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Monday, November 30, 2009

Law professor Neil Hamilton penned a harsh critique of the Farm Bureau's dangerously shortsighed  opposition to climate change legislation in a guest column in yesterday's Des Moines Register. Hamilton is director of the Agricultural Law Center at Iowa's Drake University. He and Drake students will be traveling to Copenhagen next month for the United Nations climate change negotiations as part of the Iowa U.N.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last night, Stephen Stock -- lead investigative reporter for Florida's CBS-TV 4's I-Team -- aired a report on people collecting taxpayer-funded farm subsidies for years after they've died. Stephen's story is a timely follow-up to a Government Accountability Office report two years ago that showed how $1.1 billion in those federal subsidies went to the estates or companies of dead farmers over the course of 7 years.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Big Ag is taking a beating from Al Gore's recent green blitz of late night comedy shows. On tour promoting his new book, Our Choice, the former VP and Nobel Prize and Oscar winner has been blunt in his assessments of agriculture's contribution to the climate change crisis.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

 

Brazil announces retaliatory trade sanctions on U.S. products after World Trade Organization targets U.S. cotton subsidies. Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Freedman writes that: "The WTO gave Brazil permission in August to impose $294.7 million in sanctions against U.S. goods -- the second-highest amount ever permitted by the Geneva-based trade arbiter -- and Brazil’s government earlier this month released a list of 222 products that may be subject to increased duties."

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The dedicated folks at The Organic Center released a hard hitting report today, Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Due in part to EWG’s heavily searched farm subsidy database, the Huffington Post nominated EWG president and co-founder Ken Cook as one of its 10 “Ultimate Green Game Changers” and put the final choice up to the web site’s many readers. For two months, readers weighed in, casting 1.7 million votes.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

“Today’s high (or low) temperature was an all-time record for this date.” How many times have you heard that? This kind of news has been a staple of local weather forecasts for decades. And if you’d been keeping track, you would have noticed something curious. The number of days that produce sweltering record high temperatures has been eclipsing the number of days with frigid record lows.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

 

The Great Recession is being felt in America’s stomachs, the government reports.

Nearly one in seven American households had trouble putting enough food on the table at some point in 2008, according to the annual report on food (in)security by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Veteran reporter Dan Morgan has taken a hard, clear-eyed look at carbon markets for agriculture and the validity of  various conservation practices aimed at fighting climate change (h/t farmpolicy.com).

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Prairie Home Companion,  the long-running radio variety show, Robert Altman movie and purveyor of powdermilk biscuits,usually broadcasts from St. Paul, Minnesota. Last week's performance originated from Des Moines. During the show's the Lives of the Cowboys segment, the following exchange transpired.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Agriculture Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture released a surprising bit of climate change-related research on Tuesday, work that suggests that getting big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from simple changes in common farming practices may not be as easy as many hope.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All corn, all the time. Good Magazine's YouTube channel has had this punchy, short video up since January, illustrating how corn permeates American life. EWG's work tracking the billions of dollars in taxpayer funded subsides to corn and corn ethanol laid the foundation for artful stuff like this.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Delta Farm Press reporter David Bennett posted his Q and A with EWG Midwest VP Craig Cox on Friday. Their discussion centered on points raised by Cox's recent report on the cost of climate change to agriculture, Crying Wolf.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hearings began in the Senate last week on the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. This bill, the companion legislation to the Waxman-Markey climate change bill passed by the House, aims  for a 20 percent cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Corn ethanol is far from an environmentally friendly fuel. While petroleum's pollution contributions are obvious and well reported, ethanol's are less clear. However, from chemical fertilizers and pesticides slathered on corn crops (which run off into rivers and streams and eventually end up in the Gulf 'Dead Zone')  to the clearing of wildlife habitat, there is much to worry about.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last week saw the launch of a new web property by a coalition of environmental and business groups who take a dim view of plans to raise the ethanol content of gasoline to 15%. The site, Follow the Science, marshals the overwhelming scientific evidence to deliver a focused message to the Obama Administration and Congress to not raise the corn ethanol blend limit by 50%.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Crying Wolf, EWG's recent report on current climate change legislation, convincingly debunked exaggerated claims that a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gases will increase costs for the agriculture sector. Many farm state lawmakers and agri-lobby groups have been recklessly misstating and inflating the cost of protecting agriculture from the ravages of climate change, using flawed conclusions drawn from their analysis of the Waxman-Markey climate bill (officially the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 or ACES).

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Whoops.

study in the journal Science today got widespread news coverage by pointing out a major flaw in the way the world has been calculating the impact of biofuels use on the atmosphere’s greenhouse gas buildup and global warming.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico watershed informational slides.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation today aimed at reducing pollution that has endangered the Chesapeake Bay watershed for over 25 years. The Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act will give state and federal governments more power and funding to clean up pollution from agriculture sources and metropolitan storm run-off.

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