Media/News Archive

Max Goldberg Interviews USDA Sec. Perdue on Organic Issues

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Organic Insider’s Max Goldberg interviewed USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue regarding the agency’s decision to allow hydroponic growers to label their produce “organic.” Perdue began by saying, “It shouldn’t be competitive,” and wound up with a quote about feeding people “more efficiently and more effectfully [sic] … around the world.” The organic label exists to ensure standards in organic agriculture for consumers and international trade. The label has, in the past, provided assurance to consumers about the methods and materials used in organic food production. Perdue continues to signal that the USDA is seeking quantity over quality in all agriculture, including organic.

Video Interview: USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue is Asked About the Legality of Hydroponics in Organic
Organic Insider
by Max Goldberg

This story has been licensed from Organic Insider. To read the full newsletter or to subscribe, please visit Organic Insider.

Last week in New York City, I had the rare opportunity to speak with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and was able to ask him about a variety of organic subjects, most of which Organic Insider has extensively covered over the past few years. Read Full Article »

FSMA Gets Clearer, But Your Comments are Still Needed

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: New guidance has been released to help farmers make sense of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and we think NSAC’s blog post below provides useful information for farmers. Farmers and other interested parties can comment on the supplemental draft guidance until October 19.

NSAC’s Blog

Source: USDA

The first step for most farms trying to navigate the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is to determine whether or not a specific rule applies to their farm operation. When it comes to the Preventive Controls for Human Food (“Preventive Controls”) rule, farmers now have some additional clarity on whether or not they are exempt. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released the final guidance document, “Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration” (“Food Facility Registration”), which explains who must register with the FDA under the rule. If a farm business does not have to register with the FDA, then it is exempt from the Preventive Controls rule.

While farms are exempt from the Preventive Controls rule, some of the activities a farm business might partake in could fall under the rule, so understanding the details is important. Read NSAC’s Who is Subject to FDA’s New FSMA Food Facilities Rule? – Part 1 for more information about what activities are and are not exempt from registration under the Preventive Controls rule. Read Full Article »

Will Trump’s “New NAFTA” Spread the American Dairy Catastrophe to Canada?

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Canadian dairy farmers operate under supply management, meaning farmers manage their production so it coincides with forecasts of demand for dairy. This ensures that there is no glut of milk on the market, which would drive prices down. Due to the enormous oversupply of milk in the U.S., driven by huge factory farm operations, American dairy farmers are receiving less for their milk than it costs to produce it, and family dairies are closing at an unprecedented rate. Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel weighs in on the proposed trade agreement in the article below that discusses how the new deal opens Canada to more milk from the U.S.

US dairy experts cast doubts that Canada trade deal will end a deep slump
USA Today
by Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Source: Denis-Carl Robidoux

U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk.

The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.

“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said. Read Full Article »

Grants for Livestock & Poultry Farmers – Apply Now!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is accepting applications for three types of grants for livestock and poultry farmers who wish to attain humane certification, build capacity, or improve pasture for their animals.

Funding is available for projects that improve farm animal welfare, such as building mobile housing, constructing fences, laying water lines on pasture, and much more. Family farmers located in the continental U.S. with at least one year of experience may be eligible. For more information about FACT’s Fund-a-Farmer Grants and to apply online, please visit are due by November 28, 2018. Read Full Article »

Iowa’s Polluted Water Begins to Rise Above Politics

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Rural Iowa Senator, David Johnson, in concert with Bill Stowe, the head of public utility Des Moines Water Works, is calling for stricter regulation of farm run-off. Nitrate and phosphate pollution from agricultural run-off has soared in Iowa since 2002, and more than half of the rivers in the state have now been designated too contaminated for swimming or fishing. Farming communities, now suffering adverse health effects, have become aware that their wells are polluted. Iowa cities have been forced to invest in expensive filtration systems to provide clean water for people downstream from giant farms and feedlots, passing the exorbitant costs on to taxpayers. Water quality is a major issue in the fall gubernatorial race: Iowa’s voters face a choice between their politics and clean water.

In the Heart of the Corn Belt, an Uphill Battle for Clean Water
Yale Environment 360
by Mark Schapiro

Runoff from farms and feedlots has badly polluted Iowa’s waterways, more than half of which do not meet federal quality standards. Now, an unlikely coalition is calling for stricter controls to clean up the drinking water sources for millions of the state’s residents.

Health trumps politics,” said Iowa State Senator David Johnson before taking the stage at a raucous rally in Des Moines last winter to support strengthening the state’s water quality. In the marble rotunda of the state capitol, he rose to denounce the nitrogen and phosphates that have been flowing in ever-increasing quantities into Iowa’s public water supplies — and was cheered by the small crowd of family farmers, concerned mothers, and his new political allies, the legislature’s drastically outnumbered Democrats. Johnson had been one of the longest-serving Republicans in Iowa until he left the party to become an independent in 2016 after defying it repeatedly on one of the most divisive issues in Iowa — the integrity of the state’s water.

Iowa’s impaired waters as of 2016. (Link to PDF found on this page)

Iowa’s nitrogen load has been accelerating despite more than $100 million spent by the federal and state governments to rein it in. Starting in 1999, the concentration of nitrogen in the state’s major waterways has increased almost 50 percent, according to a study from the University of Iowa, published last spring in PLOS One. The battle over Iowa’s water had long been posed as one between rural and urban interests, until Johnson, whose district is one of the most thinly populated and heavily farmed in the state, came along. Read Full Article »