Tuesday, June 6, 2023

"As Farmers Face a Warmer Future, an Ancient Grain Shows Promise"

If you combine brains, skill and common sense and apply them to this stuff there are a lot of answers that won't involve wealth transfers on the order of $50 - $100 trillion.

Of course there are quite a few people who see that as a negative, maybe even a non-starter.

From UnDark, May 30:

Despite their resilience, millets don’t receive nearly as much policy and research attention as corn or soy in the U.S. 

The Midwest is known for its rows and rows of corn and soybeans that uniformly cover the landscape.

But in central Missouri, farmer Linus Rothermich disrupts the usual corn and soybean rotation with Japanese millet. He has been growing it since 1993.

“Golly, I have to think how far back that is,” he said. “I was a young man and I was looking for alternative crops to grow to make more money. We just weren’t making a lot of money in agriculture then.”

Compared to his corn and soybean crops, he spends a lot less on Japanese millet. Because its growing season is shorter, it fits perfectly into the rotation of the crops he already grows. It’s working so well for him that he wants to keep the grain to himself.

“I have recommended it to other farmers, as long as it’s not my Japanese millet,” he joked, pointing out prices likely would drop if a lot of other farmers start growing it.

But these humble grains soon may garner more attention after the United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets. It’s part of an effort to encourage more awareness and a bigger market for millets, which the UN points out are extremely sustainable, weather resilient, nutritious, and could help diversify the global food system.

However, the grains have not gotten nearly the same level of policy and research attention compared to corn and soybeans in the United States, or even compared to other crops in the global market.

“Millets had gotten sort of marginalized in its place, and therefore, it didn’t get the same investment and research attention that maize, wheat, and rice have received over the last decades,” said Makiko Taguchi, an agricultural officer at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “so in that sense we consider millets as one of the sort of neglected crops.”

She said that millets have an opportunity to assist with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and that hopefully will bring these climate-friendly grains more attention – similar to the success of the UN’s International Year of Quinoa in 2013.....