Jon for President!!

Farm Aid for Foreign Countries

It would seem to me that US foreign aid would be well invested if we could send seed, equipment, fertilizer and pesticides, and know-how to the impoverished nations. My impressions of the continuing food shortages is because of inefficient farming methods combined with poor irrigation and water conservation (that and civil instability). The Army Corp of Engineers could solve one problem while American farmers could solve the other. Something like combining the Marines and the FFA.
I am a lifelong student of third world technologies. The SCORE stove or the ‘merry-go-round’ water pump absolutely thrill me. Here is my meager contribution to feeding the planet:

• If we can have cash prizes for commercial trips to outer space, then why not have a Nobel prize for farming (which includes irrigation, harvest yield, conservation, fertilization, and pest eradication).

• People often underestimate the value of distribution. It costs money to get any product to market. A good highway system is wonderful, but in developing countries, a good rail network is more cost effective to implement. Let a county build its own roads as time and money allow. But let the US assist in planning and constructing a rail network as a foundational piece of the infrastructure puzzle. (The first piece is water distribution. The second piece is waste and sanitation. The fourth piece is electrical power distribution. The fifth piece is communications. Upon these one may begin to build hospitals, schools, and businesses.)(Notice that I have left housing out. It’s in the same category as roads and mass transit.)

• Here’s my Biggee: As an efficient alternative to tractors may I suggest that plows and other farming machinery be equipped with “sheaves” (pulley wheels) that can be wrapped with rope or steel cable. Then all one needs to do is to have “anchors” at the end of each row to transfer the rope or wire over to in order to do the next row. I am thinking that “pulling” the farming equipment is more energy efficient than having a 2 ton tractor drag the same. Where did I get the idea? From a ‘hanging’ building scaffold (a.k.a. “swing stage”) turned sideways.

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