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.

Farm Runoff is Harming Gulf Fisheries

June 22nd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Because of the timing and amount of water flowing through the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, the large amount of nutrients carried to the Gulf of Mexico from farming and wastewater are causing algal bloom. When the algal bloom dies back, it will use oxygen to break down and leave fish and shrimp in a low oxygen environment. Farmers can mitigate farm runoff by building healthy soil, which requires less fertilizer, and by applying synthetic fertilizer carefully when needed.  Synthetic fertilizer is prohibited from use in organics.

NOAA, USGS and partners predict third largest Gulf of Mexico summer ‘dead zone’ ever

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

Larger-than-average low and no oxygen area may affect the region’s shrimp fisheries

Federal scientists forecast that this summer’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – will be approximately 8,185 square miles, or about the size of New Jersey.

Source: Eutrophication & Hypoxia

This would be the third largest dead zone recorded since monitoring began 32 years ago – the average Gulf dead zone since then has been 5,309 square miles. Read Full Article »

Bipartisan Agreement for More Agricultural Research

June 22nd, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The Senate Agriculture Committee recently held a meeting to discuss the history and future of agricultural research in the U.S. President Trump’s proposed budget makes deep cuts to agricultural research programs. More research funding is needed, particularly for chronically underfunded organic agricultural research.


Source: Markus Spiske

As discussions around the 2018 Farm Bill continue, policymakers on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers of Congress, have spoken about the need for increased public funding for agricultural research. For example, members of the House recently announced the bi-partisan Congressional Agriculture Research Caucus to highlight the need for additional focus on innovative research and extension programs.

Yesterday, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on agricultural research, focusing on both past successes and future research needs. There were two panels of witnesses, the first panel included representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, while the second panel included researchers and those benefiting from publicly funded research. Read Full Article »

USDA Sued for Removing Country of Origin Labeling on Meat

June 21st, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia supports country of origin labeling (COOL) for food. COOL was passed in 2009, but in 2016, under intense pressure from industry, it was revoked.

Cattle Ranchers Sue to Return Country-Of-Origin Labeling
U.S. News & World Report
by Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press

Source: Jenny Mackness

Ranchers are suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seeking to force meat to again be labeled if it’s produced in other countries and imported to the United States.

Ranchers on Monday sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seeking to force meat to again be labeled if it’s produced in other countries and imported to the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Spokane, seeks to overturn a March 2016 decision by the Department of Agriculture to revoke regulations requiring imported meat products to be labeled with their country of origin. That change allowed imported meat to be sold as U.S. products, the lawsuit said. Read Full Article »

Organic Offers More Healthy Nutrients than Conventional

June 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The longest running study on flavonoid levels and antioxidant activity in onions defies a 2012 study showing little or no nutritional difference between organic and conventional. As it happens, new research reveals that the level of key nutrients in organic is nutritionally superior.

Organic conditions boost flavonoids and antioxidant activity in onions
Science Daily

Source: Andrew Malone

Five years ago, a highly publicized meta-analysis of more than 200 studies concluded that organic food was no more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Since then, however, additional work has suggested the organic foods contain more health-benefiting phytochemicals. Now, researchers have found that flavonoid levels and antioxidant activity in organic onions are higher than in conventional onions. Their investigation, in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, is the longest-running study to address the issue. Read Full Article »

Monsanto’s Glyphosate Changes Creature Behavior

June 20th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship herbicide Roundup, is not apparently lethal to ants but does change ant behavior. Behavior changes like those found by researchers below are alarming, and, in aggregate, may cause larger changes in the ecosystem.

Roundup caused lab ants to stop digging — but not because of its key ingredient
St. Louis Public Radio
by Eli Chen

Source: Jason Wesley Upton

A study at Webster University has revealed that Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup can significantly change ant behavior.

Researchers began two years ago to study how ants are affected by man-made contaminants, including Roundup. The product has become controversial recently due to allegations that its key ingredient, glyphosate, causes cancer in humans.

The ant study hasn’t been published yet, but student researchers noted that the herbicide significantly affected western harvester ants.

“When we put Roundup in the habitat, all digging ceased. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t believe it,” said Victoria Brown-Kennerly, a geneticist at Webster University who supervised the project. “These chemicals are not lethal to the animals, but it’s definitely changing their behaviors.” Read Full Article »

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