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Cattle grazing near Swanage, Dorset, July 2015. Photo: Claire Cox via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The case for the Dorset badger cull

Mel Squires / NFU

31st August 2015

The government is right to extend the badger cull into Dorset, writes Mel Squires in this 'right of reply' article. While culling badgers is only part of the solution of bovine TB, along with annual TB testing of cattle and badger vaccination, it is a necessary measure in areas of high risk. more...
Neonic insecticides in seed treatments damage bees and other pollinators as the toxic chemicals are expressed in their pollen and nectar. Photo: Claus Rebler via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

FoE mounts legal challenge to bee-killer pesticide permits

Oliver Tickell

24th August 2015

A month after warning the government of legal action over its decision to allow farmers to use bee-killing pesticides banned under EU law, Friends of the Earth has filed a High Court legal challenge to have the 'derogations' declared unlawful. more...
Women in Zorro village, Burkina Faso, desseding their cotton. But what chance have they got in global commodity markets that are systematically rigged against them? Photo: CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

GM cotton: a false promise for Africa's farmers

Arya Tajdin

27th August 2015

The idea that GMO cotton offers hope to Africa's impoverished cotton farmers is facile and fraudulent, writes Arya Tajdin. In fact it only adds to their vulnerability. Their real problems lie in the structural oversupply of subsidized cotton on world markets, and the flood of 'kifua' - dead white man's clothing - that undermines the continent's textile industries. more...
Roundup by Monsanto, photographed in February 2015 by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia. Via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup may cause potentially fatal 'adrenal insufficiency'

GMWatch & The Ecologist

21st August 2015

A new study finds that the Roundup herbicide disrupts the hormonal system of rats at low levels at which it's meant to produce no adverse effects. By the same mechanism It may be causing the potentially fatal condition of 'adrenal insufficiency' in humans. more...
Bovine TB is above all, about cattle and their biosecurity. Happy cows in England's beautiful Peak District. Photo: Rick Harrison via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The NFU's dishonesty over badger culling

Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey

22nd August 2015

As they argue for an extended and intensified badger cull, some farmers have been making extravagant and improbable claims about giant badgers frolicking with their cattle in the sunshine, write Jay Tiernan & Lesley Docksey. But despite holding office in the NFU, they display astonishing negligence by failing to adopt the most elementary bio-security measures advised by Defra to keep their cattle TB free. more...
Farmers take part in 'Milk Bucket Challenge' amid dairy crisis, 18th August 2015. Photo: still from video by The Vale Veterinary Group.

The perfect pinta vs. the TTIP trade tanker

Vicki Hird

20th August 2015

Britain's dairy farmers have been having a hard time, writes Vicki Hird, largely thanks to their exposure to an unregulated, unstable, global food market. But if the EU's TTIP 'trade deal' with the US is ever signed, pitting UK dairy farmers against zero-welfare US mega-dairies run on hormones and antibiotics, they won't have a chance. more...
Guarani man Semião Vilhalva lies on the ground, murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend. Photo: still from video by Marcelo Zelic via Facebook.

Brazil: Guarani man murdered by ranchers' gunmen

The Ecologist

2nd September 2015

Guarani man Semião Vilhalva was murdered by ranchers' gunmen last weekend after his community reoccupied parts of their ancestral land from ranchers. Thousands of Guarani Indians holding on to tiny patches of their ancestral land are living in constant fear of forcible eviction. more...
Do not disturb: sleeping badgers in their sett at the British Wildlife Centre. Photo: John Morris via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Do not disturb! Persecuting badgers may perpetuate TB hotspots

Oliver Tickell

17th August 2015

A scientific paper published today says badger persecution may be one of the reasons for the persistence of bovine TB hotspots, writes Oliver Tickell. A further finding is that the main risk factors for bTB are all to do with cattle - not badgers at all. more...
It's not just the cows that are being milked. A small dairy farm in Adber, Dorset. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Government and NFU betray Britain's dairy farmers

