Tag Archive | "Alfalfa"

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Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Posted on 18 August 2011 by admin

Obama Tells Farmer No Need to Worry About Government Over-Regulation of Agriculture

Thursday, August 18, 2011 – by Mike Adams

Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) During a town hall meeting yesterday, when an Illinois farmer told President Obama he was concerned about upcoming regulations regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act and would rather be farming than “filling out forms and permits,” Obama had choice words to offer in reply: “Don’t always believe what you hear.”

For once, Obama has told the truth. “Don’t always believe what you hear” should be the rally cry for all the farmers, raw dairy producers and consumers harmed by government actions taking place under the Obama administration – actions which can only be called war against the People and crimes against nature.

It was Obama’s USDA, for example, that approved genetically modified alfalfa to be openly planted everywhere, thereby contaminating non-GMO alfalfa crops with DNA pollution that’s impossible to remove from the harvest. This is the same USDA that also recently said it would do nothing to halt the release of GMO yard grass seeds into the marketplace.

Because of that decision, by the Spring of 2012, we could see genetically engineered lawns spouting up in neighborhoods all across America, where they will be frequently sprayed with toxic Roundup herbicide chemicals.

It was under President Obama that the FDA masterminded the recent armed raids on American raw dairy farmers by bringing a SWAT team to an L.A. food distribution center. There, under the watchful eye of federal government thugs, agents proceeded to pour all the milk down the drain, then seize and destroy tens of thousands of dollars worth of cheese, watermelons, mangos and other valuable food.

Obama, of course, could have stopped this outrageous incarceration of raw dairy farmers at any time but he stood back and said nothing. Perhaps he was too busy going on vacation to take any meaningful action to try to protect American farmers from gun-toting government tyrants.

It was under Obama’s watch that Michigan gardener Julie Bass was threatened with 93 days of jail time for growing tomatoes in her own front yard. While this wasn’t a federal case (it was drummed up by local tyrants who run the city of Oak Park), Obama could have easily intervened with a national message about “the freedom to garden.”

Where was Michelle Obama on this point in particular? The president’s wife can grow a garden on the White House lawn, but a mom in Oak Park Michigan can’t do the same on her own private property? Insane.

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Supreme Court rules against ban on GMO alfalfa, but requires complete safety study first

Posted on 08 August 2010 by admin

(NaturalNews) The battle continues as agri-giant Monsanto pushes to have its genetically-modified (GM) alfalfa approved for use in the U.S. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Monsanto by ruling against a lower court’s nationwide ban on the GM alfalfa; however, the court is requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to complete a comprehensive safety study before the “franken-crop” can officially be approved.

The whole thing started when the USDA first approved Monsanto’s GM alfalfa back in 2007. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) immediately filed a lawsuit against the approval, citing valid concerns that the seeds would take over pasture lands and become uncontrollable. The federal district judge who heard the case agreed, ruling also that the USDA had acted irresponsibly by failing to complete an environmental safety study prior to approving the seeds for planting. The same judge banned GM alfalfa nationwide.

The reason why GM alfalfa is particularly dangerous is that alfalfa is an aggressive spreader, and would likely end up in all sorts of fields, including organic ones. Alfalfa is typically used to feed dairy cattle, so if GM alfalfa is ever approved, it could destroy the entire organic beef and dairy industry. In the long term, it could ruin the entire organic food industry.

However, the Supreme Court recently ruled 7-to-1 that a nationwide ban was inappropriate, but it has allowed the ban to stay in place until the USDA completes the necessary Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

According to the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), Monsanto was quick to spin the ruling as being in its favor, essentially telling the media that it had won a victory. But truth be told, the nationwide ban on GM alfalfa is still in place, and planting the crop is still illegal. Though the ruling allows Monsanto to move forward in trying to gain approval, there is no guarantee that the multi-national giant will be successful.

Part of the EIS process involves reviewing the more than 200,000 public comments received since December 2009 concerning GM alfalfa, most of which are likely in protest of the crop.

So it is important to keep letting your voice be heard on important issues like this one, especially when there is an open comment period. 200,000 people voiced their opinions about GM alfalfa, and this could greatly influence the USDA’s final decision in the matter.

Sources:

Supreme Court Kicks Critical Genetically Modified Alfalfa Issue Down The Road – Alliance for Natural Health

Genetically Modified Foods: More Reason to Avoid Them; Why They Threaten Organic Agriculture

Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods – Institute for Responsible Technology

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/029407_GMOs_alfalfa.html#ixzz1auqqYWiL

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56 Lawmakers Ask USDA to Deny GMO Alfalfa

Posted on 24 June 2010 by admin

Fifty-six lawmakers, including 50 representatives and six senators, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday asking that the agency retain the regulated status of genetically modified (GMO) alfalfa.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT.) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) led the effort, which comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court rescinded a nationwide ban on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, directly in response to a USDA Draft Environmental Impact Statement finding “No Significant Impact” from using the agrigiant’s genetically engineered (GE), herbicide-resistant seeds.

gmo-alfalfa1-featured.jpgThe high court’s ruling this week maintains that it is up to the USDA to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on GMO alfalfa before fulling deregulating it. As a release from Sen. Leahy’s office noted yesterday, genetically modified crops are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which requires federal agencies to review the environmental impacts of proposed actions. The agency did not conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement before deregulating Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005.

