Posts Tagged Farms
July 18, 2012
by: Tyler Durden
July 16, 2012
The Largest Natural Disaster In U.S. History: The Endless Drought Of 2012 Will Bake America Well Into August
July 15, 2012
Why is the heartland of the United States experiencing such a horrific drought right now? At the moment, approximately61 percent of the entire nation is experiencing drought conditions, and this is absolutely devastating farmers and ranchers all over the country. Less than two weeks ago I wrote an article asking what would happen if these drought conditions persisted, and now we are finding out. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created the largest natural disaster area in U.S. history. The USDA has declared 1,016 counties in 26 U.S. states to be disaster areas. The USDA declaration basically covered about half of the nation, and there is now no denying how horrible this drought really is. You can see a map of this disaster area right here. This endless drought is being compared to the nightmarish drought of 1988, and if it persists into August it could become perhaps the worst drought that America has ever seen. The USDA says that approximately 60 percent of all corn in the country is experiencing “moderate to extreme” drought conditions. If this drought does not end soon, the losses are going to be mind blowing. Already, it is estimated that farmers and ranchers have suffered billions of dollars in damage. How much worse can things get?
Via: Activist Post
Sayer Ji, Contributor
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monsanto-funded research has been proliferating as uncontrollably as their genetically modified (GM) plants, and the bugs increasingly resistant to them.
The context within which these new studies are appearing is the growing body of experimental research indicating that the active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, along with the surfactants and related “inactive” ingredients found within glyphosate-based formulations, cause genetic damage associated with cancer initiation, and at levels far below those used agricultural applications and associated with real-world exposures.[iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii]
This has put manufacturers and proponents of glyphosate, as well as “Roundup Ready” GM plants in a vulnerable position.
If, the precautionary principle is employed and a much-needed reclassification of glyphosate as a class III carcinogen to a class II or I occurs, the increasingly global dominance of GM-based food crop systems will come to a screeching, regulation-induced halt.
So, given the threat posed by non-industry funded research on glyphosate’s toxicity, Monsanto has been putting money into research and development — but not in the reputable sense of the phrase — bypaying for research to develop the storyline that, despite damning research to contrary, Roundup is still safe.
PEER sues White House for withholding documents from Monsanto-linked lobbyist regarding protection of GE crops in wildlife refuges
Friday, March 02, 2012
By: Ethan A. Huff
[NaturalNews] The non-profit advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a lawsuit against the Obama White House for refusing to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that would potentially unearth the administration’s direct ties to Monsanto and the biotechnology industry. The so-called administration of transparency is refusing to disclose portions of an email between a top White House policy analyst and a biotechnology lobbying group that appear to expose the administration’s role in promoting genetically-modified (GM) crops in national wildlife refuges.
The Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO), a lobbying group which represents Monsanto and other key purveyors of GM crops, has for years been in close contact with the Obama White House over the issue of GM crop plantings in national wildlife refuges. Both BIO and the White House appear to be working in tandem on strategies to ensure that GM crops remain in wildlife refuges, an agricultural disaster that PEER has been trying for quite some time to bring to an end.
PEER has been largely successful in restricting GM plantings in wildlife refuges through repeated lawsuits, including one early last year that put an end to GM plantings in 12 wildlife refuges across the Northeast (http://www.naturalnews.com/031030_GMOs_lawsuit.html). But based on information that has been extracted via FOIA requests, the White House appears to be directly undercutting these measures by assisting BIO in protecting GM crops in other wildlife refuges from legal challenges.
And of particular concern is a January email between Peter Schmeissner, senior science policy analyst and member of the White House’s biotechnology working group, and BIO, in which specific details about the biotechnology industry’s lobbying strategies are laid out. The White House has deliberately censored certain sections of the email that is says contain biotechnology industry secrets, a fact that represents undeniable evidence that the Obama White House and the biotechnology industry are a close partnership.
“We suspect the reason an industry lobbyist so cavalierly shared strategy is that the White House is part of that strategy,” said PEER staff counsel Kathryn Douglas about the situation. “The White House’s legal posture is as credible as claiming Coca Cola’s secret formula was ‘inadvertently’ left in a duffel bag at the bus station.”
