Agriculture

Worldwatch Perspective: Can Biofuels Make or Break Iowa’s Future?
October 12, 2007 08:32 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

A report profiling the impact of the current biofuels boom in the U.S. state of Iowa and painting a more sustainable path forward for the biofuels industry was released Tuesday in the state capital, Des Moines. The report, Destination Iowa: Getting to a Sustainable Biofuels Future, is a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the Sierra Club. It examines the implications of biofuel development for Iowa’s economy and environment as well as for climate change.

Survey: San Francisco, Seattle Tops For Organics Consumers; Wal-Mart, Costco #1 Organic Grocery Stores
October 11, 2007 05:20 PM -

New York – The West Coast is a stronghold for organics consumers, with 35 percent of San Francisco adults using organic foods during the past month, making it the top U.S. city for organics users. In Seattle (32 percent of Seattle adults used organic foods during the past month), Portland, OR (27 percent), Washington D.C. and Denver (26 percent, each) and San Diego (24 percent) round out the top markets for organics consumers. In the total US.,17 percent of all adults are organics users.

China and India biofuels could threaten food output
October 11, 2007 08:18 AM - Alister Doyle - Reuters

Plans by China and India to raise biofuels production from irrigated maize and sugarcane could aggravate water shortages and undermine food output, an international report said on Thursday.

The two countries, the most populous on the planet, might ease the projected water shortages by developing new biofuel technologies or boosting rain-fed crops such as sweet sorghum, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said.

Pig manure sweet money for Thai farmer
October 10, 2007 09:50 AM - Ploy Chitsomboon and Pisit Changplayngam -Reuters

For Thai pig farmer Ong-Arj Suwunnatee, going green was not only good for business and the environment, it came as a welcome relief to his neighbors.

"Back in the old days, people knocked on my door and complained about the smell," said Ong-Arj, who owns 4,000 pigs in Nakhon Pathom, 55 km (35 miles) west of Bangkok in the heart of Thailand's hog country.

Anheuser Busch Using Genetically Engineered Rice in Beer: Greenpeace
October 9, 2007 05:24 PM -

Washington, United States — Greenpeace released the results of analyses showing the presence of an experimental genetically engineered (GE) strain of rice at an Anheuser-Busch operated mill in Arkansas that is used to brew Budweiser. An independent laboratory test, commissioned by Greenpeace, detected the presence of GE rice (Bayer LL601) in three out of four samples taken at the mill.

Bayer LL601 rice was the source of the 2006 contamination of at least 30 percent of rice stocks in the United States. The GE contamination had a massive negative economic impact on the U.S. rice industry as many countries subsequently stopped or significantly restricted the import of U.S. rice. 

National Mall To Test "Green" Lawn Care
October 9, 2007 04:57 PM -

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attempting to prove to the nation that organic lawn care techniques are safe and effective, one of the highest profile lawns in the world is about to try a massive 'green' makeover.

The two-week project involves plowing a section of existing lawn at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., adding compost, other natural soil amendments and fertilizers before reseeding the area. The project was organized by SafeLawns.org. Representatives from the natural lawn care company will return to the Nation’s Capitol frequently in the next two years to continue an organic maintenance program on the area that measures more than four acres.

Man Wins Contest With 1,524-Lb. Pumpkin
October 9, 2007 07:54 AM - Associated Press

An Oregon man won the annual pumpkin weigh-off here, presenting a gigantic gourd that came it at 1,524 pounds. Thad Starr, of Pleasant Hill, Ore., set a contest record with the pumpkin. He'll get $6 a pound, bringing his winnings to $9,144.

New Study Shows Genetically Engineered Corn Could Pollute Aquatic Ecosystems
October 8, 2007 06:56 PM -

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A study by an Indiana University environmental science professor and several colleagues suggests a widely planted variety of genetically engineered corn has the potential to harm aquatic ecosystems. The study is being published this week by the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Researchers, including Todd V. Royer, an assistant professor in the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, established that pollen and other plant parts containing toxins from genetically engineered Bt corn are washing into streams near cornfields.

They also conducted laboratory trials that found consumption of Bt corn byproducts produced increased mortality and reduced growth in caddisflies, aquatic insects that are related to the pests targeted by the toxin in Bt corn.

Scientists create “interspecies” animal using embryonic stem cells
October 8, 2007 06:37 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Liverpool, UK - Embrionic stem (ES) cells from a wood mouse into the early embryo of a house mouse, an international team of scientists has produced normal healthy animals made up a mixture of cells from each the two distantly related species. This is the first time that stem cells from one mammalian species have been shown to contribute extensively to development when introduced into the embryo of another, very different species.

Poll: Majority See Organic Food As Safer, Tastier, Better for Environment, Healthier, More Expensive
October 8, 2007 03:00 PM -

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- It costs more, but it's worth it, and it's better for the environment and safer. And while those who buy organic food regularly are still a minority, their numbers are growing bigger all the time. Most organic food buyers overwhelmingly believe it tastes better and is worth the extra cost.

These are some of the findings of a Harris Poll of 2,392 adults surveyed online between September 11 and 18, 2007 by Harris Interactive®.

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