Trending Headlines: Facial recognition, food insecurity & ag profits

Cattle facial recognition technology, the case for eating meat, addressing food insecurity and how 2020 will be one of agriculture’s most profitable years

December 9, 2020

3 Min Read

What’s new in food and agriculture?

Today’s headlines give us a glimpse at new facial recognition technology that can recognize unique human and cattle faces.

We also hear from an environmental scientist who builds the case for eating meat without the guilt amidst climate change discussions.

As we close 2020, the USDA is projecting a profitable year in agriculture, a seven-year high thanks to Trump aid.

And the Trump administration bridges the gap between food producers and the food insecure in a unique way.

1. "Researchers develop an app to identify cattle through facial recognition" by Seth Bodine for NPR

According to NPR, “Cows have unique faces just like humans. Facial recognition technology can pick up on about 200 key measurement points to identify a human face, what's known as biometrics. It turns out that concept works for cows, too, and artificial intelligence is really good at it.”

2. “What if the United States stopped eating meat” by Frank Mitloehner for the CLEAR Center

Mitloehner writes, If Americans’ gave up meat and other animal products, would that solve our climate crisis? Research says no. In fact, it continues to demonstrate giving up meat would be a woefully inadequate solution to the problem of global warming and distracts us from more impactful mitigation opportunities.

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“But that’s not what certain people, companies and news outlets and would have you believe. Businesses invested in plant-based alternatives and lab-grown meat continue to exaggerate the impact of animal agriculture in efforts to convert meat-eaters to their products, mostly in the name of environmental health. But if Americans choose to forgo meat, it would have a minimal and short-term impact on the climate.”

3. “U.S. farm profit on track for seven-year high after Trump aid” by Mike Dorning for Bloomberg

According to Mike Dorning, “U.S. farm profit in 2020 will rise to a seven-year high after government-aid payments doubled amid the coronavirus pandemic and trade disputes, the USDA says.

“The forecast by the USDA’s Economic Research Service marked a $16.9 billion boost in net income from a September projection. Commodity prices rallied, and aid rose $9.3 billion following a second round of coronavirus relief.

“U.S. agriculture is on track for one of the three most-profitable years in a half century. Adjusted for inflation since 1973, projected net farm income in 2020 will be surpassed only by 2011 and 2013 figures.”

4. “The Trump administration is putting more fresh fruit and vegetables in the hands of low-income Americans” by Laura Reiley for The Washington Post

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Reiley writes, “After decades of food-insecurity experts lamenting the toll that food deserts take on the poor, the Trump administration has managed to get more fresh fruit and vegetables directly into the hands of food-insecure Americans and simultaneously prop up small farmers.

“The amount of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits — the food assistance formerly called food stamps — redeemed at farmers markets has steadily increased over the summer months because of key changes at the Agriculture Department and expanded funding of food benefits for low-income families and school-age children during the pandemic, the USDA said.”

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.


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