"Farmers say consolidation in the industry means they're forced to buy more costly seeds. But Monsanto, the world's largest seed firm, says competition 'is alive and flourishing.'"
Those who sold their land to the massive Premium Standard hog-feeding operation in northern Missouri or went to work for it loved it. Those whose property was next door generally did not.
"Natural food advocates are optimistic that the government is committed to a meaningful certification process. They point to an edict that livestock must graze on pasture at least four months a year."
"Drought-stricken farmers and cities across California were granted a measure of relief on Friday when federal and state officials said they expected to supply significantly more water this year than last."
"The federal government will maximize enrollment in the land-idling Conservation Reserve, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a policy that would reduce U.S. cropland by 1.5 percent if successful."
"Manure is nitrogen rich, which makes it a great fertilizer. But by applying every last bit of ma nure to their fields, California dairy farmers—and non-dairy farmers as well—are dosing their crops with more nitrogen than the plants can absorb. The excess nitrogen is causing serious air and water pollution problems and may even be threatening the health of the soil."
USDA's first major national survey of U.S. organic farms includes 14,540 farms and ranches that cover 4.1 million acres in 50 states.
"Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak."
"In this special Grist series, we’ll be looking at where synthetic nitrogen comes from and what our reliance on it is doing to our health and to the health of our waterways and climate. We’ll also be looking at ways in which synthetic nitrogen can be used more wisely—and, as much as possible, phased out."
"Capping a decade-long battle, private companies in Mexico have begun the first legal plantings of genetically modified corn, the Agriculture Department said Wednesday."