Europe’s butterflies are vanishing along with small farms

Across Europe, butterfly populations are undergoing huge declines, with grassland butterfly abundance dropping by 39 percent between 1990 and 2017. Spain's Catalonia region offers an extreme example of this continent-wide wave of biodiversity loss: Over the past 25 years, populations of the most common grassland species have declined here by 71 percent, reports FERN's latest story, produced with National Geographic. (No paywall)

Opinion: Unlike the U.S., Europe is setting ambitious targets for producing more organic food

Recent polls show that a majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and willing to make lifestyle changes to address it. Other surveys show that many U.S. consumers are worried about possible health risks of eating food produced with pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. One way to address all of these concerns is to expand organic agriculture. Organic production generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farming, largely because it doesn’t use synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. And it prohibits using synthetic pesticides and giving hormones or antibiotics to livestock. (No paywall)

North America can lead the world on climate mitigation, says Vilsack

The agriculture ministers of Canada, Mexico, and the United States described national initiatives to boost productivity and slow global warming at the World Food Prize symposium on Thursday, with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack saying, "There's a tremendous opportunity for North America to lead the world." While he called for being tolerant of different approaches to climate mitigation, Vilsack was clear that in his view, the U.S. high-technology approach is the best.

International contest of ideas: Farm to Fork vs. productivity coalition

The United States will launch a "coalition for productivity growth" to promote the use of high-tech tools such as gene editing and precision agriculture to build a more sustainable food system, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. The coalition would stand in contrast to the EU's Farm to Fork Strategy of greatly reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides and putting 25 percent of European farmland into organic production.

Transatlantic truce on aircraft benefits U.S. farm exports

President Biden announced a breakthrough in the long-running U.S.-EU dispute over airliner subsidies on Tuesday: Suspension of retaliatory tariffs on each other's products for five years beginning in July. The overall $4 billion in EU tariffs included duties on $1.4 billion of U.S. ag exports from frozen seafood to cotton, wheat, tobacco and alcohol.

Economic recovery depends on ‘the path of the virus’ — Fed official

The U.S. recovery from the pandemic will depend in part on success in managing the coronavirus through steps such as therapeutics and a vaccine, the president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank told an agribusiness conference on Monday. Also at the meeting, two Trump administration …

U.S. and EU resolve lobster tensions

The EU will remove tariffs on imports of live lobsters and frozen lobster products from the United States under an agreement that calls for lower U.S. tariffs on a variety of European goods, including prepared meals. "These tariff reductions are the first U.S.-EU negotiated reductions in duties in more than two decades," said a joint statement by EU and U.S. trade officials.

EU dabbles in agricultural protectionism, says Perdue

European barriers to some U.S. food and ag exports — derided as "hormone beef," "chlorine chicken," and GMO "Frankenfoods" — smack of protectionism and could color already acrimonious U.S.-EU trade relations, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue during a trans-Atlantic discussion on Wednesday.

Trump offers aid to lobster industry and a tariff threat to China

President Trump told the USDA on Wednesday to provide trade war relief to U.S. lobster fishermen and producers and threatened retaliatory tariffs on seafood from China if Beijing fails to buy massive amounts of U.S. food, agricultural, and seafood products this year.