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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Alternatives/Organics' Category


17
Sep

Take Action: Comment by October 4 to Protect Organic Integrity!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2018) The Fall 2018 NOSB meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by October 4, 2018. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Written comments may be submitted through Regulations.gov  until 11:59 pm ET October 4, 2018. Reservations for in-person and webinar comments close at the same time. The proposals of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), as a part of its ongoing review of practices and materials, are published for public comment. On our Keeping Organic Strong page, Beyond Pesticides will be providing the public with a listing and analysis of the issues under consideration of the Board when it meets in Saint Paul, MN on October 24 – 26, 2018. You can view USDA’s announcement of the NOSB’s meeting and proposals here. Issues before the NOSB include materials allowed in organic production as well as some policy issues. Materials are either the subject of petitions or the subject of sunset review (concerning whether to be allowed for another 5 years). To be allowed, materials must have evidence summarized in the proposals that they meet the OFPA requirements of essentiality, no adverse effects on humans and the […]

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12
Sep

Amsterdam Leads Bee Recovery Efforts by Banning Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Improving Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2018) The city of Amsterdam, Netherlands is leading global bee recovery efforts by increasing its diversity of wild pollinator species, according to reporting and an analysis by NBC News. A new map published by the city identified 21 bee species not found in an earlier 1998 survey recorded by Amsterdam officials. The increase has been attributed to a range of pollinator-protective measures, including a ban on bee-toxic pesticides and the planting of native flowers, prioritized by the city government since the turn of the century. Local communities throughout the world can look to Amsterdam for policies and practices that will safeguard their own unique pollinator populations. The NBC News report notes several initiatives undertaken by the Amsterdam government. Many of these measures come out of a $38.5 million fund aimed at broadly improving environmental sustainability. “Insects are very important because they’re the start of the food chain,” said Geert Timmermans, an Amsterdam ecologist to NBC News. “When it goes well with the insects, it also goes well with the birds and mammals.” Insect and bee hotels are often installed in conjunction with the development of green roofs, which are encouraged for all new buildings. And parks […]

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11
Sep

Report Ranks Organic Dairy Producers on Farming Principles and Practices, Downgrading ‘Factory Farms’

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2018) A report released this summer by the nonprofit group The Cornucopia Institute helps consumers avoid ‘factory farmed’ dairy products in light of disturbing revelations uncovered in a 2017 Washington Post investigation of major organic brands. The report, The Industrialization of Organic Dairy, traces the broken promises of many major dairy companies and provides a scorecard enabling consumers to review brands for their overall sustainability and adherence to truly organic standards. “With the USDA’s failure to protect ethical industry participants and consumers from outright fraud, using our Organic Dairy Scorecard is a way for organic stakeholders to take the law into their own hands,” said Mark A. Kastel, codirector and senior farm policy analyst of Cornucopia, on the group’s website. “In every market and product category, consumers can vote in front of the dairy case to economically support authentic organic farmers while simultaneously protecting their families.” The Washington Post’s 2017 report found that Aurora Organic Dairy, a major milk supplier for big box retailers like Walmart and Safeway, is producing milk that was less nutrient dense compared to small-scale organic family farms. Information on nutritional deficits in this milk was preceded by an earlier 2014 Cornucopia […]

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11
Jul

Regenerative Farms Yield Soil Health and Higher Profits than Chemical-Intensive Operations

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2018) Ecologically-based farming systems contain far fewer pests and generate much higher profits than their conventional, chemical-based counterparts according to research published in the journal PeerJ earlier this year by scientists at South Dakota State University and the Ecdysis Foundation. The study supports calls to reshape the future of agriculture, as ‘regenerative’ farms, which avoid tillage and bare soil, integrate livestock, and foster on-farm diversity. These farms are found to represent an economically viable alternative to overly simplified, pesticide and fertilizer-dependent cropping systems. Given the study’s focus on corn cropping systems, such a shift is possible for thousands of farmers throughout the United States. Researchers looked at roughly 75 fields on 18 farms, measuring the organic matter in the soil, insect pest populations, corn yield as well as profit. Farms using pesticide treatments, which in corn fields is represented primarily by the use of neonicotinoid-coated seeds, had 10x higher pest levels than regenerative farms. As noted in the study, pest populations are a function of the biodiversity within the crop field. Biodiveristy increased on regenerative farms not only because farmers sprayed fewer pesticides, but because they also allowed more plants to grow in between rows. More […]