None of this is surprising since the Obama White House is filled with pro-GM players like Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist who was appointed by Obama to be deputy commissioner for food at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chief Tom Vilsack, another Obama appointee, was also responsible for pushing through the approval of GM alfalfa early last year (http://www.naturalnews.com/031196_GE_alfalfa_GMOs.html).
February 29 2012
By: Dr. Mercola
A bill has recently been introduced in the Vermont state legislature that would require food to be labeled as genetically engineered if it is entirely or partially produced with genetically engineered ingredients.
The bill also forbids any such food from using advertising or promotional material that states or implies that the food is:
- “naturally made”
- “naturally grown”
- “all natural,” or
- Any words of similar meaning
According to the language of the bill, it would require:
“… in the case of a raw agricultural commodity, on the package offered for retail sale … the clear and conspicuous words, ‘genetically engineered’ on the front of the package … [or] on a label appearing on the retail store shelf or bin in which such commodity is displayed for sale.
… in the case of any processed food, in clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package … the words, ‘partially produced with genetic engineering’ or ‘may be partially produced with genetic engineering’”.
More U.S. States Starting to Demand Labeling of GM Foods
Finally we’re starting to see some real opposition against genetically engineered foods in general, and unlabeled GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) in particular, in the U.S.! Aside from this Vermont bill, California, Michigan and Washington are also working on ballot initiatives to get mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods in their states. Vermont takes it a step further though, as the legislation would effectively also end phony “all natural” claims for products that in actuality contain wholly unnatural, GMOs.
Personally, I believe GM foods must be banned entirely, but labeling is the most efficient way to achieve this. Since 85 percent of the public will refuse to buy foods they know to be genetically modified, this will effectively eliminate them from the market just the way it was done in Europe.
Sheer ignorance on the part of American consumers has allowed Monsanto and other biotech companies to saturate the market with their genetically altered wares. And misuse of the “all natural” label has only made matters worse. According to a 2010 Hartman Group poll, more than 60 percent of consumers erroneously believe that the “natural” label implies or suggests the absence of GM ingredients, but that is sadly NOT the case… In fact, at the current time, the ONLY label that can protect you against GM ingredients is the USDA 100% Organic label.
After reading the Cornucopia Institutes’ 2011 report Cereal Crimesiii, many, including myself, were shocked to discover some of their favorite natural and even some organic brands were using GM ingredients! For example, natural products that contained 100 percent genetically modified grains included:
|Kashi®||Mother’s®||Nutritious Living®||General Mills Kix®|
Two breakfast cereal products that are currently enrolled in the Non-GMO Project, Barbara’s Bakery’s Puffins and Whole Foods’ 365® Corn Flakes, contained more than 50 percent GM corn. Meanwhile, the control, Nature’s Path® USDA certified organic corn flakes, contained only trace amounts of GM contamination (less than 0.5 percent). Another sign that American consumers are getting fed up with being stonewalled on the GMO labeling issue is the fact that lawsuits are starting to crop up, accusing food manufacturers of deceptive and misleading practices over their “all natural” claims. Here are just a couple of recent examples:
- Frito-Lay is being sued by a New York consumer over their ‘all natural’ snacks that are actually made using GM ingredients, such as Tostitos and SunChipsiv
- On August 31, 2011, a class action lawsuit was filed against Kellogg/Kashi® for allegedly misleading consumers with its “natural” claims. One Kashi® product in particular, GoLean® Shakes, is composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, according to the plaintiff
Why We MUST Insist on Mandatory Labeling of GM Foods
As I said earlier, mandatory labeling may be the only way to stop the proliferation of GM foods in the U.S. because while GM seeds are banned in several European countries such as Hungary, Germany and Ireland, in the United States, certain states are passing legislation that protects the use of GM seeds and allows for unabated expansion! At present, no less than 14 states have passed such legislation. Michigan’s Senate Bill 777v, if passed, would make that 15. The Michigan bill would prevent anti-GMO laws, and would remove “any authority local governments may have to adopt and enforce ordinances that prohibit or regulate the labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, use, or planting of agricultural, vegetable, flower or forest tree seeds.”
While this type of legislation sounds like crazy nonsense to normal people, such bills are essentially bought and paid for through the millions of dollars Monsanto and other biotech companies spend lobbying the U.S. government each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying the federal government — a drop from a year earlier, when they spent $2.5 million during the same quarter.
