Saturday, August 30, 2014

Discrimination is alive and well against fruits and veggies in the EU.

The European Union (EU) has strict standards (see HERE) when it comes to the sale of certain fruits and vegetables.

In order to be sold in markets they must meet not only quality specifications but "appearance" standards as well.  This results in LOTS of food waste because the "Ugly Fruit and Veggies" never make it to the selves.

This article is about a woman in Portugal who is taking on the problem of "Lookism" in produce section.

Portuguese Food Co-op Fights Back Against EU-Mandated Waste

Baylen Linnekin speaks with Maria Canelhas from Fruta Feia, which has saved literally tons of great food from the garbage.

Seems like this is a way to keep prices high as well.  There is plenty of ugly produce that is perfectly edible and meets all the standards for consumption.

Ugly Produce is a suitable substitute for "Beautiful Produce".  A face palm to the concept of Substitution Bias.

Guess this guy below would not be welcome at a super marche' in Paris.  Looks like he could whoop up on the other veggies in the bins.

I have had this for awhile. I lost track of the source
NOTE: I corrected several spelling errors. Note to self: Press.Spell.Check.  :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fuel for Food in the Upper Mid-West. Caught in the Opportunity Cost trap.

The allocation of scarce railroad track from the transport of food to fuel has created a costly consequence for agricultural interests. The simultaneous boom in energy and food production necessitates choices.  It appears the fossil fuel (oil and gas) interests are winning out.  There is no escaping Opportunity Costs!

Millions in Agriculture Lost as Rails Neglect Grain Surplus (HT Morning Ag Cllips)

Farmers in North Dakota are experiencing millions of dollars in losses as their grain shipments — held up by rails’ prioritization of the transport of oil — have no way of getting to the companies that need them, like cereal producer General Mills. Production at such companies has slowed, and the grain, with nowhere to go, “is simply going to ground and rot,” farmer Bill Hejl told The New York Times. 
What’s more, farmers expect that the upcoming harvest will yield a record crop of wheat and soybeans, meaning that this problem is only expected to get worse. 
Farmers have long relied on railroads, “the backbone of North Dakota’s transportation system,” to help them move their crops across the country, and abroad. 
But lately, the region’s railroads are occupied by shipments of oil, which, along with gas, have become biggest contributor to North Dakota’s gross domestic product. As of August 22, reports indicate that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (the state’s largest railroad) had a backlog of 1,336 rail cars waiting to ship grain, while Canadian Pacific railroad had a backlog of 1,000 cars.

Burger King and King Sugar. One wants to pay less taxes and the other wants to receive more tax dollars. One is way worse than the other.

Ah, the arrogance of royalty.

The freak-out continues over Burger King moving to Canada because of the purchase of a MUCH larger company (Tim Horton's).  

Last year BK paid about $88 million in taxes to the US Federal government.  The US Treasury will "lose" this money (maybe more, maybe less depending on future profits) in tax revenues.

BK is labeled unpatriotic and subject to boycott.

Below is an excerpt from Bloomberg.  
"...Because of a plunge in U.S. sugar prices amid a hefty crop of sugar beets and cane, the Agriculture Department estimates that it may have to buy 400,000 tons of sugar from processors who might default on $862 million in government loans. Sugar producers have the option of repaying the loans either with cash or with their harvests if prices fall below a certain level. 
This is all part of a confection of federal price supports and subsidies for the industry. Last year, sugar processors took out loans when U.S. prices were about 25.5 cents a pound. Prices have since declined to 21 cents, just a hair above the trigger price that lets them repay their loans with raw sugar. 
The sugar, by law, would be sold to ethanol refiners, who would pay 10 cents a pound less than the government paid -- an inducement needed to get the ethanol industry to use the sugar. Aside from the ridiculousness of piling one ill-advised subsidy atop another, this would produce a loss of $80 million for the U.S. Treasury. Some industry analysts estimate the government may have to buy as much as 800,000 tons of sugar to restore balance to U.S. stockpiles, potentially doubling the loss..."---Bloomberg (Opinion piece)

Twisted, ain't it?

An equal (or greater) number of tax dollars are LOST to support raw sugar producers, who are a small in number but a politically potent group...And who cares?  I hear crickets.

Concentrated benefits, dispersed costs.  Crony-Capitalism.  Multiply this example 10's or 100's of times. Don't believe me? Read the Farm Bill.  Makes Burger Kings lost tax revenue look like the Dollar Menu.

And people call Burger King's move a "Whooper" of a mistake.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comparing Apples to Burgers when it comes to taxes. One is a Whopper and one has a small worm hole--don't assume which is which...

It is possible to be a corporate "traitor" without leaving the country.

Last year Burger King paid a total of $88 million dollars in taxes (Yahoo Finance).

Apple AVOIDS paying roughly $17 million dollars PER DAY in taxes (Business Insider).

It took Apple less than a week to avoid paying what Burger King actually paid in taxes for a year.

We love Apple, but hate Burger King.

Not sure if I am comparing Apples to Apples here (forgive the pun), but American apples and Canadians apples pretty much look and taste the same, don't they?

Confession: I own an i-phone, i-pad AND I like Burger King.  Guess I am complicit in corporate traitorism.

Does it help my cause that I am a former Marine (me, the taller one)?

Is US agriculture hurt by the sanctions Vlad imposed on US food exports to Russia? It really is a game of chicken.

Here is an estimate of how much in lost food exports various countries will suffer as a result of the counter- Russian trades sanctions against the US and the EU.

According to this source, the US will lose about $688 million in sales.  Of this amount, about 44% is in the form of chicken(s):
For the United States, the loss of the Russian food export market is less important. Last year, the United States exported 267,000 metric tons of chicken to Russia, worth $303 million, according to the U.S. National Chicken Council and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. According to Gwen Sparks, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exports of agricultural products to Russia in 2013 were valued at $1.3 billion, less than 1 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports.--Washington Post
Less than 1% of total exports. Sanctions, Smank-tions.  Is that all you got, Vlad?
Infographic: The Countries Hardest Hit By Russia's Trade Ban | Statista
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