• Battle lines drawn over GM sugar beets

    Thousands of acres of Roundup Ready genetically modified sugar beets will be planted this spring with sugar from the GM crop entering the food supply. Consumer and organic groups are suing to block production of GM sugar beets. In January, farmers, food safety advocates, and conservation groups filed suit in federal court challenging the deregulation of genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant Roundup Ready sugar beets by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Attorneys from the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice are representing plaintiffs Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Center for Food Safety in the lawsuit, which seeks a thorough assessment of environmental, health, and associated economic impacts of the deregulation as required by federal law. >> Read the Full Article
  • Manitoba bans new hog barns in half of province

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Manitoba will permanently ban new hog barns and expansions in the eastern half of the province, where the industry is most concentrated, its conservation minister said on Monday. The government will immediately lift a temporary ban on new and expanding hog operations in the rest of the province, Stan Struthers said, but he said the entire industry will be subject to more environmental rules and scrutiny. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ethanol and Intensive Confinement Factory Farms--A Toxic Synergy

    CAFO's = Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Also known as Factory Farms, Animal Factories, and blots on the U.S. rural landscape. They produce smelly wastes from "farm" animals including cattle and pigs -- variable wastes that are then disposed of in a wildly under-regulated, chemical witches brew commonly called Sludge. Also commonly mislabeled "Fertilizer," it's hazardously dumped in enormous quantities on U.S. food-growing farm fields. >> Read the Full Article
  • Will global warming increase plant frost damage?

    Widespread damage to plants from a sudden freeze that occurred across the Eastern United States from 5 April to 9 April 2007 was made worse because it had been preceded by two weeks of unusual warmth, according to an analysis published in the March 2008 issue of BioScience. The authors of the report, Lianhong Gu and his colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators at NASA, the University of Missouri, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the freeze killed new leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruit of natural vegetation, caused crown dieback of trees, and led to severe damage to crops in an area encompassing Nebraska, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. Subsequent drought limited regrowth. >> Read the Full Article
  • Spanish breeder to clone fighting bull

    MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish breeder of fighting bulls has decided to clone his favorite stud rather than risk buying a traditionally bred replacement. Victoriano del Rio wants to repeat the success he has enjoyed with Alcalde, who sired two bulls that so impressed famous bullfighter El Juli in the ring that he keeps their heads mounted at home. >> Read the Full Article
  • Corporate Watch: The Selling of Organic

    Organic farms have historically been small, family-run mixed farms producing for local markets, but this story is starting to change as conventional agribusiness and the supermarkets move in. Organic shops, too, are expanding, or being bought up, and increasingly resembling their non-organic counterparts. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wither the Grapes of Worth?

    The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in Norway this week, providing a permafrost home for the genetic diversity of the world's food plants. According to the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the vault can store 4.5 million different seed samples, duplicating seed collections from genebanks around the world. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are currently not allowed in the vault without special approval. Though the underground facility is fortified against global warming, French Chardonnay is not, and a non-GMO version could become a thing of the past if temperature trends continue. >> Read the Full Article
  • Battle over rBGH-free labeling continues in US states

    In a setback to Monsanto and supporters of its genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, rBGH, Pennsylvania and Indiana refused to pass laws prohibiting dairy manufacturers from labeling their products rBGH-free, while Ohio has put restrictions on such labeling. Meanwhile, Kansas recently introduced a bill banning the labels. >> Read the Full Article
  • How to Save the Rainforests

    While we have fixated on our little local worries over the past week, the biggest news story of the year passed unnoticed in the night. The Brazilian government was forced to admit that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has returned to ecocidal levels. An area the size of Belgium, taking thousands of years to evolve, was destroyed in the past year alone. Some 20 per cent of the forest has now been trashed, with a further 40 per cent set to be slashed in my lifetime. This is steadily happening to all the rainforests on earth. >> Read the Full Article
  • High food prices push China towards GMO: scientist

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Rising food prices and concerns over grains security have caused a shift in Chinese regulators' attitude towards genetically modified crops, a prominent Chinese researcher and GMO advocate said on Wednesday. More than two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields are planted with biotech cotton, but the government has stalled on approving biotech rice to be grown commercially despite expectations it would get the go-ahead a few years ago. >> Read the Full Article