Tag Archives | Agriculture

Is the Obama Administration Planting Monsanto GM Crops in Wildlife Refuges?

MonsantoMike Ludwig reports in Truthout:

The White House is withholding documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by an environmental group that suspects the Obama administration of working with Monsanto-linked lobbyists to defend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in wildlife refuges across the country. The information currently being withheld includes a portion of a January 2011 email that a top White House policy analyst received from a lobbyist with the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), which represents GE seed companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.

According to legal filings, the White House withheld the portion of the email because it accidentally contained information on BIO’s lobbying strategy that, if released, would cause competitive harm to the group and the companies it represents. “We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” stated Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) staff counsel Kathryn Douglass, who is arguing the email should be a public record.

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Removing Consciousness From Farming

04detailcananrnr9Every year, billions of animals suffer in the name of cultivating food for humanity. But, suppose none of them had minds? A nightmare or a solution? Via We Make Money Not Art:
Each year, the UK raises and kills 800 million chickens for their meat. Rearing [is] unethical and unsustainable... chickens spend their 6-7 week lives in windowless sheds, each containing around 40,000 birds. André Ford proposes to adopt a 'headless chicken solution': By removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken, its sensory perceptions are removed. It can be produced in a denser condition while remaining alive, and oblivious. The feet will also be removed so the body of the chicken can be packed together in a dense volume. Food, water and air are delivered via an arterial network and excreta is removed in the same manner. Around 1000 chickens will be packed into each 'leaf', which forms part of a moving, productive system.
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Black Farmers Suffer At The Hands Of Monsanto

drboydAn interesting take on the disastrous effects on agriculture resulting from Monsanto’s control of seeds, by Dr. John Boyd of BlackFarmers.org, at Roland Martin Reports:

Black farmers in the United States are disappearing. Their numbers shrank from approximately 900,000 in the 1920s down to about 43,000 in the last U.S. Census — down to less than 1 percent of America’s farmers.

But the staggering 98 percent decline in Black farm ownership does not tell the whole story. With each farm closure, those farmers, their families and their employees all lost a way of life that had existed for generations. Despite the horror stories behind Black Americans’ link to the land throughout our national history, these losses represent an erosion of cultural, geographic and heritage bonds far greater larger than the Black farmers’ small presence in American agriculture…

For most of the NBFA’s history, racial discrimination was the biggest threat to Black farm ownership.

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Is There Herbicide in Your Urine?

GlyphosateVia GMWatch:

According to an article in German in the Ithaka Journal, a German university study has found significant concentrations of glyphosate in the urine samples of city dwellers. The analysis of the urine samples apparently found that all had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20-fold the limit for drinking water. As well as being used increasingly widely in food production, glyphosate-based weedkillers often also get sprayed onto railway lines, urban pavements and roadsides (www.ithaka-journal.net).

Disturbingly, the Ithaka Journal reports (in our translation), “The address of the university labs, which did the research, the data and the evaluation of the research method is known to the editors. Because of significant pressure by agrochemical representatives and the fear that the work of the lab could be influenced, the complete analytical data will only be published in the course of this year.” (www.ithaka-journal.net)

News of this study comes not long after the publication of a study confirming glyphosate was contaminating groundwater.

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No Monsanto GMOs For The UK

No Monsanto Crop Circle

UPDATE from Natural News:

We regret to inform our readers that this story is based on a Daily Mail article that we have now been informed is from 2003, not 2012. In their own search engine, Daily Mail mistakenly listed their own story as being published on February 3, 2012…

Oh well – let’s pressure Monsanto to get out of the UK anyway!

Mike Adams reports for Natural News:

A massive victory against Monsanto and genetically engineered seeds has been achieved in the United Kingdom today. Monsanto has announced a total withdrawal from the UK, shuttering its Cambridge-based wheat production operation. UK newspaper Daily Mail was instrumental in promoting opposition against Monsanto through its “Frankenstein Foods” educational campaign.

The paper is now reporting that Monsanto plans to sell off GMO crop-breeding centers in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Daily Mail reported, “…the company has given up hopes of introducing GM crops to Europe.” (Are you grinning as wide as I am right now?)

The UK government, it turns out, was on the verge of announcing a finding that genetically engineered crops would “pollute the countryside for generations.” Gee, ya think?

