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Biden Official’s Spin is Opposite of Truth: Natural Fertilizer Cuts Crop Yields Compared to Chemical Ones

Biden Official’s Spin is Opposite of Truth: Natural Fertilizer Cuts Crop Yields Compared to Chemical Ones

If “green justice compassion” is the type of development Power offers other nations, then no wonder nobody is returning Biden’s calls.

During the Obama era, few officials were as ludicrous as United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power.

She is back as the Biden’s Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.  Power is a strong contender for the worst Biden official appointment, even among a broad field of very deserving candidates.

Legal Insurrection readers will recall my concern that the war in the global breadbasket of Ukraine and Russia would impact the distribution of much-needed grain to many countries in Africa.

Additionally, Western sanctions on Russia, a significant exporter of potash, ammonia, urea, and other soil nutrients have disrupted shipments of those essential items. Fertilizer is key to keeping critically important grain yields high.

As my colleague, Mary Chastain, noted, during “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Power chortled that the global food shortage crisis would push farmers toward relying on more green energy.

Power literally concluded with: So never let a crisis go to waste.”

This is not a good crisis. Famines are notorious for being deadly on a regional scale that is difficult to comprehend unless one has experienced food scarcity up close and personal…which I doubt Power has.

Interestingly, Sri Lanka decided to “go green” and use only natural fertilizers. The process decimated the crops.

The dramatic fall in yields follows a decision last April by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ban all chemical fertilisers in Sri Lanka – a move that risks undermining support among rural voters who are key to his family’s grip on Sri Lankan politics.

Although the ban was rolled back after widespread protests, only a trickle of chemical fertilisers made it to farms, which will likely lead to an annual drop of at least 30% in paddy yields nationwide, according to agricultural experts.

The shortfall comes at a bad time for the island nation of 22 million people. Sri Lanka is in the throes of its worst economic crisis in a decade, foreign exchange reserves are at a record low and inflation is soaring, especially for food.

To put it in perspective: Where one farmer was able to get 60 bags of crop with chemical fertilizer, he was down to 10 bags going “natural.”

This is the type of green nightmare that Power is celebrating.

Unfortunately, if this is the thinking in Washington DC, the US and the rest of the world may be facing a food scarcity disaster as officials don’t find alternative paths to obtaining and distributing chemical fertilizers.

In Brazil, the world’s biggest soybean producer, a 20% cut in potash use could bring a 14% drop in yields, according to industry consultancy MB Agro. In Costa Rica, a coffee cooperative representing 1,200 small producers sees output falling as much as 15% next year if the farmers miss even one-third of normal application. In West Africa, falling fertilizer use will shrink this year’s rice and corn harvest by a third, according to the International Fertilizer Development Center, a food security non-profit group.

“Probably farmers will grow enough to feed themselves. But the question is what they will have to feed the cities,” said Patrice Annequin, a senior fertilizer market specialist for IFDC based in Ivory Coast. When you add increased hunger across West Africa on top of existing risks like terrorism, “this is absolutely dangerous for many governments in our region.”

For the billions of people around the world who don’t work in agriculture, the global shortage of affordable fertilizer likely reads like a distant problem. In truth, it will leave no household unscathed. In even the least-disruptive scenario, soaring prices for synthetic nutrients will result in lower crop yields and higher grocery-store prices for everything from milk to beef to packaged foods for months or even years to come across the developed world.

Brazil is opting to use chemical fertilizers smarter instead of going natural. Its largest farmers plan to reduce fertilizer use by a quarter next season, relying on more precise applications and soil testing to maintain crop yields.

LC Agricola SA, which cultivates an area bigger than Delaware with soybeans, corn and cotton, will probably use between 20% and 25% less fertilizer in 2022-2023 without jeopardizing yields, according to Chief Executive Officer Aurelio Pavinato. The decision on whether and where cut applications will be based on soil testing and precision agriculture, tools already adopted by the firm for several years.

