Media/News Archive

French Farmers To Be Off Glyphosate in Three Years

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: While the U.S. government continues to bow to synthetic pesticide industry pressure, some European countries are taking serious steps to reduce the use of toxic pesticides on farmlands and common areas. The Macron Government in France is offering farmers expert help and forums to pool their knowledge during the transition to glyphosate-free growing.

How France and Germany Are Ousting Glyphosate In A Search For Healthy Soils and Pesticide-Free Crops
Independent Science News
by Ramon Seidler, PhD

Source: Maarten Danial, Flickr

The Macron Government of France is offering its farmers a way out of glyphosate dependency within the next 3 years.

Millions have been following European discussions on the possible ban (or a new licensing period) for glyphosate-based herbicides; discussions which stemmed from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declaring glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March, 2015.

European countries finally voted, in November, 2017 to allow glyphosate to be used another 5 years on farms. Although not the time period desired by many, this was less than the time wanted by industry, some countries, and some European agencies. Read Full Article »

Cornucopia’s Kastel Calls Scale of Organic Fraud “Jaw-Dropping”

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Three Nebraska farmers sold their conventional as organic grain to a Missouri man who subsequently marketed it as organic—to the tune of $140 million. The farmers are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in October. Randy Constant, the grain marketer and alleged leader of the scheme, was charged with wire fraud and is due in federal court today (Thursday, December 20). Although this large-scale fraud dates as far back as 2004, the USDA, sadly, never discovered it. Instead, reportedly, the perpetrators tripped up by marketing “certified organic grain” that tested positive for GMOs and were caught by a buyer doing testing. Impostor “organic” farms jeopardize authentic organic farmers and the overall integrity of the label itself.

Missouri farmer charged in $140M organic grain fraud scheme
Daily Herald
by Ryan J. Foley, AP

Source: AgriLife Today

A Missouri farmer and businessman ripped off consumers nationwide by falsely marketing more than $140 million worth of corn, soybeans and wheat as certified organic grains, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The long-running fraud scheme outlined in court documents by prosecutors in Iowa is one of the largest uncovered in the fast-growing organic farming industry. The victims included food companies and their customers who paid higher prices because they thought they were buying grains that had been grown using environmentally sustainable practices.

The alleged leader of the scheme was identified as Randy Constant of Chillicothe, Missouri, who was charged with one count of wire fraud. He is expected to plead guilty during a hearing that is scheduled at the federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday.

The charging document calls on Constant to forfeit $128 million to the government along with his interest in 70 pieces of farm machinery and equipment. His attorney, Mark Weinhardt, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Read Full Article »

U.S. Not Among Top 10 Most Sustainable Countries

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: A case study developed by The Economist ranked countries according to nutritional challenges, food loss and waste, and sustainable agriculture. Overall, the U.S. ranked 24th—between Uganda and Ethiopia. Cornucopia strongly supports organic and sustainable farming for the health of human beings, wildlife, economic justice for farmers, and the environment.

The world’s top 10 countries for sustainable food
by Melissa Breyer

Source: EarthFix

Considering food waste, sustainable agriculture and nutritional challenges, the 2018 rankings have some surprises in store.

So I’ll just cut to the chase here. France is the most sustainable county in the world when it comes to food. Thanks to the country’s ardent fighting of food waste, an acceptance and adherence of healthy lifestyles, and their approach to sustainable agriculture, they’ve nabbed the crown for this year’s Food Sustainability Index… an accolade that they won last year as well.

Scores were calculated for 67 countries and factored in three categories: Food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture, and nutritional challenges. France scores especially high points for their aggressive approach to food waste. Among a broad set of policies, they are, for example, the first country in the world to penalize supermarkets that throw away products that are still edible. Viva la France! Read Full Article »

First Federal Indictment for Dicamba Misuse

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: GMO and conventional farmers are increasingly plagued by weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), and crop yields in some areas of the country are dropping. Monsanto and BASF released genetically modified, dicamba-resistant seed (the new alternative to Roundup) before the attendant “low volatility” version of dicamba herbicide was approved by the EPA for sale. The only formulation of dicamba then available was prohibited for use due to its volatile nature (meaning it has the tendency to drift badly). Some farmers predictably bought the new seed and used the older version of dicamba illegally to control weeds–with dicamba drift damaging neighboring farmlands. The herbicide companies have so far refused to take responsibility for creating this situation. Cornucopia champions organic and sustainable agriculture as a way for farmers to get off the pesticide treadmill and provide truly healthy food.

Missouri Farmer First In U.S. To Face Federal Charges Related To Dicamba
Harvest Public Media
by Jonathan Ahl

Soybean leaf cupping from dicamba drift
Source: K-State Research and Extension

A southeastern Missouri cotton and soybean farmer has the distinction of being the first person in the United States to face federal charges over alleged dicamba misuse.

Bobby David Lowery of Parma, Missouri, was indicted Nov. 13 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins. The indictment alleges Lowery used dicamba improperly, lied to investigators about it and then falsified documents to try and cover it up.

Collins’ office confirmed to Harvest Public Media that these were the first federal charges involving dicamba, an herbicide that’s been blamed for damaging millions of acres of non-dicamba-resistant crops across the country. Dicamba has restrictions on soybeans across the U.S., and at the time of the allegations it was not approved for use on cotton in Missouri. Read Full Article »

Frack Water Considered for Irrigation and Drinking in New Mexico

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Cornucopia’s Take: Fracking wastewater is notoriously polluted with radiation and numerous chemicals, many of which remain under the cloak of industry secrecy. In New Mexico, where water is scarce while oil and gas provide a significant part of the state’s funding, state officials are considering recycling frack water for use on crops and even in drinking water. While no method of reuse or recycling this tainted water is truly safe, Cornucopia strongly opposes using gas and oil industry wastewater for irrigation or drinking. Sign Cornucopia’s petition to ban the use of frack and sewage wastewater for growing organic food.

Oil and Water: Finding New Uses for Fracking Waste Water
PEW: Stateline
by Rebecca Beitsch

Source: WildEarth Guardians

Fracking requires a huge amount of water, a major concern in dry Western states that otherwise welcome the practice. But New Mexico thinks it can mitigate that problem by pushing oil companies to treat and recycle fracking waste water for use in agriculture — or even as drinking water.

State officials, with the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are still working out the details. If they move forward with the strategy, other arid states may follow New Mexico’s lead.

“Oil and gas in New Mexico provide over a third of our general fund,” said Ken McQueen, who heads the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources. “We have to be concerned we’re doing what’s necessary into the future to make sure this industry continues to be alive and vibrant.”

In addition to keeping a vital industry going, McQueen thinks the reclaimed waste water could be a boon to New Mexico farmers and ranchers who need water for their crops and herds. Factories could use it, and it might help revive parched wildlife habitat, he said. And even though the waste water is filled with salt and other minerals, it might even be treated and used for drinking. Read Full Article »