Massive losses in Florida: The ag updates from Florida are discouraging. Around Immokalee and LaBelle, for example, 50 to 60 percent of the fruit has been blown off the trees and is floating in flood waters. Groves are extensively flooded and growers are having difficulty removing the water because the retention areas are also flooded. In some cases, dikes are breaking and releasing the water back into the grove. Even where the dikes are holding, there’s no place to put the water, so they’re having a slow go of removing water. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Harvey’s effect on a global logistics hub: A global logistics hub such as Houston, which plays a huge role in the U.S. economy, is particularly susceptible to natural disasters. Because Houston is such a big petroleum center, many industry insiders are predicting a rise in gas and diesel prices during the next few months as a result of Hurricane Harvey. And the effects of Harvey are not only going to be felt locally or even nationally, they can cause problems globally, because Houston is one of the nation’s commerce and logistics hubs. The sprawling Port of Houston ships to and receives products from all over the world. READ MORE

Ag secretary announces special procedures for Florida farmers: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Sept. 13 announced special procedures to assist producers who lost crops or livestock or had other damage to their farms or ranches as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Also, because of the severe and widespread damage caused by the hurricanes, USDA will provide additional flexibility to assist farm loan borrowers. READ MORE

Global hunger levels rise: Global hunger levels have risen for the first time in more than a decade, now affecting 11 percent of the world’s population, as conflict, climate change and economic woes bite, U.N. agencies said on Friday. Last year, 815 million people were hungry – 38 million more than in 2015 – the five agencies said in the first global assessment since governments set an international target to eliminate hunger and malnutrition by 2030. READ MORE

Plant-based foods increasing sales: Retail sales of plant-based foods intended to replace animal products rose 8.1 percent since last year, according to new data commissioned from Nielsen for the Plant Based Food Association and Good Food Institute. The total market for the plant-based food sector topped $3.1 billion in sales, the groups said in a press release. The growth compared to a decline of 0.2 percent for all foods sold in the same channels. READ MORE

The future of meat? It’s the future of meat and poultry — or at least part of the future. That’s what some investors, among them global agricultural heavyweight Cargill Inc., are saying about meat grown in labs from cells taken from animals without slaughtering them. On Aug. 22, Memphis Meats Inc. in the Bay Area of California, which so far has produced beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells, announced it had raised $17 million in funding from investors. Those investors include Cargill, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and entrepreneur billionaire Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. To date, the funding infusion boosts the amount Memphis Meats has raised overall to $22 million. READ MORE

China is interested in egg processing businesses: China is looking to take over Western egg processing businesses to help boost its technical knowledge and understanding. That was the message delivered to International Egg Commission delegates by Morten Ernst, IEC ambassador in Asia. Ernst noted that China was now dominating the Asian market with a 60 percent share, and that western companies had missed their chance to invest in Chinese companies over the past few decades. Now the tables had turned. READ MORE 

FOOD SAFETY

Food safety concerns in Florida: As millions of Florida residents remain without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, experts are warning them to take precautions against food poisoning. People should throw away any perishable food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more or any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. Additionally, people should discard any food that has come in contact with floodwater, even those that are wrapped or packaged in plastic. READ MORE 

MISCELLANEOUS

The rise of megacities: With the rise of massive urban centers in Africa and Asia, cities that will matter most in the 21st century are located in less-developed, struggling states. A number of these huge megalopolises—whether Lagos or Karachi, Dhaka or Kinshasa—reside in states often unable or simply unwilling to manage the challenges that their vast and growing urban populations pose. There are no signs that their governments will prove more capable in the future. These swarming, massive urban monsters will continue to grow and should concern the world. READ MORE