HOWARD GRAHAM BUFFETT FOR TRUMP’S AG SECRETARY

Howard Graham Buffett serving meals in Sierra Leone in 2007. He spends up to 200 days a year on the road, doing foundation work. (Jeannie O’Donnell / The Howard G. Buffett Foundation)

Howard, Warren Buffett’s farmer son, is one man, a rich one man, working in all 54 African countries developing sustainable farming on the continent with the biggest problems in hunger, poverty, soil, infrastructure, economics and politics. Howard’s dad is bridge buddies with Bill Gates who is also saving Africa. There is hope in 2016 that the Bern fires up the base like Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, while the well informed Buffett Gates partnership puts their money where it’s needed – like not in Panama.

howard-b“USAID and others have been at this for decades,” he said. “By now, according to projections, we should have ended hunger. So my point is, what we’re doing isn’t working.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Buffett told me. “I’m a farmer. I know what I can get from improved seed. I know what I get from fertilizer. They’re huge. But technology can’t build organic matter. It can’t create topsoil. It can’t magically protect water quality. It’s a quick fix, and Africa needs a long-term solution.”

Instead of a green revolution for Africa, Buffett favors what he calls a “brown revolution,” or, to quote the distinguished agricultural ecologist Sir Gordon Conway, a “doubly green revolution”—a focus on environmentally sustainable agriculture that minimizes erosion, preserves and regenerates soil, and makes the land more resilient, while also increasing yields. In contrast to the green revolution, the brown revolution is a tortoise-like approach: Its impact is gradual. Over the past decade, patiently, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to identify and promote practical, low-cost methods of conservation farming—cover crops, no-till farming, locally bred seed varieties—that improve African soil quality and crop yields without chemical fertilizers and costly imported seeds. “If you take a place like Africa,” Buffett told me, “where they have the most degraded soils in the world, very limited nutrients, ground that is farmed to death—literally to the point where you have to move on and farm another piece of ground—and all you’re doing is throwing on synthetic fertilizer, it’s like trying to put an oxygen mask on a cadaver and expecting it’s going to start breathing again.”

1028-pmad-mbuffettThe foundation owns and operates four research farms—4,400 acres in Decatur, 1,000 acres in Nebraska, 3,900 acres in the high desert of southeast Arizona, and the farm in South Africa, spanning 9,200 acres—where scientists from Texas A&M, Penn State, and Purdue are conducting experiments on how best to grow crops in places with little water and poor soil. In South Africa, the foundation is testing 14 different cover crops—among them cowpea, lablab, and pigeon pea—to learn which ones best reduce erosion and improve soil fertility. In Arizona, the foundation replicates the conditions faced by poor African farmers: drought, little or no fertilizer, oxen tilling the land. Tests are under way to measure the precise relationship between water and crop yields. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/how-warren-buffetts-son-would-feed-the-world/476385/

 

12_f_buffett-0011Established in 1999, his Howard G. Buffett Foundation’s (HGBF) primary mission is to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. It apparently spends $50 million a year on various programs around the world, particularly in Africa.

Not surprisingly one of his biggest projects is improving lives of poor farmers, themselves often starving. His goal is to help teach them methods that they can afford to implement after his programs end. He also insists they learn accounting.

This is apparently in contrast to the approach used by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organization to which his father has pledged more than $30 billion, which relies more heavily on introducing technology to third world farming. “He’s really pushing a system that is similar to what we have outside this door in America,” explained Howard to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, “I told him that we have got to stop doing it like we did.”

“Your father gives money to Gates. You come out and say it’s all wrong. Is this sibling rivalry?” asked Stahl. Gates and Buffett, the country’s two richest men, have become good friends, often playing bridge, celebrating birthdays and traveling together on vacations. Howard responded that Bill, who they call brother Bill, is the smartest guy in the world besides his dad, but pointed out that he understands agriculture quite well and had used a similar approach unsuccessfully when first starting to give away money.

warren-howardSome details about Howard that Stahl didn’t cover include the fact that Buffett’s son is a writer of more than half a dozen books; sits on the board of Sloan Implement, a privately owned distributor of John Deere agricultural equipment; and also previously served on the boards of food processor Archer Daniels ADM +0.74% Midland; Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world; and ConAgra Foods. He has also traveled to more than 95 countries documenting the food and conservation challenges. In 2005, he received the Will Owen Jones Distinguished Journalist of the Year Award, and in 2007, he was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger on behalf of the World Food Programme. In 2011, he received the World Ecology Award.

