Currently Browsing: Big Ag

Checking in on the agricultural check-off programs

Standing in front of a 50-foot tall display of potatoes, mushrooms, beef jerky, and other agricultural products at the 2009 All-American Farm Expo in Modesto, CA recently, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recalled his recent trip to Idaho — America's land of potatoes — and his shock at hearing that many...

Special Digest, rumor version: Mike Taylor to Join FDA

Another round for the revolving door: Rumor has it that Mike Taylor, currently a professor at George Washington University but better known for his work as Monsanto’s Vice President for Public Policy, will start on Monday at the FDA in a position coordinating food safety. Congress is considering a major...

Big Ag trying to hijack Waxman-Markey climate change bill

Time to eat your intellectual spinach: Cap-and-trade schemes are nobody's favorite beach reading, but Tom Philpott is valiantly, and cogently, tackling an important twist in the wrangling over the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. Some of the largest corporations in the agribusiness sector are trying to...

USDA hearings on NAIS

Will they really listen? The Rural Blog reminds us that the USDA is holding "listening sessions" about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The last two will be in Storrs, Connecticut on May 27 and Loveland, Colorado on June 1 (location information and a link to the NAIS comment page at USDA)....

“Local” jumps the shark

Co-opetition, not competition: With its brand-new ad campaign touting the "local" potato farmers that grow its spuds, Frito-Lay is the latest big company to try and exploit consumers' newfound food consciousness in pursuit of market share. Processors like ConAgra are citing eaters' concerns over food safety...

Know thy enemy: Smithfield’s porky expansion into Eastern Europe

Portrait of the corporation as sociopath: There's some essential reading about the pork company we love to hate in the Times' business section this morning (thanks Holly!). Facing increasing restrictions in the U.S. about odor control, manure management, and its vertical integration practices, Smithfield a...

Beef industry not fans of Meatless Mondays, surprisingly

Moderation or abomination?: The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has called on Obama to re-institute "Meatless Mondays," something previous presidents did in wartime. The Center says it is making the request to promote better health and better environmental practices. The beef industry, of course,...

Photos of Granjas Carroll de Mexico pork factory are sickening, even with no flu connection

Updated May 4, 9:30am PST with editor's note and hog farmer's perspective Smithfield, you're forked now: The Observers, a French citizen-journalism site, has reposted text and disturbing photos here from a Mexican blogger who claims to be from near La Gloria — the town where the first case of H1N1 flu was...

Digest – News: Smithfield’s flu, organic for the masses, Vilsack reserves judgment

They're not confining everything, apparently: MSM's all over the swine flu (SJ Merc) and U.S. hog prices are tanking (Reuters), but few are talking about its possible origins - flies and manure from the CAFO facilities of a Mexican subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. What would we do without Tom Philpott?...

Digest – News: Perilous pork, the First Lettuce, food safety plateaus

Free-range throwdown: A New York Times op-ed turns the food-fear spotlight on pastured pork, covering a study that finds that "free-range pork can be more likely than caged pork to carry dangerous bacteria and parasites" including potentially-deadly Trichinosis. The author gets in a few more digs with the...

Digest – Features and blogs: Free-range response, literary seasonality, the Hamburg wish list

Fighting the Averyian Flu: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University look a little deeper at the NYT pork op-ed and find that the study mentioned was funded by the National Pork Board, which represents conventional producers, and that the Trichinosis "positive" pigs tested seropositive, meaning they have the...

Digest – Features: Hawai’i uh-oh, simplicity sells, anti-union strategizing

Hawaii plays canary: The genetically modified seed industry has become Hawaii's rising star, reports a cover story of the Honolulu Weekly; it accounts for about a quarter of the state’s total farm revenues, eclipsing every other commodity. In the past two decades, the Islands have hosted some 2,252 open-air...

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