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The Mother Of All Herbicide Marketing Plans

Roundup_herbicide_logoDow Agrosciences plans to double the trouble caused by Monsanto’s Roundup with a compelling marketing pitch to farmers. Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones:

During the late December media lull, the USDA didn’t satisfy itself with green-lighting Monsanto’s useless, PR-centric “drought-tolerant” corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto’s rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all too useful.

Dow has engineered a corn strain that withstands lashings of its herbicide, 2,4-D. The company’s pitch to farmers is simple: Your fields are becoming choked with weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As soon as the USDA okays our product, all your problems will be solved.

At risk of sounding overly dramatic, the product seems to me to bring mainstream US agriculture to a crossroads. If Dow’s new corn makes it past the USDA and into farm fields, it will mark the beginning of at least another decade of ramped-up chemical-intensive farming of a few chosen crops (corn, soy, cotton), beholden to a handful of large agrichemical firms working in cahoots to sell ever larger quantities of poisons, environment be damned.

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France Defeats Monsanto

Gordon Davidson writes in the Scottish Farmer:

France has held firm in its opposition to Monsanto’s genetically modified MON 810 maize [trade name: YieldGard] – and the agri-chemical multinational has admitted defeat.

Monsanto had been putting legal pressure on the French government to lift its 2008 cultivation ban on MON 810, firstly with a successful appeal to the European Court of Justice, then with a follow-up case heard in France’s own highest court, the Council of State.But despite both these institutions ruling that the ban was “insufficiently justified in law”, the French Government, backed by President Sarkozy, has insisted that it will still not allow cultivation of the biotech maize.

yieldgard

Now Monsanto has announced that it would not be selling seeds for MON810 in France this year.

France’s stand – and Monsanto’s capitulation – has been warmly welcomed by anti-GM lobbyists GM Freeze, whose campaign director Pete Riley said: “The decision by Monsanto not to market MON810 seeds in France in 2012 is yet another sign that Monsanto has failed to convince the public or policy makers that there is any benefit to growing to growing GM crops…

[continues in the Scottish Farmer]

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Japan To Open Robot Farm In Disaster Zone

s57bA century or two from now, pretty much most of the world will be a flooded/radioactive zone being farmed by robots. The Telegraph reports:

The project, masterminded by the Ministry of Agriculture, will involve unmanned tractors working the fields of the farm on a disaster zone site spanning 600 acres. Robots will then box produce grown on the farm, including rice, wheat, soybeans, fruit and vegetables as part of the “Dream Project” scheme.

An expanse of farmland in Miyagi prefecture, northeast Japan, which was flooded in last year’s tsunami, has been earmarked by the government for the project. Miyagi was one of Japan’s three worst hit prefectures in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which left more than 19,000 dead or missing and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in decades.

Farming was hit particularly hard by the disaster, with tsunami water leaving soil laden with salt and oil deposits, as well as radiation contamination as a result of the leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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The Industry of Hunger

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Photo: Tawheed Manzoor (CC)

Vandana Shiva on Al Jazeera English explains how, as mega-chains venture into industrial farming, they have created an epidemic of hunger- and generated billions in profit.

New Delhi, India – In November 2011, when the UPA government announced that it had cleared the entry of big retail chains such as Walmart and Tesco into India through 51 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, it justified the decision saying that FDI in retail would boost food security and benefit farmers’ livelihoods.

But the assurance that FDI in retail would ease inflation did not resolve the political crisis the government was facing; it deepened it. Parliament was stalled for several days of the Winter Session, after which the government was forced to withdraw its decision.

The story of FDI in retail goes back to 2005, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed an agriculture agreement with the US, along with the nuclear agreement.

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Alabama Looks To Replace Immigrant Workers With Prison Labor

JO3ND00ZA draconian law passed earlier this year has resulted in an exodus of illegal (and legal) immigrants from Alabama, and as a result, crops are rotting in fields on farms across the state. The solution? A return to chain gang days, reports AFP:

Alabama farmers have proposed using prisoners to work their fields to replace migrants who fled the state after it passed the country’s harshest anti-immigration law, officials said Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry officials met Tuesday in Mobile with farmers to discuss their proposal. A statement by the department said the meeting with the farmers was convened “to help solve the chronic labor shortages created by Alabama’s new immigration law.”

Known as HB56, the new law requires local police to verify the immigration status of anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally.

The law touched off an exodus of mainly Hispanic workers who moved to other states because of fears of being deported, prompting complaints by farm and construction industry groups of a shortage of workers in one of the poorest US states.

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