• Rain Stops Banff Beetle Blight Burn

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wet weather has thwarted a Canadian plan to stem the spread of tree-killing pine beetles eastward through the Rocky Mountains by burning an Alberta forest near Banff National Park, an official said on Wednesday.

    The province of Alberta had planned to burn about 80 square kilometers of trees last week and it is now too late to make the attempt this year, said Duncan MacDonnell, a spokesman for the province's Sustainable Resource Development ministry.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Los Angeles School Gardens Take Root, Get Funding

    LOS ANGELES - Some California schoolkids are going to have the opportunity to grow their lunch, and many more plants.

    California Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, is scheduled to address the teachers and principals this week on the important role school gardens play on campus as "learning laboratories." LA schools will be receiving more than $1.7 million in CISGP grant funds to be used for supplies, professional development and technical assistance for school gardens at more than 500 sites this school year. More than 30,000 seedlings will be available for teachers who are interested in launching or enhancing their own school garden.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Expert calls for "Green Super Rice" to be developed

    A hybrid high-yielding rice that is rich in nutrients, resistant to pests and drought and which requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides should be developed, a Chinese agricultural expert said on Tuesday.

    Writing in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Qifa Zhang of Huazhong Agricultural University in China's central Wuhan city, said genes for at least 10 of these desired traits have been isolated and were available for breeding purposes.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • China Suspends Soybean Imports From US , Beetle Infestation Discovered

    Beijing, China - China's quality control administration said on Friday that it found live khapra beetles in soybeans imported from the United States. The beetle is a much-feared pest that can destroy soybean stores.

    A statement from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the 460 tons of soybeans shipped by the U.S.-based Scoular Company contained the beetles and "other species of harmful insects," without elaborating. Ragweed seeds were also detected in the 21 containers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture

    Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.
    >> Read the Full Article
  • U.S. meat firm expands beef recall due to E.coli

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Topps Meat Company LLC has expanded its recall to include 21.7 million pounds (9,800 tonnes) of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Elizabeth, New Jersey-based company said on Saturday.

    The beef has a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" between September 25, 2007, and September 25, 2008. All recalled products will have a U.S. Department of Agriculture establishment number of EST 9748, which is located on the back panel of the package and/or in the USDA legend.

    On Tuesday, the company announced a recall of 331,582 (150 tonnes) pounds of frozen ground beef products.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Senator seeks to overhaul food safety system

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The assistant Senate majority leader says Congress should phase out the splintered U.S. food safety system and come up with a better way to ensure the food Americans eat is safe.

    Assistant leader Dick Durbin told a food-policy conference on Friday that he would try to attach the phase-out to the farm policy law being written this year. Twelve agencies share authority over food safety at present.

    "I hope this is going to be the kind of catalyst that is going to move us toward change," Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told a food policy conference on Friday.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Agrilandia Farm: Italy’s Slow Food Culture Comes to Beijing

    Nestled in the dusty northern suburbs of Beijing, the village of Baige Zhuang seems like an unlikely birthplace for fine Italian wines and cheeses. But since 1999, Agrilandia Italian Farm has been producing handcrafted organic red wines, fruit wines, cheeses, and conserves in Beijing’s remote suburbs, in an attempt to bring the philosophy of Italian ecological agriculture to the Chinese capital. >> Read the Full Article
  • Nutrient Pollution From Farms and Livestock Hurts Amphibians

    Minnesota - Remember the uproar in 1995 when school kids in Minnesota began finding frogs with extra limbs? The mutated amphibians looked like props in some sci-fi movie, and scientists quickly began searching for the culprit behind the deformities. Speculation centered on pesticides, increased UV radiation, and infection from parasites-  which ultimately turned out to be the "villain." >> Read the Full Article
  • Lawmakers Say Food Safety System In Crisis

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are skeptical of imported food and other products after repeated safety scares, said lawmakers on Wednesday, who want to give the Food and Drug Administration more power to inspect imports and recall defective ones.

    The "system has pretty much fallen apart from top to bottom," said Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "People are shocked by the continuing number of food safety issues we have."

    >> Read the Full Article