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Monica Potts' Posts

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GOP's tiny cuts wound small farmers

It's death by a thousand cuts for small-farm Bessie.Photo: Wade FasanoLate on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Department of Agriculture’s appropriations bill for the next fiscal year. In their zeal to slash spending, House Republicans approved $7 billion less for the department than President Obama requested, cuting out worldwide hunger programs, settlement payments to Brazilian cotton farmers, and a popular “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative that connected local farmers with their schools and other food programs in their communities. But a tiny $2 million cut might hurt small farmers the most. The bill also stops the …

Read more: Farm Bill, Food, Politics

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The USDA’s top bee scientist talks pesticides and colony collapse at a D.C. luncheon

Buzz kill: honey bees face a variety of threats from industrial agriculture.Photo: Muhammad Mahdi KarimThere was a moment during a luncheon talk yesterday when Jeffrey Pettis, the United States Department of Agriculture's lead bee researcher, almost defended Bayer, the agrichemical company whose pesticide he has tied to the global destruction of bee populations. Pettis pointed out that the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids were developed as a better alternative to pesticides like DDT. "They were replacing things we knew were really bad," Pettis told the dozen or so naturalists, gardeners, and environmental advocates at the lunch at the Cosmos …