Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 2, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 18 Thf Cedar Rapids Gazette: Mon., Sept. 2, 1974 Plastic-Covered Factories Manufacture Food By Seth S. King Ne* Times News Service TUCSON, Ari/.. — From the air, the plastic-covered rectangles clustered among the mesquite bushes resemble a huge factory. That, in fact, is what it is — a factory where 10-foot-tall tomato plants are manufactured in the harsh desert sand. Inside the Superior Farming Company’s sprawling greenhouses, some equal in area to three and a half football fields, ideal quantities of sunlight, humidity, carbon dioxide, water and plant food are provided, in ideal temperatures, to grow four tunes as many tomatoes as can be grown in the open, irrigated fields of California. A half mile to the south, at the University of Arizona’s environmental research laboratory, there is a similar cluster of structures. Some of these are even simpler in design. resembling large inflated plastic sausages. Inside them, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce plants are thriving, protected from a summer sun that would otherwise destroy them in a matter of days. Greenhouse Farming Workers in these two factories are practicing controlled environment farming, now a proven system of greenhouse horticulture in which any grain, fruit or vegetable can be raised in abundant quantities in any part of the world where there is sunlight, a supply of either salt or fresh water, and a large quantity of electrical power. The laboratory's system is now being used not only by superior farming at Tucson, but also at the arid lands research center on Sadiyat island in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian gulf; at the laboratory's second station at Puerto Penasco on the desert coast of Sonora, Mexico; at Kharg island in Iran, and at the Quechan Environmental farms on the Fort Yuma Indian reservation in the California desert. The system is fundamentally the same at all these places. Within the tightly sealed, plastic-roofed, fiberglass-sided greenhouses, the Top State Fair 4-H Dairy Judges Six of the IO top judges in the Iowa State fair 4-H dairy judging contest are from The Gazette circulation area. The judges are, left to right: Front row, Terry Engelken, Earlville; Greg Lyon, Toledo; Rick Entz, Waterloo; Denise Koss, Mt. Vernon. Back row, Charles Weigel, Earlville; Tom Cross, Cedar Falls; Shirley Klinsky, Ely; Sherry Newell, Long Grove; and Dave Ohman, Toledo. Forecasters Aided by Soviet Pact WASHINGTON (AP) - A new cooperative agreement signed with the Soviet Union in June of last year is helping agriculture department experts put together some de-, tailed information about that country’s farming operation Two new teams left for Russia last week to have a look at the spring wheat crop and how Soviet analysts gauge crop production The tours are the second this year. Earlier, U. S. experts took a look at the Soviet winter wheat crop. Partly as a result of that tour, June 16 until July 6, the USHA was able to confirm estimates by Moscow that prospects for 1974 winter wheat production looked about as good as last year’s record crop. Further, a report by the Corn Yield Contest Deadline Extended BOONE (UPI) - The National Corn Growers Assn. has extended the filing deadline for entries in the corn yield contest to Sept. 15. Contest Chairman lx*on Todd said recent rains over most of the major production areas of the cornbell, coupled with moderate temperatures, have enhanced the prospects for thousands of farmers who had to plant their crops late. The Want Ad number is ■ 398-8234 department’s foreign agricultural service showed some detail about Soviet wheat production that in some previous years could only be guessed at by U. S. experts. For example, the record 1973 Soviet wheat crop of 109.7 million metric tons included 49 million tons of winter wheat. By comparison, the total U. S. wheat crop this year, a record, is estimated at about 50 million metric tons or about one-half Soviet output. A major difference, the report said, is the huge fluctuation of Soviet wheat production. That can vary between five million metric tons and 55 million from one year to another, officials said Also, Russia has relatively j little land suited for winter wheat and relies on spring- planted varieties for the bulk of its production. In the United States winter wheat is by far the largest kind grown. But Soviet winter wheat yields are large, averaging 28.9 centners per hectare last year, about 40 bushels per acre. The 1974 winter wheat yield is