To get a first hand feel for this creepy phenomenon, I hoofed it over to my local Fred Meyer to browse the cereal aisle, a place I’ve only stopped in once before to grab some store brand bran flakes for homemade muesli. There they were, relegated to the bottom shelves. And here’s the creepy thing. They were looking up at me, trying to make eye contact from the place on the floor.
Lets’ start this by saying I deplore the use of fear-based imagery in marketing and education. That’s represented in the aforementioned post. But I have also recently called out ‘agvocate’ voices for using hyperbole or bad reasoning in their arguments. When we take sides first and ask questions later, we risk falling on sloppy arguments ourselves. Painting any issue as black or white is a dangerous proposition.
Debunking too often tends to be a team sport and just because it’s inevitable, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. In food and farm issues, only biotech drives more debunking than the Organic vs Conventional debate. When you are responding to misinformation the “other” side has already defined the terms of the debate and it’s hard to bust out of those frames. Often that means the big picture gets lost.
Recent reporting on organic dairy production in the Washington Post underscores a preoccupation with the aesthetic appeal of organics and little interest in the environmental impacts.
Terence Bradshaw, Director of the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center tries to bring some sanity and context to the use of protective gear when applying pesticides in both organic and conventional systems.
The Farmer Fair Practice Rules consist of one interim final rule and two proposed rules. The interim final rule deals with competitive injury disputes for contract growers. Currently, contract poultry growers must prove harm for the entire $48 billion chicken industry rather than harm to themselves when seeking relief from poultry companies for abusive contract practices. This outrageous interpretation of the Packers and Stockyards Act not only places undue burden on individual growers – it also allows the meatpacking industries to continue abusive practices largely free of consequences. The interim final rule eliminates that burden, thereby taking some power from the multinational meatpackers and placing it with the individual farmers.
National Farmer’s Union president Roger Johnson on why Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement will be bad for farmers.
NutrientStar, which assesses fertilizer management products and tools using field trials and in-depth scientific reviews, was a game changer for farmers. Prior to the launch of the program last year, there was no expert review program to help farmers determine what tools would work as advertised.
The only downside of the program was its limited utility. Farmers had no easy way to extrapolate results from the relatively few number of field trials performed thus far to their own locations. Now, a new geospatial feature called the Technology Extrapolation Domain (TED) framework will make NutrientStar accessible to tens of thousands of additional farmers across the Corn Belt.
I like to think of it as NutrientStar on steroids.
Kevin Folta explains why it’s important to use the scientifically accurate term “genetically engineered” to refer to biotech crops and animals rather than the sloppy and baggage laden “GMO”.
In Peru, as yellow rust disease has devastated top quality coffee harvests, coca for cocaine is filling for farmers who need to bolster sagging incomes.
The Environmental Defense Funds genuinely believes that conservation practices are good for farmers and landowners’ bottom lines. But faith isn’t a strong selling point. They need help putting together the data and the evidence. This is a call to farmers to share their data on conservation practices and how they affect the bottom line.
Five years ago, Kulsom and his colleague Lisette Kreischer founded a company called The Dutch Weed Burger after they shot a documentary about the role of seaweed as a future source of protein. Kulsom says the company’s mission is “to work on the acceptance of seaweed becoming a part of the new paradigm.”
Enter their first product: the weed burger.
At first, a seaweed burger seems like an unusual choice, but it begins to make sense after a while.
The possibility of a win-win for farmers and the environment is a driving force for the soil health movement. It is a management philosophy centered around four simple principles: reduce or eliminate tillage, keep plant residues on the soil surface, keep living roots in the ground, and maximize diversity of plants and animals.
In the last decade or so, vast amounts of money have been invested in the development of algae for biofuel production. This made sense because, ten years ago, there was a need to find alternatives to fossil fuels due to the high oil price and the increasing recognition that carbon emissions were causing climate change. Algal biofuels were touted as the answer to these twin problems, and huge investment followed.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite to plan.
When a research team included an industry partner, our participants were generally less likely to think the scientists would consider a full range of evidence and listen to different voices. An industry partner also reduced how much participants believed any resulting data would provide meaningful guidance for making decisions.
Large farms should be able to buy crop insurance on every acre, but there should be limits to the amount of their bill that taxpayers are responsible for. Other subsidy programs have a payment limit. Why should crop insurance be different?
Edible insects have long been a staple source of protein in many African countries. Domesticating production is now taking pressure of local ecosystems.
The weed management issue in Sherman County has been resolved but it still sheds light on three groups of stakeholders.
How can you tell good science from bad science? As the quality of peer review falters and pop science reporting relies on controversy it gets harder all the time. Here are six guidelines for separating the signal from the noise.
Colin K. Khoury of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture looks at claims that 75% of crop diversity has been lost in the modern era. Instead, he finds that though there have been winners and losers among crops as agriculture has intensified, over the past 50 years, almost all countries’ diets actually became more diverse, not less, for the crops that FAO statistics do report.