Media/News Archive

EPA Accepting Comments on Pollinator Health Until November 24, 2014

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Beyond Pesticides

Co-Chairs of Pollinator Health Task Force:
USDA’s Tom Vilsack and EPA’s Lisa Jackson
Image Source: USDA

At the close of Pollinator Week 2014 President Obama called on government agencies to create a plan to “promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators.” However, at the end of last month the Task Force announced it would miss its self-imposed December 20th deadline on its action plan, delaying needed steps towards improving pollinator health.

EPA will be accepting written comments at this link until November 24, 2014.

Talking Points for Comments:

EPA and USDA have a duty to protect our nation’s pollinators, and the Presidential memorandum has directed federal agencies to take action. Given average loss rates near 30% over the past 8 years, there is an urgent need to move quickly on finding long-term sustainable solutions for pollinator protection. A growing body of scientific evidence reveals connections between pollinator declines and pesticide exposure, making it evident to the public and government agencies that action must be taken to rein in these harmful chemicals. Read Full Article »

Linux for Lettuce

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Revolutionizing American agribusiness from the ground up, one seed at a time.

OpenSource.com
by Lisa Hamilton

Image Courtesy of Rich Marolda

From a distance, Jim Myers looks like an ordinary farmer. Most autumn mornings, he stands thigh-deep in a field of wet broccoli, beheading each plant with a single, sure swipe of his harvest knife. But under his waders are office clothes, and on his wrist is an oversized digital watch with a push-button calculator on its face. As his hand cuts, his eyes record data: stalk length and floret shape, the purple hue of perfect heads and the silver specks that foretell rot. At day’s end his broccoli goes to the food bank or the compost bin—it doesn’t really matter. He’s there to harvest information.

Myers is a plant breeder and professor of genetics at Oregon State University. The broccoli in his field has a long and bitter story, which he told me last September at the University’s research farm. We sat at a picnic table under a plum tree that had dropped ripe fruit everywhere; around our feet, the little purple corpses hummed with wasps that had crawled inside to gorge on sweet flesh. Myers has dark hair and dark eyes that are often set behind tinted glasses. In public, he rarely registers enough emotion to move the thick mustache framing his mouth. Still, as he talked about the broccoli his voice buckled, and behind those shadowy lenses his eyes looked hard and tense. Read Full Article »

Considerations for Out-Wintering the Organic Dairy Herd: Webinar by eOrganic

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

eOrganic

Source: Tony Fischer

Join eOrganic for a webinar on considerations for out-wintering the organic dairy herd by Dr. Brad Heins. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11 AM Pacific Time, 12 PM Mountain, 1 PM Central, 2 PM Eastern Time. The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required. Click here to register.

Out-wintering cattle involves keeping livestock outside for some or all of the winter. In this webinar, Dr. Brad Heins will describe a study that evaluated the effect of two winter housing systems on organic dairy production, somatic cell counts (SCC), body weight, body condition scores (BCS), and dry matter intake (DMI). The study included cows that were housed outdoors on a straw pack and indoors in a compost-bedded pack barn at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, MN. Heins will also describes some basic considerations when out-wintering organic dairy herds, including access to adequate feed, water, and shelter. Read Full Article »

Are These Nicotine-Like Insecticides Killing Bees?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Modern Farmer
by Brett Essler

Source: William Warby

Halfway between Düsseldorf and Cologne lies Monheim am Rhein, Germany, a town of about 40,000 tucked into a bend of the Upper Rhine River. Here you will find the Bayer CropScience Facility, a sprawling, 160-acre campus that is home to the Bee Care Center, where the 150-year-old company’s top researchers on honeybee health come together.

Four hundred miles away, Brighton, England’s Stanmer Park — a nature reserve reached by a narrow, dirt road not far from the University of Sussex — is a study in contrast. Just past a large mansion built in 1722 (and once home to King George IV’s mistress) sits a collection of small, overgrown organic farming plots, beautifully unkempt meadows and the occasional large-scale sculpture. This is where Dave Goulson, University of Sussex biology professor and one of the world’s foremost bumblebee experts, studies the effects of neonicotinoids, a kind of pesticide, on pollinators. Read Full Article »

Syngenta Faces Dozens of Lawsuits Over GMO Seed

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

LaCrosse Tribune
by David Pitt

syngenta-logoDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Agrochemicals giant Syngenta is facing a growing number of lawsuits challenging its release of a genetically modified corn seed that China had not approved for import, with losses to farmers estimated to be at least $1 billion.

More than 50 lawsuits have been filed in 11 major corn-growing states, including Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska with hundreds more being prepared. Some suits are from farmers represented by individual attorneys, others are class-action lawsuits representing hundreds more.

A federal court panel that manages complex lawsuits involving large numbers of plaintiffs has scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing in Charleston, South Carolina, to decide where to consolidate the cases. It’s likely to be in Iowa or Illinois, according to Rick Paul, an attorney representing 13 farmers who filed suit in federal court in Iowa. Read Full Article »