Posted on

Study: Glyphosate Desiccant is Bad News.

A new scientific study identifies serious problems associated with the latter-day practice of airplane-sprayed crop-desiccating-herbicides – like deadly glyphosate, chief ingredient in Monsanto’s ‘Round-Up’ – on field crops. (Details:…/…/abstracts/109/1/239…)
This relatively-new additional use of toxins is now commonly applied in conventional (NON-ORGANIC) farming on such grain and legume crops as wheat, oats, dry beans and lentils. The practice involves spraying herbicides late in the season as an aid in getting a crop to dry down evenly for harvest.
Of course, organic farmers will NEVER EVER spray any persistent synthetic chemical on crops we grow.
Lentils (photo below) were the subject of this study. Scientists identified alarming levels of CHEMICAL RESIDUES in crops destined to become food for people. Additionally, seed quality was found to be inferior.
So the lesson here will be a very familiar one: Avoid this chemical mess by purchasing Certified Organic food for your family. Jim

“Improper application timing of harvest aids may reduce lentil seed yield and quality, and leave unacceptable herbicide residues in seed.

“Application of harvest aids before 30% seed moisture content reduced lentil seed yield and thousand seed weight.

“These application timings resulted in lentil seed samples exceeding residue levels of 2 and 0.03 mg kg–1 for glyphosate and saflufenacil, respectively.”

Posted on

Decline of Milk Quality From Use of GE Feed

Interesting insight on declining milk quality from an article aimed at farmers and appearing in the publication ‘Wisconsin State Farmer.’
Longtime livestock nutrition consultant Dieter Harle has been questioning the impact of GE feed on dairy cow health for twenty years. He notes a recognized decline in today’s nonorganic milk quality and wonders if the cause is due to modern – that is, GE – feed, creating a decline in nutrient density and vitamin availability. His questioning has caused him to receive a cold shoulder from some former colleagues. Jim

“Those observations, along with Harle’s other experiences, have led him to seriously question the growing of genetically-modified crops such as corn and soybeans in the past 20 years and the widespread use of glyphosate herbicide to control weeds on farms and in other settings…

“But that doesn’t satisfy Harle, who’s in business as the Bettendorf, IA based Best Options Inc., which he founded in 1999. He’s not sure of the answers but he’s convinced that ‘there is something going on to affect the nutrition of dairy cows’ which in turn affects the milk they produce and how that milk is possibly responsible for ‘the fewer or no holes’ in Swiss cheese…

“Harle pointed out that his camp for similar thinking and concerns includes emeritus or recently retired professors from Missouri, Iowa, and Purdue universities along with several contacts in his native Germany. The best known in this group is Don Huber, an emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue. In Germany, his main contact is veterinarian and professor emeritus Monika Krueger of the University of Leipzig…

“Drawing mainly on Don Huber’s observations and arguments, Harle indicated that glyphosate is a chelating agent which in effect causes a binding of essential amino acids (protein suppliers), thereby displacing the nutrients and making them less available to cows. If this were not the case, Harle believes it would not be necessary for the common practice of supplementing dairy rations with four to five additives to address cow health, production, and longevity.”

Posted on

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Helps Local Economy

Last August, 87,000 acres of woodland east of and adjacent to Northern Maine’s famous wilderness ‘Baxter State Park’ were gifted to the people of the United States by Bert’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby. The next day, President Obama acted to protect the site by designating it as one of our nation’s newest National Monuments (
In this piece longtime Katahdin Valley entrepreneur Mathew Polstein writes that KWWNM is already having a remarkably positive impact on the area’s distressed economy. Mathew’s robust on-the-ground first-person report contradicts the naysayers. Some of the National Monument’s most vocal critics, like Maine’s wayward Governor LePage, have never actually been to the area.
Ms. Quimby has also established a trust to fund the National Monument’s development. One of our co-workers is considering taking a summer job at KWWNM building new trails at $16/hour. Jim

“At the New England Outdoor Center and Twin Pine Camps, on Millinocket Lake, we started seeing evidence of the monument’s influence in May 2016. People, most of whom were already visiting Acadia National Park, came and stayed with us, citing talk of a new national monument in the Katahdin region as the catalyst for their visit. All left promising to return, as area attractions and a landscape with stunning natural beauty both on the soon-to-be Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument and Baxter State Park had captured their interest…

“The monument breathed new life into our fall and drove a 33 percent year-over-year increase in revenue at the River Drivers restaurant as day and overnight visitation to the region grew. It proved to be a good warmup for this past winter when our overall business, driven by snowmobiling, grew 61 percent, easily passing our best winter ever…

“Looking forward, we continue to see substantially higher demand for lodging in our facilities. In fact, our May/June reservations (determined by looking at the comparative dollar value of our bookings for May and June as of April 25) are 65 percent higher than our three-year average, and 84 percent higher than demand was in May and June of 2016.

