Global Warming – Drought & Chinese Imports Shape an "Experiment in Agriculture" for Colorado

“…THOSE WHO LABOR IN THE EARTH ARE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE OF GOD, IF HE EVER HAD A CHOSEN PEOPLE, WHOSE BREASTS HE HAS MADE THE PECULIAR DEPOSITS FOR SUBSTANTIAL AND GENUINE VIRTUE. IT IS THE FOCUS IN WHICH HE KEEPS ALIVE THAT SACRED FIRE WHICH OTHERWISE MIGHT NOT ESCAPE FROM THE EARTH”. Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Ethno-Agriculture

According to the ebook “The History of Agriculture in Colorado” the primitive plows used to interrupt the soil in Colorado’s first agricultural settlements (San Luis Valley) have been made from piñon wooden for its superior power. The Piñon was life to our agricultural communities, and quite a lot of early exploration events in the Rockies, each Spanish and American, have been saved from hunger by Pinyon and its nuts. The Piñon Pine, the Piñon Nut and the settlement of people in Colorado have a historical past that traces again to the Basketmaker Culture below the Pecos Classification System. Piñon ecosystems have had subsistence, cultural, non secular, financial, aesthetic and medicinal worth to Native American peoples for centuries and proceed to be extensively studied in its previous & current zone(s). Among ethno-botanists and archeologists, a consensus is that the primary human settlements in Colorado resulted from the Piñon Nut offering a winter protein supply – sustaining life when sport animals have been scarce – permitting man to construct the primary societies (Cliff Dwellings) in Colorado.

Agriculture in the East beats Western Agriculture

Currently, over 80% of the $49 million {dollars} in Pine Nuts consumed in the U.S. market are IMPORTED FROM CHINA, with no profit to western landowners. “We have thousands of US households who buy & eat Pine Nuts – unaware of their true Chinese origin”. Pine Nuts (Piñon Nuts) present a major supply of protein – in ranges surpassing even pecans & walnuts – with vital quantities of Vitamin A, Riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin – “they really have no food rival in the nut world”. Also, Piñon bushes naturally perform as a “great carbon sink” for the planet by eradicating carbon. “Certainly, as consumers find they are unknowingly getting more of their protein from eating ‘cloned beef protein” the thought of adding a wild & natural protein to their diet – like that found in Piñon Nut’s – is appealing to the health & environmentally conscious”.

This mission includes ‘experimental arid land agriculture’ in the creation of a pine nut tree enchancment program. Improvement packages of nut pine bushes may contain 4 fundamental steps: 1) Selection of superior trees–(i.e. “plus-trees”)–from pure stands; 2) Grafting of those superior plus-bushes into orchards to supply genetically improved seed (nuts); 3) Field testing of those plus-bushes to determine the most effective bushes and enhance the orchard seed ( cone and nut measurement) by eradicating inferior bushes; and 4) Continued enchancment and improvement of nonetheless-higher varieties via interbreeding of the most effective bushes. It is thought that pine nut crop measurement is strongly environmentally influenced, and that pests and well being are essential. For instance, tip moth exercise depresses piñon cone manufacturing, as does dry climate and excessive temps, whatever the tree’s genetics. And tree measurement, an essential determinant of cone crop potential, may be very a lot influenced by soil kind, local weather, pest historical past, competitors, and so on. There are so many elements affecting the ‘phenotype’ — what you see — that the one strategy to decide the traits of the ‘genotype’ of a tree is to develop offspring from its seeds in progeny testing.

Arid-zone agriculture because it pertains to the Piñon Pine

“As an area of research and development, arid-zone agriculture, or desert agriculture, includes studies of how to increase the agricultural productivity of lands dominated by lack of freshwater, an abundance of heat and sunlight, and usually one or more of extreme winter cold, short rainy season, saline soil or water, strong dry winds, poor soil structure, over-grazing, limited technological development, poverty…” Wikipedia…

Two fundamental approaches to options are

o view the given environmental and socioeconomic traits as adverse obstacles to be overcome

o view as many as doable of them as optimistic sources for use

Vision of the Future – Colorado Piñon Nut Orchards?

In seeking to the longer term, it’s doable to see rising numbers of Farmer’s & Landowners all through the southwest appraise the advantages of now managing their very own unprofitable arid Piñon Woodlands as lively “Piñon Nut Orchards”. Developed breeding, pollination & tree cultivation practices – already in use to enhance crop yields on Pecan, Walnut, & Apple Orchards might be utilized to financial profit on a Piñon Nut Orchard. “A farmer can create either a transplant or seedling seed orchard, or enhance the productivity of the native Piñon trees already on the land too” stated Alan Peterson who’s pioneering the analysis. And with Piñon nuts promoting for over $15 a pound – this actually does characterize a brand new: “Business Model for the Environment.”

