Media/News Archive

Nutritional Benefits of Pasture-Raised Food

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) recently unveiled new materials that showcase the benefits of pasture-raised livestock and poultry, including how pasturing improves animal welfare and soil health. They also highlight studies that show pasturing produces meat, milk, and eggs with superior nutrition when compared with conventionally raised livestock.

The handouts on FACT’s website include information on beef cattle, dairy cows, laying hens, meat birds, pigs, sheep, and goats, and an overview that summarizes all of the animals.


Nutritional benefits of pasture-raised foodFood Animal Concerns Trust

FACT is committed to helping livestock and poultry farmers raise their animals outdoors on well-managed pasture due to the numerous benefits associated with pasture-based animal production. Animals living on pasture can move freely and engage in natural behaviors. They also experience lower stress, disease and lameness, as well as fewer reproductive problems. Pasture-based animal production can help to improve soil health and fertility, and mitigate climate change.

In addition, studies consistently show that pasture-raised animals produce nutritionally superior meat, milk and eggs. When compared to food from animals that were fed grain and raised in confinement, food from animals raised on pasture has better fat quality and increased levels of essential vitamins and nutrients. Read Full Article »

Origin of Livestock Rule Crawls Through Regulatory Mire

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

The crisis in organic dairy is ongoing, with many family scale organic farms barely staying afloat or already out of business.

Source: Taylor Bennett, Flickr

Ethical farmers believe this crisis is perpetuated by differing applications of the “origin of livestock” rules in the organic standards. And some certifiers do appear to allow their dairy clients to game the system.

Offending dairies sell their certified organic calves for top dollar and buy cheap conventional heifers that are transitioned to organic over one year. This practice gives dairies a financial leg up because it allows them to sell the organic milk produced, instead of feeding it to baby calves.

The long-awaited Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule would have clarified this issue in 2018, but that proposed rule was withdrawn by the Trump administration, apparently in favor of agribusiness interests. A final rule remains on the horizon, despite dire reports from authentic organic dairy farmers.

Dairy consumers can help by using Cornucopia’s Organic Dairy Scorecard to support ethical family farmers.

Interested readers who want to learn more about the origin of livestock issue can also check out Cornucopia’s comprehensive report: The Industrialization of Organic Dairy.


Small Organic Dairy Farmers Say the Rules are Stacked Against Them. One Rule in Particular.
The Origin of Livestock rule is being applied in different ways by different certifiers, which producers and advocates say gives an unfair advantage to large dairies.
Civil Eats
by Lisa Held

Organic dairy farmers are often isolated and don’t get to connect to each other, said Liz Pickard, a farmer at Twin Oaks Dairy in Truxton, New York. But right now, when they do, the National Organic Program’s (NOP) “Origin of Livestock” rule is a hot topic.

“Everyone’s talking about it. It’s a huge deal,” she said on a recent phone call from her farm, as she cursed a stalled tractor. “This is probably one of the biggest things that’s putting a drag on the milk market right now.” Read Full Article »

South American Grain Fraud Allegations Draw Industry Scrutiny

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Cornucopia has long called on the USDA to stop fraudulent organic grain imports from crossing U.S. borders.

Cases of fraudulent organic grain imports originating from Eastern Europe are well documented, as is the USDA’s failure to expeditiously investigate and impose penalties on bad actors intent on defrauding American farmers and consumers.

Source: Chesapeake Bay Program, Flickr

Now the article below discloses that South America may also be an origin of concern.

According to a complaint submitted to the USDA, Rivara SA, an Argentinian company, exported millions of pounds of fake organic corn and soybeans to the U.S.

The complaint relies on recorded conversations of a Rivara employee who allegedly admitted that Rivara was engaged in import fraud.

Perdue Agribusiness, a subsidiary of Perdue Farms, is Rivara’s largest customer.  Because Perdue Farms is the largest organic chicken producer in the U.S., the allegations raise serious concerns about the integrity of much of the U.S.’s organic chicken supply.