estimated at 29 9 bushels per acre. The report said 1974 Soviet winter wheat yields are expected to be still higher despite some lag in the summer harvest. Cotton, Feed Grains Wide Open in 1975 WASHINGTON (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Earl L. But/ announced this week that wheat, cotton and feed grains producers will have no government acreage restrictions in 1975, the second straight year for wide-open production. But wheat farmers may not increase plantings for next year's harvest from what they had in 1974, says the National Assn of Wheat Growers “The assessment is based on reports that most areas have already made full use of available land and any increases in wheat acreages are likely to lie offset by shifts to other crops because of favorable price relationships,” the association said in its weekly newsletter. This School Year Can Be Great Play in the BAND or ORCHESTRA IT’S FUN! Low Cost Trial Rental Plan For Band and Orchestra Instruments New or Used Instruments All Guaranteed All Rent to Apply lf you Decide to Buy The Most Famous Names In Instruments • Conn • Selmer • Bundy • Artley • Karl Knilling • Scherl and Roth • Drums by Ludwig and Rogers MUSCHA* 116 2nd St. SE Phone 363-2067 Open Tues. & Thurs. Til 9:00 Tcinm Heim vegetable plants are set out in foot-deep layers of desert sand that has been placed on a plastic membrane. ( ontrol Climate Huge ceiling fans in the center of these structures change the air within them every minute, sucking in cooled, moistened air in the summer and warmed air in the winter through filter pads at one end of each enclosure. Fresh water, in which plant nutrients, fertilizers and fungicides have been dissolved, is pumped along the base of each plant. Levels of carbon dioxide that the plants must absorb are provided in those areas where the natural supply is deficient. “We start simply with power and water,” Dr. Miguel R Pontes, the Tucson laboratory’s chief horticulturist, told a recent visitor. “We set the plants out in sand because it’s everywhere around our farms. But you could put them in peat moss or dirt just as easily. Everything else a plant needs to grow is assured — the proper air temperature, sunlight, water and feed.” Boosts Yield The per-acre yields in the controlled environment greenhouses have been many times greater thap the average fieldgrown yields in the United States. In addition, two or three crops can be grown each year in the controlled environment systems whereas only one can be taken from most American fields. At the controlled environment farm in Ahu Dhabi, which once imported most of the vegetables its people ate, three crops of broccoli were grown last year with yields three times greater than the American field average. Quechan Environmental farms ut Fort Yuma are taking as many tomatoes from one acre under their greenhouses as are produced on 12 acres of irrigated land. At Tucson, Superior Farming now has ll acres of controlled environment buildings in which the company is producing two crops of tomatoes annually. Throughout two 15-week growing cycles, ripened tomatoes are picked by hand, sorted, packed and shipped by air from Tucson to markets in Eastern cities. “We could grow anything here that is grown anywhere else in the world,” said Michael Hopkins, the youthful manager of Superior’s Tucson farm. Expense Factor “Obviously, this is a high-cost operation,” Hopkins said. "We have to handle high-priced crops like* tomatoes and cucumbers that can be trained to grow vertically. But we can offset these costs with our high per-acre yields, and by being able to ship to markets in the months when field-grown crops are not available.” While it is technically feasible to create controlled environment systems almost anywhere that people are hungry, the world is not likely to see them in great numbers now. They arc still very expensive to build and operate and they require a large labor force to pic k the vegetables by hand. The five acres of greenhouses at Quechan farms cost $1.2 million to build. Part of this was funded with a federal grant to provide a source of jobs for Indians living on the reservation. The farm at Sadiyat island ,is subsidized by the Abu Dhabi government. Superior Farming, one of the largest corporate farming companies in tile United States, has its extensive resources behind the Tucson installation. Operating Costs At current operating costs, the Environmental Farms in the United States must get 25 or 26 cents a pound wholesale for their tomatoes to meet operating costs. These costs vary with the cost of power and water and local