Currently Browsing: Biofuels

Agrofuels are not the answer for CA’s low-carbon energy needs

This guest post has been unpublished at the request of the contributor due to timing issues.

Down (and out) on the farm: When even the good years don’t look so good

In late 2006, I was driving by corn fields in eastern Iowa when Tom Ashbrook's  NPR show "On Point" came on the radio. The topic was ethanol. Among the commentators was an ag economist from Iowa State -- which seems to produce ag economists at a rate close to that at which Iowa produces corn -- who...

Déjà chew: The food price crisis in context

We are pleased to be able to share this piece by Daryll E. Ray, who holds the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy at the University of Tennessee and directs UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center (APAC). He is perhaps best known for lead-authoring “Rethinking U.S. Agriculture Policy:...

Digest – Rural: Farm Bill bloc, cattle prodding, H2O dear

The Digest editor is annoyingly still crippled, but our nice friends at the Center for Rural Affairs have contributed this round-up of important news regarding farm and rural issues. 153 just say no: Farm Bill negotiations are bumping and grinding along with no clear path forward. Now a powerful coalition...

The origins of some “market signals” in agriculture and food

At a meeting of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association on January 5, 2008, Acting Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner had much to say about the current state of corn and renewable fuels. After extolling our nation's glorious efforts in making ethanol from corn, Conner commented: Our growing appetite...

The blame frame, part 2: Who wins, and who whines, when corn prices rise

In my last post, I took a lengthy look at the role that farmers play in the livestock production system. In case you didn't make it that far, here's my conclusion: In their role as feed-growers and animal-raisers, farmers are an important but virtually powerless piece of the system. Wedged between big...

YERT goes to Iowa: All-corn, many-corn, and no-corn challenges

2007 is shaping up to be the Year of the Ear. Check out this corny segment from our acquaintances on Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT), who took a highly entertaining detour into Iowa's maze of maize....

Digest – News: Beef recall blossoms, Monsanto farmers to get cheaper crop insurance, bird flu in Canada

Stop the Topps: Topps Meat has expanded its recall to include 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli. The beef has a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" between September 25, 2007, and September 25, 2008. All recalled products will have a...

Digest – News: Biofuel savior, Organic Pastures cream recalled, organic food more nutritious

The Holy Grail of fuel plants?: The poisonous black seeds of a seemingly worthless weed may be a potentially ideal source of biofuel. Developing nations are in a mad race to plant jatropha, which can grow in marginal soil or beside food crops, does not require a lot of fertilizer, and yields many times as...

Digest – News & Commentary: Irradiation, more cracks in China, the Arcadian philosophy

NEWS Are you listening, FDA?: The Produce Marketing Association says it supports the irradiation of produce, but believes it should be labeled and that changing the label to "cold pasteurized" will only "confuse the public and could even be perceived as misleading.” (Press release) The...

Defending their corn: meatpackers, soft drink makers and food companies go after ethanol

The ethanol boom is inspiring some surprising behavior in the food and farming community. Philip Brasher, the Des Moines Register's Washington Correspondent, wrote about pushback from the food and drink industry over ethanol in Thursday's newspaper. The article illustrates how the ethanol boom is leading to...

Digest: Industry, test thyself; biofuel polluters, genocide v. sodas

NEWS Test and ye shall find: Reporting for NPR, Sam Fromartz goes inside Natural Selection Foods, the mega-grower at the center of last year's spinach E. coli scare, which has started an ambitious testing program for all its produce. It's discovered the bacteria is a lot more prevalent than previously...

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