Agriculture Notes: Wooden Skyscrapers, Industrial Ag Comedy and Borlaug Statue

Norman Borlaug, considered an important figure (arguably the father of it) in the Green Revolution for his work in tailoring crops to specific regions of the world, had a statue of him installed in Statuary Hall this past Tuesday.  Statuary Hall is in the Capitol, and holds two statues for each of the fifty states.  Borlaug’s statue represents Iowa, and is one of the few scientists or technologists represented in the Hall (though few of the statues represent figures from the last 75 years).  Borlaug’s work has been recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

In other agriculture news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is contributing $1 million into a program to train architects, engineers and builders in the possibilities of advanced wood building materials.  In addition to this program, the Department is investing $1 million into a competition around advanced wood structures.  More details on that program will be available later in the year.

The Department has a strategy to promote wood as a green building material.  And as this Gizmodo article describes, advanced wood building products are far more resilient and fire-resistant than they used to be.  But building codes are tied to the old wood, and they could pose a bigger challenge to utilizing wood in buildings than educating builders, architects and engineers on the benefits of modern wood.

On a lighter (?) note, there is a new comedy available via the online media site Hulu.  It’s called Farmed and Dangerous and is focused on industrial agriculture.  There are just four episodes.  However, what struck me as much as the content was the sponsor – Chipotle, a Mexican restaurant that markets itself as using fresh and organic ingredients.  How the show was developed might be a more interesting story than the four episodes you can watch online.


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