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Twelve percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, and six to nine percent of farm expenses are energy related. Using renewable energy in agriculture has benefits for both the economy and the environment, and many farms around the world are using the abundance of on-site renewable resources to produce energy. Here is a look at how renewable energy – from solar power to microbial digestion – is changing the future of agriculture. Photosynthesis to Photovoltaics With expanses of land and a need to source power to remote locations, solar energy is well-suited for life on the farm. In the United States, the number of solar projects on farms funded by the USDA’s REAP program increased fivefold between 2007 and 2009, according to a report by the USDA ( pdf ).
Students working on UGA's organic demonstration farm in summer 2012. (Photo: UGA College of Ag ) A new approach to agriculture that combines the best in industrial production with organic and sustainable practices is the key to meeting the changing needs of a changing world, where resources are rapidly depleted by a growing population. "Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?"
NOTE: Below is the abstract of a new study by scientists at Leipzig University which found that Roundup herbicide , based on the chemical glyphosate , negatively impacted the gastrointestinal bacteria of poultry in vitro. The researchers found that highly pathogenic bacteria resisted Roundup, whereas beneficial bacteria were moderately to highly susceptible to it. The study provides a scientific basis to farmer reports of increased gastrointestinal disease in animals fed GM Roundup Ready soy, which is tolerant to Roundup. Here is an interesting video presentation by a Danish egg producer Claus Storgaard who found drastic improvements in the health and egg production of his hens after changing from GM to non-GM soy feed ("Changeover to non-GMO diet in egg production"): http://sustainablepulse.com/2012/12/15/monsanto-feels-pain-europe-roundup-herbicide-dangers/ --- The effect of glyphosate on potential pathogens and beneficial members of poultry microbiota in vitro. Shehata, A.
Posted by Heartmind _Featured_ , Science Saturday, February 25th, 2012 Spence Cooper FriendsEat Based on a 30-year side-by-side trial [ See full report pdf ] of conventional and organic farming methods at Pennsylvania’s Rodale Institute , organic farming outperformed conventional farming in every category.
A Bhutanese farmer puts her harvest of chilies on the roof of a shed to dry and protect it from wild boars, deer, and monkeys in 2006. James L. Stanfield / National Geographic/Getty Images
by Mike Barrett January 26th, 2012 Updated 11/06/2012 at 12:59 pm A recent study conducted by a German university found very high concentrations of Glyphosate , a carcinogenic chemical found in herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup, in all urine samples tested . The amount of glyphosate found in the urine was staggering, with each sample containing concentrations at 5 to 20-fold the limit established for drinking water . This is just one more piece of evidence that herbicides are, at the very least, being sprayed out of control. This news comes only one month after it was found that glyphosate, contained in Monsanto’s Roundup, is contaminating the groundwater in the areas in which it is used. What does this mean?
24th April 2012 By Richard Schiffman - blogs.reuters.com If it were a novel, people would criticize the plot for being too far-fetched – thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace, the bodies of the victims are never found. Only in this case, it’s not fiction: It’s what’s happening to fully a third of commercial beehives, over a million colonies every year. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return.
Scientists with the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have re-created the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder in several honeybee hives simply by giving them small doses of a popular pesticide, imidacloprid. Bee populations have been dying mysteriously throughout North America and Europe since 2006, but the cause behind the decline, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, has eluded scientists. However, coming on the heels of two studies published last week in Science that linked bee declines to neonicotinoid pesticides, of which imidacloprid is one, the new study adds more evidence that the major player behind Colony Collapse Disorder is not disease, or mites, but pesticides that began to be widely used in the 1990s. Past research has shown that neonicotinoid pesticides, which target insects' central nervous system, do not instantly kill bees.
May 24, 2012 — Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that a small dose of a commonly used crop pesticide turns honey bees into "picky eaters" and affects their ability to recruit their nestmates to otherwise good sources of food. The results of their experiments, detailed in this week's issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology , have implications for what pesticides should be applied to bee-pollinated crops and shed light on one of the main culprits suspected to be behind the recent declines in honey bee colonies. Since 2006, beekeepers in North America and Europe have lost about one-third of their managed bee colonies each year due to "colony collapse disorder." While the exact cause is unknown, researchers believe pesticides have contributed to this decline. One group of crop pesticides, called "neonicotinoids," has received particular attention from beekeepers and researchers.
26th May 2012 By Geobear - foodfreedomgroup.com The Illinois Ag Dept. illegally seized privately owned bees from renowned naturalist, Terrence Ingram, without providing him with a search warrant and before the court hearing on the matter, reports Prairie Advocate News . Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto.
MAYFIELD, Ky. - At Mayfield's United Livestock Commodities, owner Joseph Watson is tweaking the recipe for success. "Just to be able to survive, we have to look at other sources for nutrition," he said. His 1,400 cattle are no longer feeding off corn. The prices, Watson said, are too high to keep in stock. So earlier this year, he began to buy second hand candy.
Health :: News :: February 15, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Many agricultural pesticides disrupt male hormones, according to new tests By Marla Cone and Environmental Health News ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS: Many agricultural pesticides disrupt the normal function of male hormones, according to new tests. Image: Photo courtesy FedCenter.gov
Sun exposure has always been considered the driving force behind rising rates of melanoma. But new research suggests that repeated, long-term use of pesticides may be an important factor, too. ShareThis
Water is scarce. Yet, we take it for granted, we waste it, and we even pay too much to drink it from little plastic bottles. Today, nearly 1 billion people in the developing world don't have access to it. Clean, safe drinking water is scarce. It is the foundation of life, a basic human need. Yet today, all around the world, far too many people spend their entire day searching for it.
Americans love hamburgers — we each eat an average of three a week. But what are the hidden costs? <img class="alignright size-full wp-image-20644" title="climate_desk_bug" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/02/climatedesk.png" alt="climate_desk_bug" width="330" /> It turns out that industrial beef creates about as much greenhouse gas pollution as cars, planes and other forms of transport. It also takes a heavy environmental toll on land and water worldwide.