If “green justice compassion” is the type of development Power offers other nations, then no wonder nobody is returning Biden’s calls.


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taurus the judge | May 2, 2022 at 3:12 pm

As a pocket farmer ( with a “niche” for Organic with USDA certification) this is totally true.

Natural methods certainly do work as far as growing but they are labor intensive and have a higher loss ( which is why certified organic costs so much more) and at the end of the day the yield ( in produce or even meat) is about 25-50% less with a few variables.

Even with Clemson doing samples and guiding- there are limits and a point of diminishing returns on “reducing” modern fertilizer where rotation and crop management wont make up the difference.

So without modern chemicals, expect both severe shortages and runaway costs.

    Dathurtz in reply to taurus the judge. | May 2, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    I can’t even get the bugs to stop eating my tomatoes without chemicals.

    MattMusson in reply to taurus the judge. | May 2, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    The AMISH are the best ‘natural’ farmers in the county. They produce 60% as much food per acre as industrial farms.

    Great if 40% don’t want to eat.

      Maureen from Regina in reply to MattMusson. | May 2, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Most of the manure comes from cattle, sheep and pigs. But we are not supposed to eat meat anymore so no cattle, sheep, pigs. ?????? Given my experience with compost I get a small bucket maybe once a year

    CommoChief in reply to taurus the judge. | May 2, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Folks who can’t keep a house plant alive, much less ever planned, planted and worked a simple kitchen garden sure seem super confident about their ability to eat. So much so that they are actively and publicly proposing, like Samantha Power, to radically alter modern farming.

    I wonder if they will be so sanguine when standing in the bread line? Perhaps they still cling to the belief that their food comes from a grocery and not an icky farm, no doubt run by a basket of deplorable people who almost certainly voted for DJT.

Well…yeah. Is this a thing that people don’t understand? Not criticizing the author at all with that questions, just genuinely confused that people exist who would think otherwise. I would be amazed if you could even have a 50% yield of grain crops without chemical fertilizers your first year skipping it, with even lower yields in following years. There is a reason farmers spend so much money on fertilizer and soil testing.

    taurus the judge in reply to Dathurtz. | May 2, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    There are people who think farmers are some sort of backward strain on the system because they get their food from a grocery store and we don’t need them.

    There are many more who have been so “dumbed down” by our lack-of-education system and “conditioned” by techno speak that they really do believe that if they click their heels and scream at the sky long enough, just by the mention of the “cure all” word technology- the great innovation bird will swoop down and cover them with its blessings.

Power perfectly exemplifies the narcissism, callousness and manifest stupidity of Dumb-o-crat apparatchiks. Totally averse to facts, blind to human suffering and casually and unabashedly dispensing lies, prevarications and Party propaganda with ease.

Power and her Dumb-o-crat ilk are attempting to create a new, global holodomor. If apparatchik-caused famine worked for Joseph Stalin, it’s good enough for contemporary Dumb-o-crats!

It’s not just the Russians — Union Pacific Railroad is specifically cutting fertilizer shipments. Gee, I wonder what they are carrying, instead?

E Howard Hunt | May 2, 2022 at 3:44 pm

I love chemicals. Personally, I eschew any food that does not contain at least three ingredients that I cannot pronounce.

    MattMusson in reply to E Howard Hunt. | May 2, 2022 at 4:46 pm

    70% of non-water crop inputs are fossil energy products. When energy doubles in price, food must increase by 70%.

    When Natural Gas becomes scarce, food is going to be scarce.

scooterjay | May 2, 2022 at 3:58 pm

Wreck agriculture so government will take over.
Screw this….call me when you are ready to refresh the tree of Liberty with blood, otherwise the entire world is on the cusp of slavery.

    Yes, a push for vertical farming which they can control.
    Long live small/family farms and farmers!

2smartforlibs | May 2, 2022 at 3:59 pm

Historically what happens when a regime doesn’t keep its people feed?

