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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Finding a nasty flame retardant in peanut butter and other food products brought EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder to tell E&E reporter Jeremy Jacobs: "We are contaminating our food chain with chemicals that are long-lasting in the environment and harmful to our health. We need to stop this."

Friday, June 1, 2012

EWG released an eye-opening report yesterday on subsidized crop insurance’s out-of-control spending. Using newly acquired government data, EWG demonstrated that crop insurance subsidies overwhelmingly benefit large agricultural operations – to the tune of more than a million dollars apiece in 2011 for 26 growers.

Key Issues: 
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Today the Environmental Working Group released a new analysis of 1 million+ government records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. We found that last year more than 10,000 farming operations have received federal crop insurance premium subsidies ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million apiece. Some 26 farming operations received subsidies of $1 million or more last year.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A diverse coalition that included farmers, urban residents and conservation and business groups called on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency yesterday to hold farm operations accountable for their share of run-off pollution flowing into Minnesota waterways and the Mississippi River.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DeSmog Blog published a piece last week about a new study linking in utero exposure to the notorious bisphenol-A to breast cancer.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

John Walter, executive editor of Successful Farming Magazine & Agriculture.com, took a Memorial Day weekend trip through western Iowa.  Walter writes today at Agriculture.com about the environmental catastrophe he witnessed on his drive.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

NPR’s Diane Rehm Show hosted a panel discussion this morning featuring Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jerry Hagstrom of The Hagstrom Report, Chandler Goule of the National Farmers Union and Environmental Working Group’s own Scott Faber.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

While the Senate and House Agriculture Committees debate how drastically they will cut proven farm bill conservation programs, widespread industrial agriculture pollution continues to take its toll. An ABC News affiliate in Baltimore reports this morning that the Maryland Department of the Environment found at least 6,000 dead fish washed ashore Monday in two Maryland counties: "MDE officials have been watching algae blooms since March and say that it is likely that one of the blooms caused the fish kill."

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Now that Senate floor action on the 2012 farm bill is looking likely in early June, food policy reformers are weighing in. Grist’s Food Editor, Twlight Greenway, quotes Steph Larsen at Nebraska’s Center for Rural Affairs on the need for urgency on the part of good food advocates: "Say it’s 6 p.m. on election night, or the top of the eighth inning. Of all the moments to walk away, is that the one to pick??"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 

The agribusiness trade group Alliance For Food and Farming (AFF) recently asked us this question:  "EWG - do you agree that both conventional and organic fruits and vegetables are safe to eat - yes or no?"

Key Issues: 
Monday, May 21, 2012

 

David Rogers reports in Politico on moves by Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to smooth over the animosities between regional commodity groups dueling over the committee’s farm bill. Some excerpts: Having just taken over the Agriculture Committee in this Congress, Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, is hemmed in herself by entrenched Midwest Corn Belt interests who see the farm bill’s new subsidy structure as payback after years of Southern dominance.

Key Issues: 
Friday, May 18, 2012

 

E&E’s Amanda Peterka reports (subscription required) on the sad state of reform efforts in the farm bill hearings held this week by the House Agriculture Committee: The new farm bill is unlikely to return to a policy from the late 1980s and early 1990s that required farmers to abide by certain conservation requirements in order to receive crop insurance subsidies from the government.

Friday, May 18, 2012

In June 1993, the Environmental Working Group released a report titled “Pesticides in Children’s Food.” In the very first line of the forward to that study, EWG President Ken Cook had this advice for parents:

Don’t toss out those fresh strawberries, mom.  Don’t dump the lettuce, don’t pitch the tomatoes, don’t throw out the bananas, and don’t pour that apple juice down the kitchen drain.
Thursday, May 17, 2012

Progressive Farmer editor Chris Clayton reports on the ongoing House Agriculture Committee hearings on the farm bill. After Wednesday’s session on farm subsidy programs, he notes that, “Farm Bill Austerity Not Quite Taking Hold.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Witnesses at a House agriculture subcommittee hearing today had various ideas for replacing the discredited “direct payment” farm subsidy system. They ranged from raising crop price guarantees to beefing up revenue and crop insurance programs, and all could cost billions more than current farm programs. Lawmakers shouldn’t swallow these proposals as “reform.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When I spoke with EWG senior analyst Nneka Leiba about this year's sunscreen database she had mixed feelings.

"On one hand, we can recommend 25 percent of sunscreens on the market," she said. "On the other hand, we can recommend 25 percent of sunscreens on the market."

After five years of advocating more effective and safe sunscreens, we're excited to see some progress in the marketplace. Last year we could recommend 20 percent of sunscreens, and the year before only eight percent. Why is that?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Tri-State Neighbor, which covers agriculture in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, reports that the Izaak Walton League of America convened a conservation forum for South Dakota ag officials, producers and conservationists.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baylen Linnekin, writing in the libertarian-leaning Reason Magazine, makes “The Case Against Taxpayer-Funded Crop Insurance.”

Key Issues: 
Friday, May 11, 2012

The Los Angeles Times describes the Senate Agriculture Committee’s proposal to subsidize deductibles on crop insurance under the farm bill as “a deal most businesses would relish.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Late Thursday EWG found out the Food and Drug Administration was going to delay their sunscreen regulations by six months, at the request of the cosmetics industry. EWG replied with a statement that called out the agency's foot-dragging and highlighted the disservice to consumers. USA Today, Forbes, Mother Jones, Los Angles Times and E&E News all ran stories.

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