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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


13
Apr

Hawaii Poised to Ban the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2018) Hawaii is poised to become the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of pesticides containing the developmental neurotoxicant, chlorpyrifos. SB3095, passed unanimously by the State House of Representatives this week, prohibits the application of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) within 100 feet of schools when they are in session, and it requires commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their RUP use to the Department of Agriculture (DOA). In the absence of adequate federal procedures to protect communities from hazardous pesticide drift, this bill represents the culmination of efforts by the people of Hawaii to ban and restrict the most egregious pesticides and to increase the transparency regarding their use. As bill supporters rallied in the Capitol’s Rotunda this week, SB3095 was sent to the Senate. No date has yet been set for its consideration, but Senators who support the bill hope to secure the 13 votes needed to pass it and avoid further weakening of its provisions. Beyond Pesticides has actively supported this and previous iterations of SB3095, arguing for the establishment of a much more protective one mile buffer zone between schools and RUP applications to safeguard school children where they learn. […]

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10
Apr

Scientists Determine the Only Solution to Herbicide Resistant Weeds Is to Reduce Herbicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2018) Current strategies aimed at managing herbicide resistant weeds in agriculture are not effective and may exacerbate weed problems, according to research published earlier this year by scientists at University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom (UK). While the conventional wisdom in farming, promoted strongly by the chemical industry, is that resistance can be adequately managed by rotating the herbicides used, researchers did not find evidence to support this strategy. In an ode to Occam’s razor, a philosophical theory that hypotheses with the fewest assumptions may be the correct one, researchers found the best method to reduce weed resistance to herbicides was to reduce the overall use of herbicides. Sheffield scientists focused their research on the occurrence of a common weed in the UK called black-grass. This weed was found to occur on 88% of the farmland tested in the study, and has recently been spreading into new areas it had never before colonized. Rob Freckleton, PhD, a population biologist and co-author of the study indicated to Science Daily, “The driver for this spread is evolved herbicide resistance: we found that weeds in fields with higher densities are more resistant to herbicides.” Thus, the more abundant […]

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09
Apr

Tell Congress to Sign UN Biodiversity Convention

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2018) A new international study finds that the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources worldwide has reached critical proportions, causing biodiversity loss and land degradation that threaten the food and water security of an estimated 3.2 billion people. Congress must act for the U.S. to become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, joining the global community in working to develop and implement solutions to the biodiversity crisis. Urge your U.S. Representatives and Senators to call for a vote in Congress to support the U.S. becoming a signatory to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report unearths the crisis faced by two-fifths of the world’s population due to the worsening of land degradation, declining species biodiversity, and the intensification of climate change. Though the report presents a bleak picture of how humans have substantially degraded the natural resources essential to survival, it holds up indigenous knowledge and land-use practices as potential models for how to use natural resources for human benefit, while still protecting biodiversity. However, the cultures that possess this knowledge are also in jeopardy. More than 60 percent of indigenous languages and cultures in the […]

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04
Apr

State Proposes Rule to Restrict Sale of Dicamba and 2,4-D, Herbicides that Damage Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2018) In late March, the Missouri Department of Agriculture hosted a public hearing to discuss a proposed emergency rule restricting the sale and use of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D – which are known for their ability to drift off-site and damage sensitive crops. The emergency rule was introduced to prevent off-label use of specific dicamba or 2,4-D products. Thus far, dicamba is responsible for damaging approximately 325,000 acres of soybeans in the state last year. The proposed rule will stop sales of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D between April 15 and October 1 in Missouri. The department’s goal is to prevent off-label pesticides from drifting onto neighboring property and damaging other crops. According to the department, if it chooses to pursue an emergency rule, it could become effective as soon as April 1, 2018, and expire 180 days later. The rule also requires registrants to provide a sales record by April 30 for each pesticide sold between October 1 and April 15. A proposed rule will be filed at the same time as an emergency rule to initiate the formal rulemaking process. The draft rule language reads as follows: Pesticides that meet the conditions of this section are […]