Well, I think it’s obvious, with Samantha Powers’ ability to put a spin on fertilizer, she should be the Minister of Truth.

I work in agriculture, ever since I grew up on a farm. You can’t overestimate the world-wide disaster that would happen if artificial fertilizers particularly Nitrogen ever just stopped.

Reading assignment: The Alchemy of Air by Thomas Hager.

    InEssence in reply to georgfelis. | May 3, 2022 at 2:12 am

    You are right for the short term, but in the long term, alternatives do exist. For example, Nitrogen is rather east to produce. While the current methods use gas as an energy source, solar is a rather easy alternative to produce Nitrogen. And, there are other ways to produce Nitrogen as well.

    With that said, I grant that in the meantime, the supply of Nitrogen can be easily disrupted which would cause major problems as others have stated.

    taurus the judge in reply to georgfelis. | May 3, 2022 at 7:53 am

    Yeah, I agree fully with your “reading assignment” and the centerpiece “company” referenced in there is a major client of mine and I know that process well.

    If we lose modern fertilizer, there will be both a famine and cost increase in food that the world has never seen.

Strelnikov | May 2, 2022 at 4:21 pm

The Left doesn’t care about “crop yields” and most could not define that term.

All that matters is The Cause.

    MattMusson in reply to Strelnikov. | May 2, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    We are entering a 5 year starvation cycle for 1 and a half billion people. It will take that long before natural gas nitrogen fertilizer is plentiful again.
    The largest starvation event in human history.

healthguyfsu | May 2, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Not only is the grain supply affected but the livestock supply is also affected. Meat yields will be smaller and more expensive as the feeding costs rise.

When I retired to the Olympic peninsula 10 years ago, a friend introduced me to Paul Gautchi of Back to Eden garden fame. Religious overtones notwithstanding, Paul made a number of gob-smacking observations about industrialized crop production and benefits of his natural organic approach, which some call “sheet mulching”; i.e., fresh ground wood chips including the leafy greens over several inches of compost. Having gardened for years by tilling and amending the soil with chemical nutrients with mixed success, I gave the Back to Eden garden method a try. Suffice to say it’s a lot of work. The claims of fewer weeds and less watering are true, but the wood chips had to be replenished every year thanks to composting and all the crops had to be side-dressed with blood meal or a nitrogen rich chemical fertilizer because of nitrogen tie-up from continual composting of the wood-chip layer.

There is a strong Back to Eden garden following with scads of videos on YT which leads to some real funky fertilizer solutions such as “compost tea” – i.e., aerating fish fertilizer, liquid kelp, steer manure, molasses and other goodies in water to feed plants. I had to laugh at that widely accepted practice for the simple reason that no one knows what kinds of disease might be brewed up in the compost tea. Of several dozen similar videos, only one tested the “tea” chemically and it’s effect on plants. If memory serves, it provided no benefit over simply watering. With that as an example, I’m wary of most “organic” gardening claims.

The one worthwhile benefit for my efforts is a better grade of vegetable. Picked when harvest ready and not in a dry unripened state to facilitate shipping to market. Fruit so filled with water, the juices run down my chin. I don’t doubt that the fruit and veg I grow myself, organically, are richer in vitamins and minerals than commercially produced, Round-Up Ready, chemically fortified varieties. But is all the labor and expense worth it?

Approaching 70, I’m tired and gradually bulldozing my Eden. I buy quality fruit and veg at local farm stands and Sunny Farms. Still, the lessons learned from my Back to Eden garden experiment makes me wonder whether mankind was intended to be individually responsible for their own food production, trading excess harvest with others for variety, and living in more of an agrarian than industrial / technological culture. It doesn’t seem like ceding our responsibility for self provision to for-profit corporate interests is working out very well.

