Friday, February 14, 2014

The Farm and Food Roundup

JenHappy Valentine's Day all!

With California facing its worst drought in modern history, President Obama visits Fresno today with the state's two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, who are promoting legislation that would offer $300 million in aid.

After a fire at one of only two USDA certified slaughterhouses in Massachusetts, area livestock farmers face bottlenecks and increased costs.

Investors and corporations are buying up American farmland at astronomical prices per acre, turning the farmers into their tenants or repurposing the land altogether.

A new study finds that organic farms support 50% more wildlife than conventional farms, including pollinators like bees that are so threatened right now!

At the Olympics, farmers are going for gold! Katie Uhlaender, who raises cattle in Kansas, goes for gold in the skeleton tonight! And snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington, who won gold in the women's halfpipe, has cows to thank for her Olympic glory. Her parents sold off their cattle herd to finance Kaitlyn's ambition.

And, in honor of more snow on the ground, here's a story about a new terrain park at Mt. Snow ski resort in Vermont. The Farm is full of features that you see on a daily basis when driving through the Green Mountain State. A sugar shack, a barn, a re-purposed horse trailer and split rail fencing make for a fun and scenic time on skis or board!

In GMO news:

After 13 years, six scientific opinions and two legal challenges, an insect-resistant type of corn is on the verge of being approved by the European Union. It would be only the third genetically modified crop to be authorized for cultivation in the 28-nation bloc.

The County of Kauai in Hawaii has authorized spending $75,000 to fight a lawsuit brought by GMO seed company Sygenta Seeds and other GMO seed companies. The suit attempts to block implementation of a new law regulating pesticide use and the farming of genetically modified crops.

The Vermont Senate Agriculture Committee voted to approve a bill that would make Vermont the first state to require mandatory labeling of GMOs without a requirement that other states also pass a bill (Connecticut and Maine have passed similar bills but they have requirements that other states also require labeling before the legislation takes effect.).

In Australia, a landmark case is moving forward as an organic farmer sues his neighbor for contaminating his fields with GMOs.

And just for fun:

Find your heirloom tomato name! Mine: Auntie Fahy's Jolly Traveler.

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