Thursday, November 11, 2010

The real economy, fall 2010 (Minnesota)

Under some orders from the significant other, I went for a drive in the countryside of the Minnesota River watershed last Monday.  For November, it was a gorgeous day.  Except for the mighty rains in late September, is has been warm and dry for weeks--perfect for drying out the grains in the field.

After several years of economics that drove some farmers to bankruptcy, the Producers on Minnesota's corn belt are facing the incredibly rare circumstances of a HUGE crop combined with high prices.  I talked with one young farm kid who was grinning like he had won the lottery.

The Lake Crystal Coop pictured in my video serves eight locations and its members cultivate over 500,000 acres of land.  They have built that ginormous Medelia fertilizer plant in the video.

I have two old friends who are making a documentary about (among other things) the problems of nitrogen run-off in the Minnesota basin--which leads to problems in the Mississippi and eventually the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  Since the farmers would prefer that NONE of the nitrogen they spread on their fields would be lost to run-off and are actually pretty careful about such matters, it is obvious that there must be enormous amounts of nitrogen spread on the fields if mere run-off can kill the life in a significant areas of the Gulf.

This video is about the agricultural infrastructure that traffics in massive amounts of fertilizer.

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