This week has been a jam packed week here in DC. In addition to the Appropriations process and a few conferences (more on those later), the fifth round of negotiations for the EU-US trade deal (TAFTA, the TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement, or TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) happened on the George Mason University School of Law campus.
One hundred sixty eight organizations across the country signed onto a letter asking the House Appropriations Committee to oppose policy riders that inhibit GIPSA’s regulation and implementation authority.
One hundred seventy-nine organizations signed onto a letter asking the House Appropriations committee to reject attempts to defund COOL through policy riders.
Forty-five organizations signed on to a letter urging Senators Pryor and Blunt to fully fund programs for veterans who are now in agriculture and the Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison office during the current appropriations process.
“Are Your Delicious, Healthy Almonds Killing Bees?” That is the question posed by Tom Philpott last week in Mother Jones. As the acreage in monocropped almonds in California has grown, so too has the reliance on “pollinator services”. Wild honeybees simply cannot pollinate the vast number of almond trees growing in California’s almond country anymore. This year between 15 and 25 percent of beehives in almond groves have experienced “severe” damage says the Pollinator Stewardship Council.
“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”, or so Tennyson told us. But in the corn belt it seems, that rather than thoughts of love, the thoughts of many turn to crop protection chemicals, or in common language, herbicides and insecticides. Whether one is applying them to crops or hoping to avoid their toxic fumes and drift, pesticides will soon be in the air.
The USFRA was created in 2011 as a trade association uniting Big Ag corporations (such as Monsanto, Cargill and DuPont Pioneer) and marketing groups for commodities (including corn, soybeans, beef and pork). Take note: some of these groups are farmer-funded, but in reality, farmers have no choice but to fund them, and it is often at their own expense.