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U.S. Farmers Want to Grow World’s Costliest Spice

"As spring crocus blooms approach, some growers have visions of a fall-flowering crocus that produces saffron, the world's most valuable spice.

University of Vermont researchers have been raising the exotic spice now grown primarily in Iran and are encouraging growers to tap into what they hope will be a cash crop.

It's not a hard sell, particularly in the short growing season of the Northeast. A crop harvested in the late fall, when other crops have died off, that tolerates extreme climates and yields an average of $19 per gram."

Google World Maps: 2014 Agricultural Output Per Worker

While the United States and Canada have some of the most productive farms in the world, France and Norway produce slightly more economic output per person employed in agriculture.

Notes from the World Bank: Agriculture comprises value added from forestry, hunting, and fishing as well as cultivation of crops and livestock production. Data are in constant 2000 U.S. dollars. Agricultural productivity is measured by value added per unit of input. Agricultural value added includes that from forestry and fishing. Thus interpretations of land productivity should be made with caution. Among the difficulties faced by compilers of national accounts is the extent of unreported economic activity in the informal or secondary economy. In developing countries a large share of agricultural output is either not exchanged (because it is consumed within the household) or not exchanged for money. Agricultural production often must be estimated indirectly, using a combination of methods involving estimates of inputs, yields, and area under cultivation. This approach sometimes leads to crude approximations that can differ from the true values over time and across crops for reasons other than climate conditions or farming techniques. Data on employment are drawn from labor force surveys, household surveys, official estimates, censuses and administrative records of social insurance schemes, and establishment surveys when no other information is available. The concept of employment generally refers to people above a certain age who worked, or who held a job, during a reference period. Employment data include both full-time and part-time workers.

Data Source: World Bank, Economic Indicators. Table 3.3. Agriculture value added per worker (constant 2010 US$) (EA.PRD.AGRI.KD). http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/3.3#

Dogs Use Deception to Get Treats, Study Shows

"Researchers observed the pooches leading the cooperative partner to the box containing the sausage more often than expected by chance. They led the competitive partner to the sausage less often than expected by chance. And here’s where things get really interesting: the dogs took the competitive partner to the empty box more frequently than the cooperative partner, suggesting that they were working through their options and engaging in deliberate deception to maximize their chances of getting both treats."

An English Sheep Farmer’s View of Rural America

"Economists say that when the world changes people will adapt, move and change to fit the new world. But of course, real human beings often don’t do that. They cling to the places they love, and their identity remains tied to the outdated or inefficient things they used to do, like being steel workers or farmers. Often, their skills are not transferable anyway, and they have no interest in the new opportunities. So, these people get left behind."

Real Gross Domestic Product – Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting for New York

While the gross domestic product varies a lot from year to year based on commodity prices, the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting industry in New York has seen some growth in real (inflation-adjusted terms) in recent years.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Real Gross Domestic Product by Industry: Private Industries: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting for New York [NYAGRRGSP], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NYAGRRGSP, February 24, 2017.

Causes of Wildfires in New York, 1975-2016

This graph shows the various sources of wild fires in New York from 1975 through 2016. Smoking, debris burning from trash burning barrels used to be larger sources of wildfires. Total wildfires are down lately, but that's more been a matter of weather, as once can see the number of wildfires on any particular year is highly variable.

Data Sources:
NYS Forest Ranger Wildfires for FireFamily Plus 4.1: 1975-2007
https://data.ny.gov/Energy-Environment/NYS-Forest-Ranger-Wildfires-for-FireFamily-Plus-4-/4xir-miej

New York State Forest Ranger Wildland Fire Reporting Database: Beginning 2008
https://data.ny.gov/Energy-Environment/NYS-Forest-Ranger-Wildfires-for-FireFamily-Plus-4-/4xir-miej