Cornucopia News Archive

New Animal Welfare Rules Could Harm Family-Scale Dairy Farmers

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Broilers, Layer Standards Could Lock-in Favorable Treatment for Factory Farms
Comments due by June 13

One of the reasons consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic milk, meat, and eggs is because they think animals are cared for in a more humane manner. Rules have to be balanced between promoting important animal welfare ideals and protecting ethical farmers’ ability to produce superior food.

Delta Egg in Chase, Kansas,
100,000-hens per building, none outdoors.
Click here for a larger version.

The draft animal welfare standards that the USDA just released are a hodgepodge of regulations. Some are well-taken, others are so restrictive that it will make it impossible for dairy farmers, as an example, to manage their cattle in a humane and sanitary manner. Still other changes favor the corporate sector in industrial livestock production — officially legalizing factory farm egg and poultry practices.

Please send your comments to the USDA today, telling them you support The Cornucopia Institute’s comprehensive comments to protect the interest of family-scale farmers and consumers who want authentic organic food. Read Full Article »

Senate Agriculture Committee: Notes from May 26

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Should Corporate Agribusiness Lobbyists and Money Drive Organic Policy?

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) &
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Source: USDA

Representatives of the largest trade associations in the beef, pork, turkey, and egg industries testified before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. They told Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and ranking minority member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) absolutely the opposite of what family farmers, if they had been invited to attend, would’ve stated.

Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, United Egg Producers (UEP), National Pork Producers Council, US Cattlemen’s Association and the National Turkey Federation were all singing out of the same hymnal (and the elected representatives present joined in perfect harmony).

And what were all these lovebirds squawking about?   Read Full Article »

Five Seats Opening on the National Organic Standards Board

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

500px-USDA_organic_seal_svg - wikicommonsThe USDA is soliciting applications for five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 15-member volunteer board makes decisions on what synthetic and non-organic materials are allowed for use in organic food and agriculture, and advises the USDA Secretary on policy matters concerning organics.

The five-year terms begin on January 24, 2017. Written applications must be postmarked by June 3, 2016.  The NOSB, established by Congress in 1990, represents various stakeholders in organics with seats reserved for individuals matching various stakeholder interests.

The five vacancies on the board include an individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation; an organic farmer; an organic handler or processor who owns or operates an organic handling operation; a representative of a public or consumer interest group; and a scientist (with a background in toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry).

Individuals seeking more details and application materials for one of the vacancies on the NOSB can find that information here. Assistance may also be obtained by contacting Michelle Arsenault via email or by calling 202-720-0081 or the NOP main office at 202-720-325. Read Full Article »

Rural Sociologist to Lead Cornucopia’s Communications and Development Team

Thursday, May 5th, 2016
Jennifer Hayden, PhD

The Cornucopia Institute has hired Jennifer Hayden as its Communications and Development Director. Hayden holds a Ph.D. in rural sociology from Penn State, where her doctoral research focused on how farmers make soil management decisions. As a rural sociologist, she is concerned with the structure and history of agriculture and with conducting research with, rather than for, farmers.

The Cornucopia Institute is a national non-profit organization, based in Wisconsin, engaged in research and education activities concerning farming and food policy. Cornucopia has earned a reputation as a watchdog over corporate and governmental activities involved with organic food and agriculture. One of Cornucopia’s founding advisors was the late renowned rural sociologist Fred Buttel.

Hayden’s research interests dovetail with her experience in non-profit development and communications, helping to tell the story of the changing landscape of organic agriculture, while ensuring that organic farmers and eaters have the information, networks and support needed to help uphold the integrity of the organic standards. Read Full Article »

Watch Your Language!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

[This article was previously published in the spring issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Melody Morrell, Data Analyst & Research Specialist at The Cornucopia Institute

Good Food Words Coopted by Big Ag

Words rise up to describe the work of a farmer caring for her land, her herd, her community. These words multiply, interbreed, compete, and converge: the ecology of language.

Just as a word becomes recognizable to consumers, it’s often quickly snatched up by corporations and rendered meaningless. The word “green”, which arose in response to toxic chemicals and environmental degradation, was co-opted by Big Business and is now most often used as part of the phrase “green-washing.” Read Full Article »