agriculture

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Farm Advocates and Scientists Voice Concern Over Use of Crop Chemicals

By Jeannette | March 27, 2012

Photo: Macomb Paynes

Photo: Macomb Paynes

By: Justin Chan

As the United States Department of Agriculture faces criticism from concerned parents over the use of pink slime in school food, another agency is facing heat for not doing enough to limit the use of crop chemicals.

According to Reuters, scientists, environmentalists and farm advocates have been increasingly irked by the use of agricultural chemicals in boosting crop production. As the world’s population continues to grow, critics are worried that the consequent demand for food has led to health and environmental risks. Some have already issued warnings and calls for government action, while the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has taken a more serious route by filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Evidence reveals that agricultural residues have been found in water supplies and air samples of some of the farming communities across the country, causing more anxiety among critics. Read More

News

Promoting Organic Farming: An Interview With The Rodale Institute

By Jeannette | March 6, 2012

Rodale institute

By: Justin Chan

Many people are accustomed to going to their local grocery store and picking up fruits and vegetables that have been processed through conventional methods. More often than not, these products have gone through a series of chemical spraying, which keeps parasitic pests from cluttering around the food consumers eat. Some critics have voiced health concerns over this procedure but concede that these products are affordable to those who cannot purchase healthier food. One organization, the Rodale Institute, is determined to change the perception that only the rich can afford organic food and that organic farming is not sustainable.

Headquartered in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the Rodale Institute is a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting organic agriculture and farming through research and outreach. Its Farming Systems Trial, for instance, compares conventional chemical agriculture with organic farming. The institute also offers workshops, tours and programs geared at raising awareness about the benefits of growing food organically.

We got an inside look at the workings of The Rodale Institute through an interview with the organization’s executive director, Coach Mark Smallwood. Check out what he had to say about their mission… Read More

News

Department of Agriculture Will Speed Up Approval of Genetically Modified Crops

By Jeannette | March 5, 2012

Photo: tillwe

Photo: tillwe

By: Justin Chan

Several days after the United States and Europe agreed on a pact that will recognize each other’s certified organic products, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it will speed up approval of genetically modified crops.

According to BusinessWeek, seed companies such as Monsanto Co. will get faster regulatory reviews of their crops under the new policy changes. Michael Gregoire, USDA’s deputy administrator, said that the department plans to cut the time needed to approve biotech crops by half. Under the new guidelines, upgraded versions of current crop technologies will be reviewed for at least 13 months. New technologies will be reviewed for approximately 16 months. The changes are expected to take place this month, once they are published in the Federal Register. Read More

News

‘Rotting Crops’ Call For Immigration Reform

By Jeannette | March 1, 2012

Photo: tomylees

Photo: tomylees

By: Justin Chan

Weather changes only account for part of the problem that affects agricultural output. According to Bloomberg, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned last week that immigration reforms are necessary in order to maintain a sufficient workforce and prevent crops from rotting.

“The sad reality is that crops will be raised in this country this year that may not be harvested because there simply is not the workforce,” he said. “”All of America, but especially farm country, needs comprehensive immigration reform, and we need it now.” Read More

News

Illogical Economics: Inefficiency in Food Production Causes Problems

By admin | December 21, 2011

Photo: Or Resef

Photo: Or Resef

By: Dylan Rodgers

The relationship between Supply and Demand constitutes the simplest economic model.  But economics is far from simple; the complex web that connects each and every commodity and its prospective value makes the Supply and Demand model an unbelievably multifaceted system.  So when we wonder why food prices have skyrocketed by nearly 300 percent in some areas in the world, there is no one answer to this growing problem.

We’ll start with the good news-food prices are expected to continue to drop as they have over the last few months.  Some predict it will bottom out, a result bad for investors and good for hungry families.  This reprieve may be enough for struggling countries to begin to get back on our feet at least in terms of feeding ourselves.  But what about the future?  How can we as the World’s economy levee against a future flood of skyrocketing food prices? Read More

News

Increase in Global Heat Leads to Decrease in Agricultural Output

By admin | November 3, 2011

Photo: Cristian V.

Photo: Cristian V.

By: Saira Malhotra

Last week, Reuters reported how the United States, the world’s largest food exporter, showed growing concerns regarding its agricultural output. At an agronomist meeting last week in San Antonio, scientists engaged in a hot topic: heat. Experts have always considered global warming with regards to its impact on melting glaciers and over flowing water tables, but what seems to be having a more direct and immediate impact on agricultural production is the rise in climate.

With the early start to sun rise accompanied by significantly hot evenings, the days are getting longer and hotter, particularly in the Southern parts of the country like Florida. Read More

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