“This growth is astonishing and unprecedented in the 21 years we have run Twin Pine Camps and represents over 1,000 additional bed nights and $70,000 in new lodging revenue in May and June alone…

“Demand that exceeds our capacity will support our next round of investment. We are working toward adding 15 percent annually to our lodging capacity for the next few years, a move that will be further supported by investment in expanded meeting and function space.

“These investments and the corresponding opportunity and security they offer our employees, as well as financing and investment partners, are directly linked to the increased publicity resulting from the monument designation…

“The very best news, however, is that we are not alone. There is a new sense of excitement and optimism in the region as numerous groups, including the Katahdin Tourism Partnership, Our Katahdin, Katahdin Revitalization, Katahdin Area Trails and the Butler Conservation Fund, bring to the region energy, resources and a growing willingness to work collaboratively for a brighter economic future.

“It is clear that the designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument flipped a switch in the collective consciousness of the region as to what was possible….”

Posted on

Vast Majority of Farmers Oppose Monsanto Merger with Bayer

67% OF FARMERS OPPOSE THE MONSANTO-BAYER MERGER. Now is the time to become vocal about opposing yet another plan for more monopoly corporate control in agriculture.…/farmers-balk-at-bayers-move-for-mo…/
Tomorrow, Friday April 28, is Bayer’s Annual Stockholder meeting in Germany. An international day of action has been planned calling attention to and opposing the merger of bad boy Bayer and malevolent Monsanto. Expect protests outside the meeting, debates inside ( and plenty of social media attention.
In February 300 American organizations – including OSGATA – signed a letter to the Attorney General opposing the merger. Read the letter and find out who signed the letter here. Jim

Posted on

Good Food Leaders Counsel Young Farmers

Enjoyable article from ‘Modern Farmer’ taps into the wisdom of farmers Wendell Berry, Eliot Coleman, Mas Masumoto, Richard Wiswall and Joel Salatin. Also, food icons Chellie Pingree, Anna Lappe, Marion Nestle and Alice Waters.
Mas offers the most concise advise. Eliot’s ‘attention to detail’ angle is among the most practical and direct. You’ll want to read this piece! Jim & Megan

Posted on

Supporting Smallholder Systems the Key to Mitigating Ag’s Impact on Climate Change

Yes, removing public subsidy of corporate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and re-directing support to family-scale farmers would solve a number of problems including mitigating global climate change and providing justice and economic stability to the world’s small-scale farmers. This article from ‘Grain’ is chock full of pithy information. Jim

“The global food system accounts for 29% of today’s global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, say scientists, with meat and dairy responsible for most of it….

“Industrial livestock production is responsible for massive GHG emissions from fossil fuels, fertilizers, manure and large-scale deforestation and land degradation…

“Industrial meat and milk is kept artificially cheap through public funds and policies that externalize their real costs and prop up a continuous cycle of surplus production and trade…

“Corporate lobby groups, scientists and development agencies often paint small-scale livestock holders in poor countries as the climate culprits because of their animals’ low “efficiency” in converting calories to meat or milk on a per capita basis.

“Yet, a narrow focus on efficiency and emissions intensity ignores the multiple benefits of mixed, multifunctional and biodiverse small-scale livestock production systems. These include improving soil health, greater climatic resilience and other positive environmental and public health benefits.

“Small-scale meat and dairy production is already well tailored to local food systems that support the moderate meat and dairy consumption levels that the rest of the world must achieve…

“Industrial meat and dairy production is propped up by an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars—around $53 billion from OECD governments alone in 2013. China and Brazil also channel significant public funds into the growth of their own transnational meat and dairy corporations…

“Public funds should instead be directed to support small farmers that use integrated agroecological and pastoral production methods, and to help larger farmers transition towards these practices.

“Support should also go to building or rehabilitating local infrastructures (abattoirs, milk and meat processing, roads, sanitation, etc.) that help local livestock and dairy markets thrive…

“There are over 600 million small-scale farmers and 200 million herders who depend on livestock for their livelihoods and who feed billions of people every day with quality meat, dairy and eggs in a sustainable manner. They urgently need public attention and support!”

Posted on

Excellent Article on Why OTA’s ‘Organic Checkoff’ Proposal is a Disaster

ACTION ALERT! COMMENTS TO USDA ON OTA’s ‘ORGANIC CHECKOFF DUE APRIL 19. The disgraced, self-serving Organic Trade Assn (…/on-the-organic-trade-associ…) has concocted a scheme for a mandatory tax on organic farmers by way of a dubious “Organic Checkoff” proposal.
While the deck has been stacked against them, there is deep and growing opposition from authentic organic farmers to the ill-advised OTA’s plan.
Now, our friend, Liana Hoodes of NOFA-NY, has written this MUST READ succinct article – “Why the Organic Checkoff is Bad for Organic Farmers, the Environment, and Independent Family Farm Agriculture.” It summarizes the concerns over this major threat to organic farmers – which therefore threatens the organic community, including you and your family.
Please take just a few minutes to electronically submit a paragraph or two of comments to USDA (
Organic farmers everywhere thank you! Jim & Megan

