Agriculture

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

'Cooling down' begins at Svalbard Global Seed Vault
November 16, 2007 08:57 AM - The Global Crop Diversity Trust

LONGYEARBYEN, NORWAY —Refrigeration units began pumping chilly air deep into an Arctic mountain cavern today, launching the innovative and critical “cooling down” phase of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in advance of its official opening early next year as a fail-safe repository of the world’s vital food crops. Svalbard is now three days into the three-month “Polar Night” period when there is 24 hours of complete darkness.

Canada wine region adds electricity to its crops
November 15, 2007 09:02 AM - Reuters

Wine-making waste will be turned into electricity under a Canadian plan to capture methane gas from decomposing grape skins and seeds produced in southern Ontario's Niagara grape-growing region.

Paying Farmers to Protect the Planet is Future: U.N.
November 15, 2007 09:00 AM - Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Paying farmers to protect the environment -- rather than just for their produce -- will be an important way to ensure a rapidly increasing demand for food does not destroy the planet, a U.N. agency said on Thursday.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said paying for "environmental services" is set to be an important way to link two of humanity's greatest challenges: beating poverty and safeguarding the environment.

"(Farming) has the potential to degrade the Earth's land, water, atmosphere and biological resources -- or to enhance them -- depending on the decisions made by the more than 2 billion people whose livelihoods depend directly on crops, livestock, fisheries or forests," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Greenpeace Blocks Shipment of Indonesian Palm Oil
November 15, 2007 08:35 AM - Reuters

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Greenpeace has blocked a tanker carrying more than 30,000 tonnes of palm oil from leaving an Indonesian port to protest against forest destruction blamed on plantations, the environmental group said on Thursday.

The protest came less than three weeks before a U.N. climate change meeting on the resort island of Bali, where delegates from 189 countries will debate ways to slow down global warming, including the impact of dwindling tropical rainforests.

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