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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Monday, October 31, 2011

A secret farm bill will leave out healthy food and hurt California. Nearly 70 environmental, public health, nutrition, food and farm groups – including EWG – are calling on California’s congressional delegation to take a stand in the current debate over food and agriculture policy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Industrial agriculture’s allies are hijacking the farm bill process. The farm subsidy lobby and a handful of their powerful Congressional allies are working overtime to skirt normal democratic processes, write a farm bill behind closed doors and slip it into law through the congressional Super Committee. But their plan to write a secret farm bill is finally showing up on the political radar.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The new film “Freedom” is an industry bought-and-paid-for infomercial for environmentally destructive corn ethanol, masquerading as a pseudo-documentary on the nation’s oil addiction. Josh Tickell won the Sundance audience prize award for his 2009 film “Fuel.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A timely new book explores how America’s food, farm and energy policies got derailed by greedy lobbyists and government subsidies.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at Harvard School of Public Health has advised parents and caregivers to use the Shopper's Guide to "keep nutritional foods in their children's diets but avoid the intake of pesticide residues in the high-pesticide-risk items." Lu’s comments came in a study publichsed in Environmental Health Perspectives, that found that about half of the foods most frequently eaten by children were on EWG's Dirty Dozen list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Congressional Super Committee may decide the fate of the hotly debated “direct payment” subsidies for farmers in the next several weeks -- most likely in a smoke filled room without democratic action or input from good food reformers.  With some powerful lawmakers urging that all farm program decisions be made in secret, it is crucial to understand the long, tangled and sorry history of one of the federal government’s more wasteful programs.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Since the Environmental Working Group released its 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce earlier this year, apologists for the pesticide industry and conventional agribusiness have attacked it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

If the next farm bill gets written without input from healthy food reformers, maybe it’s time to occupy the agriculture committees?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Amid an epidemic of childhood obesity, food companies are taking lessons from the tobacco industry on how to target children with advertisements for unhealthy products. The Sensible Food Policy Coalition is the latest industry attempt to undermine public health by lobbying Congress, federal agencies, the White House and the general public with misinformation and bad science.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here in Washington, the so-called “Super Committee” on deficit reduction is continuing to scour the federal budget in search of $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. The House and Senate committees that normally draft legislation authorizing federal programs and agencies have a looming deadline of October 14 to make recommendations on what could be cut.

Key Issues: 
Monday, October 3, 2011

Lobbyists for polluting industries and opponents of environmental regulation have been tripping over one another to come up with self-serving lists of targets for the Congressional Super Committee as it labors to find ways to reduce federal spending and trim the deficit. The nation deserves a more thoughtful approach, one that recognizes that Americans want, and deserve, to live in a place where air and water are clean, where soil and natural resources are conserved for future generations, and where health and safety – not merely profit – stand atop the hierarchy of public values.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The popularity of Oscar-nominated “Food, Inc.” and writers Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman make it clear that consumer interest in food and farming issues is now deeply embedded in the cultural mainstream.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The current focus on deficit reduction has government leaders scrambling to find places to make significant cuts. Congress and the President are currently grappling with what to do about farm subsidies – namely the nearly $5 billion direct payment program that pays farmers and landowners year after year regardless of circumstances, and the federal crop insurance program that costs taxpayers between $6–to–$8 billion a year.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For just a little while, it looked like a great day for Iowa agriculture and the environment. On Aug. 30, delegates to the Iowa Farm Bureau annual policy conference in Des Moines passed a historic proposal to tie their heavily taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance to good conservation practices.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yesterday (Sept 19), president Obama unveiled his plan to cut the federal budget. Part of that plan entails cuts to lavish farm subsidies paid out to mega-farms regardless of need, and cuts to the bloated and taxpayer subsidized crop insurance program.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

At a time when the agriculture economy is white-hot, sending government checks to mega-farms that don’t need the money is indefensible. But that hasn’t kept leaders of the agricultural community from arguing against cuts in farm subsidies now that those inequitable handouts are, at last, squarely in the federal budget cutters’ cross-hairs.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ask almost anyone engaged in US agriculture policy, and the consensus is that the current budget crisis makes it all but inevitable that the suite of taxpayer-funded programs authorized under the federal farm bill is headed for dramatic cuts. The subsidy lobby is worried that the newly minted “Super Congress” might actually decide which programs have fat to trim or are non-essential.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are at an all-time high, while the quality of our children’s food has reached a new low.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last week, the corn lobby posted a blog that abruptly declared its independence from so-called “advanced biofuels.”  This announcement made it painfully clear that corn ethanol will never gain America independence from our dangerous oil addiction and that the evolution of advanced biofuels is near non-existent.

Friday, August 26, 2011

When the federal government skimps on food safety, especially inspections, people can get seriously ill and in some cases, die. That’s why Congress can’t afford to underfund the landmark bipartisan food safety law.