The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.
September 15th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Organic dairy farmers work hard to earn enough to keep their doors open and provide high quality dairy products. This article highlights one of the brands doing exactly that. Visit Cornucopia’s organic dairy scorecard to see which brands are providing high-integrity dairy.
Building a Brand that Stands Apart
The Huffington Post
by Elliot Begoun
When Tim Joseph was 32, he decided to become a farmer. In 2004, Tim and his wife Laura started with 63 cows on 250 acres in a small town in upstate New York called Little Falls. Doing so, with no agricultural experience; while still working a full-time corporate job. Over the next seven years, the Josephs would go from a conventional dairy struggling to pay their credit card bills to being designated as the first national dairy to be third-party certified as 100% grass-fed organic. Maple Hill Creamery is now on the shelves in over 6000 stores nationwide with a range of products from cream top yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir, drinkable yogurt, artisanal cheeses, and fluid milk.
In this interview, Tim and I talked about leadership, why he decided to become a dairyman, how Maple Hill Creamery became the Gold Standard in grass-fed dairy products, and what they are doing now to grow the brand.
Read Full Article »
September 13th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: While there are likely many reasons wild bee colonies are declining, pesticide exposure remains one of the factors that humans can control. Neonicotinoids are not allowed in organic agriculture, but continue to be used in conventional and GMO agriculture despite considerable research pointing to their damaging effects on pollinator populations.
Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs
NPR – The Salt
by Dan Charles
Wild bees, such as bumblebees, don’t get as much love as honeybees, but they should. They play just as crucial a role in pollinating many fruits, vegetables and wildflowers, and compared to managed colonies of honeybees, they’re in much greater jeopardy.
A group of scientists in the United Kingdom decided to look at how bumblebee queens are affected by some widely used and highly controversial pesticides known as neonicotinoids. What they found isn’t pretty. Read Full Article »
September 13th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Monsanto is ironically claiming the ban on dicamba is not based on scientific consensus and throwing shade at prominent Arkansas weed scientists for lack of objectivity. The company continues to blame farmers for misapplying the highly volatile herbicide.
Monsanto fights to sell Arkansas farmers herbicide linked to crop damage
by Tom Polansek
Monsanto Co (MON.N) filed a petition on Thursday asking Arkansas agricultural officials to reject a proposed date next year that would end sprayings of the herbicide dicamba, which has been linked to crop damage across the U.S. farm belt.
A state task force recommended last month that Arkansas bar sprayings after April 15, 2018, to protect plants vulnerable to the chemical, after farmers complained that soybeans and other crops were damaged when the weed killer drifted away from where it was sprayed this summer.
The recommendation amounts to an “unwarranted and misinformed ban on dicamba” because the chemical is designed to be sprayed during the summer over genetically engineered crops, according to Monsanto.
The deadline “is not based on scientific data, much less on any scientific consensus” about crop damage attributed to the chemical, the company said in a filing with the Arkansas State Plant Board. Read Full Article »
September 12th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: With more than half of all U.S. farmworkers being undocumented immigrants, a new report suggests over 1,000 farms in New York could close or significantly reduce operations if deportations continue. Farmers across the country are concerned about their shrinking workforce and consumers should be similarly concerned about what this means for their food supply.
Report: immigrant deportations could devastate North Country farm economy
North Country Public Radio
by David Sommerstein
One of the state’s top agricultural lenders is warning President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants could cost New York’s economy billions of dollars.
A report from Farm Credit East estimates 1,080 farms in New York could go out of business or significantly reduce operations if federal agents continue to step up deportations of farm workers in the country illegally.
Immigration police have arrested hundreds of people in Upstate New York since Donald Trump became president, according to federal figures. Many were working on farms illegally. That’s sending a chill through farmer and farmworker communities.
“Word gets out,” says Tom Cosgrove, spokesman with Farm Credit East, “and so I think it creates a little bit of a nervousness out there in terms of what might happen.” Farm Credit East is a farm lending cooperative with about 9,000 members in New York State. Read Full Article »
September 12th, 2017
Cornucopia’s Take: Cornucopia Codirector Mark Kastel and OFARM Executive Director John Bobbe talk to Marketplace about how the organic standards are being abused by large companies seeking to spend and do less while profiting off of increasing consumer demand for certified organic products.
As Customers Buy More Organic Food, A Call For More Industry Oversight
by Annie Baxter
A couple of years ago, Steve Reuter decided to go organic at his dairy in Minnesota. He was aware of the trends — some organic dairies were fetching twice as much for their milk as conventional producers. And organic food sales were booming. In 2016, they broke past the $40 billion mark for the first time.
Reuter, a third-generation farmer, was already doing some of the things required of organic dairies, like letting his cows chomp grass out in his green pasture, instead of just giving them corn or soybean feed. Organic farmers have to accommodate animals’ natural behaviors. For cows, that means grazing.
“Couple other guys said, ‘You’re 80 percent there now, so why not finish it and get that extra money?’” Reuter said. Read Full Article »