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26
Jun

House Passes Farm Bill with Provisions that Weaken Organic, Poison Waterways and Harm Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2018) On June 21, 2018, the controversial 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2) narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives 213 to 211 with provisions that will eliminate federal review of pesticide impacts on endangered species, undermine organic standards, and ease requirements regarding releases of pesticides into waterways. In May, the bill failed to pass when it got caught in the debate over immigration reform, but now this dangerous bill is much closer to becoming a major threat to the environment. The bill, H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, is a major win for the pesticide industry, which spent $43 million on lobbying this Congressional season, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. At the forefront are provisions that weaken the organic standards and the elimination of the requirement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) assess pesticide impacts on endangered species before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a pesticide for use. The bill also exempts those applying pesticides to lakes, streams, and rivers from having a permit under the Clean Water Act. This will allow indiscriminate contamination of waterways in spite of reports that pesticides are detected frequently and at environmentally relevant […]

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06
Jun

EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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29
May

Take Action: Help Defeat the Farm Bill –Unless Dramatic Changes Are Made

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2018) The Farm Bill is beginning to move in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and your voice is critically needed to help stop provisions that are harmful to health and the environment. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative that they should vote against the Farm Bill unless harmful provisions to health and the environment are removed. In addition to sending this urgent action on the Farm Bill, consider reaching out to your U.S. Senators and Representative when they return to your state for the Memorial Day holiday. If you’re part of a group, ask for a meeting. If you see them at an event or in town, let them know how important it is to keep the dangerous provisions listed below out of the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2, reported favorably out of the House Agriculture Committee, is stalled, after being defeated on the floor over unrelated immigration legislation. The House bill is a direct attack on organic standard setting, the authority of local governments to restrict toxic pesticides, and the protection of farmworkers, endangered species, and the environment. Without public outcry, it is likely […]

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18
May

USDA Ends Organic Checkoff Program

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2018) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is putting an end to the process of creating an organic “check-off” promotion program, according to an announcement posted to the Federal Register earlier this week. The program, controversial from the start, split the organic community. While the industry group the Organic Trade Association (OTA) pushed for the program, small producers and family farmers cited exorbitant costs and ineffective government bureaucracy in their opposition. Check-off programs are traditionally created for producers to pool their money together to further research, information sharing, and promotion of a particular food commodity. Famous programs of the past include “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner,” “Got Milk?” and “I Love Eggs.” The proposed organic program was unique in that it aimed to promote an entire industry, rather than a specific food product. However, opponents view the program as another tax on farmers that is unnecessary and potentially damaging to small organic producers, citing a history of rigid guidelines, fund mismanagement, and lack of accountability. In the past, successful checkoff programs were associated with declines in family farmers, and opponents believe the program would promote low-priced organic imports at the expense of growing U.S. organic acreage. […]

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17
May

Research Shows Greenspace and Biodiversity Protect Kids from Asthma

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2018)  Among the many reports of the salutary effects of nature on human health and well-being comes new research demonstrating that children who live in “green” neighborhoods have reduced risk of developing asthma. Researchers Jeroen Douwes, PhD and Geoffrey H. Donovan, PhD, of New Zealand’s Massey University (Centre for Public Health Research) and the U.S. Forest Service, respectively, conducted the longitudinal study with New Zealand subjects born in 1998, following them until 2016. The authors say the study results “suggest that exposure to greenness and vegetation diversity may be protective of asthma.” Of concern are the pesticides used in green spaces. See Beyond Pesticides’ brochure, Asthma, Children, and Pesticides and El Asma, los Niños y los Pesticidas: Lo que usted debe saber para proteger a su familia. Also, see Children and Pesticides Don’t Mix. In addition to the well-substantiated benefits of exposure to nature — reduction of the experience of stress; reduction in production of cortisol (the “stress” hormone that is linked to weight gain, hypertension, cardiac disease, weakened immune function, and loss of bone density); improved mental health; better cognitive function; and lower  BMI (body mass index) — this latest research evaluates the impact on children’s risk for asthma. […]

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16
May

Pesticides Contaminate Fish Farms, Fish Farm Fined

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2018) Northern Harvest Sea Farms, an ocean-based fish farm in New Brunswick, Canada, was appeared in court yesterday to answer legal charges stemming from the off-label use of an unnamed pesticide added to its operations to combat severe sea lice outbreaks. The company holds nine licenses for farmed Atlantic salmon cages on the Bay of Fundy, as well as for fish farms off the Newfoundland coast. Sea lice outbreaks are a common at over-crowded, ocean-based fish farms because such facilities afford the optimum conditions for rapidly reproducing and spreading lice. In response, some companies have turned to using illegal and off-label pesticide applications to stave off the problem, which causes huge farmed salmon kills. The company was issued a $12,000 fine that was challenged as inadequate by the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association. Bonnie Morse, project manager for the association told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news, “I think any time there’s a fine that’s a deterrent to illegal activity, it should be an actual deterrent to the activity,” said Morse. “When you’re looking at $1.5 million worth of fish, their actions speak for themselves.” Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, questioned the allowance of fish […]

