Spread’s new automation technology will not only produce more lettuce, it will also reduce labor costs by 50%, cut energy use by 30%, and recycle 98% of water needed to grow the crops.
So much so that Spread is creating the world’s first farm manned entirely by robots. Instead of relying on human farmers, the indoor Vegetable Factory will employ robots that can harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce every day.
“The use of machines and technology has been improving agriculture in this way throughout human history. With the introduction of plant factories and their controlled environment, we are now able to provide the ideal environment for the crops.”
— J.J. Price, a spokesperson at Spread
Don’t expect a bunch of humanoid robots to roam the halls, however; the robots look more like conveyor belts with arms. They’ll plant seeds, water plants, and trim lettuce heads after harvest in the Kyoto, Japan farm.
“The use of machines and technology has been improving agriculture in this way throughout human history,” J.J. Price, a spokesperson at Spread, tells Tech Insider. “With the introduction of plant factories and their controlled environment, we are now able to provide the ideal environment for the crops.”
The Vegetable Factory follows the growing agricultural trend of vertical farming, where farmers grow crops indoors without natural sunlight. Instead, they rely on LED light and grow crops on racks that stack on top of each other.
In addition to increasing production and reducing waste, indoor vertical farming also eliminates runoff from pesticides and herbicides — chemicals used in traditional outdoor farming that can be harmful to the environment. Read the rest of this entry »
The Daily Caller‘s Eric Owens reports: Students at Waccamaw Middle School in Pawleys Island, S.C. did something pretty cool this spring when they baked cupcakes and cookies to sell during lunchtime to raise money so six World War II veterans could go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
The fundraising effort was a smashing success. The students raised $2,500 in just three weeks to help the six vets visit the various national memorials that venerate their sacrifices, according to the Georgetown Times.
If the kids want to act similarly selflessly this academic year, though, they’ll be out of luck.
They can thank first lady Michelle Obama for getting them out of such do-gooderism.
The 2010 Hunger-Free Kids Act that the first lady has strongly advocated now prevents such bake sales at all schools taking the associated federal funding. Read the rest of this entry »
Chobani Forbidden Entry into Russia
The price of choice-grade U.S. beef at wholesale set a new record on Thursday as already tight supplies were further squeezed by harsh weather that reduced the number of cattle that came to market in parts of the country, analysts said.
Select beef cuts on Thursday also marked a fresh record high for a fifth straight day.
Choice beef typically has more “marbling” or fat, making it juicier and more tender than select-graded beef.
The day’s wholesale price, or cutout, for choice beef hit $212.05 per hundredweight (cwt), eclipsing the previous May, 2013 record of $211.37, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In an attempt to dramatize the effects of the federal government shutdown, Washington state Democrats may have revealed more about their state and about the state of the economy under President Obama than they intended. The Advance, official blog of the Washington state house Democrats, posted the following on Thursday:
Federal shutdown could take food from half the babies in Washington state
Half of Washington state’s babies—and one third of all pregnant women in the state—rely on the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program.
The program is run by the state, but the funding comes from the federal government. Which is shut down.
Now the money that feeds those pregnant women, babies and young children will run out in a matter of days, according to the state Department of Health….
Almost half of all babies, one third of pregnant women, and one quarter of children under five in Washington State are on the WIC Program.
In Washington State, WIC reaches over 195,000 women, infants, and children in 205 clinics each month and provides services to over 315,000 individuals each year.
WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and operated by the Washington State Department of Health.
It’ll soon be hard to know
The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.
By Daniel Halper
Two charts on food stamps spending, provided by the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee, just as the Senate is voting the food stamps program (which is part of the so-called farm bill):
“Among the roughly 80 means-tested federal welfare programs, the food stamp program is the second-largest and the fastest growing. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans now receives the benefit. Food stamp spending has more than doubled since the start of the Obama presidency, and has quadrupled since 2001. Total spending on food stamps is now projected to be more than $760 billion over the next 10 years. By contrast, between 2003 and 2012, the nation spent less than $480 billion on food stamps,” writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.
Following this historic increase, the Administration continues to use promotional campaigns to further increase enrollment. USDA, for example, advertises food stamps as a form of economic stimulus, asserting that “each $5 dollars in new SNAP benefits generates almost twice that amount in economic activity for the community… Everyone wins when eligible people take advantage of benefits to which they are entitled.” USDA has also acknowledged a formal partnership with the Mexican government to boost food stamp enrollment among non-citizens. In response to oversight inquiries from Ranking Member Sessions and then-Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts, USDA revealed that the current administration has met with Mexican officials approximately 30 times as part of the partnership.
“The Department also instructs food stamp administrators and volunteers on “how to overcome the word ‘no’”, and has given a “Gold” award to a local recruitment office for overcoming the “mountain pride” of individuals in North Carolina. USDA even provides bonuses—totaling about $50 million per year—to states that meet high enrollment targets.
“The Senate farm bill would reduce food stamp spending by $4 billion dollars over 10 years, or just 0.52 percent. That compares to reductions of nearly $14 billion to the other farm bill programs, approximately a 6 percent cut.”