Their efforts of persuasion are also made infinitely easier by the fact that an ever growing list of former Monsanto employees are now in positions of power within the federal government.
Learn More about Genetically Modified (GM) Foods
Due to lack of labeling, many Americans are still unfamiliar with what GM foods are. We have a plan to change that, and I urge you to participate and to continue learning more about GM foods and helping your friends and family do the same.
To start, please print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. You can also download a free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
Your BEST strategy, however, is to simply buy USDA 100% Organic products whenever possible, (as these do not permit GM ingredients) or buy whole fresh produce and meat from local farmers. The majority of the GMO’s you’re exposed to are via processed foods, so by cooking from scratch with whole foods, you can be sure you’re not inadvertently consuming something laced with GM ingredients. When you do purchase processed food, avoid products containing anything related to corn or soy that are not 100 percent organic, as any foods containing these two non-organic ingredients are virtually guaranteed to contain genetically engineered ingredients, as well as toxic herbicide residues.
To learn more about GM foods, I highly recommend the following films and lectures:
- Hidden Dangers in Kid’s Meals
- Your Milk on Drugs – Just Say No!
- Everything You Have to Know About Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods
Your Opportunity to Eliminate Genetically Engineered Foods from the U.S.
In 2007, then-Presidential candidate Obama promised to “immediately” require GM labeling if elected. So far, nothing of the sort has transpired.
Labeling of genetically engineered food is way overdue… Here’s how you can get involved to rectify the situation:
- Whether you live in California or not, please donate money to this historic effort
- Talk to organic producers and stores and ask them to actively support the California Ballot. It may be the only chance we have to label genetically engineered foods.
- Distribute WIDELY the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs. Look for products (including organic products) that feature the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal to be sure that at-risk ingredients have been tested for GMO content. You can also download the free iPhone application that is available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.
- For timely updates, please join the Organic Consumers Association on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
- Look for in-depth coverage of the issue at the Institute for Responsible Technology, subscribe to Spilling the Beans, and check out their Facebook or Twitter.
In the meantime, the simplest way to avoid genetically engineered foods is to buy whole, certified organic foods. By definition, foods that are certified organic must never intentionally use genetically engineered organisms, must be produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers and come from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs. Additionally, grass-fed beef will not have been fed genetically engineered corn feed, although now that genetically engineered alfalfa is approved, grass-fed will not always mean they animals have not consumed genetically engineered feeds.
By Cole Moreton
9:00PM GMT 25 Feb 2012
The Schmallenberg virus causes lambs to be born dead or with serious deformities such as fused limbs and twisted necks, which mean they cannot survive.
Scientists are urgently trying to find out how the disease, which also affects cattle, spreads and how to fight it, as the number of farms affected increases by the day.
So far, 74 farms across southern and eastern England have been hit by the virus, which arrived in this country in January.
A thousand farms in Europe have reported cases since the first signs of the virus were seen in the German town of Schmallenberg last summer.
The National Farmers Union has called it a potential “catastrophe” and warned farmers to be vigilant. “This is a ticking time bomb,” said Alastair Mackintosh, of the NFU. “We don’t yet know the extent of the disease. We only find out the damage when sheep and cows give birth, and by then it’s too late.”
It is unclear exactly how the disease arrived in Britain, but the leading theory is that midges carried the virus across the Channel or North Sea in the autumn. However, scientists cannot yet rule out transmission of the disease from animal to animal.
Infected ewes do not show any symptoms of the virus until they give birth, with horrific results. Farmers have described delivering the deformed and stillborn animals as heartbreaking.
The lambing season has only just begun, which means that the full impact of the disease will not be felt until the weather warms up and millions more animals are born.
On the Continent, some farms have lost half of their lambs. So far the worst hit in Britain have lost 20 per cent, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Approximately 16 million lambs are born in Britain every year and sell at market for about £100 each. The effect of the disease on farms that are already struggling in the downturn could be severe.
“For any business to lose 20 per cent of your stock would be a huge blow,” said Mr Mackintosh. “For a farmer to lose 20 per cent of your flock is catastrophic. If it was 50 per cent you would be put out of action.
