The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

Dairy Grazing Management Can Restore Soils, Reduce Carbon Footprint

May 26th, 2015

Dairy Herd Management
by Merritt Melancon

Source: Dalusa Organic Ranch, Point, TX

Well-maintained pastures prevent erosion, protect water and, as it turns out, can restore the soil’s organic matter much more quickly than previously thought, according to a team of researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Florida.

Soil contains the largest terrestrial reservoir of carbon. Tilling fields every year to plant crops releases soil carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been known for a long time that transitioning cropland to pastureland where livestock grazes replenishes the soil’s carbon, but their study showed that the process can be much more rapid than scientists previously thought.

“What is really striking is just how fast these farms gain soil organic matter,” said Aaron Thompson, associate professor of environmental soil chemistry at UGA and senior author on the study. “In less than a decade, management-intensive grazing restores these soils to levels of organic matter they had as native forests. These farms accumulate soil carbon at rates as fast as ever measured globally.” Read Full Article »

Organic Certification Cost Share Program Now Fully Funded!

May 26th, 2015

National Organic Coalition

Certified Farmers And Handlers in the United States and some Territories are eligible for 75% of direct certification costs (maximum $750) for each scope. This program is available for certified entities EACH YEAR.

  • You must apply for a refund every year.
  • There is plenty of money to fund this – if you are turned away or limited to 1 scope, ask again, or contact NOC
  • Watch for application deadlines in your state – but rules are now more flexible, so if you think you have missed the deadline, ask for help or contact NOC
For more information:  

Read Full Article »

Research: Bisphenol A (BPA) Causes 100x More Harm Than Previously Imagined

May 22nd, 2015

Health Impact News
by Sayer Ji

Source: Steven Depolo

A recent study reveals just how profoundly misled we are about Bisphenol A and its analogs: they are at least 100x more toxic than we previously imagined.

An alarming new study establishes that the commonly used chemical bisphenol A used in tens of thousands of consumer products, and its lesser known but increasingly prevalent analogs, bisphenol S and F, are several orders of magnitude more disruptive to the endocrine systems of the developing male human fetus than previous toxicological risk assessments were capable of determining.

The new study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility and titled, “A new chapter in the bisphenol A story: bisphenol S and bisphenol F are not safe alternatives to this compound.” Read Full Article »

Five Vacancies Open for Nominations on the National Organic Standards Board

May 22nd, 2015

The 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is seeking to fill five pending vacancies.  The vacancies include two organic farmers/producers, two public or consumer interest representatives, and one USDA accredited certifying agent.  The terms for the volunteer board are five years and would begin in January 2016.

Information on how to apply, if you are interested, can be found here.

The NOSB plays a key role in determining the use of synthetic and non-organic materials allowed for use in organic food and agriculture, and in advising the USDA Secretary on all aspects of organic policy.  The five retiring members of the NOSB include several of the staunchest advocates for organic integrity. Read Full Article »

Neonicotinoid Pesticide Implicated in Monarch Butterfly Declines

May 21st, 2015

by Jérôme Rigot, PhD

CatwillowMonarchArea_Susannah Rogers USDA Forest Service
Source: Susannah Rogers,
USDA Forest Service

USDA researchers have identified the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin as a likely contributor to monarch butterfly declines in North America. The USDA research was published online April 3rd, 2015 in the journal Science of Nature.

Neonicotinoids have been strongly implicated in pollinator declines worldwide; they are neurotoxins that are partially banned in the European Union. A recent report indicates (see references at the end of full article) that neonicotinoids, such as clothianidin (Bayer), are a particular hazard because, unlike most pesticides, they are soluble molecules. From soil or seed treatments they can reach nectar and are found in pollen.

Neonicotinoids are now the most widely used pesticides in the world. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000