A recent article in The Progressive Farmer sounded an alarm about the re-emergence of the corn rootworm, a beetle was once called the “billion dollar pest” due to the big impact it has had on valuable corn crops and the costs farmers have racked up trying to control it. Read more
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Most everyone agrees that the bees are in trouble. The U.S. and Canada have lost one-third of their managed honeybee colonies for seven consecutive years now, and their wild bee counterparts are also suffering significant declines. The loss of bees matters because one out of every three bites we eat exists thanks to a pollinator. They’re also mighty engines of GDP, responsible for up to $577 billion in global crops per year. Reduction in their ranks threatens our ability to feed the earth’s growing population, and our already teetering ecosystems. Read more
“It takes two million individual blossoms to produce a pound of honey,” explains Zac Browning, owner of Browning’s Honey Company in Jamestown, North Dakota. On a June morning, his hives are humming. The little sacs on the bees’ hind legs are bright yellow with pollen from dandelion, clover, and other wild plants blooming around the apiary.
In early summer, North Dakota’s grasslands are full of wildflowers. As Clint Otto, research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, says, this is when “the magic happens on the landscape and there’s nectar all over the place.” Read more
When it released a 408-page report on genetically engineered (GE) crops yesterday, the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) said claims about GE crops—both pro and con—“have created a confusing landscape for the public and policy-makers.” But the report itself might not clear up all the confusion.
If you’re an urban parent, you might spend time worrying about your children’s exposure to pesticides through the foods they eat and the lawns on which they play. Now, a new look at kids living in agricultural communities might put those concerns in perspective.
What do grizzly bears, gray wolves, California condors, and coho salmon have in common? All are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and all are likely to be harmed by three commonly used pesticides, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, these three pesticides—chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion—are likely to harm 97 percent of the plants and animals listed under the ESA. Read more
Pointing to a growing consensus in the scientific community about pesticides’ impacts on honey bees and other pollinators, beekeepers in the state have worked with environmental groups to effect local policy. Last week, the Maryland state legislature passed the Pollinator Protection Act, which would ban consumers from buying pesticides that contain “neonics” beginning in 2018. Read more
Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. Perhaps the most iconic insect in the United States, this butterfly has existed for countless millennia and, every year, it accomplishes the longest known migration of any insect in the world.
Monarch butterflies have been decimated over the past 20 years due to the loss of milkweed in the Midwest. This once common plant is the only food the butterflies’ larvae eat, and as milkweed goes, so go the monarchs. What’s worse, is the fact that these butterflies’ main summer mating grounds are smack in the middle of the U.S. Corn Belt, where milkweed has been almost eliminated due to the large-scale use of glyphosate (or Roundup) herbicide on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Read more
One year ago, an agency of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) declared that glyphosate (or Roundup), the world’s most widely used herbicide, probably causes cancer. Then, in the fall, the European Food Safety Agency’s (EFSA) responded with an assessment that disagreed with the WHO’s findings. Read more