Agriculture

FDA: Avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare
March 31, 2009 07:10 AM - MSNBC from AP

Federal food safety officials warned Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination.

Feds take steps to drive depressed dairy prices up
March 30, 2009 11:00 AM - Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald

California's struggling dairy farmers will get a modest boost from the Agriculture Department, which announced plans Thursday designed to bolster prices and benefit hungry kids. With dairy prices plummeting, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the department will shift 200 million pounds of surplus nonfat dry milk into domestic feeding programs. Reducing the surplus stored in government warehouses is supposed to propel prices upward.

Fish Oils Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Flatulent Cows
March 30, 2009 06:09 AM - ScienceDaily

The benefits to animals of omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have been well documented – helping the heart and circulatory system, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions.

Farmers face growing climate change dilemma: scientist
March 26, 2009 11:39 AM - David Fogarty, Reuters

Farmers of the future will have to use cattle and sheep that belch less methane, crops that emit far less planet-warming nitrous oxide and become experts in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to the government.

Wild Bees Can Be Effective Pollinators
March 25, 2009 12:03 PM - Science Daily

Over the past few years, honey bee keepers have experienced problems due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has hurt honey bee populations, causing some growers of fruits, nuts and vegetables to wonder how their crops will be pollinated in the future.

Better food safety crucial for Africa
March 19, 2009 09:11 AM - SCIDEV

Africa must protect its food supplies from contamination by prioritising and investing in food production systems, says Ruth Oniang'o, editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development. January 2009 saw Kenya destroy US$8 million worth of maize — the country's staple food — after it was found to be contaminated with aflatoxin. But it seems the government agency concerned was more worried about recouping storage costs than righting its failures, says Oniang'o.

Why are GM Foods Not Labeled?
March 16, 2009 09:13 AM - My Green Choices

Genetically modified food, also known as GM food or genetically engineered food, entered the food supply in the 1990s. GM foods contain small pieces of foreign DNA (from other organisms and often from another species) however SA companies are not required to label foods that use GM ingredients. The foreign DNA in GM foods is engineered into the food in hopes of producing desirable traits like resistance to herbicides and pesticides, or resistance to specific pests. Insect-resistant maize, for example, is modified by inserting a bacterium gene that produces toxins and acts as an insecticide. Others have a gene that makes them indestructible when sprayed with certain herbicides.

Supreme Court limits advocacy groups' standing to challenge public lands rules
March 4, 2009 09:36 AM - NY Times

Advocacy groups cannot challenge federal regulations on public lands unless they can prove they are themselves directly threatened by the proposed rules, the Supreme Court ruled in a split decision today. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices sided with the Bush administration, which argued that environmental groups do not have the standing to sue the Forest Service on land management policies that might contradict congressional action.

Chinese farmers could cut fertiliser use, keep yields
March 3, 2009 09:12 AM - SciDev

The scourge of nitrogen pollution in China could be prevented by more efficient use of nitrogen fertiliser in farming — without compromising crop yields, researchers have found. Farmers in China often practise 'double-cropping', where a second crop of food is planted in the same field after the first crop has been harvested.

Study critiques corn-for-ethanol's carbon footprint
March 3, 2009 08:56 AM - Duke University

To avoid creating greenhouse gases, it makes more sense using today's technology to leave land unfarmed in conservation reserves than to plow it up for corn to make biofuel, according to a comprehensive Duke University-led study. "Converting set-asides to corn-ethanol production is an inefficient and expensive greenhouse gas mitigation policy that should not be encouraged until ethanol-production technologies improve," the study's authors reported in the March edition of the research journal Ecological Applications.

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