A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of "local foods," whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That's a number several times greater than earlier estimates, and the department predicts locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales this year, The Associated Press reported.
Meat that’s raised with antibiotics, growth promoters, and fed animal by-products could be labeled “Natural” under the current USDA definition of the term. That’s because the label only refer to how the meat was processed after slaughter.
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media
You can find the word “Natural” on more than just meat packages these days — it’s used on everything from granola bars to dressings, and even soda.
At a grocery store in Ames, Iowa, Lavern Ackerman peered at a package of ground beef. He was mostly interested in the percent leanness, but he took a stab at deciphering what the big "Natural" sticker on the package meant.
"I thought it was that they just grass-raised them," Ackerman said.
Most farmers in western Kansas can’t just look to the skies for water to nourish their crops -- they have to dig down to the Ogallala Aquifer to supplement Mother Nature. They use an impressive amount of water, with irrigation often accounting for 85 percent of the water used in the entire state.
Phillip Brasher, reporter for the Des Moines Register, reports that the failure of the congressional super committee to come up with a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit throws in doubt the future of federal crop subsidies after next year.
The package of agriculture and food policy that's called the farm bill is reauthorized by Congress every five years. This year, however, things are a bit different for this historically lengthy and debate-rich process. The federal budget deficit that's been hanging around for months has pushed the farm bill into overdrive, and the legislation is now on the fast track straight to the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the super committee.
Climate change is already affecting Midwestern climate and state and local governments should start doing something about it, prominent Iowa scientists urged Tuesday. Thirty-one scientists from colleges and universities across the state signed apetition that advocates for action on climate change.
The Obama Administration announced yesterday that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed until after the 2012 presidential election. Some say that’s convenient since environmental groups have used the construction of the pipeline as a test of the president’s environmental commitment.