Posted on

Dr. John Ikerd Explains the Corporate Crisis in Agriculture

THE CRISIS WITHIN ORGANIC: INCREASING CORPORATE CONTROL AND USDA’s UNABASHED PREFERENCE TO PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS. Our friend, Dr. John Ikerd, the respected retired Univ of MO Ag Economist, has written this insightful article which provides valuable explanation about the major war being waged between authentic organic farmers and the corporate sell-out crowd. Please consider this piece MUST READ.
These organic integrity issues will play out next week in Denver at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting. Jim, in his role as President of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA), will be in Denver representing the best interests of the organic community.
Both Dr. Ikerd and Jim are Policy Advisors to the Cornucopia Institute. They – and their many, many allies – have a focused dedication to assure that you and your family have continued viable access to bonafide organic food grown by skilled local, organic family farmers. Jim & Megan

“How can crops produced without soil be called ‘organic’? They can in the United States – but not in Canada, Mexico, Japan, or 24 European countries that prohibit the sale of hydroponic products as organic.[i] How can meat, milk, or eggs produced in ‘factory farms be called organic? They can in the United States. USDA organic standards require minimal access to pastures or at least outdoor spaces for livestock and poultry – but there is no assurance the animals actually go outdoors.[ii] These and other symptoms of the ‘industrialization of organics’ are clearly documented by the Cornucopia Institute – a self-proclaimed ‘watchdog’ of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP)…

“…As the industrial share of the organic market has grown, so has their influence on the NOP. It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the integrity of organics….

“…Organic production without soil is blasphemy to the philosophy of organic farming…

“Perhaps local and bio-regional programs could certify organic products as ‘Produced on Regenerative Organic Farms.’ The term ‘regenerative’ suggests the characteristics of self-organizing and self-making, which distinguish living, organic systems from inanimate, mechanistic systems. Regeneration is also a characteristic of healthy systems, rather than specific inputs or practices…

“Regardless, to restore and protect the integrity of organic food production, we ultimately must find ways to restore the heart and soul of organics, as well as its regenerative capacity.”

Posted on


Additional coverage from ag-rag ‘FERN’s Ag Insider”. These new glyphosate revelations are EXPLOSIVE particularly in light of Monsanto for decades having snowballed ‘regulators’ and the public with the concocted narrative glyphosate – main ingredient in Monsanto weed killer ‘Round-Up’ – is magically harmless.
Expert plant pathologist Dr. Donald Huber ranks glyphosate as FAR WORSE than DDT. Jim

“…The researchers tested and tracked, over a period of two years, the presence of the common herbicide glyphosate in the urine of 69 expectant mothers in Indiana…

“…found glyphosate residues in 90 percent of the women, and high levels of those residues appeared to correlate with shortened pregnancies and below-average birth weights adjusted for age. The findings alarmed the researchers because such babies are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and lower cognitive abilities. ‘Gestational age maximizes the size of your brain at birth, and any shortening is essentially a reduction of IQ points,’ Winchester said in an interview with FERN’s Ag Insider. ‘It has not just health, but lifetime achievement implications’…

“Glyphosate is the world’s most popular herbicide and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. Globally, 9.4 million tons of glyphosate have been sprayed on crops, lawns, and gardens since the chemical was released on the market in 1974…

“Currently, concerns about the safety of glyphosate are at the center of a major national lawsuit. Monsanto is being sued by hundreds of U.S. consumers who say the company did not warn them, despite evidence, that the chemical can cause cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood disease. A key piece of testimony in the suit is a 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report stating that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’

“In the glyphosate study, Winchester and his colleagues considered whether water might again be the exposure route for the pregnant women they monitored. After testing water samples, the scientists concluded that it was not the source. They suspect diet may play a role. The Food and Drug Administration, however, recently suspended the testing of glyphosate residues in food, citing the need for improved validation methods.

“Experts say the spread of weeds resistant to glyphosate in the Midwest is triggering intensification of herbicide use over longer periods of time. ‘Until this year, most herbicides in the Midwest were sprayed during a six-week window, but now heavy herbicide spray season will last at least four months, placing more women and children at heightened risk…”

Posted on

The Farmers Share of Retail Food Prices March 2017

ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURE: LOW FARM GATE PRICES = INADEQUATE SHARE OF END-RETAIL-PRICE. Incredibly enough, doubling the price farmers receive for their grain would only add 5 cents to the cost of that 18-ounce box of cereal.
In a just economic system farmers would receive enough farm-gate income to farm in a sustainable manner – grow food free of chemical toxins and risky genetic engineering – pay fair wages and generate sufficient resources for new and young farmers to actually own the land they farm.
However, we’re a long long way from parity prices – ‘par exchange’ or a mathematically determined ‘fair exchange’ of farm goods compared with other segments of the economy. Currently grain prices – including organic grain – are low and below the cost of production.
This NFU monthly tracking chart graphically depicts a serious on-going problem for agriculture and helps explain the steady exodus of family farmers from a life of farming. Jim