Research, including studies presented at the conference in Istanbul, is showing that organic agriculture can deliver reliably high yields ”and that organic fields thrive in the face of disaster and duress, where chemical-reliant crops falter. Organic fields, for example, fare significantly better than chemically managed ones in the face of extreme weather, such as droughts or floods.
Want better yields and the same or more profit? Stop buying pesticides, rotate more crops over longer periods, and mix in animals. Yet another study confirms this. Oh, and a hundred times less disease-causing pesticides in streams, and presumably also less pesticides in the food going to market.
Mark Bittman wrote for NYTimes today, A Simple Fix for Farming,
The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.
The paper’s Figure 3 (above) illustrates that labor increased with crop rotation length, but so did yield, and profit remained the same or better. How can this be? Continue reading
There’s quite the controversy about that recent study that shows that “inert” ingredients in Roundup are actually toxic. Apparently Dr. Séralini hit a nerve.
Some critics are making up stuff:
That turns out not to be true:
No. EFSA has not requested raw data for the study as this information is not required at this stage of the review process.” —EFSA.
Monsanto only released the raw data after a legal challenge from Greenpeace, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and French anti-GM campaigners.
Here’s a much more substantive response from scientists supporting the Séralini cell toxicity study. The last item of that response:
RESPONSE: Most GM crops are fed to farm animals, which have relatively short lives either for meat or dairy production and so there is probably not enough time for tumours to develop.
Americans have been eating GM food (soya, maize) for only a relatively short time in significant quantities in processed foods. So it may be too short a period for long-term effects such as tumour formation to be noticeable. However, we should also note that there is no labelling of GM foods in the USA and no monitoring of the population for ill-effects, so if GM food were causing ill health this would be going undetected.
Roundup (you know, the stuff that’s sprayed on cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and corn and drifts across the road) causes DNA damage even when diluted down to 450 times less than what’s used in agriculture, according to a scientific study from February 2012.
Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells, by Verena J. Koller, Maria Fürhacker, Armen Nersesyan, Miroslav Mišík, Maria Eisenbauer and Siegfried Knasmueller, Archives of Toxicology Volume 86, Number 5 (2012), 805-813, DOI: 10.1007/s00204-012-0804-8.
Glyphosate (G) is the largest selling herbicide worldwide; the most common formulations (Roundup, R) contain polyoxyethyleneamine as main surfactant. Recent findings indicate that G exposure may cause DNA damage and cancer in humans….
Since we found genotoxic effects after short exposure to concentrations that correspond to a 450-fold dilution of spraying used in agriculture, our findings indicate that inhalation may cause DNA damage in exposed individuals.
It’s probably not even the “active” ingredient, glyphosate, that’s causing this DNA damage, more likely one of its “inert” ingredients.
Sayer Ji wrote for Greenmedinfo 15 October 2012, Research: Roundup Herbicide Toxicity Vastly Underestimated,Continue reading
We already knew Argentinian farmers were suing Monsanto about Roundup-induced birth defects, including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness; we knew Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate was “a risk factor for developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma”; we knew that Roundup-ready corn causes liver and kidney damage in rats and chickens fed feed including Monsanto corn show abnormal gene expression, and we knew that Roundup-ready corn is toxic to humans. Add to all that: Roundup is a risk for Parkinson’s disease.
Sayer Ji wrote for GreenMediaInfo 18 April 2012, Roundup Herbicide Linked To Parkinson’s-Related Brain Damage,
Alarming new research published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
Published this month (April, 2012), the new study entitled “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms,” investigated the potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides, which the authors stated “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.”1
They found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. The researchers also found that “glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways.”
Roundup herbicide is now a ubiquitous contaminant in our air, rain, groundwater, and food, making complete avoidance near impossible. A growing body of experimental evidence now indicates that it in addition to its neurotoxicity it also has the following.
Modes of Toxicity
Wake Up World wrote 19 September 2011, Case Update: 270,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto
This goes well beyond control of seeds, of course, and beyond the plaintiffs: Continue reading
The 83 family farmers, small and family owned seed businesses, and agricultural organizations challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed filed papers in federal court (13th August 2011) defending their right to seek legal protection from the threat of being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed. The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) represents the plaintiffs in the suit, titled Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGATA), et al. v. Monsanto and pending in the Southern District of New York. The August 13 filings respond to a motion filed by Monsanto in mid-July to have the case dismissed. In support of the plantiffs’ right to bring the case, 12 agricultural organizations also filed a friend-of-the-court amici brief.
“Rather than give a straight forward answer on whether they would sue our clients for patent infringement if they are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed, Monsanto has instead chosen to try to deny our clients the right to receive legal protection from the courts,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director. “Filings include sworn statements by several of the plaintiffs themselves explaining to the court how the risk of contamination by transgenic seed is real and why they cannot trust Monsanto to not use an occurrence of contamination as a basis to accuse them of patent infringement.”
Ethan A. Huff wrote for NaturalNews.com 3 August 2011, Court rules organic farmers can sue conventional, GMO farmers whose pesticides ‘trespass’ and contaminate their fields
Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.And all most people have done so far is let it slide. But the Johnsons did something. Continue reading
Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson’s farm.
The first time it was realized that pesticides had drifted onto the Johnson’s farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit of contamination can result in having to plow under that season’s crops, forget profits, and even lose the ability to grow organic crops in the same field for at least a couple years.
In a new study suggesting pesticides may be associated with the health and development of children, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides — widely used on food crops — is related to lower intelligence scores at age 7.Continue reading
Multibillion-dollar agricultural corporations, including Monsanto and Syngenta, have restricted independent research on their genetically engineered crops. They have often refused to provide independent scientists with seeds, or they’ve set restrictive conditions that severely limit research options.In case you wondered why all the research seems to come from other countries, such as Argentina and France, as shown in this documentary from Germany? Well, now you know.
Clothianidin has already been banned by Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia for its toxic effects. So why won’t the EPA follow? It probably has something to do with Big Agra, who loves the stuff for treating the corn seed supply.Ariel Schwartz in Fast Company a reminds us of why this matters
The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops.She includes a quote from the study:
Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects.
Here’s the leaked document (PDF).