Simon Fairlie / The Land

15th August 2015

Just as the banks are 'too big to fail', so Britain's struggling dairy farmers are 'too small to save', writes Simon Fairlie. And it's not just the government that's happy to see 16 dairy farms go the wall every week - it's also the National Farmers Union to which most pay their dues. The NFU's paradoxical response to the milk glut is to push for ever higher, more intensive milk production. more...
Now protected against GMO contamination: fields of seed potatoes growing in Perthshire, Scotland. Photo: Matt Cartney / Agriculture, Food and Rural communities via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Crofters welcome Scotland's GMO ban

The Ecologist

10th August 2015

Scotland's small-scale farmers have welcomed their government's decision to prevent the growing of GM crops, aimed at enhancing the country's 'clean, green status', among a coalition of green NGOs. more...
A small scale farmer weeding a cotton field in Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh, South India. Cotton farming can be very profitable, but is also very risky in India due to high input costs and droughts. Many farmers get highly indebted and see no way out

GM cotton really is helping to drive Indian farmers to suicide

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

11th August 2015

A new study finds that Indian farmers in rain-fed areas are being driven to suicide from the increased cost of growing Bt GMO cotton varieties that confer no benefits to them, writes Eva Sirinathsinghji. The extra expenses arise from buying new seeds each year, along with increased chemical inputs, while suffering inadequate access to agronomic information. more...
Wind turbines on farmland near Tow Law, County Durham, UK. Photo: Jonathan Pearson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind farm subsidies bad, farm subsidies good?

Brendan Montague / DeSmog.uk

10th August 2013

Major funders of the pro-fossil fuel Global Warming Policy Foundation are always keen to speak out against public support for renewable energy, writes Brendan Montague. So how come they're so keen to help themselves to a fortune in farm subsidies? more...

Farming: 1/25 of 1251
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Chafer Multidrive FC applying glyphosate and podstick to oilseed rape crop as pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Don't let Monsanto deny glyphosate carcinogenicity!

Professor Peter Saunders

5th August 2015

Monsanto is stepping up its attack on the WHO's classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, writes Peter Saunders. Dismissing the finding as 'junk science' the company is convening its own industry friendly panel and pushing its secret studies at regulators. Don't let them get away with it! more...
A beetle on a male corn flower. Photo: Flávio Jota de Paula via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Biodiversity is the best defence against corn pests

Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti

14th August 2015

Farmers' first line of defence against pests is the ecosystem in and around their fields, write Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti. With widespread or indiscriminate use of pesticides essential biodiversity is lost - and the result is more frequent and serious infestations, and a decline in food security. more...
The 2015 oilseed rape harvest is coming in strong. Photo: Michael via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oilseed rape flourishes without bee-killing chemicals

The Ecologist

3rd July 2015

Early yield figures indicate a bumper harvest for oilseed rape in England in the first neonic-free growing season - making a nonsense of the 'emergency' lifting of the ban of the bee-killing pesticides. more...
A rice field and some traditional farm houses in a small village in the South of Niigata, Japan. Photo: Norman Tannert via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Japan's 'sacred' rice farmers evade TPP death sentence - for now

Nicole L Freiner

3rd August 2015

Japanese rice farmers won a reprieve last week when TTP negotiations in Hawaii ended without conclusion on opening Japan up to cheap US rice imports, writes Nicole L Freiner. But with Japan keen to export more cars to the US, the victory is a temporary one. At stake is a way of life, an ancient land-rooted religion, and the future viability of Japan's farming villages. more...
California drought: New Melones Lake, near Calaveras, California, 4th June 2015. Photo: Ben Amstutz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Flowing uphill to money? California's water politics in a time of drought

