The newsLINK Group - Potash - The Fuel for Food

Editorial Library Category: Mining Topics: Mining, Potash Title: Potash: The Fuel for Food Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: In the future, specific circumstances will have an effect on the availability of arable land and the demand or commodities. One of the greatest threats is a decrease in arable land that can no longer be used for food production. Editorial: Potash: The Fuel for Food 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 The Ghost of Thomas Malthus Thomas Malthus published an anonymous essay in 1798, when he was a 32-year-old British economist. His rather grim work was called “An Essay on the Principle of Population,” and in it he presented the case that although the human population increases geometrically (1, 2, 4, 16…), the food supply increases arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4...). Starting from the fact that food is necessary to survival, Malthus determined that eventually there wouldn’t be enough food to go around, and some people were going to starve. He thought even world-wide starvation was possible. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2011, world population is estimated to be 6.94 billion. Current projections show a continued increase in population numbers. By 2050, the world’s population will be hovering around nine billion. Providing food for so many is a demanding task that involves many significant issues and challenges. Even today, too many people are hungry and in some parts of the world are starving. Unfortunately, there is not just one easy answer. The U.N. has said the expected global food crisis will be a “silent tsunami.” Many people are unsure whether local and global commodity markets are up to the task of feeding the 6.6 billion people we currently have, never mind the 2.7 billion who may be alive in 2050. Many people world-wide are increasing their concern and attention, and they are looking aggressively for solutions. Getting Enough Food In the future, specific circumstances will have an effect on the availability of arable land and the demand for commodities. One of the greatest threats is a decrease in arable land that can no longer be used for food production. People are using arable land for other purposes, wind and water are eroding topsoil away, and urbanization sometimes means that the agriculture land base gets paved over. Along with the growing population is also the growing desire to eat like people in the industrialized western nations such as the U.S. As the number of people in the world increases, and as those people change their diets to match that of the U.S., Canada, or western Europe, they eat more grains and oilseeds. In addition, producing beef, pork, and chicken often means using grain to feed the animals, and one pound of grain doesn’t equal one pound of meat. Cows are the worst: you have to feed them seven pounds of grain to get a pound of beef. Pigs and chickens need less (four pounds and two pounds, respectively). The reality is that farmers are going to have to come up with new, innovative practices that help them get the most possible use out of farmland, and they will also have to plant every possible acre. Because we have to grow more food on less land while using smaller amounts of fresh water, the question becomes: how do farmers grow enough for everyone? This is obviously an overwhelming task — and one that could still use considerable improvement. No one should ever go hungry or starve for lack of food. However, when people do get fed well it is because of a humble fertilizer you’ve probably never given a thought to: potash. Potash plays a central role in helping feed the world's growing population. Potash 101 Potash is a fertilizer that is made from potassium (K). Potash got its name in Europe where there was a long tradition of burning wood or seaweed and leaching the ashes in water. People used large iron pots to evaporate water from the solution, and the remaining hard, white residue was named “pot ash.” In the ground, potash ore consists of red and white crystals that have traces of clay and other impurities. The mineral is soft and has a tendency to crumble. When it is first exposed

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