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03
Apr

International Science Panel Finds Biodiversity Declines Extremely Dangerous Worldwide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2018) Humans’ unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, worldwide, has reached critical proportions, threatening the ability of an estimated 3.2 billion people to have food and water security, according to a new international study. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report (IPBES) unearths the crisis faced by two-fifths of the world’s population due to the worsening of land degradation, declining species biodiversity, and the intensification of climate change. While the report presents a bleak picture of how humans have substantially degraded the natural resources essential to survival, it also offers some hope by identifying the changes could be adopted by governments with a political will. Publication of the IPBES comes with a stern warning from the report’s Chair, Robert Watson, PhD, who cautions that “the time for action was yesterday or the day before.” The extensively peer-reviewed report, conducted by 100 experts from 45 countries, represents a compilation of four regional assessments in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Africa, and Europe and Central Asia. It is intended to provide policy makers with “the best available evidence” to make important decisions about corrective actions they can take to avoid, reduce, and even reverse land degradation […]

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02
Apr

Last Chance to Comment on Issues for National Organic Standards Board Spring Meeting

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2018) The comment period closes Wednesday, April 4 at 11:59 pm for the Spring 2018 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Meeting. Decisions governing the substances allowed in organic food production are subject to public input twice a year. Public participation in this process is critical to the quality of the decisions and meeting both consumer and farmer expectations. In this context, Beyond Pesticides analyzes the proposals before the NOSB, shares its analysis and comments with the public, and urges people to engage the process and make their views known to decision makers. Details are provided below. In addition to the other priorities in our previous alert (preventing fraud in organic, removing incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic crop production, and the use of bisphenol A [BPA] and other chemicals in organic packaging), we focus attention here on some genetic engineering (GE) issues, contaminated inputs, and “inert” ingredients. New to Regulations.gov? See our two-minute tutorial. Comment now! Beyond Pesticides provides you with our positions, which you can use as the basis for your comments. If you have limited time, you can use the sample comments on priority issues, below. If you have more time, please use the […]

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30
Mar

Chemical-Intensive Farms Singled Out for Excessive Use of “New” Nitrogen Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2018) While conventional farming practices rely primarily on new sources of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to grow crops, organic agriculture conserves nitrogen by using recycled sources, as detailed by new research published by the University of Virginia (UVA) and The Organic Center. Of concern is ‘reactive nitrogen,’ which is nitrogen in a form that will eventually be used by plants (ex. nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrate (NO3–), nitrite (NO2–), ammonia (NH3), and ammonium (NH4+)), rather than benign, non-reactive nitrogen in the form of N2.  “This research is significant and timely because its findings show that many common organic farming practices—like composting and the use of manure fertilization in place of synthetic fertilizers—can recycle reactive nitrogen that is already in the global system rather than introducing new reactive nitrogen into the environment, and thus have a much smaller environmental impact,” said Jessica Shade, PhD of The Organic Center. Earlier this year, researchers at the University of California Davis published a study in Science Advances with the finding that regulators in the state drastically underestimate chemical-intensive agriculture’s contribution to nitrogen oxide (NOx) caused air pollution, acid rain, and respiratory illness in the state. While NOx  pollution is usually associated with energy production and […]

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26
Mar

Action: Your State’s AG Needs to Join the Investigation of the Bayer-Monsanto Merger

