16 percent of global population dies early because of pollution

Nine million people died prematurely in 2015 because of air, water and soil pollution — three times the number that died of tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria combined, says a study published in The Lancet. The exact cause of death ranged from lung cancer to heart disease, but the total amounted to 16 percent of all deaths globally.

Braving venomous snakes and crocs for resilient wild rice

Reporter Lisa Hamilton traveled to a remote corner of Australia to shadow a team of researchers looking to “collect, decode, and define” a hardier strain of wild rice that could help them save what Hamilton calls “the daily sustenance of the world’s poor.”

Florida farm grows experimental GMO citrus trees

A large Florida citrus grower and processor, Southern Gardens Citrus based in Clewiston, "is growing genetically modified fruit that’s resistant to the citrus greening disease," said The Packer.

Too many still weigh too much, but Americans are eating less

"After decades of worsening diets and sharp increases in obesity, Americans' eating habits have begun changing for the better," says the New York Times.

USDA developing bird flu vaccine, no plans to use it

USDA scientists are working on a poultry vaccine against avian influenza with no immediate plans to use it, says Reuters. A test is expected within a couple of months at a poultry-disease lab in Georgia.

New US agro-defense lab gets $300 million for construction

The National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, for research into some of the most feared livestock diseases, was allotted $300 million as part of congressional approval of funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Bill would curtail medically important antibiotics in livestock

A newly filed Senate bill would require the FDA to withdraw its approval of the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals unless drugmakers show there is no risk to human health.

From staff of life to suspect in disease

Wheat, known for centuries as the staff of life, provides one-fifth of all food eaten worldwide and is the top source of protein in developing countries.

Diet panel – Eat more fruit, veggies, dairy and less meat

The new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans should encourage people to eat more fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains and less sugar and refined grains, says a panel of experts advising the government. In its report, the panel says half of Americans have preventable, chronic diseases and two-thirds are overweight or obese. The persistent and high level of diet-related disease "raise the urgency for immediate attention and bold action," says the panel.

USDA announces $30 million for citrus greening research

The Agriculture Department awarded $53 million for research to help growers combat citrus greening, a devastating plant disease, and to search for a way to prevent it.

Sister strain of virulent Ug99 wheat stem rust found in Kenya

Wheat growers in Kenya are battling a variant of the Ug99 rust fungus, which chokes nutrients in the wheat stem and prevents wheat kernels from forming properly.

Nearly a decade before new animal disease lab is ready

"It will be nearly another decade" before the mammoth National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas goes into operation, says Drovers CattleNetwork, reporting on a presentation at a veterinarians' conference.