Agriculture

UK Asks Farmers To Help Improve Water Quality
August 21, 2007 01:06 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

London - Britian's government news agency asked farmers to help improve water quality by making changes to their farming practices to provide a "base line of protection for waters from nitrate and phosphate pollution." The government wants to reduce nitrogen from manure and fertiliser getting into surface or groundwater.

USDA Denies Dequest to Delay Almond Pasteurization Rule; Provision to Take Effect September 1
August 21, 2007 07:00 AM - Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press

A new rule requiring all California almonds to be pasteurized will go into effect Sept. 1, despite farmers' requests to postpone the provision for six months, federal agricultural officials said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to implement the rule stemmed from salmonella outbreaks in 2001 and 2004 that were traced to raw almonds.

Rubbish Heaps Helped Crops Evolve
August 20, 2007 10:53 PM - Oxford University

Rubbish heaps and backyard gardens helped early farmers domesticate crop plants, according to Oxford University scientists. Their research confirms that seeds and fruits gathered in the wild and then discarded or planted at home created a ”˜backyard melting pot’ that gave rise to novel hybrids. Ancient people were quick to spot useful hybrids and start growing them as crops as the first village farms were established, around 4,000 years ago.

Palm Oil Not A Field Of Dreams For All Indonesians
August 20, 2007 06:01 PM - Fitri Wulandari and Lewa Pardomuan, Reuters

Palm oil prices might be going through the roof and making investors and businessmen rich, but the soaring prices have not improved the lot of pickers and locals working on the fringes of the palm oil industry. On the island of Sumatra, one of the main palm oil-growing islands in Indonesia, the world's second-largest producer after Malaysia, 52-year-old Minah salvages unspoilt fruit from partly rotten palm branch that have fallen to the ground.

Uganda Agricultural Effort Gets $12M From World Bank
August 20, 2007 11:59 AM - Ochieng' Ogodo, SciDevNet

Agricultural research in Uganda has received a US$12 million boost from the World Bank. The bank's board of directors approved the loan for Uganda's Second Agricultural Research and Training Project this month (August). "Raising agricultural productivity is a key area for the [Ugandan] government's Poverty Eradication Action Plan and a flagship operational area for the bank's Africa Action Plan," said John McIntire, the World Bank's country director for Tanzania and Uganda, in a press release.

Mom Always Said "Eat Your Veggies", But What About Your Whole Grains?
August 20, 2007 10:48 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Every cause has a day, or month, and why should grains be any different? So, courtesy of the Whole Grains Council, and the US Rice Federation, September is now, officially, the first-ever National Whole Grains Month.

Fish Farms Help Families In Africa Hit By AIDS
August 19, 2007 09:43 PM - Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

Tiny fish farms have helped 1,200 poor families hit by AIDS in Malawi to raise their incomes and improve their diets in a scheme being expanded to other African nations, a report showed on Monday. About $90 can enable construction of a small rain-fed pond that can be stocked with juvenile fish costing $10. Once the fish grow and reproduce, the ponds produce food with far less back-breaking work than subsistence farming.

Bat Breath Reveals The Identity of a Vampire’s Last Victim
August 19, 2007 03:15 PM - Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research

Vampire bats that live in Latin America have switched to blood meals from cattle instead of from rainforest mammals, Farmers are now observing vampire bats satisfying their need for blood by attacking their own livestock.

Ohio Orders New State Policy: Grow 'Local' Food Sales
August 18, 2007 06:50 PM - Organic Consumers Association

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has signed an executive order to create a new policy for the state's $93 billion food and agriculture industry focusing on beefing up sales of local foods. Its mission will be to analyze food production, processing and consumption in Ohio, and link producers and consumers in local food systems to ensure citizens in need have greater access to fresh and nutritious food. The council also said it will assist farmers and businesses in marketing their products to encourage the growth of Ohio food products.

The Regreening Of The Himalayas - Community Forestry
August 17, 2007 07:46 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

Leafy forests replanted by communities in Nepal are flying in the face of accepted conservation practice. Now, something called "Community Forestry" aims to mix pine with more broad leaf plants and restore forests.

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