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From across the web, some interesting things we’ve read this month

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2015 December Issue Newsletter

By Amie Lindenboim

From race and US farm policy, to GMOs, to NRCS rules, we’ve compiled this list of stories to help keep you up to date on issues impacting food and farming.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Does U.S. Farm Policy Have a Race Problem?

A new report says the Farm Bill caters to corporations and leaves many people of color behind.

 

ANIMALS

Local Poultry Farmers Concerned About Flu Season

Southern New England hasn’t yet seen a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), but state officials and poultry farmers are on high alert.

California is About to Enact the Strictest Law Yet on Antibiotic Use in Farms

Antibiotic resistance is now considered a catastrophic threat to public health, as more and more deadly, drug-resistant bacteria have been appearing in our cities, farms, and hospitals. In theory, the solution should be simple: We need to stop overusing antibiotics. Yet nearly every attempt to do so thus far has failed.

 

PESTICIDES

Comments Due January 6: Tolerance Revocation for Chlorpyrifos

If enacted, this EPA proposal would disallow any residue of chlorpyrifos in food. Chlorpyrifos has been found in drinking water in areas where it is used. Children exposed in utero to higher amounts of this pesticide had higher rates of attention-related disorders and scored slightly lower on intelligence tests.

EPA Used Monsanto's Research to Give Roundup a Pass

The EPA’s recent decision that Roundup is not an endocrine disruptor was based overwhelmingly on research conducted or sponsored by Monsanto.

The EPA Broke the Law When it Approved a New Pesticide

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the EPA failed to follow its own rules for ensuring chemical safety and approved Sulfoxaflor without any reliable information about the risk that it would present to honeybee colonies

6 Things to Know About the EPA’s New Pesticide Rules

This rule also comes at a time when many widely used pesticides are coming under increased scrutiny for their health effects. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen and California has now proposed adding glyphosate, along with three other pesticides, including malathion, to its list of state-designated carcinogens.

Bees Found Farming Fungus for First Time to Feed Larvae

If you thought bees only cared about flowers, think again. Some of them also farm fungus to survive – meaning that fungicides could harm them.

South Dakota Scientist Says USDA Censored Pesticide Research

USDA researcher files whistleblower complaint alleging retaliation.

Long Phase-Out for Endosulfan Means Lasting Exposure

The controversial pesticide was banned in the U.S. in 2010. But a lengthy rollback period means that some are still getting sick.

 

GMOs

The Complex Nature of GMOs Calls for a New Conversation

An honest discussion of genetically modified organisms must move beyond narrow concepts of human health to the wider social and environmental impacts of engineered crops.

Monsanto Clears USDA Regulatory Hurdle for New GMO Corn

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it would deregulate Monsanto's MON 87411 maize, a new “stacked trait” variety that would incorporate both tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate and produce its own pesticide. Other agencies expressed concerns over potential effects on pollinators.

Can the Senate Pass a GMO Law By Year's End?

Sen. Debbie Stabenow wants to see the Senate pass a GMO labeling bill by the end of the year, but there are a lot of questions that have to be answered before that can happen.

GMO Testing Pilot Project to Ensure Compliance with National Organic Program

In California they test organic farm products for pesticide residues; now they will test organic crops most likely to be contaminated with GMOs, with the exception that samples collected and tested during the pilot project will be “blind” – that is, the results will be collected in aggregate form to show us whether and how much GMO material is present in crops overall, without identifying individual farms or farmers.

GMO Backlash Threatens Beet Farmers as Foodmakers Swap Sugars

America's sugar beet growers are under siege as U.S. food companies increasingly shun genetically modified (GMO) crops.

 

MONSANTO

U.S. Lawsuits Build Against Monsanto Over Alleged Roundup Cancer Link

Personal injury law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be "mass tort" actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company's Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical.

Scientist Challenges Monsanto: $10 Million If You Can Prove Me Wrong About GMOs

Shiva Ayyadurai is offering to give the Monsanto company a $10 million building if they can disprove his claims about GMO regulations.

Seed Money: True Confessions of a Monsanto Apologist

How Kevin Folta got entangled with Monsanto, created a shady podcast alter ego, and spurred a hot public debate over conflicts of interest in big ag.

 

NATIONAL POLITICS & TRADE

TPP Text Reveals Broad New Powers for Corporations to Attack Food Labeling Laws

The Obama administration released the long-secret text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that would weaken consumer protections, undermine U.S. food safety standards and prevent commonsense food labeling.

The Top 5 Food Problems Americans Want the Next President to Fix

From access to government subsidies to workers’ rights, Americans are increasingly seeing food as political.

This Law Could Radically Cut Food Waste

U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree is working on a comprehensive bill that could reduce food waste at the farm, consumer, and institutional levels.

 

NATIONAL FARM ISSUES

USDA Provides 2016 Guidance for Organic, High Tunnel, and Other Conservation Initiatives

USDA’s NRCS recently provided its state offices with instructions on how and when to administer various conservation initiatives for 2016.

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