labor rates. Recently, at the height of the natural field tomato harvest, tomatoes were selling at wholesale for about 17 cents a pound. But during the remaining nine months of the year, when the controlled Environment Farms push their production, wholesale prices reach 35 cents a pound. “We’re edging into the black a little now,” said Bill Gray, manager of the Quec han Farms. Iowa Economy Benefits from Dairy Industry AMES — Iowa dairymen contribute significantly to the economy of their communities, says Don Voelker, extension dairyman at Iowa State university. More than 20,000 Iowa farms produce milk, with about 385,000 cows being milked twice daily in Iowa. Iowa dairying produces over $430 million annual gross income, said Voelker. Fluid milk income totals about $100 million annually from 1.2 billion pounds of milk. Yearly income from an additional 2.8 billion pounds of manufactured milk products yields $230 million. The sale of dairy animals for beef contributes $100 million annually, while breeding stock sales also add to the income of dairymen. Most of Iowa’s dairy income is spent locally, according to Voelker. Dairymen require feed and feed supplements, milking machines and other dairy supplies for their operations. Also needed are utilities, insurance, vehicles, gasoline and construction companies for building and expanding dairy facilities. The agri-business suppliers needed by dairymen are important employers in many communities, Voelker said. as their employes generate further income into the local economy. Voelker said about IIM) dairy plants in Iowa process and merchandise fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter and non-fat dry milk. In some towns the dairy plant is the community’s largest industry. Milk shipments comprise a large part of Iowa’s trucking industry, whose fuel taxes contribute to better Iowa roads, said Voelker. Many dairy products are marketed outside Iowa, thus bolstering Iowa’s income with out-of-state money. The extension dairyman said northeast Iowa is particularly affected by dairying. Clayton, Dubuqe, Winneshiek, Delaware, Allamakee, Fayette, Bremer and Jackson counties, along with Sioux county in northwest Iowa, produce half of the dairy products in the state. Phony Cheese Now Allowed in School Lunches WASHINGTON (AP) - Ak-riculture Department officials say they expect a number of manufacturers to register soon under a new regulation which will permit them to sell make-believe cheese to school cafeterias. The department announced Aug. 23 that “cheese alternate products” will be allowed to be mixed with natural or processed cheese in government-subsidized school lunch programs. A spokesman said Thursday that prospective suppliers must register their products with the department’s Food and Nutrition Service so officials can see if the cheese-1 ike products meet I’SDA specifications. Under the regulation, a cheese alternate can be* made from conventional ingredients such as milk, as well as animal or vegetable fats. The alternates arc* intended to be* supplements, not subsitutes, for meat, poultry, fish or cheese in the meal programs. In Your CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE ★ OPEN HOUSES ★ HOME FURNISHINGS ★ NEW IDEAS All Yours By Reading The Big “Parade of Homes” Special Section In connoctrpn wilt) Nationol Horn* W**k which begin i Sunday, Sept 8, memberi of the Cedar Rapids Home Guilders Association will sponsor a "Parade of Homes ' in oil price ranges ond in oil parts of Cedar Rapids and Marion Practically everything that goes into making a home a better and more enjoyable place in which to live, will be featured in this section lf you need lumber, building materials, glass, point, kitchen appliances, bathroom fin tores, home furnishings, carpet, air conditioning, electrical futures or if you require one of th* many services required in building ond beautifying a home, then the "Potade of Homes section of the Sunday Gorette, Sep fember 8fh, will be of interest lo you lf your business would lib# to bo reprotented in this SPECIAL INTEREST Section Call 398-S124 and a Calotte advertising representative will assist you. Plan Nowl Last minute ADVERTISING DEADLINE is Tuesday, Sept 3rd, at 3 P.M. EXPERT PHOTO FINISHING CEDAR RAPIDS’ ONLY COLOR PROCESSING PLANT Pictures are not sent out of town so you get them back sooner 24 HOUR SERVICE ON K0DAC0L0R FILM LOWEST PRICES ON PHOTO FINISHING PICTURES AVAILABLE ON GLOSSY OR MATTE PAPER MAGISTICK MOONTING NO EXTRA CHARGE WE CARRY A FULL LINE OF CAMERAS & ACCESSORIES LINN PHOTO STORES 1445 C St. S.W. 519 3rd St. SI. 1404 Ut Ave. NI.