Digging Deeper


What were the top ag stories of 2011?

Soaring farmland prices?

The farmers’ new prosperity?

The so-called secret Farm Bill?

Those controversial child labor changes?

The increase in food deserts?

When Harvest reporter Jessica Naudziunas suggested we use the Harvest Network to ask you about the biggest farm stories in 2011, I thought it was a good idea.

First thought: what were last years? So I did one of my major investigations (read: Google search), and I was hard-pressed to find the top ag-related stories of 2010. At least, for a general audience, like we here at Harvest serve.

But I did find some interesting lists that sorta-kinda pertain to our topic. For instance, I found Farm Progress’ top ten ag technologies from 2010. Among the GPS and gene-splicing gizmos, I was most taken with something the magazine called “surveillance sunglasses.” Seriously.

OK, this may be the wacky choice. But several companies are converting various technologies used in security industries for use in agriculture. These sunglasses actually allow you to record video while you're wearing them, without anyone knowing it.

And why would someone need that wacky choice? Beats me.

The Environmental Working Group had its own list last year, most of which involved work the group was, well, involved in. That includes No. 3, “Obama’s USDA — less transparent than Bush’s,” which dogged the current administration for closing off access to farm subsidy information.

An interesting -- if way wonky – site was Delta Farm Press’ reporting on Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation’s choices for ag law stories of 2010. No. 1 was an increase in estate taxes.

I did find, of course, the foodie lists, including the Atlantic’s 1- biggest food stories of 2010. Among meat and school food reform was Michelle Obama as “America’s Foodie-In-Chief.” Time magazine also had a food list among it’s huge list of lists – appropriately headlined “The Top 10 of Everything in 2010”, and No. 2 was “locavores gone wild.”

A site that was big news to me was a publication called Hobby Farms, which appears to be a very how-to mag. On it’s 2010 big story list, No. 3 was “Making your own hay.” Nope, not kidding.

So what am I missing? Click here to vote on the top ag stories of 2011…and look for Jessica’s podcast on our site very soon.