October 5, 1999 |
Like some mad, tie-dyed wizard conjuring life from a clunker of a Tin Man, Herb Bartels tinkers here and tinkers there, adjusts a clamp, unkinks a pipe, then fires up three huge propane burners--and stands back, grinning, to smoke a cigarette and wait. A scent seeps out. First just a whiff, sharp and woodsy. Maybe the faintest bit sweet? The Tin Man contraption lurches into action. It pumps out oil, in clear elongated drops. Down a steel tube and into a plastic jug, the oil drip, drip, drips.
October 5, 1999 |
A storm of protest against genetically engineered foods by foreign governments and consumers has reached U.S. shores, leading some experts to predict that agricultural biotechnology could go the way of nuclear energy--falling out of favor because of public fears and unfavorable economics.
August 16, 1999 |
Drought conditions along the East Coast have caused more than $800 million in crop losses so far this summer, raising fears that struggling farm families may be driven out of business, state officials say. Pennsylvania, the region's biggest farm producer, expects at least $500 million in drought damages, not including losses in dairy and related agricultural businesses.
August 11, 1999 |
The Clinton administration on Tuesday designated all of New Jersey and 34 counties in New York as farm disaster areas in response to the drought that is plaguing growers in those states. "The farm crisis continues to present a daunting challenge to America's farmers, now being hit hard by a severe drought in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast," President Clinton said in a statement. "We are responding to this drought with urgency and immediate assistance."
August 5, 1999 |
The Senate on Wednesday approved $7.4 billion in assistance for farmers hurt by depressed crop prices, setting the stage for negotiations with the House. Democrats and some farm-state Republicans wanted more money, including special assistance for Eastern growers who are suffering through one of the region's worst droughts this century. GOP leaders beat back several attempts to fatten the package, but they signaled their willingness to consider adding money later, during talks with the House.
August 4, 1999 |
The Senate on Tuesday rejected a Democrat-backed $11-billion bailout of the farm economy in favor of a smaller Republican package. But lawmakers said they hoped to work out a bipartisan compromise later this week. "There's bipartisan recognition that there's a disaster out there," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The Republican-controlled Senate defeated the Democratic plan, 54 to 44, after Democrats, in a 51-47 vote, narrowly failed to kill the $7-billion GOP emergency farm package.
July 25, 1999 |
The pictures this time are not of drought--no land baked dry, no crops seared black. There are no pictures, either, of flood. But disaster has struck here nonetheless. It's taken the form of bounty. Call it the paradox of plenty: Crops are so good throughout much of the heartland that farmers are in crisis. Supply is up, not only in the U.S. but around the world. Demand is down, especially overseas. So prices for wheat and corn and soybeans have tumbled into catastrophe. It's that simple.
June 18, 1999 |
Underscoring concern over the growing use of genetically engineered ingredients in processed foods, the environmental group Greenpeace released a study Thursday that shows three top baby food and nutritional products contain DNA from genetically engineered corn and soybeans. The study of eight popular products taken from grocery shelves earlier this year is part of a larger campaign by environmentalists and consumer groups to persuade lawmakers and the U.S.
May 31, 1999 |
Trace a simple stalk of celery back to its raw roots and you get a lesson in how diesel fuels America's economy. Before it winds up in a grocer's bin and is sliced into a salad, every step of the way--from field to kitchen--celery grown at A.G. Kawamura's farm in Irvine is touched by dozens of machines, all powered by diesel. First, tractors and plows prepare the rough land. Seedlings arrive by truck and are planted by machine. Fertilizer is sprayed, water is pumped; diesel provides the power.
April 29, 1999 |
The White House abandoned a major economic weapon against renegade nations Wednesday and said the United States would no longer restrict their purchase of American food, medicine and medical supplies. The announcement marks a major departure in U.S. economic, foreign and farm policy. As a result, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Sudan could eventually gain access to U.S. supplies, which have been largely off limits.