Digest – News: Grassless beef, Monsanto’s rBST pep rallies, sugar wants in on ethanol

starDesperate for greener pastures: More beef producers are going grass-fed. Or they would be, if they had grass. The Southeast’s "exceptional" drought — the kind that comes around only once or twice every 100 years — and extreme weather elsewhere are crippling many of the newcomers’ attempts. The bigger producers, like Tallgrass Beef in Kansas, are trucking thousands of cattle hundreds of miles in search of fodder. (So much for beef that’s not marinated in fossil fuel…)  (Washington Post)

Circling the wagons: Monsanto is holding "information meetings" around the country for dairy producers about how to deal with "the anti-rBST movement," aka "regular people who don’t want to drink any more synthetic hormones with their milk." Next they’ll be distributing rBST for free. (Brownfield Network)

Our turn at the government teat: Taking a cue from Midwestern corn farmers, sugar cane and sugar beet farmers want an ethanol deal of their own, paid for by American taxpayers. (New York Times)

The cotton club: West Africa’s cotton producers are pleased with the WTO’s ruling that U.S. cotton subsidies violate international trade agreements. And yet they’re not expecting instant improvement; one official notes that Congress is under the grip of the cotton lobby. (Ya don’t say…) (All Africa)

What’s their beef?: A coalition of consumer groups has been mounting a campaign against the possibility the Farm Bill could allow state-inspected packing plants to ship meat across state lines. (See Elanor’s post for background on this issue.) Their ads suggest that state-inspected meat is a health hazard to consumers. (Brownfield Network)

Just do 100 pushups while you eat: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have required chain restaurants with at least 14 outlets to publicize calories and nutritional information of their meals. The governor called the bill "impractical" and unfairly onerous. The restaurant industry is pleased; the Center for Science in the Public Interest call it a big "grease stain" on Arnie’s reputation.

Why cry when you can sue: Two customers have filed a lawsuit alleging Aurora Organic Dairy milk fails to meet federal organic standards, asking for damages — and that the judge stop its milk sales. (Yahoo! Finance; thanks CookieJill)

Shocking news: Focusing on cutting calories and increasing exercise is most likely to keep weight off for the long haul, according to a review of dozens of clinical trials. (Reuters)

We’re not kidding around: Seattle’s city council ruled that homeowners may keep miniature goats as pets. "Sustainability involves both the large and the small acts," said Councilman Richard Conlin. (Seattle P-I; previous Ethicurean coverage)

Supplies running short at food banks as Farm Bill stalls in Washington (New York Times)

Ethanol industry going through "growing pains" like bankruptcies and consolidation (The Indianapolis Star)

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