What pesticide monitoring misses

Every year U.S. farmers use about a billion pounds of chemicals on crops, including the fruits, nuts and vegetables many parents beg their kids to eat. The Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration are charged with ensuring that these chemicals don’t endanger consumers, and both agencies test the food supply for pesticide residues… » Read More

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As coastal flooding surges, ‘living shorelines’ seen as the answer

On August 27, 2011, Hurricane Irene crashed into North Carolina, eviscerating the Outer Banks. The storm dumped rain shin-high and hurled three-meter storm surges against the barrier island shores that faced the mainland, destroying roads and 1,100 homes. After the storm, a young ecologist then at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named… » Read More

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    Scientific American

An invasive, elusive 20-pound rodent threatens California agriculture

Wearing chest-high waders, biologist Sean McCain tries to tiptoe to the edge of a marsh in California’s Central Valley. A biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, McCain squints as he searches the shoreline. “I don’t think they know we’re here yet,” he whispers. Then, excitedly, he points. “Is that one right there? I… » Read More

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Is the egg toast?

Years from now, when the human race no longer sources its binding and emulsifying proteins from Gallus gallus domesticus, it may look back on November 6, 2018, as the day the egg cracked. That was the day California voters drove a stake through the heart of the caged-hen industry by easily passing Proposition 12, which… » Read More

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Sea cucumbers are being eaten to death

Two Moroccan divers stood on the rocks an hour before sunrise facing the gray Atlantic. Their wet suits were torn and patched, their flippers held together with tape. Unable to afford proper diving belts, the men wore thick bands of rubber strung with lead weights. Each carried a large black inner tube for floating out… » Read More

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A lifeline for SNAP payments at farmers’ markets

An Austin-based payments company whose pending shutdown last summer threatened the ability of thousands of farmers markets to accept food stamps has received a $2 million lifeline. Square, the financial technology company known best for its slick iPad transactions, said Thursday it provided the funds to Austin’s Novo Dia Group to ensure that recipients of… » Read More

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Bees face yet another lethal threat in dicamba, a drift-prone weedkiller

While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weedkiller dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields. When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were… » Read More

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Where beef is more than dinner

In a slaughterhouse just south of the Oregon border in Macdoel, California, seven workers move, dance-like, around each other and the four beef carcasses on the kill floor. “Just on the other side of that panel, the animal’s knocked unconscious,” Prather Ranch co-owner Mary Rickert explains. “The throats are slit, they have to be bled… » Read More

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Dawn of the slow chicken?

Shrink-wrapped on Styrofoam trays, fried and tucked into a biscuit or made into sausages and cold cuts, almost all chicken has the same origin: It comes from Cornish Cross chickens—white-feathered, chubby-breasted, docile birds that weigh 5 pounds in as little as 5 weeks. It’s a super-fast growth rate—and it isn’t an accident. Americans eat more… » Read More

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