Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture will help stop desertification, UN agency says
June 17, 2008 09:20 AM - IFAD

Poor farmers and herders in countries bearing the brunt of desertification and land degradation can help stop or reverse those processes by engaging in sustainable agriculture, the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says.

Midwest flooding spurs record corn prices
June 17, 2008 09:15 AM - Reuters

The worst flooding in the U.S. Midwest in 15 years sent fresh shocks to global markets and consumers as corn prices hit record highs on devastating crop losses in the heart of the world's top grain exporter. The price of corn at the Chicago Board of Trade soared above $8 a bushel for the first time as relentless rains and overflowing rivers raised fears that Midwest farmers will not be able to grow much of anything on as many as 5 million acres.

Aurora's Heifer Supplier, 'Promiseland', Busted by the USDA
June 16, 2008 10:04 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The National Organic Program (NOP) of the US Department of Agriculture said today that Promiseland Livestock, L.L.C., could have its organic certification suspended for two years. In a formal administrative complaint, Promiseland, a Falcon, Missouri crops and livestock producer (which sold Aurora Organic Dairy more than 13,000 cattle between 2004 and 2006) was charged by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) with "willful violation" of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and with failure to provide access to records regarding its operations.

Despite Economic Dip, Organic Food Sales Soar
June 16, 2008 09:26 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

If there's a recession, organic food doesn't know it. Even in a down economy, green consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for organic, natural or environmentally-friendly products, per a study released last week by the Natural Marketing Institute and The Nielsen Co. (which is parent to Brandweek).

UK Government Offers Cash For Biomass For Heat And Energy Generation
June 13, 2008 10:26 AM - , Triple Pundit

UK farmers and businesses producing biomass that can be used for fuel and electricity creation can apply for government grants of up to GBP200,000. By paying farmers for various types of wood, grass, straw and dead forest wood, the UK government hopes to raise electricity derived from biomass supply to 6% by 2020, up from 3.5% now. Demand for renewable heat is expected to increase to 6% by 2020, up from 0.6% currently.

Calif. gov declares water emergency in farm area
June 13, 2008 08:50 AM - Reuters

Following his declaration last week of a drought in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed on Thursday a state of emergency in nine counties in the state's farm-rich Central Valley. "Just last week, I said we would announce regional emergencies wherever the state's drought situation warrants them, and in the Central Valley an emergency proclamation is necessary to protect our economy and way of life," the Republican governor said in a statement.

USDA Refuses to Admit What 50 Million Organic Consumers Know: Organic Food is Healthier
June 12, 2008 09:08 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Mum's the word among federal officials about the health benefits of eating organic foods. The Department of Health and Human Services defers questions about organic foods to the Food and Drug Administration. But the FDA has no policy on organics because it says they're the domain of the Department of Agriculture, which will admit to using the "o-word," but says its mandate is simply to regulate use of the certified organic label, not to judge the relative benefits of organic versus conventional foods.

Farmers who plant, or replant , after June 20 may see yields drop by half
June 10, 2008 10:40 AM - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A costly deadline looms for many growers in the Midwest, as every day of waiting for the weather to cooperate to plant corn and soybeans reduces potential yields. Illinois growers who plant corn or soybeans near the end of June can expect a 50 percent reduction in crop yield, according to a University of Illinois agriculture expert.

Prices Leap for Corn and Crude Oil
June 10, 2008 09:25 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Chris Flood, writing on Friday at the Financial Times Online, reported that, "Torrential rain across parts of the Midwest pushed US corn prices to record levels on Friday, prompting concerns about the outlook for this year's harvest. "In Chicago, CBOT July corn jumped 20¾ cents to a record $6.63¼ a bushel, taking gains for this year so far to 45.6 per cent."

The end of abundance: Food panic brings calls for a second 'green revolution'
June 9, 2008 08:53 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

By 1968 the jump in farm productivity was so clear - India, for example, harvested a record wheat crop, as did the Philippines for rice - that William Gaud, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, said the world was witnessing the "makings of a new revolution". "It is not a violent red revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a white revolution like that of the Shah of Iran," Gaud said in a speech 40 years ago. "I call it the green revolution," he added, coining a term that has long survived him.

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