“CULTIVATORS OF THE EARTH ARE THE MOST VALUABLE CITIZENS. THEY ARE MOST VIGOROUS, THE MOST INDEPENDENT, THE VIRTUOUS, AND THEY ARE TIED TO THEIR COUNTRY, AND WEDDED TO ITS LIBERTY AND INTEREST, BUY THE MOST LASTING BONDS. AS LONG AS THEY CAN FIND EMPLOYMENT IN THIS LINE, I WOULD NOT CONVERT THEM INTO MARINERS, ARTISANS, OR ANYTHING ELSE…” Thomas Jefferson, 1785

Introduction to the Piñon

Of roughly (14) species of cultivated nuts in the United States, the Piñon stays to come back below cultivation.

The ancestor of the piñon pine was a member of the Madro-Tertiary Flora, (a bunch of drought resistant species), which beginning 60 million years in the past, its host local weather began to vary from moist to dry.

Piñon (Pinus Edulis) grows slowly right into a small, drought hardy, and fairly lengthy lived native species of the Southwestern United States. It frequent title is derived from the Spanish piñon and refers back to the massive seed of the pino (pine). Other frequent names are Colorado Piñon, and nut pine. Existing woodlands, the place Piñon is the key species, cowl about 36 million acres mixed in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona, however drought and ensuing pine beetle assaults and numerous pathogens have had appreciable impact on Piñon stands.

Piñon bushes develop in areas with annual precipitation from a low of 10″ annually, to upwards of 22″ inches, and the place temperatures exist from an excessive low of -35 Celsius, all inside as brief as 90 days of frost-free yearly. In its highest elevation vary and northern most latitude, native Piñon development might be discovered in quite a lot of soil depths, textures, from rocky gravels, to effective, compacted clays, and at elevations from 4500 to 7500 foot elevations, with remoted specimens as much as 9400 ft.

From analysis into probably the most fascinating Piñon Orchard areas (i.e. low land values, good elevation + rainfall, current excessive producing, native Piñon stands), it stands out that these rural communities most in want of any financial stimulation have been discovered in proximity to these parameters. Thus Piñon Orchards can be of serious worth from their institution & Nut harvesting, particularly in these areas at present deemed unsuitable for conventional agricultural crops. It is hopeful {that a} small, rural neighborhood ‘Brands’ itself round an rising assortment and consumption of Piñon Nuts, i.e….internet hosting a ‘Piñon Nut Festival’ theme, piñon nut commodities (candies, menu gadgets, and their ensuing institution of improved, Piñon Orchards. Thus co-location of lively Piñon cultivation in proximity to rural areas in want of any financial stimulation, might show to be one of the thrilling advantages.

Economic Benefits from elevated Piñon Nut Production

Beneficial impacts to an area economic system develop from a number of totally different channels: the sale of nuts crops would affect the economic system instantly, via the purchases of products and companies domestically, and not directly, as these purchases in flip generate purchases of intermediate items and companies from different, associated sectors of the economic system. In addition, these direct and oblique results will increase employment and revenue, enhancing general economic system buying energy, thereby inducing additional spending on items and companies. This cycle continues till the spending ultimately leaks out of the native economic system because of taxes, financial savings, or purchases of non-domestically produced items and companies.

Barriers to Commercial Cultivation of the Piñon

o Complexities of water use, water rights and water availability in Colorado, and all arid lands of the west.

o Piñon nut (seed) manufacturing is cyclic and good crops can happen at 2-7 12 months intervals, however the common crop has been produced at 4.1 yr intervals from a 58 12 months research.

o Slow development charges in typical specimens, until positioned below intense cultivation or grafting practices.

o Limited current information of cross-pollination and nut measurement and nut yield enchancment from both cultivated or native Piñon plantations in the United States.

o Limited current information or research of grafting success on piñon or different nut pines species.

o Possibly probably the most drought hardy traits of any nut producing plant -increasingly essential in a ‘international warming’ local weather ‘onset’.

o Higher protein per weight than all nuts however cashew.

o Piñon has adaptability to the widest vary of soil varieties.

o Piñon incurs little harm from ‘searching’ by deer, elk, rabbits, and rodents over its whole vary.

o Higher and finest use of arid lands than beef cattle elevating on an output of protein per acre. (Piñon nuts = 123% extra protein environment friendly per acre than beef.)

o Few illness and bug herbivory issues.

The Nut bearing pines traditionally have had little scholarly focus as a crop producer. In (1917) Dr. Robert T. Norris (NNGA) acknowledged the pine nuts potential (and future) : “I presume that the extensive planting of pine trees for food purposes will have to wait until we have advanced to the point of putting other kinds of nut trees (walnuts, pecans, etc.) upon good ground first. Pines will be employed for the more barren hillsides when the folks of … hundred years from now begin to complain of the high cost of living”.

…”No sentiment is more acknowledged in the family of Agriculturists than that the few who can afford it should incur the risk & expense of all improvements and give the benefit freely to the many of more restricted circumstances.” Thomas Jefferson, 1810

Spread the love
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!