Food

Corn polls

New surveys suggest changing views on biofuels

Biofuel policy has made it to the polls. Yesterday, the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonprofit, non-partisan educational foundation based in Washington, D.C., released the results of a survey (PDF) conducted at the beginning of this month which claims to have found that most Americans -- "including those in the Farm Belt" -- want Congress to reduce or eliminate the mandated use of corn ethanol. In response to the key question, "What do you think Congress should do now?" with respect to the Renewable Fuels Standard (which last December raised the minimum volume of biofuels used in the United States from 7.5 billion gallons a year in 2012 to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, of which 15 billion gallons is expected to be supplied by "conventional biofuel" -- ethanol derived from corn starch -- by 2015), 42 percent of the participants in the survey thought that that the mandate should be eliminated to reduce ethanol production and use. Of the rest: 25 percent wanted the mandate to be partly eliminated to reduce ethanol production and use; 16 percent wanted it left unchanged; Six percent wanted it partly expanded to increase ethanol production and use; and 2 percent wanted it significantly expanded to increase ethanol production and use. Nine percent were undecided, didn't know what to answer, or refused to answer. Even among people living in the Farm Belt, 25 percent percent said they wanted the ethanol mandate repealed entirely, and another 30 percent wanted it scaled back.

Fumes from Minn. dairy force neighbors to evacuate

A giant dairy farm in Thief River Falls, Minn., is producing such noxious fumes that the state health department has advised nearby residents to evacuate. Excel Dairy’s emissions of hydrogen sulfide have been calculated at …

Attack of the killer tomatoes, national edition

Tomato salmonella scare hits the big time

Insert everything I said in this post, except now the salmonella-tainted tomato scare has gone nationwide, whereas before, the FDA had been limiting its warning to Texas and New Mexico. Here is Associated Press: Federal …

Vaccine, nut oil may cut cow belching’s contribution to climate change

The worldwide race to quell livestock belching is on! Earlier this month, New Zealand researchers came one step closer to developing a vaccine that would reduce the methane emitted from belching livestock. Ruminant livestock burp …

Climate change, deforestation, erosion take toll on African landscape

A new United Nations atlas depicts alarming changes to Africa’s landscape. On a continent that produces a mere 4 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, significant landmarks are taking a hit from climate change: Lake …

Cuba's urban-ag miracle

The U.S. media discover how food production works without access to cheap oil

The story is legendary in peak-oil circles: Twenty years ago, the Soviet Union pulled the plug on Cuba’s cheap-energy, cheap-food era. (See Bill McKibben’s feature piece on the subject here.) No longer would the fading …

Meat Wagon: Filthy swine

U.S. officials dither while antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains creep into our pork supply

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. The good news is that people are earnestly trying to figure out if a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria strain is infecting …

One mother’s tips for managing summer eco-dilemmas

It’s painful for you both, but still better than a day inside with SpongeBob. Photo: Tom Twigg When the last school bell rings and summer gets into full swing, we modern parents simply can’t do …

Garden variety

Why mow the grass when you can harvest salad greens?

Lawn grass is the largest irrigated U.S. crop. “Even conservatively,” notes NASA researcher Cristina Milesi, “I estimate there are three times more acres of lawns in the U.S. than irrigated corn.” Wow, that’s a lot …

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