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Farmers can reduce climate change; Letter to Lula; United on trade; Other CropChoice headlines

(Friday, Oct. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Here is some of the CropChoice news and commentary from this week and last.

  • The potential impacts of climate change on U.S. agriculture and what farmers can do about it (Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003 -- CropChoice news) --

    by Dan McGuire.

    Thank you to Dr. Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School for inviting the ACGF to be on this panel today. Thanks also to the Energy Foundation who supports our Wealth From The Wind program.

    The Energy Foundation’s, Program Officer for Power, Mr. Bentham Paulos recently suggested that wind power be viewed as an extraction industry like oil, natural gas, coal, etc. Whereas those energy resources are extracted from below the earth for economic and societal needs, wind power offers inexhaustible energy to be extracted as the wind moves above the earth, but without the environmental impact.

    The American Corn Growers support wind farming for many reasons. The most compelling is the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Sept. 2003 farm income forecast (Statistical Indicators Table 31---Average Income to Farm Operator Households), which shows that only 6% of average farm operator household income comes from farming activities…including federal farm program payments. 94% of total farm household income is coming from off-farm sources…no surprise to farm operations where both spouses and other family members work off-farm jobs in addition to farming and watch corn and soybeans prices every day to see if they might ever cover production costs. That’s the problem, low commodity prices and high production costs, including the cost of energy: oil, electricity, natural gas, fertilizers, etc... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2102

  • Remain united to demand fair terms of trade

    (Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Ashok B Sharma op-ed, Financial Express, India, 09/29/03:

    The WTO Committee on Agriculture (COA) is slated to meet in Geneva for two days from October 6 to discuss modalities for negotiations. This gives another opportunity to the developing countries to firmly negotiate their terms for greater market access, reduction in subsidies and support and tariff barriers in developed countries and special safeguard for the products of the developing countries... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2101

  • Judge rejects class action against seed producers

    (Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- David Barboza, NY Times: A federal judge yesterday denied class-action status to an antitrust lawsuit that accused some of the world's biggest agricultural seed companies of conspiring to fix prices.

    The decision is a severe blow to a case brought in 1999 by some of the nation's most prominent antitrust lawyers, who accused the Monsanto Company and other big agricultural seed makers of trying to control the booming market in genetically altered seeds in the 1990's... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2100

  • NGO's seek standing in Monsanto v. Schmeiser

    (Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

    OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Today, a coalition of NGOs, led by the Council of Canadians, applied to intervene in the patent infringement case involving Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and biotechnology giant Monsanto that will be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2096

  • Foreign investors eye Chinese farming

    (Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Richard McGregor, Financial Times, 09/30/03: The highway out of Taiyuan, capital of landlockedShanxi province, winds through miles of rough, denuded hills, a man-made moonscape stripped bare by loggers and then washed clear of fertile topsoil by erosion.

    It is the kind of scene that alarms leaders such as Wen Jiabao, China's premier, who recently called for the "strictest measures" to prevent the further loss of valuable farming land to factories and logging... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2095

  • A letter to Lula

    (Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) --

    Mr. President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

    Your Excellency,

    There was a lot of expectation from you when you took over as President of Brazil. Soon after you took over, and by that time the promises you made during your election campaigns were still afresh in your mind, you launched the 'Zero Hunger' Programme. Brazil appreciated that. The world applauded your vision... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2093

  • Brazil seed industry chief criticizes country's new biotech bean policy

    (Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Mario Osava, IPS, 10/01/03: -- RIO DE JANEIRO: The Brazilian government's decision to temporarily allow farmers to plant genetically modified soya seed that was smuggled into the country "is our death sentence," says Narciso Barisn Neto, head of a seed producers' association in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

    The seed industry, however, is not opposed to genetically modified (GM) crops, and even defends their widespread use if the transgenic seed can be produced in Brazil and farmers are free to choose among seed varieties... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2099

  • Secrets of the Codex Alimentarius

    (Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

    Codex Alimentarius is a code of law for the international trade in foods. But some say the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission has developed a new ambition, which is to decide which foods we may eat.... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2098

  • State coalition says free trade pacts hurting Nebraskans... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2088

  • Cotton symbolizes the battle between rich and poor countries

    (Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- "Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton." So begins the popular Confederate song from America's civil war era. I don't imagine a lot of Canadian farmers today spend much time thinking about the land of cotton, but you can bet there are farmers all over the world that do. Cotton, you see, is a commodity that epitomizes the struggle that sank the WTO efforts at Cancun, Mexico... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2097

  • U.S. farmers battle food companies over contracting

    (Friday, Oct. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Carey Gillam, Reuters, 09/29/03: KANSAS CITY - Raising chickens on a small patch of Arkansas farmland was supposed to provide a bright future for Dennis Ritchie and provide his family with the rural lifestyle they love.

    After signing up as a contract producer for Tyson Foods Inc. 10 years ago, Ritchie borrowed enough money to build three barns to Tyson specifications and started following the company's directions for fattening its chickens, which Tyson delivers to Ritchie as day-old chicks. Ritchie gets paid by the pound when Tyson collects its birds for slaughter.

    But the deal is turning sour for Ritchie... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2103

  • GM crops fail key trials amid environment fear

    (Friday, Oct. 3, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Paul Brown, The Guardian, 10/02/03: Two of the three GM crops grown experimentally in Britain, oil seed rape and sugar beet, appear more harmful to the environment than conventional crops and should not be grown in the UK, scientists are expected to tell the government next week. The Guardian has learned that the scientists will conclude that growing these crops is damaging to plant and insect life.

    The judgment will be a serious setback to the GM lobby in the UK and Europe, reopening the acrimonious debate about GM food... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2104

  • Corn pollen drifts farther than thought... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2092

  • Hard realities: Brazil drops resistance to genetically altered crops... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2090

  • A conservatism that once conserved

    (Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- The rural, rocky chunk of Michigan that raised me rested on the backside of a hill, my father’s share of my great-grandfather’s farm. Local lore said this pitiful piece had remained in the family only because the hill hid it from view. That is, my grandfather only kept it because he needed a place where he could farm on Sunday out of sight of the neighbors... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2082

  • Two economists warn U.S. could become agricultural importer... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2085