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.

Arkansas Reapproves Dicamba Use Through 2020

November 14th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Two critics of dicamba use on the Arkansas Plant Board have been replaced by appointees who favor the use of dicamba later into the growing season. Even so, agreement has been hard to reach. While the board has decided that dicamba will be allowed for use through 2020, they appear to be working toward enforcing existing regulations that prohibit dicamba application during the growing season. Dicamba maker Bayer insists that applicator error is to blame, but the pesticide is known to volatilize (become vapor and drift) hours, or even days, after application and damage surrounding crops and wild plants. It is not allowed for use in organic agriculture.


Arkansas Plant Board votes for usage of dicamba
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
by Stephen Steed

Petition proposes end date, permits

The Arkansas Plant Board prepares to vote
Source: U of A System Division of Agriculture, 11/8/17

The state Plant Board gave tentative approval Monday to allowing dicamba for in-crop use next year, though the matter won’t be settled for several more weeks.

The board approved a formal “petition for rule making” filed by a group of farmers last month asking for a June 15 cutoff date on spraying a herbicide linked to damage to crops and to other vegetation not tolerant of the chemical the last three growing seasons in Arkansas and other states. The petition asked that spraying of dicamba after June 15 be allowed only by special permit.

Franklin Fogleman of Marion, a Crittenden County farmer who drew up the petition on behalf of 27 other farmers, told the board in his 20-minute presentation that “a large portion of Arkansas farmers” need dicamba to fight pigweed that has grown resistant to other herbicides.

The petition also sets buffers for susceptible crops, including a 1-mile buffer between certified-organic crops and fields where dicamba is sprayed. Read Full Article »

Will Wisconsin’s New Governor Address the Dairy Crisis?

November 12th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: As a national farm policy group, we don’t universally track state and local political issues. But in the prime organic agricultural production states, like California and Wisconsin, we do pay attention. As an example, the green-light for “organic” factory dairies in Texas has just six operations in the Longhorn State producing 1.4 times more organic milk than 453 farms in Wisconsin.

Conventional and organic farmers have their backs, economically, up against the wall everywhere in the country. Wisconsin is a big player in the organic movement. Republican and Democratic administrations, for too long, have acted as advocates for using state tax money to subsidize industrializing our food system.


Wisconsin farmers face steep challenges as Evers prepares to take office
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
by Rick Barrett

Source: Randen Pederson

As many Wisconsin farmers cling to their livelihood, hoping for some relief soon from crushing low commodity prices, some are asking what the state agriculture department will be like after Tony Evers becomes the next governor.

Evers didn’t get into much detail on farm issues during his campaign, farmers say, but they’re keenly interested in his views and whom he appoints as secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The department’s work touches nearly everyone in the state, not just farmers, in areas such as state-inspected meat packing plants, enforcement of weights and measures standards, and accuracy of gasoline pumps.

The last Democratic governor to appoint an agriculture secretary was Jim Doyle, who was elected in 2002 and served two terms, followed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Now, it’s Evers’ turn to name someone to head the agriculture department. Read Full Article »

Organic Pork Remains Largely Out of Consumer Reach

November 12th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Conventional pork producers pen their hogs in overcrowded barns, spray them with pesticides, provide the cheapest feed available, and store their considerable manure in giant anaerobic lagoons where it is open to the environment and frequently pollutes local watersheds. These cut corners make conventional pork a very “cheap” meat. In contrast, organic hogs are pastured, kept in smaller numbers, and allowed to display their instinctive behaviors, including rooting—resulting in a much higher price tag for organic pork than for conventional pork or other organic meats.


Why It’s Difficult to Find Organic Pork
Bloomberg
by Deena Shanker

Organic chicken sales are through the roof, but when it comes to pork, sales are bust.

Hogs at Polyface Farms
Source: Anjuli Ayer

Though barbecue lovers in Nashville have no shortage of options, many find themselves flocking to a parking lot-based food truck to get their fix.

At the Gambling Stick on Gallatin Avenue, Pitmaster Matt Russo serves locally sourced pork from Porter Road, the butcher shop he parks in front of and once worked at, owned by butchers James Peisker and Chris Carter. Each can tell customers about the high standards for their meat. Antibiotic and hormone free? Of course. Pasture-raised? 100 percent. But organic? Nope. Read Full Article »

Stop Agribusiness Mergers: 200+ Advocacy Groups Seek Congressional Support for Introduced Legislation

November 9th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia was among the 213 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations to seek Congressional support for a temporary halt to agribusiness mergers as the focus of legislation introduced by Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Mark Pocan. The proposed legislation would set up a commission to determine what impacts agribusiness consolidation has on farmers, rural communities, and consumers.  Mergers and increasing vertical integration are putting small family farms out of business, hollowing out rural economies, and promoting “efficiencies” in food production that often lower food quality.


Over 200 Farm, Food and Rural Groups Endorse Agribusiness Merger Moratorium Bills
Organization for Competitive Markets

Broad and Diverse Coalition Urges Members of Congress to Cosponsor Landmark Legislation

Source: Misha Popovikj

[On November 1], a broad-based coalition of 213 farm, food, rural, faith and consumer advocacy organizations delivered a letter to Congress endorsing food and agribusiness merger moratorium bills and urging members of the House and Senate to cosponsor the legislation. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act of 2018 companion bills this year (S.3404/H.R.6800).

“Corporate consolidation has long been one of the greatest challenges plaguing family farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. “By allowing us to step back to evaluate and strengthen the United States’ antitrust framework, the merger moratorium is a meaningful first step in stemming the tide of concentration in the agriculture and food sectors. We applaud Senator Booker and Representative Pocan for introducing this legislation and urge other members of Congress to join the effort to pass this legislation.” Read Full Article »

Register Soon: Acres U.S.A. Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show December 4 – 7 in Kentucky

November 7th, 2018

Acres USA publishes one of the most authoritative magazines, and sponsors an annual conference, addressing the educational needs of ecologically sound agricultural practitioners. They present tools for both agronomic and economic success. Many of this year’s eminently qualified speakers are long-time Cornucopia members.


Acres U.S.A.

The goal for the Acres U.S.A. 2018 Eco-Ag Conference & Trade Show is simple and clear ─ that this is the most useful conference on agriculture you’ve ever attended. This year, the event will be held December 4 through 7 in Louisville, Kentucky, and will feature speakers like Joel Salatin, Gabe Brown, Daniela Ibarra-Howell, Eliot Coleman, and more.

It is where you will find farmers and consultants from every facet of eco-farming who come together to share their experience and expertise. Attend the non-stop event, learn the latest in cutting-edge technology and methods, and return home ready to make your farming operation the best it can be.

Register soon, as prices will increase in December. Learn more at https://www.acresusa.com/pages/2018-eco-ag-conference-trade-show Read Full Article »

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