Will Parrish

5th August 2015

While households and small feel the brunt of California's drought, it's business as usual for agribusiness, writes Will Parrish. And despite the 'first user' principle that determines water rights, the state's indigenous tribes and the wild salmon on which they depend, have been left high and dry. The Public Trust Doctrine could change that - but only if the people demand it. more...
A bumblebee pauses on an Inula Magnifica. Photo: Tom Blackwell via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Bee-harming pesticide firms took part in key meeting on their ban

Damian Carrington

30th July 2015

Previously suppressed documents show that Bayer and Syngenta, the makers of controversial 'neonic' insecticides subject to an EU ban, took part in and sought to influence a key meeting of pesticide experts to decide whether to lift a ban on their use in the UK. more...
Munnaf's wife Lovely Begum, showing dead Bt brinjal plants. Photo: Faisal Rahman.

GMO propaganda over facts? BBC Panorama and Bt brinjal

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

30th July 2015

A BBC documentary claimed 90% success for a controversial GM crop in Bangladesh, Bt brinjal, writes Claire Robinson. But as journalist Faisal Rahman discovered, there's no evidence to support the claim, the BBC relied on biased sources, and its journalists failed to investigate reports of widespread crop failure. Was it all an exercise in pro-GMO propaganda? more...
Honeybee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: s.ralph2010 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

FoE acts to revoke 'unlawful' bee-killer pesticide permit

Oliver Tickell

28th July 2015

Friends of the Earth has taken the first legal steps towards striking out last week's emergency approval of bee-harming 'neonic' pesticides in England, granted last week despite a Europe-wide ban. more...
Jairo Restrepo among the wild flowers of Spain. Photo: JuanFran Lopez.

Defending life! Jairo Restrepo, organic revolutionary

JuanFran Lopez / Ragmans Lane Farm

27th July 2015

Jairo Restrepo is a leading champion of organic farming in Brazil, writes JuanFran Lopez, and now his influence has spread across the world. His mission too has expanded to include campaigning for the rights of small scale farmers, and an even wider project of economic, technological and societal transformation to put people at the centre of political power. more...
Daily life in Conakry, Guinea on 3rd December 2014. Photo: Dominic Chavez / World Bank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Neoliberal Ebola: palm oil, logging, land grabs, ecological havoc and disease

Rob Wallace

27th July 2015

The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa had everything to do with logging, deforestation and the disruption of traditional agro-forestry by large scale industrial agriculture, writes Rob Wallace. The only long term solution to this terrible disease may lie in forest conservation, the restoration of agroecological farming systems, and the exclusion of agribusiness investment. more...
A tractor prepares a field by turning over the cover crop into the soil in preparation for planting at Leafy Greens, in the Salinas Valley, California, June 2011. Cover crops of barley and rye grass hold the topsoil, reducing erosion. Photo: Lance Cheung

Conserving soil: precious, finite and under threat

Jane Rickson

5th August 2015

Human existence relies on healthy soils, writes Jane Rickson. But all over the world they are being lost and degraded by inappropriate land use, reducing their capacity to produce food and store water, nutrients and carbon. Sustainable land management must be incentivised to conserve this essential resource. more...
One of the lucky ones: bumblebee on dandelion at Altenhagen, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo: Jakob Stitz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee cause: Germany tightens, UK relaxes neonic regulation

Oliver Tickell

23rd July 2015

An Emergency Ordinance comes into force in Germany today that extends the EU's ban on 'neonic' pesticides to protect bees. But the UK's farming minister Liz Truss has relaxed the ban to allow farmers to use neonics on 30,000 hectares of oilseed rape. more...
You want weedkiller with that? Photo: Peggy Greb, USDA ARS vis Wkimedia (Public Domain).

Keep health-damaging weed killer out of our bread!

Natasha Collins-Daniel / Soil Association

23rd July 2015

Soon UK farmers will begin to spray their fields of wheat, barley, oats and peas with weed killer to make crops easier to harvest, writes Natasha Collins-Daniel. But the chemicals - including glyphosate, a probable carcinogen - can end up in our bread and other food. Let's put a stop to it now! more...

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