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30
Apr

Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2018) Organic standards are under attack in the Farm Bill, H.R. 2, passed by the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and in language emerging in the Senate Agriculture Committee. This adds to the attacks on which we have previously taken action. Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) gives the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) broad authority and responsibility to ensure organic integrity. The Farm Bill contains provisions that: Will permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sidestep the NOSB in allowing post-harvest handling substances (sanitizers) to be used in organic production; Change the classification of types of people who may be appointed to the NOSB by adding employees of farmers, handlers, and retailers; and Force consideration of the judgment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when those agencies find a material to meet their own (less stringent) criteria for use. These provisions are a direct attack on the strength of organic standards. When OFPA was passed and placed under USDA authority, Congress established a board composed of members of the organic community –farmers, handlers/processors, […]

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27
Apr

European Parliament Sets Stronger Organic Regulations than U.S., Rejects Labeling Hydroponic as Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2018)  After more than five years of intensive negotiations, European Members of Parliament (MEP) overwhelmingly passed the long-anticipated, new organic certification and labeling regulations, with 466 voting in favor, 124 against and 50 abstentions. While the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers, must formally adopt the regulations, their easy passage is expected. Regulations will take effect in January 2021. The new organic regulations are purported to provide more clarity to organic producers and consumers and to harmonize organic regulation across the EU. But, they also are likely to fuel disharmony with the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) by failing to act swiftly to curtail fraudulent organic exports and by prohibiting hydroponics systems of production in organic, which the US currently allows. “The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU,” According to the EP’s background document on the regulations. As a strategy for increasing organic agriculture, which now encompasses 6.7% of EU agricultural land, MEPs intend for the new regulations to encourage more farmers to go organic, enhance consumer trust in the EU organic logo, and improve the quality of organic food. According to the European Parliament’s press release, “Strict, risk-based checks will take […]

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26
Apr

More Reasons than Ever to Buy, Eat, and Support Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2018) Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. The guide includes the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists of conventionally grown produce items that, respectively, are the most heavily tainted by toxic pesticide residue, and by contrast, have little if any residue. EWG analyzes testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program to arrive at its annual assessment. Its report for 2018 found that nearly 70% of conventional produce is contaminated with residue and/or breakdown byproducts of one or more of the 230 pesticides that USDA evaluated. The top items on the 2018 Dirty Dozen list include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, and grapes. One-third of all the strawberry samples harbored 10 or more pesticides, and one sample showed residue of 22 different compounds. Pesticide contamination was found in 97% of spinach samples, 94% of nectarines, 90% of apples, 96% of grapes, and 99% of peaches. Topping the 2018 Clean 15 list of the least-toxic conventionally grown produce items are avocados (99+% of samples tested negative for pesticides), sweet corn (98+%), pineapples (90%), onions (90+%), and cabbage (86%). EWG again this year added hot peppers as […]

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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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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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06
Mar

Dover, New Hampshire Eliminates Toxic Pesticide and Fertilizer Use

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2018) Dover, New Hampshire is the latest community in the U.S. to restrict the use of toxic pesticides, and move towards organic land management on all public property. By a unanimous vote of the City Council last week, Dover passed a resolution that requires the management of city land with “sound land management practices, and the use of least toxic compounds only when necessary,  . . .  thereby eliminating exposure to toxic pesticides on the part of our citizens and the environment.” The ordinance also instructs the city manager to “develop and execute a plan to transition the City to eliminate the use of synthetic fertilizers on City property.” The resolution was spearheaded by Non Toxic Dover, a group of local advocates that engaged the city government on this issue for several years. “We are so grateful to the City of Dover NH for voting unanimously to take this important step to protect public health and our Great Bay estuary,” said Diana Carpinone, founder of Non Toxic Dover and lead advocate in the city for the new resolution. Ms. Carpinone said: “Thank you to the council and especially Councilor Shanhan for sponsoring the resolution. We look forward […]

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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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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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09
Jan

Take Action: Fight back for organic integrity and animal welfare!

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2018) Comments are needed by January 17 on plans announced by the Trump Administration to scuttle the final rule on organic animal welfare (the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule, or OLPP) that was adopted as a final rule a year ago. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue has repeatedly delayed implementation of the final rule on animal welfare in organic production. The effective date of the final rule published on January 19, 2017, delayed on February 9, 2017, and again on May 10, 2017, is now delayed until May 14, 2018. By setting minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements and defining “outdoors,” the rule would make it more difficult for factory egg and poultry farms to be certified organic. Although many wished it to be stronger, the rule received widespread support. More than 40,000 agriculture groups, farmers, and others urged USDA to finalize the standard; only 28 commenters opposed it. The Organic Trade Association sued USDA in September for failing to finalize the standard. Now, USDA proposes to withdraw the rule altogether. Tell USDA to implement the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule now!  Then give your message to your U.S. Senators and Representative. The OLPP […]

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