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2018) Tell your state AG to join the investigation of the merger of Bayer-Monsanto, the manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds tolerant of its herbicide glyphosate (aka Roundup®), and Bayer, the manufacturer of neonicotinoid insecticides responsible for pollinator declines, including imidacloprid and clothianidin. The giant seed and pesticide company that would be created by this merger would be a disaster for pollinators, people, and the environment. Farmers overwhelmingly think this mega-merger is a bad idea –a new survey and white paper were released that demonstrate widespread opposition of farmers to this merger. According to the poll, which was conducted by a coalition of farm organizations, 93 percent of farmers surveyed oppose it. More than one million Americans have called on the Department of Justice to stop it. Investigations are ongoing in both the EU and the U.S. Your state attorney general could play a key role in this fight by joining the investigation. Tell your state AG to join the investigation of the Bayer-Monsanto Merger! If this merger goes through, the new company would be the world’s largest vegetable seed company. It would control seeds for many of the crops we eat regularly — including broccoli, carrots, and onions. It would also be the largest manufacturer […]

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22
Mar

Twenty-Eight Senators Urge EPA Administrator to Retain Farmworker Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2018) Last week Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt received a letter from twenty-eight U.S. Senators urging the preservation of rules that would protect farmworkers and disallow minors to handle highly toxic pesticides. At issue are two proposals from Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA that would roll back Agricultural Worker Protection Standards (AWPS) and the Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rules put in place during the Obama Administration. In their letter, the Senators stress the impact of any potential changes, noting “the lives of children and families across the country at stake.” During the Obama era, EPA completed rulemaking that revised AWPS for the first time in over 20 years. Key components expanded training, prohibited children under 18 from applying highly toxic restricted use pesticides, created new no-entry application-exclusion zones, improved record keeping, provided farmworkers a designated representative to request pesticide records, and other safety improvements. The final rules put in place long-overdue protections, but still represented a compromise for workers and farmworker advocates. At the time the rules were released, advocacy organization Farmworker Justice released a statement noting, “While we are disappointed that the final rule does not include some significant safety measures, we will […]

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19
Mar

Keeping Organic Strong: Public Comments Due

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 20018) Comment by April 4 to Protect Organic Integrity. Organic integrity is under unprecedented attack from the Trump Administration’s Department of Agriculture (USDA), Congress, and those who would like to sell food as “organic” without following the stringent rules established for organic food production and labeling. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), established to represent the organic community in advising USDA on organic practices, will be voting on important issues, and your input is critical to that process. The NOSB meets twice yearly to consider issues including materials used in organic production and oversight of the National Organic Program within USDA. Submit your comments at Regulations.gov! Enforcement is a critical component to any standard setting program. Recent reports in the Washington Post have highlighted fraudulent activities by companies selling products as organic. While this activity is certainly deviant, it taints the organic label and, if not dealt with seriously, will become a bigger problem. The NOSB will consider motions at the Spring 2018 meeting that will stop this practice. Your voice is needed to make this happen! Make your voice heard on this and other issues by submitting comments NOW on what materials and practices are allowed […]

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16
Mar

USDA Continues Attack on Integrity of Organic Food Label, Sparks Alternative Add-On Labels

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2018) In a pattern of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) actions that hurt the integrity of the organic label on food products, the agency has decided to withdraw final organic animal welfare regulations that would have provided standardized and measurable criteria for managing the health and welfare of organic livestock and poultry. USDA’s latest decision is another in a series of actions aimed at lowering the bar of organic integrity in order to serve the needs of large organic producers. In November of 2017, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), backed by the National Organic Program (NOP), rolled back decades of agreement that organic agriculture is soil-dependent, by allowing soil-less hydroponic operations to be certified organic. This has sparked stakeholders to collaborate on the development of an add-on label to certified organic food, with standards that meet the intent and letter of organic law. Despite widespread stakeholder disagreement and evidence to the contrary, USDA has concluded that the organic animal husbandry practice standards do not need to be improved  because existing regulations are “robust” and “effective,” despite widespread stakeholder disagreement. USDA justified withdrawing the regulations, by stating that they could “have a negative effect on participation […]