In their letter yesterday, lawmakers sharply questioned the agency’s current evaluation and preliminary finding. “We have concluded that USDA’s preliminary finding of ‘No Significant Impact’ cannot be justified and we call on you to correct the serious deficiencies in the [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] and to deny the request for deregulated GE alfalfa.”

The letter says that the agency’s conclusion that contamination of non-GMO alfalfa is highly unlikely to occur is “not supported by the evidence or the science.”  Lawmakers contend in the letter that genetically modified alfalfa would contaminate the crops of both conventional and organic alfalfa farmers, resulting in “significant economic harm to alfalfa seed producers and to the organic dairy industry.”

“The [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] acknowledges that gene flow contamination will likely occur and goes on to elaborate on the conditions which increase that possibility: proximity of fields, pest management strategies, feral alfalfa corridors, movement of honey bees and overstocking of pollinators,” says the letter.

“The [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] further acknowledges that honey bees, the primary pollinators of alfalfa, travel distances far in excess of the required isolation distances.  While [the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service] maintains that contamination is unlikely, they contradict their own conclusion by determining that glyphosate tolerant alfalfa deregulation will lead to a shift to larger farms as alfalfa producers seek more land to avoid contamination.”

Demand for organic dairy is growing rapidly and the sector currently generates about $1.4 billion in sales, according to the letter.

“Consumers today respect and rely on what the USDA certified organic seal represents, which includes no GE contamination,” the letter continues. “If the USDA organic seal no longer represents a GE-free product, the integrity of the entire organic industry in this country will be compromised and consumers may no longer choose organic products.”

This week’s 7-1 Supreme Court decision, in favor of Monsanto in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Company, gives the agency the option of allowing limited planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa while it continues to finalize its Environmental Impact Statement, which is expected before the next spring planting season.

The full letter from lawmakers is available here.

More Headlines from Food Politics »

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Supreme Court Hears Case on GM Alfalfa Ban

Posted on 27 April 2010 by admin

The U.S Supreme Court yesterday questioned the authority of a lower court to ban “roundup ready alfalfa” (RRA), in the high-profile case of Monsanto Co. v. Geertson SeedFarms. Roundup Ready alfalfa seed is genetically modified to resist the herbicide called Roundup. The case is more about the legality of the ban than the safety of RRA plants and is being closely watched by all sectors of food and agri-business, and by environmental organizations.

In 2005 the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the planting of RRA. In 2007 the Center for Food Safety took the issue to U.S. District Court in San Francisco which banned the alfalfa until a comprehensive EIS (Environmental Impact Study), required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), could be carried out.

Monsanto Co. and petitioner Forage Genetics Inc. (FGI) made claim in Supreme Court that the district court’s ban was unlawful because the court did not seek to determine evidence of future harm due to RRA, implying that a NEPA violation alone is grounds for a ban. Monsanto argued that the injunction caused undue financial harm to farmers, and in courtdocuments the petition argued that the actual risk of cross-pollination from GE alfalfa is “exceedingly small.”

Organic food producers and environmental groups say that RRA will cause widespread environmental and economic damage. Alfalfa is pollinated by bees and other flying insects and it is only a matter of time before cross-pollination occurs. Food with GE genes cannot be considered organic and cross-pollination with modified alfalfa would cause great damage to the organic food market, according to the groups.

The Center for Food Safety cited seven briefs submitted in support of Geertson, by over two dozen natural food companies and producers, as well as by the Natural ResourcesDefense Counsel, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Humane Society.

Monsanto said 18 entities submitted briefs to support its position that RRA should not be banned. They are the American Farm Bureau Federation, Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council and National Potato Council, Sugarbeet Growers Association, U.S. Beet Sugar Association and National Corn Growers Association, The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, and CropLife America, The Washington Legal Foundation, Allied EducationFoundation, and Pacific Legal Foundation, according to a Monsanto news release.

The case may become a moot point if the USDA passes regulation, now under consideration, that would require all bio-engineered plants undergo a thorough environmental impact statement.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce a decision before late June.

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All about GMOs in foods

Posted on 30 August 2009 by admin

The Basics:

What’s a GMO?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

What foods are GM?

Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (91%), cotton (88%), canola (80-85%), corn (85%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (small amount), and tobacco (Quest® brand). About half of the sugar beets grown for sugar in 2008 were GM and current projections are that about 90% grown in 2009 will be GM.

What are other sources of GMOs?

Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. Also:

  • meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (and the majority of the GM corn and soy is used for feed);
  • dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (a GM hormone);
  • food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses; and
  • honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen.

The Health Dangers:

What are the potential dangers of eating GM foods?

There are a number of dangers that broadly fall into the categories of potential toxins, allergens, carcinogens, new diseases, antibiotic resistant diseases, and nutritional problems.

View all 65 health risks of GM foods, excerpted from Jeffrey Smith’s comprehensive book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. Other References

What combinations have been tried?

It is now possible for plants to be engineered with genes taken from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Scientists have worked on some interesting combinations:

  • Spider genes were inserted into goat DNA, in hopes that the goat milk would contain spider web protein for use in bulletproof vests.
  • Cow genes turned pigskins into cowhides.
  • Jellyfish genes lit up pigs’ noses in the dark.
  • Artic fish genes gave tomatoes and strawberries tolerance to frost.
  • Potatoes that glowed in the dark when they needed watering.
  • Human genes were inserted into corn to produce spermicide.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/biotech/290820090926_gmos_in_foods.html

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Activists want genetically modified alfalfa banned

Posted on 28 April 2009 by admin

The plant in question was modified by Monsanto to be tolerant of the company’s Roundup weed killer, but opponents fear its genes could be spread far and wide by natural pollination. They also say there’s no need for the change, which would only serve to benefit Monsanto.

They want the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to reassess its approval of the plant.

“The contamination of alfalfa would be inevitable and irreversible,” said Arnold Taylor of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate.

“Because it’s pollinated by bees, genes from Monsanto’s … alfalfa would spread out of control.”

“Over time the availability of certified organic alfalfa seed would disappear, creating severe challenges for seed and sprout growers.”

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Having ruined canola, Monsanto threatens alfalfa

Posted on 28 April 2009 by admin

Having ruined canola, Monsanto threatens alfalfa

Health of Canada’s food crops lies in the balance as Monsanto prepares an assault on farmers to promote it Roundup poison

Eighty groups including farmer associations and food businesses from across Canada joined the growing call to stop the introduction and field-testing of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa.

The alfalfa in question is genetically modified by Monsanto to be tolerant to the company’s brand name herbicide Roundup. Alfalfa would be the first perennial GM crop on the market.

“The contamination of alfalfa would be inevitable and irreversible. We’ve already seen an end to organic canola due to GM contamination and we can’t afford to lose alfalfa,” said Arnold Taylor of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. “Because it’s pollinated by bees, genes from Monsanto’s GM alfalfa would spread out of control.”

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A seed of doubt

Posted on 08 April 2009 by admin

A seed of doubt
Honolulu Weekly – April 8, 2009

In the past two decades, the Islands have hosted some 2,252 outdoor tests for experimental GE plants, more than any other place. Open-air field trials have been conducted on corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, wheat, alfalfa, beets, rice, safflower, sorghum, sunflowers, sugar cane, pineapple, dendrobium orchids, anthurium, coffee and papaya, among others. About 130 now are under way throughout the state. Some of Hawaii’s outdoor tests—by companies such as Monsanto, ProdiGene, Garst Seed Co. and Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC)—also involved biopharmaceuticals, which refers to plants genetically-engineered to produce medical supplies, drugs, vaccines and industrial chemicals. According to court documents, these trials involved experimental AIDS and hepatitis B vaccines; growth hormones; enzyme production from human genes; and aprotinin, a blood-clotting cow protein that is also an insect toxin. Information about where these tests were done remains blocked by a court order.

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Organic Kicks Monoculture Ass

Posted on 06 April 2009 by admin

Organic Kicks Monoculture Ass
Mother Jones – April 6, 2009

The simple conclusion: Diversified systems were more profitable than monocropping and organic systems were more profitable than the Midwestern standards of continuous corn, no-till corn, no-till soybeans, and intensively managed alfalfa. Even adding risk premiums into the equation did not give monoculture the edge expected by the researchers. Bottom line: monoculture is riskier and less profitable than organic and rotational farming.

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Seeds – How to Criminalize Them

Posted on 19 March 2009 by admin

Seeds – How to Criminalize Them
OpEdNews – March 19, 2009

There is a small list inside the FDA called “sources of seed contamination” and the FDA has now defined “seed” as food, So seeds can now be controlled through “food safety.” Those seeds (so far) include: seeds eaten raw such as flax, poppy sesame, etc.; sprouting seeds such as wheat, beans, alfalfa, most greens, etc.; seeds pressed into oils such as corn, sunflower, canola, etc.; seeds used as animal feed such as soy. That is most seeds. It may even be all seeds, given how they are skilled at new definitions. And what are the “sources of seed contamination” inside the FDA? They include only six little items: agricultural water, manure (but not chemical pesticides or fertilizers), harvesting, transporting and seed cleaning (sorting) equipment, seed storage (storing) facilities.

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