January 15th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Proposed new rules affecting produce handling in order to improve safety and decrease the risks of foodborne illness outbreaks will only be enforced in approximately 20 percent of producers, reports Food Safety News.
Read More:New Food Safety Rules ‘Don’t Apply’ to 80 Percent of Produce Suppliers
January 9th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Oral arguments in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto will be heard this week in Washington, D.C. Plaintiffs in the case—dozens of family farmers—are heading to the nation’s capital in order to attend the hearing, which will be held at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal [...]
Read More:Betting the Farm: Farmers Vs. Monsanto Heads to Court of Appeals
October 16th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
The drought currently plaguing the nation may cost California 100 dairy farmers before the year’s end, according to dairy industry experts.
Read More:California Dairy Farmers Suffering Massive Losses
October 4th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Women and Hispanic U.S. farmers can snag a chunk of a $1.33 billion settlement based on claims that the groups were discriminated against by the USDA; in addition, they’re now also eligible for funds from $160 million pot set aside to assist with debt relief, according to the agency.
Read More:USDA Settles Farmer Discrimination Claims for $1.33 Billion
August 15th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Short of any government sanctioned rain dances, efforts are underway to address the nation’s severe drought epidemic with the announcement earlier this week from the Obama administration that the government will buy $170 million worth of meat, poultry and fish to help support the nation’s struggling farmers.
Read More:USDA Offers More Drought Relief for U.S. Farmers
August 16th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
OrganicAuthority has long supported Farm Aid, founded 25 years ago to support local and organic family farmers.
This year’s concert will be held Oct. 2 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI, with the following artist lineup:
- Willie Nelson
- Neil Young
- John Mellencamp
- Dave Matthews
- Kenny Chesney
- Norah Jones
- Jason Mraz
- Jeff Tweedy
- Band of Horses
- The BoDeans
- Amos Lee
- Robert Francis
New this year is a special auction of Farm Aid memorabilia and experiences. Beginning Sept. 7, you can bid on eBay, with all proceeds benefiting Farm Aid.
The popular HOMEGROWN concessions will return, featuring family farm-identified, local and organic foods, as well as hands-on activities that give concertgoers a chance to meet farmers, get their hands dirty and learn how family farmers are connecting us to our roots.
Tickets are now on sale at the Milwaukee Brewers box office, by calling (414) 902-4000 and online. Prices range from $39.50 to $97.50.
This year’s sponsors include Horizon Organic, Silk Soymilk, DirecTV and Organic Valley.
Photo: © Paul Natkin /Photo Reserve, Inc.
Read More:Farm Aid Announces Concert Lineup
August 1st, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
The organic system in the United Kingdom was worth roughly $5.2 billion in 2008. A nice number, but officials want to fix one teeny-tiny problem.
Apparently, British organics lack one unified message—very unlike the orderly and proper Brits—organic farmers and grows want to develop a joint, essential message to share with consumers.
The heart of the initiative is to inform that organic products are free-range, local, pesticide-free, fair trade, seasonal and natural. They want no confusion.
A spokesperson said, “To cut through the confusion the organic movement needs to demonstrate more forcefully than ever that organic principles encompass all these single issues and deliver a set of interlocking benefits that can and will still motivate consumers.”
Officials hope a new cohesive approach will help grow the organic market by 15% each year. To hammer out the plans a conference will be held in October.
Via Food Navigator.
Read More:U.K. Organic Market Needs Cohesive Message
July 17th, 2009 - Laura Klein
I recently blogged about ‘big organic’ dairy companies and how they were affecting the quality of organic dairy.
Since then, another dairy emergency has come to light from the folks at Food Democracy Now…the plight of the poorly paid American dairy farmer…and the consumer by-product: imported milk that is less safe.
Food Democracy’s recent email reported…
Since December 2008, the price that farmers are paid for the milk they produce has dropped over 50 percent – the largest single drop since the Great Depression -to a point far below the cost of production. This unprecedented collapse in prices has occurred in large part due to market manipulations and increased foreign imports by milk industry giants.
The report goes on to cite several disturbing stats:
- Dairy farmers are at the mercy of giants like the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), which controls 40% of US milk production. Last year DFA was fined $12 million for price fixing by the US government and has also been implicated in the recent massive increase in imported milk products.
- Up to 30% of remaining dairy farmers may be lost by the end of this year – 20,000 dairy farmers in total
- Rural America will be negatively impacted, erasing over $52.7 billion of economic development in less than one year.
- Safety is an issue: losing domestic supply will create a serious gap in U.S. food safety as the DFA (Dairy Farmers Association) and others dramatically increase foreign milk protein concentrate imports from countries such as Mexico, India and China — countries which have much lower food safety standards than we do.
Take Action Today!
Send an electronic fax to Secretary Vilsack, head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (it’s all ready for you to sign and send thanks to the socially and environmentally aware cell phone company, Credo) to let him know that you support America’s family dairy farmers.
Read More:Milk Farmers in Crisis…and Less Safe Milk!
March 3rd, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
In India, a farm woman pauses to take a drink of water. (FAO photo)
Understanding global farm economics is an important part of organic living. At the dawn of the third millennium, roughly 75% of the world’s 852 million men and women suffering from hunger are found in rural areas and depend on agriculture for survival. Most are landless farmers or have such tiny or unproductive plots of land that they cannot feed their families.
For many of these poor farmers, new development opportunities in rural areas would allow more equitable access to basic land and water resources, while offering an escape from hunger and poverty, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Next week’s International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD), to be held March 7–10 in Brazil, will focus on these problems.
“We have just 10 years to reach 2015—the target date set by the international community to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world,” says ICARRD Executive Secretary Parviz Koohafkan. “Since the very poorest are landless farmers everywhere, it will not be possible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals unless we find sustainable solutions to the challenge existing in the world’s rural areas. It is an appointment we cannot afford to miss.”
Convinced that agrarian reform must be tailored to meet the needs of individual countries—and that there is no magic formula for resolving global land problems—conference organizers aim to foster alliances among governments, small farmers’ organizations, international institutions, donors and civil society to help the world’s poorest people gain better access to basic productive resources.
The conference will explore the following issues and conclude with a final declaration and action plan:
- Policies and experiences that have improved resource access by the poorest people
- Local natural resource planning and management capabilities
- New development opportunities to strengthen rural communities
- Combining concepts like agrarian reform, social justice and sustainable development
- The primary role of food sovereignty and its contribution to more equitable resource access
Read More:Small Farmers Toil in Hunger, Poverty