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The Latest from AgMag

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For more than thirty years, contamination from high-intensity farming has been adding to the pollution that fouls Chesapeake Bay, one of America’s most storied waterways. A new report from the Environmental Working Group today (Dec 7) shows that weakly regulated agricultural practices in the six states of the Chesapeake watershed are overloading soils with phosphorus, a major reason the bay is in trouble.

Key Issues: 
Friday, December 3, 2010

Rumors are flying that the lame duck Congress will attach an extension of the so-called ethanol “blender’s tax credit” to a bill to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts as part of a broader deal. Here are the Top 10 reasons – based on previously released EWG research – why Congress should say no to the tax credit extension.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

By Dusty Horwitt, EWG Senior Counsel

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said this week that his department is weighing a plan to require energy companies to disclose what chemicals they use when hydraulically fracturing wells on federal land, a welcome step that would help to lift the veil of secrecy that usually shrouds the toxic mixtures used in the process. We commend him for this proposal and urge him to take action.

Key Issues: 
Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Wednesday (Dec 1), 15 senators from Corn Belt states sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell asking them to extend the ethanol tax credits and tariff protection that expire at the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DTN Progressive Farmer political correspondent Jerry Hagstrom is reporting that black farmers' claims against the US Department of Agriculture  "could be settled today if the House, as expected, takes up a $4.5 billion bill the Senate passed just before Thanksgiving to settle the Pigford II black farmers’ discrimination case against USDA."

Key Issues: 
Monday, November 29, 2010

Tea party backers, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, and the bulk of the U.S. meat and dairy industry joined forces today, calling on Congressional leaders to eliminate a wasteful taxpayer-funded subsidy that largely lines the pockets of companies that blend ethanol with fuel, including BP, Shell and Chevron. Go here to read the letter asking Congress to roll back support for corn ethanol from 59 groups.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The cut-spending, small government posse that rode the Tea Party wave into Congress -- but just happens to cash in on federal farm subsidies -- is now using national defense as a shield for  its contradictory stance. Vicky Hartzler, recently elected to Congress from Missouri and recipient of $774,000 in farm subsidies since 1995, played the national defense card when confronted over her haul of taxpayer dollars: "Everything should be on the table," she says. While she says some agriculture programs represent a "national defense issue" because they help guarantee that "we have a safety net to make sure we have food security in our country."

Key Issues: 
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yesterday (Nov 19) it was announced that the $1.15 billion awarded black farmers in the Pigford settlement that arose from decades of discriminatory practices at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finally been approved by the Senate.

Key Issues: 
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Everyone agrees: Chesapeake Bay is heavily polluted. Thirty years of promises, compromises, plans, schemes and a whole lot of taxpayer dollars have done little to clean up one of America's most storied watersheds. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and waste from urban sprawl is one factor. But the biggest threat to water quality in the Chesapeake is pollution from agriculture.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eight years ago, there were 61 plants producing ethanol to blend with gasoline in the United States; today there are about 200. Eight years ago, 13 percent of those plants used a feedstock other than corn; today, just 5 percent rely on alternatives like wood waste, sugar cane or cheese whey.

Key Issues: 
Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to Kernel Watch, a time-to-time AgMag series looking at the follies, excesses and outright distortions spouted by agribusiness and its PR and lobby arms. Their goal is to keep consumers in the dark about what’s in the food they eat, to fight needed reforms that would protect America's land and water, and to preserve the flow of taxpayer dollars to the largest commodity crop producers.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

House Democrats’ devastating losses in Tuesday’s mid-term election swept away a number of members from hotly contested rural districts whose full-throated support for keeping the taxpayer-funded farm subsidy spigot wide open was supposed to inoculate them against challengers and help Democrats maintain control of the House.

Key Issues: 
Friday, October 29, 2010

In a fall season rife with bad news for the corn ethanol industry, its lobby has been hyping a new partnership with NASCAR. According to USA Today, NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France announced the sponsorship before the Oct. 16 Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In 1982, scientists observed record numbers of migratory birds at California’s Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge hatching with massive deformities. Baby birds had grossly misshapen beaks, twisted legs, missing wings and malformed skulls. More than 1,000 waterfowl eventually died.

Key Issues: 
Monday, October 25, 2010

Cutting back on the amount of meat in the American diet is one of the best ways people can shrink their carbon footprint – and at the same time slim their waistlines and improve overall health.

Friday, October 22, 2010

If you like your fruits and vegetables with pesticides, then you’ll be glad to know the conventional produce industry is boasting of a big win with the Obama administration.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Even as it announced several initiatives to promote development of advanced biofuels, the Obama Administration made clear Thursday (Oct. 21) that it’s not prepared to let go of corn ethanol and other first-generation fuels whose existence relies heavily on expensive tax breaks and tariffs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

With Congress in recess, talks on reshaping the federal Farm Bill, due for action in 2012, have been set aside while nervous lawmakers focus on the November elections.

Key Issues: 
Friday, October 1, 2010

On Sept 23rd, Jimmy Kimmel Live hosted "Science Bob" Pflugfelder. Watch below as the acclaimed science educator and Jimmy conduct an experiment to see which has more calories, a piece of celery -- or a gummy bear.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), a California trade association, wants you to have less information about pesticide residues on the fruits and vegetables you buy. That’s not too surprising; since the Alliance represents more than 50 large produce growers and marketers and the suppliers who sell them pesticides and fertilizer.