Agriculture

Human-generated Ozone Will Damage Crops, According to MIT Study
November 8, 2007 09:19 AM - MIT

A novel MIT study concludes that increasing levels of ozone due to the growing use of fossil fuels will damage global vegetation, resulting in serious costs to the world's economy.  The analysis, reported in the November issue of Energy Policy, focused on how three environmental changes (increases in temperature, carbon dioxide and ozone) associated with human activity will affect crops, pastures and forests.

Researchers to develop improved cowpea varieties
November 7, 2007 12:19 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

RIVERSIDE – Providing food security, one of the greatest challenges of our time, is a critical goal especially in the developing world, where crop destruction by drought, disease and pest infestation swiftly places millions of lives at risk of hunger.  Scientists will help meet this challenge by focusing on cowpea, a protein-rich legume crop of immense importance to Africa that complements starchy staple crops such as corn, cassava, sorghum and millets in the diets of millions of Africans.

“Our project will develop the key genomic resources that are currently lacking in cowpea,” said Timothy Close, a professor of genetics and a co-principal investigator of the grant, who leads at the University of California, Riverside's cowpea genomics effort. “We will use modern plant breeding approaches that employ new and efficient molecular marker development methodologies.”

Greenland's Broccoli is Bad for Our Health
November 6, 2007 08:33 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

It is a global warming story capable of striking fear into the hearts of children: broccoli can now be grown in Greenland. The land synonymous with ice sheets, polar bears and Eskimos has experienced a small but significant increase in temperature which has made it economically viable for the first time in hundreds of years to grow and sell the vegetable locally.

Florida gov. to lobby for ethanol on U.S. Congress
November 5, 2007 05:46 PM - Inae Riveras, Reuters

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday he will encourage U.S. Congress members to lobby for more ethanol use and a reduction in the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on Brazilian imports of the biofuel.

The use of more cane-based ethanol is seen as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. state, which is aiming to reduce them to 1990 levels by 2015.

How sweet is it?
November 5, 2007 03:43 PM - American Society for Horticultural Science

GAINSVILLE, FL -- We love it fresh, canned and frozen. It's grown in every state, and according to a recent study published by the American Society of Horticultural Science, adds up to a whopping $807 million per year industry in the U.S. In other words, sweet corn is big business. Fresh market production of sweet corn in the U.S. peaks in July, with only ten percent of the annual volume marketed during winter months. Fresh sweet corn is extremely perishable as a result of rapid decrease in sugar content, discoloration and risk of pathogen infection.

Group to Create Rating System for Landscapes
November 5, 2007 12:22 PM - Allyson Wendt, ENN

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has been working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas–Austin since 2005 to research environmentally friendly landscapes for building sites, parks, and public areas.

In 2006, the U.S. Botanic Garden joined the effort, and now the group is going public with its Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), a project to develop guidelines by 2009 and a rating system for landscapes by 2012.

Monsanto’s rBGH Profits Down; More Dairies Go rBGH-Free
November 3, 2007 11:23 PM - Ken Roseboro, The Organic and Non-GMO Report

Monsanto Company recently announced that profits from its genetically modified bovine growth hormone, Posilac, also known as rBGH, will fall 16% in 2007 due to “pressure in the dairy business,” according to chief financial officer, Terry Crews.

Tens of thousands trapped in Mexico floods
November 2, 2007 11:37 AM - Luis Manuel Lopez, Reuters

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Mexicans were trapped on rooftops and others clung to lampposts on Thursday after heavy rains flooded nearly the entire southern state of Tabasco.

At least 500,000 people were made homeless and one person was killed in the worst flooding the swampy state has seen in more than 50 years.

President Felipe Calderon said it was one of the worst natural disasters in Mexico's history.

Television images showed rescue workers hauling people out turbulent, brown waters that rose as high as the roofs of houses. Children floated down a street in a plastic tub.

Ol' McDonald had a Farm (Bill)
November 2, 2007 09:59 AM - , Triple Pundit

For most of this year, Congress has been debating what to include in the 2007 Farm Bill, but there is still time for you to contact your legislators and have an influence. This opportunity to shape what food is grown, how it is grown, who grows it, and who can afford to eat it only comes around once every 5 years! Farm Bill policy is controversial and it helps to understand why. Food & Water Watch’s Farm Bill 101 provides an easy-to-read 1-page history of the development of farm bill policy.

Organic gardens take root in Canada
November 1, 2007 08:58 PM - Julie Gordon, Reuters

TORONTO (Reuters) - As climate change makes longer, drier summers a reality in many parts of the world, a new trend in landscaping is taking root in Canada.

In Toronto, where precipitation levels were 52 percent below the seasonal average over the past six months, according to government data, residents are trading in their manicured lawns for environmentally friendly organic landscapes.

"Irrigation is a huge issue as water is such a valuable resource," said Claire Suo-Cockerton of landscaping company Aesthetic Earthworks. "We are trying to plant material that is more appropriate today in our climate."

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