Gene for yield, height in rice identified
May 5, 2008 09:28 AM - Reuters
Scientists in China have identified a single gene that appears to control rice yield, as well as its height and flowering time, taking what may be a crucial step in global efforts to increase crop productivity. In an article published in Nature Genetics, the researchers said they were able to pinpoint a single gene, Ghd7, which appears to determine all three traits.
Rising Food Prices Hit Organics
May 5, 2008 08:58 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
Although shoppers have generally accepted that eating organic foods will be more costly, a recent and rapid rise in prices may force some consumers to alter their eating habits. Food prices have been rising for several months now, and at first, organic prices stayed steady. But organic foods are catching up - and then some. A gallon of organic milk, for example, is now nearing $7.
Water looms as “The Next Oil,”Ě warns MIT Sloan professor
May 5, 2008 08:29 AM - MIT Sloan School of Management
With U.S. gasoline prices edging toward the recently unimaginable price of $4 a gallon, consumers are beginning to drive less and energy efficiency is again a hot topic. But the pain caused by high oil prices is nothing like what looms as an even more basic and essential natural commodity — water -- faces dwindling supplies and growing demand. As essential as it is taken for granted, water is The Next Oil.
Farmers face climate challenge in quest for more food
May 3, 2008 08:16 PM - Reuters
If farmers think they have a tough time producing enough rice, wheat and other grain crops, global warming is going to present a whole new world of challenges in the race to produce more food, scientists say. In a warmer world beset by greater extremes of droughts and floods, farmers will have to change crop management practices, grow tougher plant varieties and be prepared for constant change in the way they operate, scientists say.
Report Calls for Better Animal Waste Treatment
May 1, 2008 09:31 AM - , Worldwatch Institute
One step beyond her front door, Jayne Clampitt is greeted with the toxic fumes flowing from the roughly 1 million gallons of hog manure stored at her neighbor's farm. She no longer dries her family's laundry outside, her children avoid the nearby polluted stream, and she worries that their shallow drinking well will also be contaminated with toxins. "We thought there was this unspoken connection between farmers, respect and stewardship. But we don't see that anymore," said Clampitt, whose family raises livestock in northwest Iowa. "I should not be forced to move out of my home."
Latest Developments on Farm Bill & Biofuels
May 1, 2008 09:26 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program
At a White House press conference yesterday that focused on the U.S. domestic economy, President George W. Bush addressed food prices, the Farm Bill and biofuels. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David M. Herszenhorn summarized in today’s New York Times that, “With consumer confidence slipping and gasoline and food prices soaring, President Bush delivered an unusually dark assessment of the economy on Tuesday, saying the nation was in ”ėvery difficult times, very difficult.’”Ě
Climate modelers see modern echo in '30s Dust Bowl
May 1, 2008 09:24 AM - The Earth Institute at Columbia University
NEW YORK April 30, 2008 — Climate scientists using computer models to simulate the 1930s Dust Bowl on the U.S Great Plains have found that dust raised by farmers probably amplified and spread a natural drop in rainfall, turning an ordinary drying cycle into an agricultural collapse. The researcher say the study raises concern that current pressures on farmland from population growth and climate change could worsen current food crises by leading to similar events in other regions.
What is the Real Cause of Agflation--Rapidly Rising Food Prices?
April 30, 2008 09:25 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
The old laws of the marketplace are no longer working. Food prices have been rising for six years because of surging demand, and increased production is not restoring the balance as it used to in the past. In fact, prices have been going up even faster over the last year. The so-called "financialisation" of commodities markets, that is, the influx of investment funds seeking safer and more lucrative assets, has intensified the trend and "at the moment impinges more than the law of supply and demand," said analyst Fernando Muraro of AgRural, a consultancy firm in Brazil.
Making a Killing from the Food Crisis
April 29, 2008 09:33 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
The world food crisis is hurting a lot of people, but global agribusiness firms, traders and speculators are raking in huge profits. Much of the news coverage of the world food crisis has focussed on riots in low-income countries, where workers and others cannot cope with skyrocketing costs of staple foods. But there is another side to the story: the big profits that are being made by huge food corporations and investors.
Key farm-state lawmakers shifting support to cellulosic fuel
April 29, 2008 09:20 AM - , The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
The corn ethanol industry could take a nearly 12 percent hit in their subsidies in the next farm bill, as farm state lawmakers shift their support to new cellulosic ethanol. The farm bill agreement that key House and Senate negotiators reached Friday would extend and reduce the tax credit for conventional ethanol and the tariff on imported ethanol. It would also give new subsidies for cellulosic ethanol -- derived from crop debris, woody plants and grasses.