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Posts Tagged ‘sustainable agriculture’

UCS Vision for Healthy Farms in the 21st Century: Agroecology has the Answers

Agriculture is at a crossroads. While highly productive in the U.S., it is also destructive of the environment, vulnerable to climate change, and highly resource intensive. In short, it is unsustainable. Read More

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Toxic Algae and No-Till—The Environmental Darling of Industrial Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Looks Less Attractive

Read attempts to defend the sustainability of industrial agriculture and genetic engineering, and you will soon encounter no-till, or more generally, conservation tillage. Now it appears that no-till may be contributing to some serious environmental problems. Read More

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Its Master’s Voice: The FDA’s Dependence on Drug Industry Fees

I’ve spent many years wondering why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been so slow to curb the rampant overuse of antibiotics in agriculture. Read More

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The Birds and the Bees…and the Neonicotinoids

Spring has arrived. You can feel it in the air, the brighter sunlight slanting at a steeper angle, and the song of birds that have arrived from exotic winter homes. If you are not a night owl, you might wake up early enough to listen to the energy and excitement of the dawn chorus starting off the day. Read More

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We Know How to Fix Farming

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack made several recent pronouncements prompted by the growing recognition that climate change will make it harder to grow crops. It was a step in the right direction, but it will take a major shift in money and personnel to make needed changes happen. Read More

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This Happy Hour, How About Pesticide Cocktails?

A recent blog post by Tom Philpott pointed to growing evidence that neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments of corn are harming bees. There is new evidence that combining several common insecticides, a “pesticide cocktail” in the jargon, may increase harm. Read More

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Crop Rotation Generates Profits without Pollution (or, What Agribusiness Doesn’t Want You to Know)

UPDATE: March 18, 2013, 3:15 pm: See bottom of post for an update on coverage of this story.

Big Ag has worked hard for decades to instill a belief—in farmers, policymakers, and the public—that its chemical-intensive industrial farming methods are more productive than low-input methods, and more profitable for farmers. In recent years, study after study has cast doubt on this view, and now a team of government and university researchers has published perhaps the most compelling data yet showing that more sustainable farming systems can achieve similar or greater yields and profits, despite steep reductions in chemical inputs. Read More

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Many Good Reasons to “Eat Local”

As an analyst and communicator at UCS, I know how difficult it can be to tell a complicated, nuanced story in our sound-bite-oriented media culture. So even though it was not totally surprising, it was still frustrating to find UCS’s position on the benefits of local foods mischaracterized last week in a USA Today article that called local food “trendy,” but asked whether it is “really more eco-friendly.” Read More

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Land Sparing, Water Saving, and the 2012 U.S. Drought

The drought of 2012 has reminded us that water is a scarce resource, even though we pay fractions of a penny per gallon for it and expect that it’ll be there every time we turn on the tap. We depend on it not only for our drinking and washing and especially for the food we eat, but also for generating the electric power on which our economy depends. Read More

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Resilience to Drought Can be Improved…Within Limits

The terrible drought that is wringing the life out of crops over a large swath of the country, especially in the Midwest, has understandably been in the news. There have been warnings about rising food prices, and the cost to taxpayers for disaster relief to farmers and big insurance companies that are subsidized by the federal government. And as with rising energy prices in the past, rising food prices could be another unwanted burden on a fragile U.S. economy. Read More

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