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09
Mar

Study Finds Grass-Fed and Organic Milk to Be Healthier than Conventional

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2018) Milk from 100% grass-fed cows has higher levels of beneficial fatty acids than conventional and even organic milk, according to a study published by an international team of scientists in the journal Food Science and Nutrition. The research follows up on data published in 2013, which compared only conventional and organic milk, finding organic milk contained 62 percent more omega-3 fatty acids and 25 percent fewer omega-6s. “Grassmilk farmers have long been telling us that they believed the nutrition of this milk was higher than that of the milk they were producing when they were still feeding grain,” said Logan Peterman, agricultural research and analytics manager at Organic Valley to Wisconsin Public Radio. “We kind of set about to test that question and really make sure that the signal was there, that we could be certain of it, that we were following the correct methods and also that it was sort of refereed by an outside party.” The study compared the composition of several fatty acids within the three types of milk tested (conventional, organic, and grass-fed). Of primary concern was the ratio of omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Although omega-6s are not necessarily […]

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08
Mar

Predatory Birds Can Successfully Replace Pesticide Use in Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2018) Simple approaches that increase populations of vertebrate predators, like bats and falcons on farms, can reduce pesticide use, increase on-farm productivity, and conserve wildlife, according to a literature review published by researchers at Michigan State University in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  The review encompasses 48 studies published over the last 150 years on the effect of human interventions to enhance natural ecosystem services. Results point not only to new methods to improve on-farm pest management, but also potential ways to engage farmers and citizen scientists in implementing these win-win strategies. Researchers looked at a number of methods tested in the scientific literature that would increase on-farm populations of vertebrate pest predators. Broadly, discrete approaches such as installing structures like nest boxes, perches, and artificial roosts were investigated alongside more wide-ranging systems aimed at altering habitat and increasing landscape complexity. The latter includes methods such as installing field borders, increasing tree cover, reintroducing native species, and eliminating invasives. The more discrete approaches provided a simpler, more accessible, and less expensive method of pest management when compared to approaches that require more wide-ranging landscape changes, though the benefits of those activities were not negligible. Nest […]

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05
Mar

Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked to Brain Damage, Advocates Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2018) Even if you don’t live in California, chances are that you eat food that is grown there. Unless all that food is organic, some of it was probably sprayed with chlorpyrifos, exposing not only you, but also the farmworkers responsible for its cultivation and harvest. Farmworker families –especially children—who usually live close to the treated fields, suffer higher impacts than those living further away. Tell Governor Brown to ban chlorpyrifos now, for the sake of the children. Five months after the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) issued its weak and inadequate draft risk assessment for the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, the state’s Scientific Review Panel (SRP) ordered DPR back to the drawing board to produce a much stronger draft that properly considers the risk of harm to the developing brain. In view of EPA’s retraction of its proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite its own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is especially important that California take action to ban the chemical. California, the home of the largest agriculture industry in the country, used over one million pounds of chlorpyrifos on over a million acres […]

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02
Mar

California Court Halts State Spray Programs over Failure to Conduct Environmental Impact Analyses

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2018) California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) can no longer use toxic pesticides in accordance with its Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program, due to a Superior Court-ordered injunction issued last week. This action came in response to a lawsuit filed by the City of Berkeley and 11 public health, environmental, conservation, citizen and food safety groups, which argued that CDFA has failed in its duty to protect human health, the environment and the state’s organic agriculture. CDFA’s lack of compliance with California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) resulted in the court’s suspension of “all chemical activities undertaken…to control or eradicate pests,” “unless and until” the agency corrects violations. The injunction follows a January 8 court ruling annulling CDFA’s Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), due to numerous state environmental law violations. Under CEQA, agencies must produce an Environmental Impact Report (EIR –the California state equivalent of an EIS) for any project with potentially significant environmental impacts. Unlike the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it also requires the state to prevent or mitigate negative impacts. Agencies may avoid conducting an EIR for each action by conducting a programmatic EIR (PEIR) for its program. In its outline of implementation […]

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27
Feb

New Tool for Verifying Milk from Grass-Fed Pastured Cows Would Create Greater Transparency

