Agriculture

China fires up biomass plants
December 4, 2007 07:20 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has fired up eight biomass plants in leading grain-producing provinces in hopes of cutting carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation, state media reported on Tuesday.

The plants have a total installed capacity of 200 megawatts and are expected to burn 1.6 million tons of stalks a year.

World faces food shortages
December 4, 2007 02:08 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - The world is eating more than it produces and food prices may climb for years because of expansion of farming for fuel and climate change, risking social unrest, an expert and a new report said on Tuesday.

Anna Lappe: We Are What China Eats
December 3, 2007 05:50 PM - Anna Lappé , Organic Consumers Association

At five in the morning in the small farming village of Dahokeng, a day's drive west of Shanghai, the alarm clock of rural communities everywhere rings: The rooster croaks cock-a-doodle-doo or, as they say here, goh-geh-goh-goh. The air is still damp with mist that hovers above the rice paddies and holds the faint, pleasant scent of farm animals. Kitchen gardens, with harvests of sweet potato, watermelon, green beans and peanuts, spring up between the white-washed homes. The fields along the valley are blanketed with mulberry trees and crowded with chrysanthemum plants, their white flowers aglow.

Study: More Than 20% of Staph Infections Linked to Animal Agriculture
December 3, 2007 01:14 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

WASHINGTON, - A new study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases links a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), once found only in pigs, to more than 20 percent of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands.

Citrus juice, vitamin C give staying power to green tea antioxidants
December 2, 2007 05:22 PM - Mario Ferruzzi, Purdue Newswire

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - To get more out of your next cup of tea, just add juice. A new Purdue University study found that citrus juices enable more of green tea's unique antioxidants to remain after simulated digestion, making the pairing even healthier than previously thought.

The study compared the effect of various beverage additives on catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants found in tea. Results suggest that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C likely increases the amount of catechins available for the body to absorb.

Expanding tropics could spur storms: study
December 2, 2007 01:18 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Earth's tropical belt is expanding much faster than expected, and that could bring more storms to the temperate zone and drier weather to parts of the world that are already dry, climate scientists reported on Sunday.

Cutting forests for farmland 'yields meagre financial benefits'
December 1, 2007 03:38 PM - Ella Syafputri, SciDevNet

Nairobi, Kenya - Converting Indonesian forests and peatlands for various agricultural land uses has released huge amounts of greenhouse gases with little economic benefit, according to a new report.

 

 

The report, by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Indonesian partners, was released last week (21 November).

 

 

Data on changes in land use — such as deforestation for oil palm, rubber, coffee and mixed agroforestry — and carbon emissions in the provinces of East Kalimantan, Jambi, and Lampung were collected between 1990 and 2005.

 

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.

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