Last post, I described some of the features of the voluntary process that might convince veterinary drug companies to give up lucrative approvals to sell antibiotics for production purposes, like growth promotion and feed efficiency. Read More
February 25th, 2013
February 14th, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. The President loves the First Lady’s bangs. Grammy-winner Kelly Clarkson loves fellow winner Miguel (now that she knows who he is). Babies (apparently) love Beyoncé.
And the Monsanto Company, the world’s largest seed and agrichemical seller, is making sure we all know how much they love American farmers.
February 11th, 2013
In writing about climate change it’s hard to avoid the use of catch phrases and clichéd metaphors, as much we try to stop shooting silver bullets and keep all those pesky canaries out of our coal mines. At times, though, such oft-repeated words are used in paradoxical ways, jarring you into thinking about them a bit more deeply. This happened to me a few days ago when, in response to new Department of Agriculture data on the U.S. livestock industry, a beef producer referred to the impacts of the persistent drought as “a perfect storm.” Read More
February 1st, 2013
January 18th, 2013
January 17th, 2013
November 20th, 2012
In my last post, I gave a general reason why the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Board was misleading in writing that a review by Snell and colleagues showed that genetically engineered (GE) foods are equivalent to non-GE counterparts.
Here, I want to discuss why the study does not lead to the conclusion that 90-day tests are generally sufficient to determine the safety of GE foods, and more reasons why the study says little about the long-term safety of engineered foods. Read More
October 30th, 2012
Recently, we have seen a flurry of stories about studies done on Iowa State University’s Marsden Farm demonstrating the power of crop rotation as an engine of modern sustainable agriculture. The study documented high yields and handsome profits on farming plots employing long crop rotations: three-or four-year rather than the usual two-year corn-soy rotations. In addition to high yields and high profits, the long rotations controlled weeds with only sparing use of herbicides and maintained productivity without excessive use of chemical fertilizers. Read More
October 24th, 2012
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that the nation’s certified organic farmers enjoyed sales of more than $3.5 billion in 2011. On this second annual Food Day—a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, sustainable food—it seems fitting to highlight this “good news” story that hasn’t received much attention. Read More
October 16th, 2012
As I noted yesterday, the cost to consumers from labeling the processed foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients is likely to be very small. In most cases a few percent or less. As I also wrote, the right to know what is in our food is probably the most compelling reason for labeling GE foods. But there are other reasons why some may want to know whether our food contains GE ingredients. Two common reasons are concerns about health and environmental risks from GE food and crops. Read More