Media/News Archive

A German Corporate Shill

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Germany’s ex-minister of agriculture Christian Schmidt played a major role in the recent re-licensure of glyphosate in the European Union, despite the German peoples’ opposition to the ubiquitous herbicide. The article below notes that, despite the EU’s renewal of glyphosate use, Germany is now working toward terminating the use of glyphosate and GMOs. Monsanto is likely pleased with Schmidt’s controversial intervention in the EU but undoubtedly nervous about the potential termination of glyphosate usage.

Germany reportedly agrees to ban GMO crops, phase out glyphosate herbicide ‘as soon as possible’
by Reuters

German Ex-Ag Minister Schmidt with
U.S. Ex-Ag Secretary Vilsack
Source: USDA

After a week of talks, German coalition negotiators agreed on the cornerstones of their new programme. But when a new government could actively participate in meaningful EU reform is still uncertain. EURACTIV Germany reports.

In the programme, there is not much left of the optimism and visions for a leading role in Europe that was once touted. The upcoming SPD party congress vote is hanging like the sword of Damocles above the final decision over the forming of a new government.

After the controversial renewal of weed killer glyphosate ’s EU approval,its usage will be limited in Germany and “as soon as possible essentially terminated”, the former German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt (CSU) said. Schmidt upset the apple cart when he went rogue and significantly contributed to the re-licensing of glyphosate. Read Full Article »

Inexpensive Technology Can Spot Fake Organic Milk – Will the USDA Look?

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Spectroscopy offers hope for truly organic dairy farmers. It provides a fast and inexpensive way to show, scientifically, whether milk comes from cows pastured on grass. Cornucopia has, in the past, filed numerous complaints against “organic” livestock operations who are in our judgement flouting the organic pasture rules.  This is based on flyover images and other information we gather from industry sources. Even when we get the USDA to further investigate, they have prearranged their follow-up inspection with the Aurora High Plains Dairy, giving operators a heads-up to prepare for the visit. Unsurprisingly, the USDA found everything in order on that visit, and Cornucopia’s complaint was disregarded. We welcome the development of this tool.

Your “grass-fed” milk may actually not be. But a new technology could change that
The New Food Economy
by Joe Fassler

Scientists can now tell us how much time dairy cows spend outside. Why that may improve accountability and transparency in the organic industry.

Aurora Coldwater Dairy in Stratford, TX

How much fresh grass did the “grass-fed” cows who make your milk eat? A team of scientists from Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has found a new technique they say can determine exactly that. Their findings, reported in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry last month, suggest that fluorescence spectroscopy—a relatively cheap and simple form of light measurement—could be a way to assure shoppers about “grass-fed” claims in the supermarket. And it could prove to be an important tool for transparency in the organic dairy sector, where cows are required to spend time foraging outdoors—something critics allege doesn’t always happen. Read Full Article »

CAFO Pork Contaminates Wells and Shuts Out Independent Farmers in Iowa

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Twenty-three million conventional hogs are currently kept in confinement in Iowa. Massive lagoons of manure and chemicals on those operations leech into the groundwater, contaminating wells and forcing people off their land. This is not only a problem in Iowa. Hog CAFOs have polluted North Carolina and Minnesota and are being proposed in Wisconsin as well (see video from the recent conference: Industrial Ag in the Driftless). Consumers can stop this dangerous takeover by refusing to buy CAFO pork, meaning nearly all conventional pork currently on the market. Cornucopia recommends eating meat from organic farms only—for your health, the animals, and the environment.

Iowans Fight Back Against Factory Farms—So Can You

Ready for some inspiration? Check out this video of a press conference that took place earlier this month in Iowa.

The conference begins with the powerful voice of Diane Rosenberg, executive director of Jefferson County Farmers & NeighborsJefferson County Farmers & Neighbors is a member of the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, a coalition of 27 state, community and national organizations that addresses everything that’s wrong with factory farms, or as Big Ag calls them, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Read Full Article »

Farmers Increase Biodiversity to Cut Pesticide Use

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Strips of planted wildflowers in fields encourage insect predators of crop pests, allowing farmers to spray less pesticide. These type of practices are already used by organic farmers who have had to employ many chemical-free practical methods for discouraging pests and disease in fields. Improving farm biodiversity not only helps farmers, but also wildlife and soil.

Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying
The Guardian
by Damian Carrington

Source: Steven Martin

The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops

Long strips of bright wildflowers are being planted through crop fields to boost the natural predators of pests and potentially cut pesticide spraying.

The strips were planted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England last autumn and will be monitored for five years, as part of a trial run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH).

Concern over the environmental damage caused by pesticides has grown rapidly in recent years. Using wildflower margins to support insects including hoverflies, parasitic wasps and ground beetles has been shown to slash pest numbers in crops and even increase yields. Read Full Article »

New Tool Helps Retailers Gauge Human Right Violations in Seafood

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Seafood Watch has published a Seafood Slavery Risk Tool to help corporate seafood buyers determine which fisheries are at higher risk for human rights abuses. Buyers are encouraged to work with those suppliers to end the troubling practices. Being able to tell your customers that the seafood sold in their store was not procured with the use of slavery and human rights abuses will encourage the patronage of those of us interested in human dignity.

Was Your Seafood Caught With Slave Labor? New Database Helps Retailers Combat Abuse
NPR – The Salt
by Clare Leschin-Hoar

Source: Hechlok

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, known best for its red, yellow and green sustainable seafood-rating scheme, is unveiling its first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool on Thursday. It’s a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of forced labor, human trafficking and hazardous child labor in the seafood they purchase.

The tool’s release comes on the heels of a new report that confirms forced labor and human rights abuses remain embedded in Thailand’s fishing industry, years after global media outlets first documented the practice.

The 134-page report by Human Rights Watch shows horrific conditions continue. That’s despite promises from the Thai government to crack down on abuses suffered by mostly migrants from countries like Myanmar and Cambodia — and despite pressure from the U.S. and European countries that purchase much of Thailand’s seafood exports. (Thailand is the fourth-largest seafood exporter in the world). Read Full Article »