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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

With its new blog, Mission Organic Made Easy, the Boulder, Colo.-based Organic Center (TOC) delivers on its promise to communicate all the good reasons to eat food devoid of harmful agrichemicals and to use natural products untainted by toxic chemicals.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A controversial White House pledge to spend $1.5 billion to retroactively compensate farmers for 2009 crop losses -- and thereby boost the reelection prospects of Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln -- will mean a six-figure windfall for hundreds of plantation-scale, highly subsidized rice and cotton farms across the South, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows.

Key Issues: 
Monday, August 2, 2010

The large, industrial growers of corn floated a trial balloon recently (July 20) in an attempt to justify continued taxpayer subsidies that have totaled $73.8 billion since 1995 for the ubiquitous crop. What stirred them up was that even hard-core subsidy defenders in Congress have begun talking about the need to give commodity subsidies a haircut in light of the worsening federal deficit.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The conflagration that embroiled the US Department of Agriculture last week (July 19) over the knee-jerk dismissal of an African American official who was falsely accused of reverse discrimination is only the latest travesty at an agency that has a notorious record on racial issues.

Key Issues: 
Monday, July 26, 2010

Hopes for comprehensive legislation to combat climate pollution evaporated Thursday (July 22) after months of wrangling in the Senate. In its place Senate leaders are proposing what is being billed as an “oil-spill only” bill with a few added energy provisions.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Over the past decade, organic produce sales have soared from 3 percent of the retail produce market in the U.S. in 2000 to nearly 11 percent last year, to $9.5 billion. According to surveys by the Organic Trade Association, organic produce’s precipitous trajectory barely slowed when the global financial crisis took hold in late 2008.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

As AgMag noted the other day, Massachusetts has decided to rewrite its rules for renewable energy to exclude electric-only power plants that would burn biomass, often in the form of whole trees. Ian A.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In an bid to garner support for legislation to address the looming danger of climate change, Midwest senators are reportedly pressing to attach a long-term extension of biofuel tax breaks to a Senate energy bill being crafted by Democratic leaders. The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), currently set to expire on Dec. 31, pays oil companies $0.45 per gallon in the form of tax credits to blend ethanol with gasoline.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last week began with a front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle (July 5) detailing the links between increased fertilizer run-off due to corn ethanol production in the Mississippi River Basin to the swelling Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday, July 9, 2010

In a sharp about-face, Massachusetts officials have decided that biomass-fueled, electric-only power plants do not qualify as renewable energy sources because of the growing awareness that these facilities actually boost greenhouse emissions for decades, rather than helping to combat global warming.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On the first of the July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a plan to put everyone who lives or works in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on a "rigorous pollution diet" intended to cut back on the quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus runoff that have turned large portions of the bay into oxygen-deprived "dead zones."

Friday, July 2, 2010

2010 won’t be all lemons for BP. Sure, the company will be best remembered for blowout preventers, top kill and Tony Hayward, but along the way the oil giant stands to make a killing from its investment in the US ethanol industry and the special tax breaks that come with it. In fact, the company could pull in well over half a billion dollars in ’10 alone, courtesy of the US taxpayer.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The  decades-old momentum behind federal farm subsidies delivered $13.4 billion to farmers in 2006, according to the latest update of the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database website. Now including 2006 USDA data, the new website shows that from 1995 to 2006 or the past 12 years, taxpayers have sent over $177 billion in subsidies to farmers.

Key Issues: 
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well, as we do each year, EWG released (on June 19) the latest Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce and as we suspected, eaters around the country are still concerned about high levels of toxic pesticide residue on their fruits and veggies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life would be so much easier for biomass industry executives if they didn’t have to worry about their own words.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Since the May release of the Environmental Working Group's update of its farm subsidy database, the media have paid a lot of attention to Tea Party candidates for Congress who paradoxically receive farm subsidies while railing against government spending.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From Maine to Washington state, from Ohio to Florida, electric utilities have been embracing “biomass power” as a way to reduce dependence on coal and other fossil fuels and to meet ambitious goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. And both state energy policies and the pending federal climate and energy legislation are designed to encourage the trend by providing huge incentives.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

At least 30 million acres of America’s forests could be cut down and used for fuel at US power plants if renewable fuels and biomass provisions of current Congressional climate and energy proposals aren’t radically revised. This will send a massive 4.7 billion ton pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would accelerate global warming as it drastically erodes forests’ ability to pull carbon out the atmosphere.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn-ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy. Worse, ethanol’s much ballyhooed contribution to reducing America’s dependence on imported oil looks even smaller – the equivalent to a measly six-tenths of a mile per gallon fleet-wide.

Key Issues: 
Monday, June 14, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy.

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