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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

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.

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: 
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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Proposals by the corn ethanol industry to have taxpayers subsidize construction of huge pipelines and specialized gasoline pumps and car engines designed to use large amounts of its product could cost taxpayers more than $9 billion – including increased consumer costs and federal funding of grants and assurances of loan guarantees – and would lock the nation into energy policies that are neither economically nor environmentally viable.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coalitions often help bring about real change for the public good.  Not this one though.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

That some members of Congress are farmers is hardly new. Many of the Founding Fathers worked the land. But as the industrial age transformed America’s agrarian society and technology made it possible for fewer farmers to grow more crops on more land, the number of lawmakers actively engaged in agriculture dropped sharply.

Key Issues: 
Friday, March 25, 2011

Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group senior vice-president wrote the following op-ed in today’s (March 25) Des Moines Register. Cox manages EWG’s agriculture programs from our Ames, IA office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lobbyists for the corn-ethanol and the “advanced” biofuels industry had a meeting yesterday (March 21) organized by the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development to “discuss opportunities to find common ground and synchronize biofuels industry policy,” according to a news report.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Federal nutritional guidelines advise us to eat five-to-nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That’s not too difficult if you are lucky enough to have access to the fresh and tasty produce grown in Northern California, where I live.

But many folks in this region and in the rest of the country aren’t so lucky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two weeks ago in this space, my colleague Sheila Karpf called out the five largest commodity crop organizations over the glaring lack of women in leadership positions on their boards. Her impetus was agribusiness’ new effort to polish its tarnished brand by enlisting women in a PR effort called CommonGround.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Three leading environmental groups say they’re hauling Chicago’s sewer system and the Environmental Protection Agency into court over the pollution that pours out of the city, down the Mississippi and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico, helping to grow the perennial “Dead Zone.”

Key Issues: 
Thursday, March 3, 2011

To judge by the results of their budget-slashing, all-night tea party a few weeks back, Republicans must have swarmed out of their caucus and onto the floor of the House of Representatives with a single rallying cry on their lips.

Women and children first!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Ag is big business – and big profits. And when anyone raises questions about the billions of tax dollars lavished on the largest industrial growers of corn, soybeans and other commodity crops or points out the harm that these perverse incentives do to the environment, Big Ag’s lackeys lash out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Attending the TEDx Manhattan event on the future of food and farming was a day-long drink from a fire hose of cutting-edge ideas, sobering realities and sincere enthusiasm about how America can eat better and farm more sustainably.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Obama administration’s proposed 2012 federal budget released today targets several wasteful agriculture programs, including cutting $4.25 billion over 10 years from subsidies to large farm operations, wealthy landowners and the crop insurance program.

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