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.

President Trump Proposes Cuts that Would Harm Farmers and Rural America

February 23rd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The President’s budget proposal for 2019 is unlikely to be adopted as written, but it shows clearly where the administration’s loyalties lie. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition details what that proposal holds for the sustainable agriculture community, below.

NSAC’s Blog

Source: USDA

The deeply problematic proposals of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget, released on Monday of this week, include devastating cuts to critical farm and food programs. The budget, if enacted, would reduce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) budget by a whopping 25 percent, from $24 billion to $18 billion. In addition to cutting discretionary funding, the budget request proposes to dramatically reduce farm bill funding for nutrition, conservation, and other farm and food programs.

The ill-advised proposals in this budget create few winners, but many losers. In addition to harming American family farmers, the proposal will strip rural communities of tools and resources needed for job creation and enterprise development, deny low-income individuals and families critical nutrition support, damage the health of our natural resources, and undercut years of advancements in agricultural research and seed breeding. Read Full Article »

Small Organic Dairy Farmer Speaks Out

February 21st, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: As “organic” factory dairies flood the market with their questionable version of “organic” milk, real organic milk prices are tanking too. Wisconsin organic dairy farmer, Jim Goodman, shares his thoughts below. Cornucopia offers a dairy scorecard to help shoppers choose truly organic dairy from truly organic farmers.

Retailers Want to Own Farmers – CAFOs Fill the Bill
National Family Farm Coalition
by Jim Goodman

Jim and Rebecca Goodman

As dairy farmers have seen many times in the past, a glut of milk has flooded the market and dropped farm pay prices to the point that some farmers will be forced out of business. Generally it is the smaller farmers that go first. For them, credit, to try and ride out the storm, is harder to come by.

CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operation) seem to be the preferred method of dairy production in the US. Processors and retailers like the model, sort of a one shop stop to get as much milk as you need. Consistent volume of production pretty much year round makes sourcing easy an no pesky farmer co-ops complaining about low prices need be involved.

I personally never thought the CAFO model would show up in the organic dairy business, at least in my lifetime. Sadly I was very wrong. Read Full Article »

Over 3,000 to Attend MOSES Conference This Weekend

February 20th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: You can meet Cornucopia staff members from around the country in our booth (#312) at the MOSES conference this weekend. We hope to see you there!

MOSES organic conference to draw 3,000 to La Crosse
La Crosse Tribune
by Mike Tighe

More than 3,000 people are expected to be in La Crosse Feb. 22-24 for the 29th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference, the country’s largest educational event about organic and sustainable farming.

The La Crosse Center event starts Feb. 22 with full-day, intensive courses known as Organic University. Courses, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will focus on topics such as hoop house production, transitioning large-scale operations to organic, ecological weed management and innovative ways to obtain land to farm.

Read Full Article »

Agriculture Pollutes California Air

February 16th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: This study reports that between 25 and 41% of the smog-producing nitrogen oxide in California’s Central Valley comes from crop fertilizers. This is largely due to indiscriminate fertilization of large fields, without regard for what the soil and plants can take in. Nitrogen oxide, by weight, has 300 times more impact on the ozone than carbon dioxide. This type of fertilizer use is prohibited in organic agriculture.  At a minimum, conventional agriculture needs to develop more targeted methods for fertilization.

Fertilizer is fouling the air in California: Study
Environmental Health News
by Brian Bienkowski

Source: dangerismycat

Due to heavy fertilizer use, California’s Central Valley is behind up to 41 percent of the state’s emissions of nitrogen oxide—an air pollutant and climate-warming gas

A large proportion of California’s nitrogen oxide—which can cause harmful ozone and a variety of health impacts—comes from heavy fertilizer use in the state’s Central Valley, according to a new study.

University of California, Davis, researchers reported today that as much as 41 percent of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions are coming from the state’s Central Valley region, which grows more than half of US vegetables, fruits and nuts.

“The effect of large soil NOx emissions on air quality and human health remain unclear, but the magnitude of the flux alone raises concern about its potential impact, particularly in rural California,” the authors wrote in the study published today in Science Advances journal. Read Full Article »

USDA Accused of Disseminating “Corporate Propaganda” Backing Agribusiness Switch of Organics to (Soil-less) Hydroponic Production

February 15th, 2018

[Read Cornucopia’s formal request to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General to investigate whether the agency willfully attempted to misinform the public.]

Regulators Bypass Expert Panel, Endorse Organic Practices Banned Worldwide

FOIA Documents, Witnesses Indicate Collusion, USDA Organic Program in Turmoil: Formal Complaint Filed with Office of Inspector General 

Hydroponic operations, like this one,
need only change the fertilizer solution to
become certified organic
Image source: Horticulture Group

In an affront to the farming pioneers who launched the organic movement, today a $50 billion industry, the USDA announced late last month that the “Certification of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations is allowed under the USDA organic regulations, and has been since the National Organic Program (NOP) began.”

Much of the hydroponic production entering the organic market takes place in large, industrial-scale greenhouses using liquid fertilizers, mostly produced from conventional, hydrolyzed soybeans. Hydroponic produce under the organic label is rapidly displacing fruit and vegetables grown in soil, which is carefully nurtured to improve fertility, by diversified farms.  The founders within the organic farming community contend that hydroponics’ cheaper production techniques, employed by huge growers in Mexico, Canada, and Europe, where hydroponics cannot be legally labeled as “organic,” is crushing legitimate soil-based farmers in the U.S.

There is no legal requirement for conventional or organic produce to be labeled as grown hydroponically, so consumers are likely unaware that the production methods, and corresponding nutrient levels, used in the fruits and vegetables they are purchasing have radically changed. Read Full Article »

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