“I was talking to one who has 10,000 sheep. If he loses even five per cent of the animals born this year, that’s a hell of a lot of lambs. I know another who says 10 per cent of his ewes have become barren. He has 6,000 ewes, so that is 600 animals producing nothing.”
The Food Standards Agency has sought to allay any fears about eating lamb, although little is known about the virus so far.
The Agency said: “Any risk to consumers through the food chain is likely to be low. No illness has been reported to date in humans exposed to animals infected with Schmallenberg virus.”
The worst affected counties are Norfolk, Suffolk, East Sussex and Kent, but the virus has spread all along the south coast to Cornwall.
Farmers fear the disease may spread to larger flocks in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. In Europe, Germany, Holland and France have suffered worst, while recent cases have been reported in Italy and Luxembourg.
John, a farmer from East Sussex who wanted to remain anonymous, said he had lost 40 out of 400 lambs so far, at a cost to his business of more than £4,000.
“I’ve had to put more lambs down in the past month than I have done in the past 20 years. Every one is a serious blow to our finances. But it’s an emotional thing too,” he said.
There are also fears that the virus may be seen later this year among cows, which have a longer gestation period.
Five of the British farms have seen cattle affected, with calves aborted at six months of pregnancy.
Cows are thought to be more robust than sheep and therefore more resistant, but Schmallenberg virus could still reduce milk yields and put pressure on a dairy industry that is already suffering, says Mr Mackintosh. “From what I hear, we are likely to see weak calves that take a lot of expense and nursing to get going again. Having to do that will hit a business hard.”
The last confirmed midge-borne virus to hit the British farming industry was bluetongue in 2007, but a series of trade restrictions and a vaccine averted disaster.
This time there is no vaccine, and Defra says a ban on imports would not work, because the disease “is already here”. A spokesman said: “Defra is taking this seriously. We track emerging diseases. There is work going on across Europe and the amount we know is improving rapidly. We are keeping everything under review.”
Its website says “farmers and vets should remain vigilant and report any suspicious cases to AHVLA [the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency] for testing as part of our enhanced surveillance”. However, farmers are not yet legally required to notify authorities of an outbreak, leading some in the industry to fear it may already be much more widespread than figures suggest.
Nigel Miller, the president of the NFU in Scotland said: “The escalation and range of cases is deeply concerning and some experts are now suggesting that the volume of cases being seen is an indication that this is, in fact, the second year of infection.
“If that is the case then it raises the worrying prospect that the virus may have an effective overwintering mechanism.”
The AHVLA identifies Schmallenberg as one of a group of viruses “typically primarily spread by biting insect vectors, such as midges and mosquitoes, although the routes of Schmallenberg virus transmission have not yet been confirmed. The potential for direct transmission (ie direct from one animal to another) is therefore, as yet, unknown.”
It said: “There is unlikely to be a risk to human health from Schmallenberg virus; but this is not yet certain.”
Thursday, February 23, 2012
With the faster reviews, there will be even less time spent on evaluating the potential dangers. Why? Because Monsanto is losing sales with longer approval terms.
The changes are expected to take full effect in March when they’re published in the Federal Register. The USDA’s goal is to cut the approval time for GMO crops in half in order to speedily implement them into the global food supply. The current USDA process takes longer than they would like due to ‘public interest, legal challenges, and the challenges associated with the advent of national organic food standards‘ says USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, problems like public interest (activist groups attempting to bring the dangers of GMO crops to light), legal challenges (farmers suing Monsanto over genetic contamination), and national food standards are all getting in the way of their prime goal — to help Monsanto unleash their latest untested GMO creation. In fact, the concern is that Monsanto may be losing cash flow as nations like Brazil speed genetically modified seeds through laughable approval processes.
Steve Censky, chief executive officer of the American Soybean Association, states it quite plainly. This is a move to help Monsanto and other biotechnology giants squash competition and make profits. After all, who cares about public health?
‘It is a concern from a competition standpoint,’ Censky said in a telephone interview.
The same statements are re-iterated by analyst Jeff Windau in an interview with Bloomberg:
‘If you can reduce the approval time, you get sales that much faster,’ said Windau.
If you can reduce the approval time, as in the time it takes to determine if these food products are safe, then you can get sales much faster.
Is the USDA working for the United States consumer, or is it working for Monsanto?