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NUTS in the spin cycle; Subsidy struggle; Consumer kingdom in Japan; Dirty river beneath; other CropChoice news, commentary

(Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The following is some of the CropChoice news and commentary so far this week and last.

  • A dirty river runs beneath it

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- The Midwest is flyover country, as they say. From 35,000 feet, the landscape is a lovely patchwork of geometric field shapes, parallelograms stitched neatly together. But close up, Midwest farmland is not such a pretty picture.

    Farm animals are often packed into factory-size buildings. Next to these are open-air waste pits as large as small lakes. They hold millions of gallons of untreated, liquefied manure.

    Just as foul, and completely hidden, are the underground pipes crisscrossing and draining the watersheds of the Midwest. Pieced together, they’re the largest sewer in the country... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=2025

  • Are NUTs getting caught in a spin cycle?

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- A recent article appearing on the CropChoice Web site ("Panel: Supply management is the answer") questioned why if supply management works so well for U.S. monetary policy it couldn’t also be the solution for our agricultural policy. To believers in an activist government, such as me, that question and its implied answer seem perfectly logical.

    The free traders have another answer—their pat answer: The market, with its inherent rationality, can manage the supply and demand scenario for commodities much better than bureaucrats can. But within that confident response hides an insecurity that only hypocrisy can produce, and I believe another question can reveal it: If an unfettered market truly is rational, why do we need a monetary policy?

    The answer, which history provides, belies much free-market rhetoric. The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913 due to concerns about rising bank failures and financial instability. So, the "Fed" became the nation’s central bank—as in centralized planning—a fact that non-interventionists, Ronald Reagan and his ilk included, conveniently have chosen to ignore... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=2029

  • Consumer is king in Japan

    (Monday, Sept. 8, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- WASHINGTON -- Japanese flour millers don't want Roundup Ready wheat, a type of hard red spring wheat Monsanto Corporation has genetically engineered to resist glyphosate herbicide (trademarked as Roundup), Tsutomu Shigeta, executive director of Japan's Flour Millers Association, told reporters here today.

    "If GM [genetically modified] wheat is commercialized, it has the potential to collapse the U.S. wheat market in Japan," he said through an interpreter... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=2014

  • What we can learn from the fight for COOL

    (Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003 -- CropChoice guest commentary) -- The knock-down drag-out fight over implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) should cause us to reassess our assumptions about how politics operates in this country. Old allegiances, based on old political fracture lines, are rapidly becoming irrelevant. We can no longer assume that what we knew as right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal, Republican vs. Democrat has meaning in the politics at the beginning of the twenty-first century... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=2020

  • EU: Court allows Italy, other countries to temporarily ban GM foods

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Just-food.com, 09/09/03: The European Union's high court has ruled that Italy and other EU member states can place temporary bans on genetically modified foods if they suspect the foods pose a threat to public health or the environment... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2024

  • Indigenous and peasant farmers mobilize in Cancun

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Jane Kelsey, Scoop, 09/08/03: Cancun-- More than a thousand campesina crammed into a steaming hot gymnasium today for the first day of the indigenous and farmers forum. There was no mistaking their message to the trade ministers of the US, EU and Cairns Group as they began arriving for the fifth ministerial meeting of the WTO. Standard-issue green scarves proclaimed “taking agriculture out of the WTO”. T-Shirts, identifying where people were from, added their own messages of resistance to the pool. Everywhere, banners proclaimed an end to the WTO, NAFTA and the proposed Free Trade Agreement for the Americas and pledged solidarity to secure victory for the indigenous and farmers’ movement... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2023

  • Farm groups shocked at UC economist's testimony in WTO dispute

    (Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Harry Cline, Primemediabusiness.com, 09/02/03: California rice, wheat and cotton producers are infuriated at a prominent University of California agricultural economist who testified recently on behalf of the Brazilian government in World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute with the U.S. cotton industry... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2012

  • Subsidy struggle

    (Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The following collection of stories and commentary focuses on the WTO, agriculture subsidies. The last two pieces, both from the Agricultural Policy Analyis Center, provide a bit of alternative thinking... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2019

  • U.S. farmers head to WTO talks in Cancún, Mexico

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- WASHINGTON -- U.S. farmers representing the National Family Farm Coalition left for Cancún on Monday September 8 to take part in events organized around the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial. Throughout the entire week the most progressive farm and rural development groups from the Western hemisphere, Africa, Europe and Asia will meet to discuss the future of world agriculture... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2028

  • Brazilian court reimposes ban on transgenic soy

    (Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Reuters, 09/09/03: BRASILIA, Brazil - A Brazilian court this week knocked down a ruling that lifted a ban on the planting and sale of Monsanto Co. transgenic soy, after an appeal by Greenpeace and other groups that oppose its use. The federal appeals court in the nation's capital Brasilia suspended an August ruling by a federal judge that temporarily lifted a long-standing injunction blocking Monsanto from selling GM Roundup Ready soybeans in Brazil... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=2027

  • Glyphosate drift damages Arkansas rice fields... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2022

  • No point to biotech says group of New Zealand academics... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2018

  • Brazil says U.S. broke protocol on soy fungus visit... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2008

  • Iowa farmer attends Brazilian seminar on family farm agriculture and trade

    (Thursday, Sept. 4, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- George Naylor, Churdan, Iowa, farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), recently returned from an international seminar held August 20-22 in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, entitled Family Farm Agriculture and Trade Negotiations. His invitation from the Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, stated, "It is time for a process of dialogue, elaboration and common action to take place between governments and civil societies in order to represent the interests of these [family farm] communities in international trade negotiations." The meeting was held in anticipation of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks in Cancun, Mexico, in September, and Free Trade Agreement of the America’s (FTAA) talks in Miami in November... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2005

  • Declaration for a new direction for American agriculture and agricultural trade... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2006

  • Canada to label some genetically modified food... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2021

  • Biotech bean battle: Brazil is deciding whether to lift its ban and risk losing EU sales... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2007

  • Alberta counties join effort to prevent 'Frankenwheat'... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2011

  • Issues facing WTO ministers in Cancun... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2015

  • Food chain in New Zealand must be protected, scientist says... http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=2026