SNAP’s impact (Civil Eats): As the nutrition program faces potentially severe cuts in the coming farm bill, advocates point out that SNAP has effects that extend far beyond getting food on people’s plates.
Agency faulted for response (Politico): Victims of a recent E. coli outbreak are angry that it took the FDA two months to issue a recall, arguing that the agency should have used its powers to recall the contaminated products sooner.
The future of food (Hygeia): Ag economist and researcher Chuck Benbrook looks at three issues affecting the food supply — weed control, plant breeding, and nutrition — in a new section of his blog.
Small-farm leader dies (GEO): Ralph Paige, who led the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund for 30 years, died at 74. “He built the federation into the premier organization representing Black farmers and low-income rural people in the South,” said an obituary posted by the group.
Starving honeybees (AP): For the more than 1 million honeybee colonies that spend the summer in the Northern Plains, it’s getting harder to find pollen and nectar. The main cause is the conversion of idled land to row crops, says the USGS.
Generation gap (EPA): Corn stover is giving a boost to cellulosic ethanol, but large-scale production of second-generation biofuels from grass or woody plants rather than food crops “is not likely to be reached in the next few years,” says an EPA report.
Drought blisters U.K. (New York Times): An unusually hot, dry summer is turning “England’s green and pleasant land” into a parched brown, along with parts of Ireland and Scotland. June rainfall in southeastern England, including the London area, was just 6 percent of average.
Toxic blooms arrive early (Toledo Blade): Blooms of toxic algae appeared in western Lake Erie nine days earlier than usual due to intense early summer heat. The lake’s many “mini-blooms” are large enough to be seen by satellite.