Oh, and “Let’s go Brandon”.

smalltownoklahoman | May 2, 2022 at 5:48 pm

I think one of the biggest take away lessons that most anyone should learn from the past couple of years with the lockdowns and now this is the danger of being over reliant on any one source for critically needed materials. We really need to diversify a lot of manufacturing out of China and with this looming crisis related to fertilizer we really really need to either roll back some evironmental restrictions here or help other countries who might be able to step up production. The only real upside I see coming out of this is that when people start having to go hungry they are going to really quickly start losing patience with government stupidity and policies that get in the way of keeping ourselves fed.

smalltownoklahoman | May 2, 2022 at 5:53 pm

Don’t be surprised either if as this wears on we see a sharp uptick in hunting and fishing, even during the off seasons though I’m sure game wardens will try to limit that. Though come to think of it, some parts of the country do have a real problem with feral hogs so maybe we will see increased efforts to try and tackle that problem.

    Already seen here. My neighbor is an avid hiker and has found several dumping areas for deer skins. That gunfire in the hills ain’t target practice, it’s harvesting. We’ve had as many as 6 graze their way through our property – normally just 3 at a time. I could literally open a window and take one within 30′ of the house. Lucky for them, I prefer chicken. And fish.

      txvet2 in reply to MrE. | May 3, 2022 at 1:15 am

      I used to have a herd of around 25 deer with 6-7 trophy bucks. I’m down to 7-8, mostly does with a couple of nubbins. Loss of habitat is the biggest problem.

      Sternverbs in reply to MrE. | May 3, 2022 at 9:31 am

      You should develop a taste, and bag them and can them, while you can. If the Marxocrats are successful, there is a complete world of hurt coming our way, in the not too distant future…

Biden is accelerating energy and food scarcity, progressives can taste the coming of the Great Reset, Agenda 2030, and Agenda 2050. Starving people are easy to manipulate.

Even if manure was a suitable substitute for chemical fertilizer, one wonders where it’s supposed to come from in the meatless world they’re pushing. Cows and chickens, for the most part, only exist in large numbers because they’re food animals. If we can’t eat them there’s no reason to keep them around, so their population drops 99%. Apparently pushing them to near-extinction is ok in this case and doesn’t offend greenies.

I’m starting to see blatant anti-meat propaganda now, including articles on how it won’t be long until fast-food joints abandon meat.

Ah, yes. Good old “organic” farming. I remember my tender youth in New York, where the farmers fertilized their fields with cow manure – topped only by my days in rural Bavaria, where they used liquified pig shit. You could smell it for miles.

    billi in reply to txvet2. | May 3, 2022 at 10:53 am

    Still happening now in rural Mi. Pig farms (or mortgage payers) are being shut down by politicians because Libs move in, build new houses on productive land and suddenly experience a wind shift. I have no pity

There is an excellent book on the subject, The Alchemy Of Air. I highly recommend it. It’s easy to read and understand and discusses the problem and solution.

In a very small nutshell, a little over 100 years ago, a famous scientist pointed out that arable land was shrinking and the world population was growing. Instead of talking/bragging about his own work, he used the prestigious lecture spot to issue a challenge: figure out how to make soil fertile again or face famines. Making soil fertile = figure out how to make fertilizer, i.e. use nitrogen in air to make ammonia compounds and nitrogen-containing salts, like nitrates.*

It took some years before two German chemists succeeded, and they were eventually given the Nobel Prize for the work. Without it, the world would contain a lot fewer inhabitants than it has now, and they’d all be a lot thinner. And less healthy.

Good book.

* Already used were vast caverns of bird guano, mostly from South America. But these were being mined a lot faster than birds were replenishing them. That was absolutely a one-way street. And that was pretty much it for bulk fertilizer before chemical plants began to make the stuff on an industrial scale.

Sternverbs | May 3, 2022 at 9:27 am

“During the Obama era, few officials were as ludicrous as…”

I think we’re still “in the Obama era” – it ain’t sleepy joe steering this ship (into the rocks).

Food shortages used to be priority for every government to try to prevent…..that it isn’t Biden’s top priority says more than I ever could.