Cornucopia News Archive

Leader of USDA Organic Program Subject of Ethics Investigation

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Industry Watchdog Re-files Legal Complaints against 13 “Factory Farms”

After a request to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), sworn law enforcement agents from the regulatory agency’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have begun an ethics investigation into the conduct of the head bureaucrat at USDA’s National Organic Program, The Cornucopia Institute reported.

Deputy Administrator
Miles McEvoy
Source: USDA

Miles McEvoy, AMS Deputy Administrator, is under scrutiny for allegedly failing to enforce federal organic standards, giving favorable treatment to corporate agribusiness interests, and undermining the integrity of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory body authorized by Congress to help oversee the organic industry.

An AMS law enforcement officer flew to Wisconsin earlier this year to interview Cornucopia’s two codirectors, Will Fantle and Mark Kastel, and take sworn statements. More recently, the agent also met with Mr. Kastel, conducting an extensive interview, in Staunton, Virginia.

“This began with a formal letter to the OIG alleging that Mr. McEvoy was making inappropriate, agribusiness-favorable decisions in closing formal legal complaints Cornucopia had filed,” Cornucopia’s Kastel explained. “Now it has expanded based on serious concerns about ethical lapses in carrying out his job overseeing the NOSB under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).” Read Full Article »

Family Farming: Bucolic Myth vs. Economic Reality

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Why Does Superior Food Production Generate Inferior Income?
[This article was previously published in the fall issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Linley Dixon, PhD

Linley Dixon

Our diverse, small-acre vegetable farm was in its fourth year of production. Despite what appeared to be a successful venture — a thriving farmer’s market stand, 100 loyal CSA members, and established wholesale accounts — my husband and I could not make ends meet financially.

We had a tough choice to make: either quit farming or find off-farm employment to supplement the family income, thus removing one of us from the farm.

Though many small-scale local, organic farmers are highly revered and supported by their communities, the hard truth is that it is very difficult to make a living growing the kind of food everyone wants to eat. We personally know many highly skilled former farmers who quit due to financial reasons. Read Full Article »

The Clear Choice to Protect Children’s Health: Organic Food

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Report Cites Scientific Evidence
Making a Compelling Case for Organic Diet

Click here to read the report

The Cornucopia Institute released a report today making the compelling case for protecting children’s health and development by choosing organic foods over their conventional, chemically grown and produced counterparts.

The report, Protecting Children’s Health: Choosing Organic Food to Avoid GMOs and Agricultural Chemicals, cites scientific data from numerous peer-reviewed, published studies that all point to the importance of protecting children from pesticide exposure.

“We wanted to compile the scientific data on organic vs. conventional foods and make it accessible to parents and other caregivers,” says Mark A. Kastel, Cornucopia’s codirector. “Parents are fortunate that an alternative to pesticide- and drug-intensive agriculture exists. We can opt out of Big Ag’s uncontrolled experiment on our children by choosing organic foods.” Read Full Article »

Are Your Children Roundup-Ready?

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Use of the Herbicide Glyphosate Has Skyrocketed Since the 1990s

Nearly 90% of U.S. corn is treated with glyphosate.
The typical American child’s diet includes dozens
of corn-based processed foods.
Image source:

For thousands of years, children ate the same food their parents ate when they were children. In the United States today, this is no longer the case. Most dramatically, the proliferation of the use of the herbicide glyphosate, made possible by genetically engineered (GE) foods, is subjecting our children to a large-scale science experiment.

Children born today are repeatedly exposed to genetically engineered (GE) foods. GE crops include soybeans, corn, canola, alfalfa, and cotton, with wheat under development. GE ingredients find their way into many processed foods — unless they are certified organic. Beverages, candy, baked beans, and many other products are sweetened with corn syrup or sugar from GE sugar beets. Salad dressings, crackers, and chips are made with canola oil, corn oil, or soybean oil, and unless certified organic, all are likely GE. Read Full Article »

Member Abruptly Resigns from Key Federal Organic Advisory Panel

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

USDA Seeking Replacement for National Organic Standards Board

usda logoCornucopia, WI: One of the newest members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has resigned from the 15-member advisory body to the USDA. Paula Daniels left the board eight months into her five-year term after participating in just one board meeting. Daniels, from Los Angeles, occupied one of three NOSB seats reserved for environmentalists and/or resource conservationists.

Daniels, an attorney, cited changing work commitments for her decision to leave the board.

“NOSB members take on a considerable workload commitment over the course of their five-year terms,” said Will Fantle, the Codirector of the Wisconsin-based organic watchdog The Cornucopia Institute. “Perhaps Daniels, who had never been to an NOSB meeting prior to her appointment, was a little surprised at the size of the task.”

In addition to needing a replacement for Daniels, USDA is currently in the process of selecting five new board members to replace the individuals whose terms expire at the end of 2015. Read Full Article »