Today's News - 02 October 2012
“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent."
Charles Benbrook, research professor at the Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University - Reuters – 2 October 2012
Pesticide use ramping up as GMO crop technology backfires: study
U.S. farmers are using more hazardous pesticides to fight weeds and insects due largely to heavy adoption of genetically modified crop technologies that are sparking a rise of "superweeds" and hard-to-kill insects, according to a newly released study. Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011, according to the report by Charles Benbrook, a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.
Reuters (2 Oct)
Campaigners call for clarity over badger cull in organic sector
Campaigners opposed to the badger cull are upping the pressure on the organic sector, as a new survey suggests one in three organic shoppers could end up boycotting organic milk because of concerns over the planned controversial cull.
The Soil Association said in a position statement on the cull that: “It would not make sense for consumers to stop buying organic milk if they disagree with badger culling when independent reviews have shown that no other system of farming has higher animal welfare standards and government studies have shown that organic farms have up to 50% more wildlife.”
The Grocer (1 Oct)
Read the Soil Association's full comment.
GM cows make 'low allergy' milk
A genetically modified cow that produces milk less likely to cause allergic reactions has been engineered by New Zealand scientists. The study has been labelled a "milestone" by one scientist, but some campaign groups say it raises ethical concerns. The calf was born without a tail, however, the researchers say that is "unlikely" to be because of the genetic modification.
BBC News (1 Oct)
GM cow designed to produce milk without an allergy-causing protein
The Guardian (1 Oct)
Read about the Soil Association’s position on GM
Sustainable Farming, Organic Food: 8 Lessons for America
With college graduates drifting back to the second oldest profession in the world: farming, Ellen Freudenheim writes that the allure of an environmentally responsible, low-pesticide kind of agriculture is a logical outcome of the eco-conscious gestalt that partially defines this new generation. “Sustainable agriculture”, she says, “is in.”
The Huffington Post (1 Oct)
50 months: 'Sometimes less really is more'
Molly Conisbee, former director of campaigns and communications at the Soil Association took part in the Guardian’s series ‘100 months to save the world.’ She writes that: “I'd like a collective action which shared creative responses to how we reinvent things together. This could stretch from pieces of string and packaging waste, to big projects involving disused buildings and vacant land lots. To which, the response would sometimes aptly be to do nothing at all.”
The Guardian (1 Oct)
Nottingham leads sustainability charge
Nottingham University has worked hard to make sure it serves the best eco-friendly produce, allowing them to qualify for Soil Association’s Food for Life Bronze Catering Mark. And as of this week, each of the University of Nottingham’s 14 restaurants will be serving MSC certified fish to all students, staff members and guests
Fishnewseu.com (1 Oct)
Read more about the Food for Life Catering Mark.
Sustainable agriculture is the need of the hour
Practicing Western agriculture, steady depletion of the soil productivity, poor agricultural policies and debt crisis of farmers in the country have stagnated the growth of Indian agriculture, L Narayana Reddy, a pioneer in organic farming said. Reddy stated that a return to sustainable agriculture was the need of the hour today.
IBN News (1 Oct)
Farmers can land a blow against poverty
Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of Oxfam, writes on the importance of nurturing small-scale agriculture: “With growth in small-scale agriculture having twice the effect on the poorest as growth in other sectors, here is a real opportunity for them to play a part in delivering a knockout blow against poverty while also earning a profit.”
The Financial Times (30 Sept)
Food banks increase as Wales incomes fall £80 per month
Household incomes in Wales fell by an average of £80 per month in one year, official figures have shown.
BBC News (2 Oct)
Hollow potatoes and mouldy wheat - how the wet weather has hit crop quality.
Flood meadows are a historical solution to a problem facing those who farm by rivers. There are less than 1500 hectares of flood meadows left in the UK. Meanwhile farmer Andrew Brown says that he needs more support from the Environment Agency
BBC Radio4, listen again (2 Oct)
And finally…Satellite eye on Earth: September 2012 – in pictures
The Guardian (2 Oct)