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04.05.2017 |

Iowa State University agronomist urges farmers to commit to weed control despite added expense

AMES, Iowa – Farmers faced with tight profit margins may consider cutting back on weed control efforts this growing season, but an Iowa State University agronomist said doing so may cost farmers money in the long term.

Robert Hartzler, a professor of agronomy and ISU Extension and Outreach weed expert, said low commodity prices in recent years may lead farmers to tolerate a low population of weeds that might not affect yields.

But doing so may allow enough weeds to go to seed in fields and give rise to the spread of herbicide resistant weeds in the future, a growing concern for corn and soybean producers across the state.

“Farmers might be tempted to do just enough to protect yields but still allow some weeds to survive,” Hartzler said. “They might be unwilling to spend the extra money to get to the next level of weed control, and, in the short term, you can rationalize that. But in the long term, that’s going to lead to further evolution of resistance.”

03.05.2017 |

Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso:When Theory Does Not Match Reality

New Book Release

Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso

When Theory Does Not Match Reality

Juan López Villar

Publisher: TWN

Genetically modified (GM) crop have been touted as a solution to improve agricultural productivity and lift the lot of farmers in developing countries. However, the reality on the grounds is that the performance and impacts of GM crops have been extremely uneven.

This is starkly illustrated by the experience of Burkina Faso in planting Bt cotton, a variety genetically engineered to be resistant to insect pests. Bt cotton was introduced commercially in the West African country in 2008, only to be phased out just seven years later after showing a marked decline in fibre quality compared with conventional Burkinabé cotton.

Drawing upon research carried out in one of the largest cotton-growing areas in Burkina Faso, this paper documents the country's shortlived, less-than-successful experience with Bt cotton cultivation, and explores the possible reasons behind the debacle, including commercial interest in pushing the corporate-owned Bt technology. The paper also looks at similar problems faced by other countries growing Bt cotton, before concluding with a call to move away from promoting GM crops towards supporting indigenous varieties and agroecological practices.

28.04.2017 |

Marriage of death: Protesters oppose Bayer-Monsanto merger

At Bayer's annual general meeting in Bonn, environmentalists and politicians voiced discontent over the proposed takeover. Both companies have come under fire for substandard ethical and environmental practices.

At today's annual general meeting of pharmaceutical company Bayer in Bonn, environmental organizations, politicians from the Greens and concerned citizens were all steadfast in their shared goal: the Bayer-Monsanto merger must be stopped.

Bayer's intention to take over the United States-based seeds and agrochemicals company for just under 59 billion euros ($64 billion) was met with widespread anger due to Monsanto's poor environmental record and the possibility that it may grant it an even broader market for pesticides.

The agriculture minister for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Remmel, expressed his concerns to DW: "The merger would create a central market position for these two very powerful corporations, pushing smaller farms out of the agricultural sector."

"We cannot allow that."

28.04.2017 |

Health Canada’s glyphosate evaluation flawed, environmental groups charge

WIDESPREAD USE OF WORLD’S MOST EXTENSIVELY SOLD PESTICIDE WILL CONTINUE IN CANADA, DESPITE INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS ABOUT HEALTH AND ECOLOGICAL RISKS

Ottawa - April 28, 2017 — Health Canada has dismissed credible evidence in its re-evaluation of the world’s most extensively-used pesticide, glyphosate, in today’s decision to continue its registration in Canada.

Glyphosate is infamous as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, and is now used in hundreds of other herbicides manufactured by many of the largest agrochemical companies.

“The widespread use of glyphosate is contaminating the environment and the food we eat,” said Louise Hénault-Éthier, science projects manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. “Research shows that glyphosate is persistent and that buffer zones are not necessarily effective in preventing run-off to streams. Furthermore, nearly a third of our food contains glyphosate, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.’’

28.04.2017 |

World Business Report, Protests at Bayer AGM over Monsanto deal

Last year when the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer unveiled a $66 billion deal to buy Monsanto, the giant American agrichemical and biotechnology corporation, the plan provoked protests.

That opposition to the deal was played out again at Bayer's Annual General Meeting in Bonn, especially by shareholders who are angry about not getting an open vote on it.

28.04.2017 |

EU: Ongoing process for authorising genetically modified plants

Dear President Juncker,

In the past 17 months, the European Commission has put forward twelve draft implementing decisions authorising the placing on the market of genetically modified seeds - for cultivation in the EU - or of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified plants. The European Parliament has, with very clear majorities, objected to all of these.

Besides serious doubts regarding deficits in the risk assessment, these objections stem from serious concerns about the decision-making process used for authorising genetically modified plants in the European Union.

24.04.2017 |

Europe is Waging War on Insecticides and GMO Crops

It might be time to finally fulfill that dream of moving to the Italian countryside as Europe is slowly but surely working on banning pesticides and GMOs — for good.

The Case Against Neonicotinoids

At the end of March, draft regulations from the European Commission banning the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, were made public by the Guardian. The British newspaper reported that if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states, a May vote could ban neonicotinoids from all fields across Europe within the year.

The presence of neonicotinoids in the EU was already on thin ice, given their detrimental effect on pollinator populations. The EU had already imposed a temporary ban on the use of three key neonicotinoids in 2013, but these new regulations would take things a step further.

19.04.2017 |

Stop BAYER / MONSANTO days of action in Germany

Along with the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, IFOAM Organics International, Colabora and many other civil society movements and organisations, Navdanya is co-organising a “Stop Bayer / Monsanto” mobilization in Germany from 25-29 of April 2017.

More and more farmers movements, environmental groups, trade unions and students organizations are joining the series of actions, which will converge in Bonn on April 28th, for a demonstration in front of the World Conference Center where the 2017 Bayer shareholders meeting will be held.

18.04.2017 |

Oregon GMO liability bill survives Legislature’s deadline

A bill that would allow biotech patent holders to be sued for unwanted GMO presence in Oregon has survived a crucial deadline.

SALEM — Biotech patent holders would be legally responsible for losses caused by their genetically engineered crops in Oregon under a bill that’s survived a crucial legislative deadline.

House Bill 2739 would allow landowners to sue biotech patent holders for the unwanted presence of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, on their land.

The bill has now been referred to the House Rules Committee, which isn’t subject to an April 18 legislative deadline that recently killed other proposals.

The move could effectively allows HB 2739 to stay alive through the end of the 2017 legislative session, scheduled to end in late June.

07.04.2017 |

Genetically-engineered crop debate not over...yet

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The discussion over G.M.O.'s isn't over yet.

Senate Bill 1037 and House Bill 2739 deal with making all of Oregon a "seed sanctuary" and protecting farmers from cross-contamination.

If approved, 1037 would create around 4,000 square miles of G.M.O.-free land combined between Josephine and Jackson counties.

House bill 2739 needs more support by tomorrow to keep it alive.

"I hear farmers say 'you know, you're so fortunate you get to grow in an area where you feel safe from GMO crops and the threats of them,' then you think every farmer should have that right. To stop is really hard and especially when you have a neighboring county like Josephine," Elise Higley, with Our Family Farms, said.

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