Agriculture

Heads Monsanto Wins, Tails We Lose
March 22, 2008 09:27 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

There have been few experiments as reckless, overhyped and with as little potential upside as the rapid rollout of genetically modified crops. Last month, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a pro-biotech nonprofit, released a report highlighting the proliferation of genetically modified crops. According to ISAAA, biotech crop area grew 12 percent, or 12. 3 million hectares, to reach 114. 3 million hectares in 2007, the second highest area increase in the past five years.

Melting glaciers will shrink grain harvests in China and India.
March 21, 2008 09:36 AM - Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

The world is now facing a climate-driven shrinkage of river-based irrigation water supplies. Mountain glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau are melting and could soon deprive the major rivers of India and China of the ice melt needed to sustain them during the dry season. In the Ganges, the Yellow, and the Yangtze river basins, where irrigated agriculture depends heavily on rivers, this loss of dry-season flow will shrink harvests.

Panel Backs GMO Taro Ban
March 20, 2008 10:15 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

WAILUKU - A resolution urging a hold on research involving genetic modification of taro was advanced Wednesday by the County Council Public Works and Facilities Committee. The resolution supports a bill pending before the state Legislature that would put a 10-year moratorium on developing, testing and growing genetically modified taro plants. Supporters in the audience, many of them taro farmers from East Maui, applauded as the committee voted to recommend the resolution with a 5-0 vote.

French state body upholds decision on GM crop ban
March 19, 2008 02:22 PM - Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - France's top legal authority on Wednesday upheld a government decision to ban commercial use of the only genetically modified (GM) crop grown in the country by rejecting an emergency injunction filed by the pro-GM camp. France issued decrees banning the use of MON 810 maize seeds in February after a government-appointed committee said it unearthed new evidence of damage GM products could inflict on the environment.

Expect Food Prices to Go Higher and Higher
March 17, 2008 09:29 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

With respect to food costs, Andrew Martin and Michael M. Grynbaum reported in today's New York Times that, "The government announced Friday that the cost of food had gone up yet again. This came as no revelation to Bruce Newton, a single father of two children. "As he wheeled a cart full of groceries out of a Stop & Shop supermarket in Bloomfield, N.J., on Thursday night, Mr. Newton complained that the price of chicken had become 'outrageous,' and eggs were so costly his mother sent him from store to store hunting for the cheapest ones. Essential breakfast items like milk, cereal and orange juice have become 'so expensive, but what are you going to do?'"

$6 million research lab will produce ethanol and other biofuels from grasses and biomass
March 13, 2008 09:40 AM - Cornell Chronicle Online

A former agricultural engineering, power and machinery lab at Cornell is being gutted to make way for a state-of-the art Biofuels Research Laboratory that will convert perennial grasses and woody biomass into cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels and will occupy the entire east wing of Riley Robb Hall by January 2009. The $6 million lab is being constructed thanks to a $10 million grant awarded to Larry Walker, Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering, from the Empire State Development Corp., and will include analytical equipment, incubators, fermentors and other state-of-the-art biotechnology equipment.

Corn-based ethanol could worsen "dead zone"
March 11, 2008 02:01 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Growing more corn to meet the projected U.S. demand for ethanol could worsen an expanding "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico that is bad for crawfish, shrimp and local fisheries, researchers reported on Monday. The dead zone is a huge area of water -- some 7,700 square miles -- that forms above the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico every summer. It contains very low levels of oxygen.

Corn is King -- and Therefore a Growing Problem
March 8, 2008 11:13 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Corn is a key element of the U.S. food supply. It is what dairy cows eat to make milk and hens consume to lay eggs. It fattens cattle, hogs and chickens before slaughter. It makes soda sweet. As the building block of ethanol, it is now also a major component of auto fuel. And that may signal trouble ahead.

U.S. activist circles globe to fight biotech crops
March 7, 2008 03:07 PM - Reuters

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Jeffrey Smith is a man on a mission. Each day, ever day for the last 12 years, the 49-year-old Smith has made it his personal calling to travel the world preaching against genetically modified crops.

Manitoba bans new hog barns in half of province
March 4, 2008 08:19 AM - Reuters

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Manitoba will permanently ban new hog barns and expansions in the eastern half of the province, where the industry is most concentrated, its conservation minister said on Monday. The government will immediately lift a temporary ban on new and expanding hog operations in the rest of the province, Stan Struthers said, but he said the entire industry will be subject to more environmental rules and scrutiny.

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