What does the future of America hold? Some good perspective from a recent video series at the Wall Street Journal titled "America: A Portfolio of Ideas" featured several different perspectives and is highly recommended. To give you a feel for what it holds we share this brief audio featuring John Naisbitt (Megatrends) and Gloria Naisbitt on the influence of culture on our trading relationship with China.
2011 and Ag Where will the bright spots in your operation be for 2011-2012? What do you see as the key trends involving agriculture and/or agri-food in North America? AgChat launches into 2011 with a discussion on the coming year's expectations.
There are 58 cost reduction points offered by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The recommendations touch all areas of government with words like trim, cut, reduce, merge, eliminate, etc. Several recommendations would impact agriculture.
Of note is recommendation 33, "Require food processing facilities to finance food safety and inspection services."
Under current law, one inspector must be present at all times to sample and test products when a meat or poultry slaughtering plant is in operation. These inspectors are responsible for monitoring the processing plants daily adherence to sanitary, ingredient, and packaging regulations.
Federal inspections benefit producers and consumers alike by preventing diseased animals and other unsafe products from being sold, but producers get the extra benefit of being able to advertise that their products passed USDA inspection.
This option finances all federal inspections of meat and poultry products with fees paid by the processing facilities, thereby making the service paid for by those who use it. Implementation of this policy increases federal revenues by over $900 million each year.
Note these are recommendations that require new legislation and / or action by both the president and congress to make happen.
Lugar speech on energy security and climate change
Following is the text of a speech by U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar this morning at the Energy Security as National and Economic Security forum sponsored by IUPUI’s Lugar Center for Renewable Energy and the Pew Environmental Group in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 21, 2009. Today is the first day of Global Climate Week.
Thank you, Mayor Ballard, for your kind introduction and for your important leadership on energy issues in Indianapolis. I also want to thank Chancellor Charles Bantz, Dr. Andrew Hsu, and the entire team at the Lugar Center for Renewable Energy for hosting us today. The Lugar Center is at the forefront of research and education on energy issues. It is a catalyst for the ground-breaking collaboration of Hoosier universities, private industry, government, and our national labs.
The work of the Lugar Center and other energy research endeavors is vital because the United States is confronted by a cluster of national security threats that arise from our economic and cultural reliance on fossil fuels.
First, our immediate dependence on oil, a large percentage of which is controlled by hostile or unstable regimes concentrated in the volatile Middle East, increases our vulnerability to natural disasters, wars, and terrorist attacks that can disrupt the lifeblood of the international economy. It also means that we are sending hundreds of billions of dollars each year to authoritarian regimes. This revenue stream emboldens oil-rich governments and enables them to entrench corruption, fund anti-Western demagogic appeals, and support terrorism.