With all due respect, Nina Federoff’s New York Times op-ed reads like it was written two decades ago, when the jury was still out about the potential of the biotech industry to reduce hunger, increase nutritional quality in foods, and decrease agriculture’s reliance on toxic chemicals and other expensive inputs that most of the world’s farmers can’t afford.
With more than 15 years of commercialized GMOs behind us, we know not to believe these promises any longer.
People with relatively high levels of certain pesticides in their blood may have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes -- particularly if they are overweight, a new study suggests.
The study, reported in the journal Diabetes Care, is not the first to link chemical pollutants to diabetes.
A number of studies have found a connection between diabetes risk and exposure to older pesticides known as organochlorines, PCBs and other chemicals that fall into the category of "persistent organic pollutants."
Poultry farmers who adopt organic practices and stop giving their birds antibiotics significantly reduce the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in their flocks, according to a study released Wednesday.
Public health experts have become increasingly concerned about germs becoming resistant to many commonly used antibiotics. In fact, an outbreak of salmonella currently occurring is being caused by a resistant strain of the bacteria traced back to ground turkey.
After a review of 130 studies, researchers have concluded that organic farming systems use significantly less nonrenewable energy than conventional farming.
The farm energy savings for organic are often 20 per cent or more.
"We concluded that the evidence strongly favours organic farming with respect to whole-farm energy use and energy efficiency both on a per hectare and per farm product basis," states the study.
Men still own and operate the vast majority of large farms with commodity crops such as wheat or soybeans that require heavy equipment, capital and labor. But woman-run farms cover the gamut, USDA figures show, reflecting everything from widows running dairy businesses to recent college grads entering specialty markets such as grass-fed goats or heirloom tomatoes.
Their farms range from one acre to more than 500 but trend toward the small. About 40 percent are under 50 acres.
Letting damaging chemicals cross property lines is trespassing, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled on Monday. Moreover, since those pesticides made his crop unsalable in the organic market, Johnson is entitled to damages from the company that applied it, the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co., the court said.
"Whenever this happens it will give people with overspray a legal avenue to pursue," said Doug Spanier, an attorney with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which administers pesticide enforcement regulations in the state. And that could go for any farmer whose crop is made inedible by someone else's chemical spray and even homeowners whose property has been damaged by a neighbor's overuse of RoundUp, legal experts said.
Claims by biotech giant Monsanto that its glyphosate-based pesticide, Roundup, can improve crop yields and lessen the strain of fighting weeds for farmers may now be a liability after a recent study published in the current issue of Weed Science finds that a number of weed species are showing resistance to Roundup.
Twenty-one species, according to the study, have become resistant to glyphosate-based pesticides, with many also capable of surviving applications of other pesticides, earning them the moniker “super-weeds.”
So I was dawdling about on Twitter, and I see a tweet from Mark Bittman about the "shocking" (his words) survey just out from Thompson Reuters and NPR Health about organic. What's so shocking about it? Fifty-eight percent of ALL Americans want organic food!!!!! OK, I'm not going to take credit, but I am going to say...YAY! Hip, hip, hooray!
Today, the biotech field is changing again. The assortment of GM crops is about to multiply, far beyond the corn-soybean-cotton mainstays of the past 15 years. Soon coming to market are GM versions of bluegrass, sugar beets, cabbage, wheat and alfalfa, to name a few. Even more striking, the next generation of GM traits promises a bigger bag of tricks.
"Over the past 15 years, it's been principally a story of being able to kill bugs and kill weeds more effectively for growers," said Syngenta's Morgan.
The next GM generation, he said, will focus more broadly - growing crops that require less water, or enhancing certain flavors, or delivering health benefits to consumers.
Here on our ranch, the yard and gardens are now humming with so many busy bees that if I let our two-year-old go barefoot outside, I'd probably get arrested for child endangerment. Meanwhile, a suburban woman recently complained to me that she hadn't seen a single bee in her garden this year. This contrast would make perfect sense to scientists at the University of California - Berkeley, who've just released a study showing that grazing lands provide critical habitats for wild bees and other pollinators.
The research was led by Berkeley environmental sciences professor Dr. Claire Kremen, among the world's foremost pollinator authorities. The team evaluated the role of wild pollinators, concluding that they are essential to our food system and that livestock grazing areas are vital for protecting them. "Preserving rangelands has significant economic value, not only to the ranchers who graze their cattle there, but also to farmers who need the pollinators," Kremen concluded from her study.