Agriculture

Mexico City vows to protect historic maize varieties
April 6, 2009 02:52 PM - Arturo Barba, SciDevNet

Mexico City has announced that it will take steps to protect more than 60 maize breeds known to grow in its territory, also known as the Mexican Altiplano. The announcement came just days before the Mexican Government said that it would allow the experimental cultivation of genetically modified (GM) maize in other parts of the country.

New England's sugar country confronts a bitter future as the climate warms
April 6, 2009 09:09 AM - David Biello, Daily Climate

All farming depends on the weather, but few foods are more dependent on a specific climate than maple syrup. After all, for the sugar maple's sap to run at all requires cooperative weather — freezing nights followed by warmer days. But thanks to the build-up of invisible greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, those temperature swings don't happen as reliably. At risk is an American tradition that stretches back even before Europeans discovered the "New World."

Plants buy Earth more time as CO2 makes them grow

Trees and plants are growing bigger and faster in response to the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans, scientists have found. The increased growth has been discovered in a variety of flora, ranging from tropical rainforests to British sugar beet crops.

Medieval warming 1000 yrs ago was a result of natural climate mechanism
April 5, 2009 07:12 AM - Thaindian News

In a new research, scientists have unraveled the natural climate mechanism that caused unusually warm weather in medieval times in Europe 1000 years back.

FDA: Avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare
March 31, 2009 07:10 AM - MSNBC from AP

Federal food safety officials warned Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination.

Feds take steps to drive depressed dairy prices up
March 30, 2009 11:00 AM - Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald

California's struggling dairy farmers will get a modest boost from the Agriculture Department, which announced plans Thursday designed to bolster prices and benefit hungry kids. With dairy prices plummeting, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the department will shift 200 million pounds of surplus nonfat dry milk into domestic feeding programs. Reducing the surplus stored in government warehouses is supposed to propel prices upward.

Fish Oils Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Flatulent Cows
March 30, 2009 06:09 AM - ScienceDaily

The benefits to animals of omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have been well documented – helping the heart and circulatory system, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions.

Farmers face growing climate change dilemma: scientist
March 26, 2009 11:39 AM - David Fogarty, Reuters

Farmers of the future will have to use cattle and sheep that belch less methane, crops that emit far less planet-warming nitrous oxide and become experts in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to the government.

Wild Bees Can Be Effective Pollinators
March 25, 2009 12:03 PM - Science Daily

Over the past few years, honey bee keepers have experienced problems due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has hurt honey bee populations, causing some growers of fruits, nuts and vegetables to wonder how their crops will be pollinated in the future.

Better food safety crucial for Africa
March 19, 2009 09:11 AM - SCIDEV

Africa must protect its food supplies from contamination by prioritising and investing in food production systems, says Ruth Oniang'o, editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development. January 2009 saw Kenya destroy US$8 million worth of maize — the country's staple food — after it was found to be contaminated with aflatoxin. But it seems the government agency concerned was more worried about recouping storage costs than righting its failures, says Oniang'o.

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