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Posts Tagged ‘agriculture’

Is the Drought a Perfect Storm for U.S. Beef?

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

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Negotiating with Drug Companies: The Horse-Trading Behind the FDA’s Voluntary Program

After decades of dragging its feet on the issue, the FDA has finally acknowledged that the ongoing massive use of antibiotics in food animal production poses a public health risk that demands a response. Read More

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Drought Pits Big River against Big Ag

The ongoing Midwest drought has had many repercussions. They include the fact that the Mississippi River—sometimes called “The Big Muddy”—is muddier than usual this year, causing problems and massive anxiety about shipping on the river. Read More

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2013 Begins Without Respite from Drought

The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor and predictions from National Weather Service were released today. They show a grim picture of continuing drought for the foreseeable future for large swathes of the U.S. Read More

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The Long and Short of Long-Term Safety Testing of GE Foods (part 2)

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

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The Transition To Crop Rotation: How Do We Get There?

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

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USDA Says Organic Farming Worth $3.5 Billion…Happy Food Day!

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

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More Reasons for Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods

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

Categories: Food and Agriculture  

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Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods—Let’s Count the Reasons (Part 1)

As several recent articles, such as by Daniel Imhoff and Michael Dimrock, have clearly articulated, the most compelling reason to support labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods is simply the right to know and control what we put into our bodies. We should not have to provide reasons or justifications to food companies, politicians, or scientists for our personal choices. Read More

Categories: Food and Agriculture  

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Rachel Carson’s Nightmare: Herbicide-Tolerant Weeds

It is ironic that a new scientific paper documenting U.S.agriculture’s mounting dependence on chemical pesticides should appear only weeks after the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Read More

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