neonicotinoids


How Is the USDA Doing on Scientific Integrity?

, lead analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

In March 2013, the US Department of Agriculture updated its scientific integrity policy, a policy mandated by the Obama Administration for all federal agencies with a significant focus on science. Along with 22 other agencies and departments, the USDA developed a policy in 2011 that the Union of Concerned Scientists assessed to “not make adequate commitments to scientific integrity.” How does the revised policy measure up and does it appear to be working? Read more >

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Small Insect’s Big Lessons for the Farm Bill: Agroecology and Breeding Top Monsanto’s Industrial Agriculture

, former senior scientist, Food and Environment

My last post discussed the success of public sector scientists who discovered and developed genes in soybean, using conventional breeding, that confer resistance to the invasive soybean aphid. These insects cost US farmers billions of dollars per year.

In contrast, an article in the New York Times in late July used the dramatic example of citrus greening disease, which is threatening the citrus industry in the US, to tout the possibility of GE to remedy challenging pest problems. Whether these will eventually work is far from certain. But we should keep in mind that while such future promises catch the public’s eye, breeding continuously makes significant advances in crop improvement. Read more >

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Risk Assessments Are Missing Harmful Effects of Neonics on Honey Bees

, sr. scientist emeritus, Food & Environment

As Rachel Carson noted in her seminal book Silent Spring, a quiet landscape can speak volumes. Lately the buzz of bees going about their invaluable work is getting softer and softer…and in some places, it is just about inaudible. Read more >

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Pesticide Use is Actually Much Greater Than Reported

, former senior scientist, Food and Environment

In a revealing article in the Wall Street Journal, Ian Berry explains how resistance to an engineered Bt gene by corn rootworms is leading to reversals in the trend toward declining insecticide use on corn in the U.S. Resistance was first discovered by entomologist Aaron Gassman, as we reported, about two years ago. Read more >

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