It could be a long time before Howard succeeds his father – “He won’t leave until he’s buried in the ground,” Howard told Stahl – and even longer before anyone knows if he proves to be a decent successor. Still he’s certainly proven himself to be a worthy scion of an admirable man, one who has his feet firmly planted in the earth.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2011/12/11/who-is-howard-buffett-60-minutes-gives-glimpse/#6b099cdd6c03

OLIVER TWIST GOT SKIMMED

oliver-twist

Revealed: how thieves skimmed the workhouse orphans’ cream. Unearthed documents show how Foundling Hospital children were robbed of full milk ration.

Children who drink full-fat milk end up slimmer than those on skimmed 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/16/children-who-drink-full-fat-milk-end-up-slimmer-than-those-on-sk/

Children should drink full-fat milk until the age of at least six, research suggests – as they are likely to grow up slimmer.

In recent years, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recommended that toddlers switch to semi-skimmed milk from the age of two, as part of efforts to prevent obesity.

But research on more than 2,700 children found those given full-fat versions ended up with a significantly lower body mass index than those given semi-skimmed varieties.

Those taking part in the Canadian study were also found to have higher levels of vitamin D, which protects the bones and immune system.

milk_bottles-large_transeo_i_u9apj8ruoebjoaht0k9u7hhrjvuo-zlengruma

For decades, children in Britain were encouraged to drink full-fat milk, as part of post-war efforts to build the nation’s health.

‘Children who drink lower fat milk don’t have less body fat’ Dr Jonathon Maguire

But in 2009, the FSA warned that children were now consuming so much fat that it was clogging their arteries. Parents are now advised to switch their children to semi-skimmed milk from the age of two.

The new research suggests such efforts could be counter-productive.

Children who drank full-fat milk were likely to end up less hungry, researchers suggested, making them less likely to snack on high calorie foods.

The Canadian research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those children who drank whole milk had a Body Mass Index score that was 0.72 units lower than those who drank one or two per cent semi-skimmed milk.

What is BMI?

  • BMI (body mass index) is a measure that adults can use to see if they are a healthy weight for their size

What is a healthy BMI?

  • For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5-24.9 range
  • If your BMI is higher than 25, you weigh more than is ideal for your height
  • 25-29.9 is overweight
  • 30-39.9 is obese
  • 40 or more is very obese

To work out your BMI:

  • Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m), then divide your answer by your height again to get your BMI
  • For example, if you weigh 100kg and you are 1.85m tall, divide 100 by 1.85. The answer is 54. Then divide 54 by 1.85, which gives 29, which is your BMI

Lead researcher Dr Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said the difference amounted to the difference between having a healthy weight and being overweight.

Children who drank one cup of whole milk each day had comparable vitamin D levels to those drinking nearly three times as much skimmed milk, the study found.

This could be because vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it dissolves in fat rather than water.

Prof Maguire said: “Children who drink lower fat milk don’t have less body fat, and they also don’t benefit from the higher vitamin D levels in whole milk. It’s a double negative with low fat milk.”

 

 

INFRASTRUCTURE IS SPELLED WITH A ‘P’ AS IN PERMACULTURE

permaculture-hobbit-houseAs I was pontificating about how you could have an urban income and a rural lifestyle by raising 50 goats on five acres, my fellow teachers were educating others on Permaculture. Not wanting to expose my blissful state of ignorance to embarrassment I avoided my right of tuition free class attendance. However, Shelby, the sustainable agriculture and “Five Acres to Independence” advocate, took their course including the farm visit.  When Shelby raved about the farm’s sawdust toilet I discounted Permaculture, whatever it was about was not for me.

Currently living the expat life of the idle Social Security recipient in Antalya, Turkey I’m more interested in the debate between Fiscal and Monetary policy. Slow learner that I am, I have learned that the government deals with the Fiscal while the Federal Reserve monkey’s around with the Monetary. The debate synopsis is that the world and the US are going to hell in a sawdust toilet.

bernake-wheelbarrowThe FED since Greenspan has printed at least $10 trillion of ‘thin-air’ paper money with zero results and is now begging the politicians for Fiscal stimulus in Infrastructure. Trump is right there with them wanting to build walls, bridges and airports. Since 80% of the voters live in the city and another 19% live in the burbs the real 1%’s are still down on the farm. Alas alack rural redmeat farmers didn’t take classes in Permaculture, let alone practice Regenerative Agriculture because the Fiscal poohbahs don’t see the NEED!

dwarfgoatsonpasture

“What are you going to do when the well runs dry?”

