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The Latest from AgMag

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The ballooning national debt and Tea Party pressure has members of Congress running in the halls with their budget-cutting scissors in hand. The Senate Agriculture Committee is no exception.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

It is the only important piece of environmental legislation that Congress is almost certain to enact over the next 18 months. And it’s our best chance to fix major flaws in America’s badly broken food system. By tradition, it’s called “the farm bill.”

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something remarkable happened in Washington last week. In a historic, game-changing vote, the Senate voted to put America’s taxpayers and its soil and water ahead of special interests and the corn ethanol lobby.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

With Congress’s appetite for ethanol souring, the corn ethanol lobby is digging deep for reasons to continue lavish government support for the environmentally damaging fuel. The Renewable Fuels Association – in a gambit to co-opt the annual gas price debate – is adorning Washington DC city buses with ads claiming that corn ethanol reduces gas prices by $0.89 per gallon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last week (May 30), the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to cripple the nation’s budding effort to do something about the woeful quality of school food and make America’s kids healthier.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

In nearly two decades of research and advocacy on pesticides and human health, Environmental Working Group has never before seen the produce industry take a high-profile role in debates over pesticide policy and safety, as it has this year. Invariably, it was the trade association for the pesticide industry that took the lead.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tuesday’s (May 31) votes by the House Appropriations Committee represented one such baby step. For the first time in years, the committee in charge of setting federal spending levels decided that government payments to absentee land owners and wealthy farm operations should be trimmed to reflect today’s budget realities. It signaled that extravagant or irrational farm subsidies might finally have to give way.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The House Appropriations Committee is set to vote today on a spending bill that makes deep cuts to a broad range of food assistance programs that provide vital nutritional support for the poor, including pregnant women and children.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When the corn ethanol lobby is fighting to defend its trifecta of government subsidies, it routinely rolls out its favorite “level playing field” talking point.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

One year ago, President Obama signed an executive order directing the federal government to take the lead in the faltering effort to control the pollution fouling Chesapeake Bay. The President said he would do everything he can to protect the Bay and wildlife habitats in the region, and the public took heart that the Bay’s long decline might finally be reversed.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A federal judge granted preliminary approval on May 13th of the $1.25 billion settlement for black farmers for decades of discrimination at the hands of the US Department of Agriculture. President Obama signed the funding legislation for the settlement in a White House ceremony on December 8th.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

On Friday (May 13), Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook blew the whistle on the agri-chemical lobby's months-long effort to get the government to put the industry's spin on the upcoming annual report on pesticide residues on fresh produce.

Friday, May 13, 2011

When industry lobbyists want the government to do something the public won’t like, they usually go about it quietly.  Not so for the produce and pesticide lobby.

 
Monday, May 9, 2011

For thirty years, the corn ethanol industry has relied on the federal government’s muscle to force expanded production and availability of its fuel. The most recent favor handed to the industry was the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) succumbed to the corn ethanol industry’s demands in January and approved the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol in newer vehicles, it glossed over the troubling results of emissions tests on cars burning the new fuel formulation.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Food prices and food scarcity are quickly becoming the hidden driver in world politics, says pioneering environmental analyst Lester Brown, sparking political upheaval in the Middle East and threatening the stability of other developing countries.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Every year, taxpayers send billions to farm businesses to cover the cost of implementing conservation practices that help keep the soil on the land and limit the runoff of dirt and agricultural chemicals from their fields into rivers and streams.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Leading lawn care products maker Scotts Miracle-Gro brought smiles to the faces of many Chesapeake Bay advocates last month with its announcement that it will eliminate phosphorus from its fertilizers. By 2012, all Scotts lawn maintenance fertilizers sold in the United States will be free of phosphorus, a nutrient turned persistent pollutant that is crippling the bay’s ecosystem. Scott said its phosphorus-free lawn food will yield the same green lawns at the same cost as current products.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bad federal policy and intensifying storms are washing away the rich dark soils in the Midwest that made this country an agricultural powerhouse and that remain the essential foundation of a healthy and sustainable food system in the future.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

When Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) spoke to the Organic Trade Association's Washington Policy Conference the other day, her talk had two parts: the part where she left the distinct impression that she had no idea whom she was talking to, and the part where it seemed she didn't care.

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