The article also notes that Tiryaki, the largest supplier of organic grain into the U.S., is transitioning to a new certifier after its former certifier, Control Union, was suspended by the USDA.

Cornucopia previously reported that USDA’s suspension followed the European Union’s action against Control Union for poor performance that facilitated organic fraud.

Cornucopia was the first to publicly call attention to the Tiryaki supply chain and will continue to monitor suspicious imports wherever they originate.


Organic-grain complaint raises questions about major Argentine supplier
Company in Argentina is scrutinized over its practices
by Adam Belz
Associated Press

For years, American farmers’ battle against fake organic-grain imports has centered on Eastern Europe. Now, an organic farm in South America is being scrutinized.

A lengthy complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and obtained by the Star Tribune, alleges fraud at an organic-grain company in Argentina that exports millions of bushels of organic corn and soybeans to the United States each year.

The complaint said that Rivara SA deliberately used prohibited fertilizers and herbicides to produce grain that it then passed off as organic to U.S. customers, including the largest U.S. producer of organic chickens. Read Full Article »

EPA Betrays Public Trust, Refuses to Ban Harmful Pesticide

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Chlorpyrifos is a widely-used pesticide with a trail of evidence of harm to children’s brain development. Prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is known to reduce gray matter in fetuses and subsequently to lower IQs in children. EPA research has confirmed this danger, and the chemical was slated to be banned by the Obama administration. The decision, a political football, was reached at the conclusion of Obama’s presidency, and the ban was to be enacted by the incoming administration.

Source: Barbara Eckstein, Flickr

The Trump EPA rescinded the ban, leading to a lawsuit filed by public interest groups. In 2018, a federal court ordered the EPA to finalize the ban. Last week, the agency announced its decision not to ban chlorpyrifos. Read the whole story in the article below.

Chlorpyrifos is prohibited for use in organic agriculture, but more than half of all conventional apples and broccoli and a high percentage of conventional walnuts, asparagus, cauliflower, lemons, cherries, pecans, almonds, and peaches are treated with chlorpyrifos. Residues of the toxin remain on these foods even after washing and peeling (where reasonable). A recent study conducted by researchers at Emory University found that 59% of conventional milk samples contained chlorpyrifos.

Unsurprisingly, industry stakeholders present a different view. Phil Jost of Dow AgroSciences said in 2016, “The [EPA] assessment lacks scientific rigor, is contrary to EPA and Administration policies of data access and transparency in scientific decision-making, and falls short of the FIFRA requirement that decisions be based on valid, complete and reliable scientific data.”

To date, Hawaii, California, and New York have passed bans on chlorpyrifos, though these bans may not take effect for several years. Read Full Article »

Economic Justice for Family-Scale Farms

Friday, July 19th, 2019
Cornucopia Director of Domestic Policy
Marie Burcham, JD

While industrial organic operations forsake the synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemicals of conventional agriculture, authentic organic farms provide numerous ecosystem services for the benefit of all.

As the landscape of organic evolves, Cornucopia continues to monitor the industry and its regulation. The best organic farmers offer more than delicious, nutrient-rich food; they heal the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, care for human health, and remind us that we all live together in the soil food web.

Read what our director of domestic policy has to say about Cornucopia’s work in the article below.


The Cornucopia Institute is Working Toward Economic Justice for Family-Scale Organic Farms
badcredit.org
by Matt Walker

Careful with that kale. Step away from those strawberries. They might not be as healthy as you think.

The USDA has identified residue from 225 pesticides and pesticide breakdown products — some known as potential carcinogens — on America’s conventionally grown produce. Based on this information, the Environmental Working Group lists strawberries, spinach, and kale as the top three most contaminated produce items atop its annual Dirty Dozen list.

Of course, the most obvious way to avoid those potentially harmful pesticides is to go for the organic option.

Most people understand that organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals, and organic dairies and egg farms raise livestock humanely with access to green pastures and sunshine

If only it were that simple. Read Full Article »