activity. The $61.4 billion of agricultural exports in calendar year 2004 produced an additional $90.8 billion in economic activity.
Agricultural exports also generated 825,000 full-time civilian jobs, which include 437,000 jobs in the non-farm sector. Farmers' purchases of fuel, fertilizer, and other inputs to produce commodities for export spurred economic activity in the manufacturing, trade, and transportation sectors.
Pepsi marketers are working hard to convince Chinese consumers to eat potato chips, rather than more traditional snacks such as seasoned seaweed.
Grand jury indicts
The 65-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court in Oregon. Actions noted in the indictment include sabotaging a high-tension power line, setting fire to a slaughterhouse and burning park ranger stations to protest environmental situations or animal rights. Eight of the eleven defendants were in custody at press time.