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2018) It is no secret that large organic dairy herds of 15,000 to 20,000 cows or more dot the Western US in California, Colorado and Texas in particular. They have repeatedly come under fire from watchdog groups, journalists and farmers who have observed and documented the absence of cows on pasture during grazing season, as required by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). This circumventing of the law could soon change with the commercialization of the fluorescene spectroscopy (FS), which detects the amount of forage a dairy herd is eating by measuring the luminescence of metabolized grass in milk. The law requires that herds graze daily during a given region’s growing season, at least 120 days per year, and consume a minimum of 30% grass in their daily diet. Until now, there has been no technology to scientifically verify that organic milk comes from grass-fed dairy cows. . The organic dairy certification system relies on visual inspections by certifiers during the grazing season and an evaluation of the dairy’s herd management plan.. While most organic dairies are in compliance, there are questions about the ability of the super-large dairies to meet stringent organic pasture regulations. The […]

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23
Feb

Monsanto Loses Lawsuit to Stop Dicamba Ban in Arkansas

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2018) Agrichemical corporation Monsanto has lost its bid to halt a statewide ban on the use of its specialty dicamba herbicide in Arkansas. Despite a lengthy process of evaluation and public comment that led to a prohibition on the use of drift-prone dicamba herbicides during the growing season on Arkansas farms, Monsanto made one last-ditch attempt to stop the law from going into effect by suing the entire state. With the industry’s loss, Arkansas is on track to implement the toughest restrictions against dicamba in the U.S. State Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza dismissed the lawsuit last week based on a recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling, which held that the state cannot be made a defendant in court. Monsanto’s lawsuit argued against the makeup of the state’s Plant Board, which voted to prohibit the company’s product last November. Monsanto also made claims that the state did not consider the economic damage a ban on the herbicide would cause, despite not seeking monetary restitution in court. Beyond Pesticides led a nationwide campaign to urge action by the Arkansas Plant Board to ban dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide originally registered for use in 1967 to control broadleaf weeds. […]

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15
Feb

Syngenta Gets Slap on the Wrist for Poisoning Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled claims against pesticide giant, Syngenta, after dozens of workers in Kuai, Hawaii were exposed to the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2016 and 2017. EPA backed away from the $4.8 million settlement that it was initially seeking from Syngenta and negotiated a civil penalty of $150,000. Nineteen workers were exposed to chlorpyrifos after Syngenta sprayed the insecticide on a field of genetically engineered (GE) corn at its Kekaha farm. According to the complaint, the workers were allowed to reenter the field before the reentry period expired and without protective equipment. Ten workers were taken to the hospital and three were held overnight. This incident occurred in 2016, however a second incident occurred in 2017 when Syngenta failed to post warnings for worker crews containing 42 employees after applying chlorpyrifos. At the time of the incident, an inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) was present on the Syngenta farm, which triggered an immediate investigation from the state. Consequently, a civil administrative enforcement action was brought against Syngenta seeking $4.8 million for violating multiple federal statues including worker protection standards, allegedly affecting as many as 77 workers and leading […]

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12
Feb

Take Action: Tell EPA to Ban Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2018)  The most recent findings on the development of Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the highly toxic paraquat add to the well-established body of scientific literature linking the herbicide to Parkinson’s — which should lead to finally eliminating the use of the herbicide in the U.S. The chemical was banned in the European Union in 2007, and many health groups, including Beyond Pesticides and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the use of paraquat by denying its upcoming reregistration. In addition to its connection with Parkinson’s disease, paraquat is known to be highly acutely toxic. By generating free radicals, it essentially burns its way through the body, targeting the lungs —causing lung fibrosis— and other organs. Most acutely toxic exposures result in death, sometimes delayed by as much as three weeks. Although paraquat is a restricted use pesticide (RUP), EPA is proposing to eliminate the minimum age for applying RUPs, which would permit teenagers to use it. Tell EPA and Congress to ban paraquat! This link will send the following message to EPA and your Congressional delegation: I urge EPA to join other countries […]

