Today's News - 26 April 2012
“Rather than merely focusing on the need to increase levels of agricultural production, we need to increase calories and nutrients for human consumption per tonne of input per hectare, not simply yield per hectare”
Head of Policy at the Soil Association, Emma Hockridge, discusses the contribution of agro-ecological farming systems towards sustaining global food supplies – March 2012
Food: Organic growth?
To the outside, it often seems to take place in an environment where entrenched beliefs are more important to some protagonists as evidence. A paper in the journal Nature this week aims to put that right, with a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of studies done on crop yields. To be included, a study had to compare organic and conventional planting across similarly-sized areas, had to report on the sample size and error margins, and had to use organic methods that complied with the guidelines of certification organisations (such as the UK's Soil Association).
BBC News (25 Apr)
Will organic food fail to feed the world?
Scientific American (25 Apr)
Can organic food feed the world?
Science Daily (25 Apr)
Experts challenge sustainability of food system
A report release by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has criticised intensive livestock farming operations for their use of antibiotics, effect on the environment and rural communities, poor welfare and cost to the taxpayer.
The Poultry Site (26 Apr)
Organic food industry creates more than half a million jobs
Producing US foods organically creates thousands more jobs than if that food were produced using conventional agricultural methods, according to a new economic study released yesterday at the Organic Trade Board’s (OTB) Policy Conference. The report shows that the organic food industry generated more than 500,000 American jobs in 2010 and builds on data released by the OTA earlier in the week revealing the overall U.S. organic market in 2011 surpassed $31 billion for the first time.
PR Newswire (25 Apr)
Vogue on GM
The latest issue of Vogue magazine in America features an article on GM, “Lab to Table”, which covers the latest research on GM technology as well as the burgeoning resistance movement. The article concludes with info about the solutions offered by the Non-GMO Project, and ends with this quote from Non-GMO Project Executive Director Megan Westgate: I asked Westgate if she felt certain GMOs were dangerous. “What evidence do we have that they are safe? This is an experimental technology, and if people don’t want to experiment on themselves or their children, they need to have a choice. And that’s what we’re providing.”
Vogue magazine (May 2012, American version, p.285)
US growers petition government over GM crops
A group of farmers and food processors is asking the US government to examine the potential problems of new herbicide-tolerant crops planned by biotech companies for commercial use in the States.
Farmers Weekly (25 Apr)
No margin of error with Enviromist sprayers
Eliminating weeds in the crop and weed seed free crop yield are not the only priorities in contemporary arable farming. Farmers are increasingly mindful of obligations to establish and maintain biodiversity along field margins safeguarding them from contamination from herbicides used to treat the crop.
Farming UK (25 Apr)
Bayer to offer advice on countering rats
Highlighting the significant threat that rodents pose to stock health, Bayer is offering practical tools and expert advice to farmers at this year’s British Pig and Poultry fair. Ken Black, Bayer’s national account manager for rural hygiene explains “even when farm biosecurity is strong, rodents are sometimes overlooked as an important route of disease infection as well as contamination”
Farmers Weekly (25 Apr)
Workers suspended by Norfolk pig farm
Five workers have been suspended by the Norfolk pig producer at the centre of animal cruelty allegations. It follows undercover footage apparently showing pigs being beaten, mishandled and killed on two of the company’s farms.
Farmers Weekly (25 Apr)
England's Farm Minister, Jim Paice, admits that conservation schemes haven't been focussed enough and explains the improvements he's making. Chinese scientists have developed a genetically modified lamb which has higher levels of 'good' fats in its meat. And, how midge traps on farms around the country are helping UK scientists build up a picture of how the Schmallenberg Virus outbreak will develop.
BBC Radio 4, listen again (26 Apr)
And finally…Extinct short-haired bumblebee to be reintroduced in England
The short-haired bumblebee, extinct in the UK for nearly a quarter of a century, is set to be reintroduced into the south-east of the country. The bumblebees will be released in Romney Marsh and Dungeness later this spring where they will hopefully re-colonise meadows and farmlands.
The Guardian (26 Apr)