Currently Browsing: Big Ag

Farming groups resort to Machiavellian defense of indefensible practices

Spin-dustrial ag: Two dozen of the nation's largest and best-funded farm groups have formed a coalition to counter poor publicity, reports the AP (LAtimes.com). What are they mad about? "Videos that show male chicks being put into grinders, egg-laying hens in battery cages and the mistreatment of hogs in...

Meet Roll International, the biggest dastardly agribiz mega-corps you’ve never heard of

Pom not-so-wonderful at all: John Gibler's epic, top-notch feature on Roll International – "or, as their website proclaims: 'the largest privately held company you’ve never heard of,' owner of Paramount Farming, the largest grower and processor of almonds and pistachios in the world; Paramount Citrus; Fiji...

Hey USDA & DoJ: Ranchers want more competition in the cattle industry

Big hats carrying small sticks: The CEO of R-Calf, which represents cattle raisers, has been criss-crossing the country, exhorting people to get to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Aug. 27th for a federal-level workshop about competition in the cattle industry. He wants 25,000 to show up and "send a message to...

Living on Earth looks at sargassum seaweed and Brazilian soy

The July 16 episode of Living on Earth had two interesting food-related pieces, each accompanied by a transcript and MP3 download: The wide sargasso seizure: The first covered sargassum seaweed, the primary vegetation that collects in the Sargasso Sea, an area of calm waters in the Atlantic Ocean. Most of...

The water wars: California’s salmon vs. agribiz interests

By Paul Johnson I've been selling fish for 30 years, and I'm pleased that my store, the Monterey Fish Market, has a reputation for exceptionally fresh and sustainably sourced seafood. We're lucky in that our customers support us in our mission to provide the best possible product that doesn't contribute to...

The manurification of America

A perfect shitstorm: On some farms, animal manure can be a valuable asset, a way to improve the soil in the fields. But for today's massive factory farms — and, increasingly, the nation's air and waterways — manure is a huge liability, reports the Post's David A. Fahrenthold. Decomposing manure from factory...

Meet your greens, part 2: Industry seeks to outfox FDA

This is the second in a series of posts on my week in Monterey, CA, where I attended the first of seven USDA hearings around the country on an industry proposal to create a national marketing agreement on the safety of leafy greens. (Marketing agreements are explained in my first post, here.) It’s not...

Meet your greens: National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement hearings, Week 1

This is the first in a short series on the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement hearings held September 22-24 in Monterey, CA. I packed a suit for three days of USDA hearings over an industry-proposed national food safety agreement [pdf] for leafy greens. In retrospect, I should have packed a flask....

Dairy runoff in our tap water

Big dairies, big problems: Reporter Charles Duhigg of the New York Times has been on the rampage these past few weeks with a series of great articles highlighting the need for better government regulation, oversight and enforcement of clean water laws. The latest installment covers the dairy industry in...

Pork prevention: What’s behind the NPPC bailout, or how the government keeps filling up Big Meat’s trough

During the Iowa flood disaster in the summer of 2008, I proposed that there are winners and losers in moments of human tragedy — those who pay the costs of dealing with an unsavory situation, and those who are on the receiving end of those payments. When it comes to the obesity epidemic, for example, there...

NPR utters the phrase “big milk”

Consolidation station: NPR's John Burnett shines a spotlight on agribusiness consolidation, the control of the food system by an ever-smaller group of mega-companies. Independent farmers and ranchers are pushing the Obama Administration to take a good, long look at the factors that brought us to where we...

Family farmers: No NAIS in our name

NPPC doesn't speak for me: Rhonda Perry, a Missouri farmer and director of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, is tired of Big Meat purporting to represent her interests in Washington. NAIS, a controversial animal tracking program [that we've covered numerous times], is just the newest example of the "farm...

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