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09
Feb

States Join Monsanto Challenge of California’s Cancer Warning for Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2018) Attorneys General in eleven states join Monsanto and the National Wheat Growers Association last month in challenging California’s listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 law. California added glyphosate to the list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017, but has since been attacked by Monsanto and its allies for carrying out state law that requires carcinogens to be labeled and monitored. The plaintiffs, led by the National Association of Wheat Growers, argue that listing glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65 will irreparably harm the agriculture industry, adversely affecting farmers and consumers throughout the U.S. The case, seeking a stay of the listing, was filed in the in Federal Court in the Eastern District of California in November, 2017. Earlier last year, Monsanto lost its case before a state Superior Court in which it sought to stay the Prop 65 listing. Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin have filed an amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction sought by agriculture groups against California’s Prop 65 regulation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber of Commerce filed their own amicus brief in support of […]

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08
Feb

Intermediary Strips of Wildflowers across Fields Reduces Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2018) New trials are being launched in the United Kingdom (UK) to monitor fields that have long strips of wildflowers planted through croplands to boost natural predators and potentially reduce pesticide spraying. The large-scale trials are meant to determine how effective these strips can be as a tool for practitioners wishing to enhance biological pest control in the field. The field trials, carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), are being conducted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England and would be monitored for five years. Until now, wildflower strips have been placed at the edge of fields as refuges. However, natural predators in these strips would be unable to access the center of large planted fields, and thereby unable to effectively target pests that are in the fields. In the new trials, six-meter wide strips of annual wild and cultivated plants – with 13 to 16 species – will be planted 100 meters apart so that predators will be able to attack aphids and other pests typically found in fields. The researchers at CEH’s ASSIST program (Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems) will determine whether in-field strips are feasible tools for […]

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05
Feb

Take Action: Tell Congress that EPA Must Not Allow Children To Apply Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2018) We are all concerned about the workers who grow and harvest our food. A sustainable food system must protect the land and the people who work the land, including the children and families of farmworkers. In two related actions, EPA is proposing to remove age requirements for application of pesticides. The actions involve changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which went into effect this January and covers farmworkers hired to apply pesticides, and the Certification of Applicators (CA) rule, which will go into effect May 22 and covers those allowed to apply highly toxic restricted use pesticides (RUPs), the most toxic pesticides. The proposals to remove the age requirements present unacceptable risks to teenagers, who “are still developing in critical physical and emotional areas, with particular regard to their brains and reproductive systems,” according to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must not eliminate the minimum age requirement. Under the Obama administration, EPA added a minimum age requirement of 18 to both rules. A 16-year-old may apply RUPs under the supervision of a certified applicator under the CA rule. Reportedly, the reason for removing the age requirement is […]

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02
Feb

Nitrogen Fertilizer Found To Be a Significant Source of Air Pollution

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2018) California regulators may be drastically underestimating chemical-intensive agriculture’s contribution to nitrogen oxide (NOx) caused air pollution, acid rain, and respiratory illness in the state, according to a new study published in Science Advances by researchers at University of California, Davis. While NOx  pollution is usually associated with energy production and vehicle emissions, fertilizer use on crop fields is contributing to significant air pollution problems. Advocates say that the study is an urgent call for farmers to eliminate dependency on soluble, synthetic, nitrogen-based fertilizers and adopt the use of insoluble soil amendments that support soil biology that provide plants with nutrients. NOx gasses are major sources of pollution in the U.S. and throughout the world, and include the compounds nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Chemical-intensive, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are applied in a form that is readily available to plants, while organic nitrogen fertilizers require the biological life in the soil to break down the fertilizer into a form that plants can use. These nitrogen fertilizers that are not immediately taken up by plants can cause pollution problems. Natural nitrogen in the atmosphere must be transformed to be able to be used by organisms as […]

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