Agriculture

Earth's dirty little secret: Slowly but surely we are skinning our planet
November 30, 2007 04:42 PM - University of Washington, Newswire

Seattle, WA - "It only takes one good rainstorm when the soil is bare to lose a century's worth of dirt." "It's more of a conceptual shift than anything else, but it's a conceptual shift that conserves the soil." Seattle, Washington - Throughout history civilizations expanded as they sought new soil to feed their populations, then ultimately fell as they wore out or lost the dirt they depended upon. When that happened, people moved on to fertile new ground and formed new civilizations.

That process is being repeated today, but in a new book a University of Washington geomorphologist argues the results could be far more disastrous for humans because there are very few places left with fertile soil to feed large populations, and farming practices still trigger large losses of rich dirt.

 

 

 

 

Abundant Evidence to Warn People Against GE Crops
November 30, 2007 08:25 AM -

There are thousands of toxic or allergic-type reactions in humans, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals. Government safety assessments, including those of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), do not identify many of the dangers, and analysis reveals that industry studies submitted to FSANZ are designed to avoid finding them. 

 

 

 

Manure Management Reduces Levels of Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance Genes
November 29, 2007 08:36 AM - American Society of Agronomy

Antibiotic resistance is a growing human health concern. Researchers around the globe have found antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals to be present in surface waters and sediments, municipal wastewater, animal manure lagoons, and underlying groundwater. In a recent article in the November-December issue of Journal of Environmental Quality, researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) describe a study to find out if animal waste contributes to the spread of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARG), and if they can be reduced by appropriate manure management practices.

Limited biofuel feedstock supply?
November 29, 2007 08:23 AM - American Society of Agronomy

The United States has embarked on an ambitious program to develop technology and infrastructure to economically and sustainably produce ethanol from biomass. Corn stover, the above-ground material left in fields after corn grain harvest, has been identified as a primary feedstock. Stover and other crop biomass or residue is frequently referred to as "trash" or a waste, implying it has minimal value. However, when returned to the land, this carbon-rich material helps control erosion, replenishes soil organic matter, and improves soil quality. Organic matter in the soil retains and recycles nutrients and improves soil structure, aeration, and water exchange characteristics. In addition, organic matter is the energy source for the soil ecosystem.

Scotts to pay $500,000 fine over biotech bentgrass
November 26, 2007 08:20 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scotts Miracle-Gro Co will pay a $500,000 fine over allegations it failed to comply with U.S. rules while testing a genetically engineered grass variety that could one day be used on lawns and athletic fields, the Agriculture Department said on Monday.

The settlement involves field tests in Oregon and 20 other states of creeping bentgrass modified to resist weed killers such as Monsanto Co's Roundup. A golf course, for example, could be sprayed to kill weeds without hurting the grass. Genetically engineered grasses have not been approved by USDA.

Farmworkers Target Tobacco Giant After Deaths in the Fields
November 26, 2007 08:58 AM - Paul Abowd , Organic Consumers Association

"Workers say the hardest part of tobacco is the summer heat. Workers often aren't allowed a break, and the chances of heat sickness are high." Tobacco kills in many ways. Long before that first puff lies yet more lethality, hidden in the fields where the tobacco leaf is grown. Last year alone, heat stroke claimed nine North Carolina field workers.

Battle with industry leaves scars on Indian farmland
November 26, 2007 04:15 AM - Reuters

NANDIGRAM, India (Reuters) - It's the peak harvest season, but not a single sheaf of paddy grows on Abu Tayeb's land, testament to a hollow victory for farmers in eastern India who fought to keep big industry off their land but now face ruin.

Palm oil industry moves closer to "green" labeling
November 26, 2007 01:05 AM - Reuters

clarifies its role in the roundtable in paragraph 5.

Green group wary of plans for "eco-friendly" palm
November 26, 2007 01:04 AM - Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - An environmental group has threatened to withdraw its support for a plan to certify "eco-friendly" palm oil, accusing the world's two biggest producers of cynically exploiting the initiative.

Noah's Ark flood spurred European farming
November 17, 2007 07:19 PM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - An ancient flood some say could be the origin of the story of Noah's Ark may have helped the spread of agriculture in Europe 8,300 years ago by scattering the continent's earliest farmers, researchers said on Sunday.

Using radiocarbon dating and archaeological evidence, a British team showed the collapse of the North American ice sheet, which raised global sea levels by as much as 1.4 meters, displaced tens of thousands of people in southeastern Europe who carried farming skills to their new homes.

The researchers said in the journal Qua

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