June 17, 2013 |
There's a dearth of evidence that genetically engineered food is dangerous to human health - but that doesn't mean consumers are wrong to have concerns about its effect on the environment and on non-bioengineered crops. U.S. agribusiness has rushed to embrace the GMO (for genetically modified organism, though genetically engineered is a more accurate term) possibilities, with almost all of our corn, soy and canola now featuring genes that have been tinkered with, usually to make them resistant to certain herbicides.
June 14, 2013 |
An estimated 65,000 rare, tricolored blackbirds - roughly one-fifth of the species' entire global population - were saved this year when six Central California dairy farmers were paid to delay harvesting their silage crops through the nesting season. With help from Audubon California and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Tulare and Kern County farmers were paid about $393 per acre for the resulting disruptions to their labor schedules and drop in the quality of grain.
April 18, 2013 |
Despite surging cases of infections unresponsive to existing antibiotic drugs, the number of medications under development or receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration is dwindling and remains "alarmingly low," a new report warns. Most concerning, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America , is the "near absence" of antibiotic candidate drugs capable of combating new strains of bacteria that are uniquely dangerous: These "gram-negative" bacteria are not only resistant to most available antibiotic drugs themselves, they can pass genetic materials on to other bacteria that make them impervious to existing medications as well.
March 24, 2013 |
Employers and workers' advocates alike are calling for reforms to the temporary guest worker programs that allow seasonal farmworkers and others to come work in the U.S. for parts of the year. But some observers are proposing a different economic argument: abolishing guest worker programs altogether. After all, these jobs, especially on farms, are so difficult that no Americans want to do them. Maybe if farmers weren't given the opportunity to import cheap labor, they'd be able to create better jobs, argues Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
March 23, 2013 |
When is a fish not a fish but a drug? When government regulators take old laws and twist themselves into knots trying to apply them to new technology. In the emotionally charged battle over the safety and appropriateness of genetically modified foods, people on both sides agree that the way the government oversees genetically modified plants and animals is patchy, inconsistent and at times just plain bizarre. Soon, analysts say, the system may be stretched to the breaking point.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Except for illegal immigrants, no group has more at stake in the national fight over immigration reform than California farmers. "It doesn't pay to plant a product if you can't harvest it," notes Mark Teixeira of Santa Maria, who says he had to let 22 acres of vegetables rot last year because he couldn't find enough field hands to gather the crop. "That hurts. " As security has tightened along the California-Mexican border, the flow of illegal immigrant labor into the nation's most productive agriculture state has slowed significantly, farm interests say. "It's very difficult to find crews compared to three or four years ago," reports Greg Wegis, a fifth-generation Kern County farmer who grows cherries, almonds, pistachios and tomatoes, among other crops.
January 30, 2013
I have a small plot of land, about 6 feet by 30 feet, where I grow vegetables. Although everything tastes great, the yield is extremely low. I get about six to eight tomatoes per plant, only two or three cucumbers per plant, and so on. I am wondering: Could this be because I plant the same crops each year? Is it necessary for small-scale backyard gardeners to rotate crops? The only other reason I can think of is the lack of sun. We live in a canyon and get about four to five hours each day. Miriam Silver Beverly Hills For an answer, we turned to Yvonne Savio, manager of the UC Cooperative Extension's Common Ground Garden Program for Los Angeles County.
January 12, 2013 |
BEIJING - China's coldest winter in nearly three decades sent vegetable prices soaring and drove inflation to a seven-month high in December. Consumer prices rose 2.5% from December a year earlier, China's National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, up from 2% year-over-year growth in November. A key reason for concern is that rising inflation could restrict China's ability to stimulate growth if its tepid recovery loses momentum. Higher food prices also worry the Chinese government because discontent rises when poorer people have to pay a bigger share of their income on food.
January 12, 2013 |
The cold snap that has brought unseasonably cold temperatures to California has engulfed several other Western states. The National Weather Service has told residents in most of southern Arizona, including Tucson, to prepare for near-record cold Sunday morning. The NWS has issued a hard-freeze warning for the area effective late Saturday night until Tuesday morning. Overnight temperatures could fall to the single digits in some areas. The NWS said the temperatures are expected to dip low enough to kill some vegetation and crops while creating dangerous conditions for residents and pets.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 12, 2013 |
It's edging toward midnight and John Gless is keeping a wary eye on the thermometer as he patrols his family's 450 acres of citrus orchards outside Hemet. The temperature hovers just above 30 degrees as he maneuvers his Ford F-250 pickup through the dark canyons between 18-foot trees of Valencia and navel oranges. A few degrees colder, as the forecast predicts, and the millions of dollars of citrus dancing in his headlights will start to freeze. "You worked hard all year to get your crops, and there's a chance you'll lose it all tonight," said 29-year-old Gless, a fourth-generation citrus farmer.