Media/News Archive

Industry Claims Chlorpyrifos is Safe, but Their Own Data Says Otherwise

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Chlorpyrifos is a commonly used organophosphate insecticide in conventional agriculture, linked to lower IQs and levels of gray matter in children exposed prenatally. It was initially approved for use by the EPA based on industry analysis of its safety. When EPA scientists determined the analysis was problematic, EPA management ignored their concerns. In 2015, chlorpyrifos was slated to be banned, but the Trump administration reversed the decision. Last summer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the toxin, although the EPA has appealed the decision. Newly published research shows the problems with the data used to approve the chemical. The best way to avoid exposure to this harmful pesticide is to eat an organic diet.

Industry studies show evidence of bias and misleading conclusions on widely used insecticide: Scientists
Environmental Health News
by Brian Bienkowski

Data just doesn’t add up behind industry conclusions on chlorpyrifos— a controversial insecticide linked to brain impacts for children.

Source: Moms Clean Air Force

Researchers who examined Dow Chemical Company-sponsored animal tests performed two decades ago on the insecticide chlorpyrifos found inaccuracies in what the company reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compared to what the data showed.

And, according to internal EPA communication, agency scientists also had issues with the study interpretations, yet the agency approved the compound for continued use anyway.

“EPA staff scientists and staff were telling management there were problems,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was not involved in the current study but has worked on issues related to toxics, including chlorpyrifos, for decades.

“And management disregarded it.”

Those 20-year-old industry studies are still used by regulatory agencies such as the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority in approving continued use of the controversial insecticide, which is used on beans, citrus, corn, cotton, wheat and soybeans. Read Full Article »

U.S. Government Predicts Agriculture Will Suffer From Climate Change

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Although President Trump says he does not believe the findings from the National Climate Assessment (prepared jointly by 13 federal agencies), many farmers are already experiencing climate-related hardships. Cornucopia has always supported sustainability in agriculture, one of the fundamentals of organics.  Future adaptations will be needed to address expected changes in climate and ecosystems.

Hotter and drier, with a drop in production, is the future of U.S. agriculture
by Chuck Abbott

2012 drought in Iowa
Source: Cindy

Climate change will bring higher temperatures and more frequent drought to farmers across the United States, resulting in reduced crop and livestock yields, according to the National Climate Assessment that was released over the weekend. Heat stress could reduce corn yields in the Midwest, the heart of corn and soybean production, by as much as 25 percent below their expected mid-century levels.

Hot spells in the Midwest at mid-century routinely would be 5 degrees F higher than at the end of the 20th century, reaching into crop-stunting ranges. “One year out of 10 is is projected to have a five-day period that is an average of 13 degrees F warmer than a comparable period at the end of last century,” said the report. Soybean yields would fall more than 25 percent from otherwise-expected levels in the southern half of the Midwest but could increase in the northern half. “In particular, heat stress in maize during the reproductive period is projected by crop models to reduce yields in the second half of the 21st Century.” Read Full Article »

U.S. Trade War with China Leaves Conventional Grain Farmers Holding the Bag (of Soybeans)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take:  China has tacked a 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese exports. Challenging weather this growing season further decreased yields and quality of grains in this country. All farmers, conventional and organic, are struggling–with some soybean farmers even plowing this year’s crop back into the ground due to lack of markets and storage. You can support the highest integrity organic farmers by using Cornucopia’s scorecards to choose highly rated products.

Harvesting in a trade war – U.S. crops rot as storage costs soar
by Mark Weinraub, P.J. Huffstutter

Source: Michele Dorsey Walfred

U.S. farmers finishing their harvests are facing a big problem – where to put the mountain of grain they cannot sell to Chinese buyers.

For Louisiana farmer Richard Fontenot and his neighbours, the solution was a costly one: Let the crops rot.

Fontenot plowed under 1,000 of his 1,700 soybean acres this fall, chopping plants into the dirt instead of harvesting more than $300,000 worth of beans.

His beans were damaged by bad weather, made worse by a wet harvest. Normally, he could sell them anyway to a local elevator – giant silos usually run by international grains merchants that store grain.

But this year they aren’t buying as much damaged grain. The elevators are already chock full.

“No one wants them,” Fontenot said in a telephone interview. As he spoke, he drove his tractor across a soybean field, tilling under his crop. “I don’t know what else to do.” Read Full Article »

Gene-Edited Food Coming to Your Grocery Store in 2019

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: GMOs are created by splicing genes from one organisms into another, sometimes of different species. This process has brought us Roundup-ready feed crops and has resulted in a huge uptick in both pesticide use and pesticide-tolerant weeds. Gene-editing instead turns off existing genes in the organism or splices the existing genes in a unique way. The long-term ramifications of gene-editing and genome modification remain uncertain, and the science has generally failed to look at the larger picture. Organic agriculture is a holistic solution, holding the promise of providing healthy food, improving soil and water health, encouraging wildlife, sequestering carbon, and more.

Next generation of biotech food heading for grocery stores
The Boston Herald
Associated Press

Source: National Genome Research
, NIH (

The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up may be salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart.

By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNA “edited” are expected to begin selling. It’s a different technology than today’s controversial “genetically modified” foods, more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and fruits and vegetables last longer.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production so the world can feed billions more people amid a changing climate. Yet governments are wrestling with how to regulate this powerful new tool. And after years of confusion and rancor, will shoppers accept gene-edited foods or view them as GMOs in disguise? Read Full Article »

The Future Policy Award goes to Sikkim, India

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: The U.S. has been very slow to implement policies that would encourage organic agriculture, focusing instead on organic as a marketing tool. Countries around the world are beginning to recognize the benefits organic farms bring to all species. Watch the video below for a message of hope for the future of agriculture and the planet. Your purchase of organic food is a vote that you make with your fork for future generations.

“Governments are Starting to See that Organic Food Policy Works”
Inter Press Service
by Maged Srour

Many countries and farmers around the world are not readily making the switch to organic farming. But the small Himalayan mountain state of Sikkim, which borders Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, is the first 100 percent organic farming state in the world.

Earlier this month, Sikkim, won the Future Policy Award 2018 (FPA) for being the first state in the world to declare itself, in 2015, 100 percent organic.

Its path towards becoming completely organic started in 2003, when Chief Minister Pawan Chamling announced the political vision to make Sikkim “the first organic state of India”.

The FPA, also known as the ‘Oscar for Best Policies’ is organised every year by the World Future Council (WFC). The aim of the FPA is to investigate solutions to the challenges in today’s world. The WFC looks at which policies have a holistic and long-term outlook, and which protect the rights of future generations. And once a year the WFC awards showcases the very best of them. Read Full Article »

In the spirit of the 2018 giving season, a generous Cornucopia member has offered to DOUBLE ALL DONATIONS made in support of authentic and local food from true family farms. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to increase your impact with a gift to Cornucopia.

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