  • Eliminate all Agricultural Subsidies
  • Organic only farming – no Monsanto, no pesticides, no herbicides, no chemical fertilizers
  • Outlaw Factory Farming – pigs, dairy, poultry, fish
  • Legalize Raw Dairy – if California can do it, every state can do it

WE WEEP FOR MAHMOUD AND HIS KARAKUL SHEEP

karakul

A group of Karakul sheep. The lambs are born black but soon develop the variable adult coloration. The Karakul is a Central Asian fat-tailed sheep breed with a almost goat-like fleece and an ability to withstand heat and drought. Similar animals can be traced as far back as 1400BC and the Karakul may well be the oldest breed of domestic sheep. The breed is named after Karakul or Qaraqul, a city in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, near the Caspian and Aral Seas. All parts of the animal – milk, meat, fat, wool and pelt – have their uses.

The fat-tailed sheep is a general type of domestic sheep known for their distinctive large tails and hindquarters. Fat-tailed sheep breeds comprise approximately 25% of the world sheep population, and are commonly found in northern parts of Africa, the Middle East, PakistanAfghanistanIran, North India, Western China, Somalia and Central Asia.

The earliest record of this sheep variety is found in ancient Uruk (3000 BC) and Ur (2400 BC) on stone vessels and mosaics. Another early reference is found in the Bible (Leviticus 3:9), where a sacrificial offering is described which includes the tail fat of sheep.

Sheep were specifically bred for the unique quality of the fat stored in the tail area and the fat (called Elyah, Arabic:[4] ألية ) was used extensively in medieval Arab and Persian cookery. The tail fat is still used in modern cookery, though there has been a reported decline, with other types of fat and oils having increased in popularity.

mahmood-bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169Before ISIS, he would get $130 per sheep, selling up to 50 a month ($6,500). Today he’s forced to offer a pair for $200.  A 45-year-old shepherd Shukar Mahmoud is stuck at a checkpoint with his flock. The Kurdish guards won’t let Mahmoud past their checkpoint to sell his sheep in their areas because they say they’re “Arab sheep.” It’s not an official rule. It’s just the rule today.

bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169Behind Shakur Mahmoud, the danger he fled; ahead a kind-of “sectarian bureaucracy.” Beyond the checkpoint, there’s a camp for displaced people where Mahmoud’s family waits for him, but for now this is where his journey ends. Though he has — literally — run for his life, he’s not leaving his sheep behind.

“I can’t leave my sheep,” he says. “They are my life.”

Fat-tailed sheep are hardy and adaptable, able to withstand the tough challenges of desert life. When feed is plentiful and parasites not a major factor, fat-tailed sheep can be large in size and growth. The carcass quality of these sheep is quite good, with most of the fat concentrated in the tail area – it could account for as much as 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of the weight on a 60-pound (27 kilogram) carcass. The fat-tailed breeds seen frequently in the US are the Karakul and Tunis.

lamb-bazwaya-iraq-lost-shepherd-exlarge-169The wool from fat-tailed breeds is usually coarse and frequently has colored fibers. It would be of limited value in commercial markets. Today it is used primarily for rug-making and other cottage-type industries. Bedouin women make rugs and blankets from the wool. Some of their handiwork can be purchased in the villages of EgyptShearing in Egypt is done once or twice a year with hand clippers. There is a reluctance to use electric shears because of wool quality and the difficulty in getting replacement parts when they become dull or worn out.

vendortail-fat2My Palestinian goat vendor in Katy and I were trying to offload our “Two-toothed” goats on the Pakistani, Egyptian, Muslim community of Houston for $1.25/lb. The Egyptians especially kept bugging us about “sheeps with fat tail,” I said I know, I know, every place I went in my USAID Egyptian Ag-Research visits they had those, but we don’t have them in Texas.  The Philistine researched the fat-tail and vowed next year to use the goats as a loss-leader to auction off Karakul’s with a minimum opening bid of $5.00 a pound.