HONOLULU — What’s new in mulch? Trouble with your root balls? Master gardeners from around Hawaii made a field trip to Waimanalo Sunday to learn about the latest techniques and innovations in Hawaii agriculture.
The Waimanalo Agricultural Station is like the promised land for master gardeners. It’s where the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture tends test beds, conducts research on organic gardening and develops the newest techniques in soil management.
Master gardeners are volunteers, trained by university extension service programs, who are able to educate the public on gardening and horticultural issues.
Master gardeners came from all around the state Sunday for a field trip to the Waimanalo Agricultural Station.
“I think as a master gardener we get so focused on our own islands. Coming together to be master gardeners of Hawaii rather than just our island, we share different programs that are going on. We find out what can we bring back and augment on our island,” said Melanie Stephens, a master gardener from Maui. Continue reading
Executives of Monsanto told skittish investors on Wednesday that earnings per share would grow 13 to 17 percent in the next fiscal year and that the company was on its way to fixing problems in its seed business that have undermined the confidence of Wall Street.
The remarks, in line with some previous assurances by company executives, were made as Monsanto reported that net income for the year that ended Aug. 31 had dropped by nearly half from a year earlier.
“I believe we’ve taken steps to allow our company to return to growth,” Hugh Grant, the chief executive, told analysts and investors Wednesday on a conference call.
He said the seed business was going to offer “more products at more price points” to help regain the trust of farmers who have been put off by high seed prices and lower-than-expected yields for some products, particularly Monsanto’s new SmartStax corn. Continue reading
Comment author notstupid555
Originating Article By Ira Zunin
If FDA doesn’t approve GM salmon to at least some extent, I don’t see how you can do any of the monitoring/study work that Dr. Zunin proposes or do anything to address global hunger because there will be no GM salmon businesses and no market for sale of GM salmon.
While Dr. Zunin says he is suggesting a careful, planned approach, his advice is actually tantamount to killing the GM salmon initiative from the start. By the way, Dr. Zunin has many degrees, but is his advice based on his “science course in middle school” or actual scientific expertise and study? Continue reading
FDA considers approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 6, 2010; 5:16 PM
The Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the first genetically modified animal for human consumption, a highly anticipated decision that is stirring controversy and could mark a turning point in the way American food is produced.
FDA scientists gave a boost last week to the Massachusetts company that wants federal approval to market a genetically engineered salmon, declaring that the altered salmon is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment.
“Food from AquAdvantage Salmon . . . is as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon,” the FDA staff wrote in a briefing document.
Those findings will be presented Sept. 19 to a panel of scientific experts which will advise top officials at the FDA whether to approve the altered salmon. The panel is holding two days of meetings to hear from FDA staff, the company behind AquAdvantage and the public.
AquAdvantage is an Atlantic salmon that has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, which allows the salmon to grow twice as fast as a traditional Atlantic salmon. It also contains a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon. Continue reading
By DAVE WILKINS
Farmers aren’t the only ones uncertain about the future of the sugar beet industry in the wake of a federal judge’s decision to ban the planting of Roundup Ready varieties.
The uncertainty extends to the rural communities where sugar beets are grown.
“If (seed companies) don’t have enough beet seed for everyone here, it will devastate this area. That’s our cash crop,” Randy Jones, mayor of Paul, Idaho, said in an interview.
Hundreds of people work at the Amalgamated Sugar Co. beet processing plant in Paul, a farm town of 1,000 people. The plant processes beets grown all over Southern Idaho, from the Treasure Valley to the Blackfoot area.
But a ruling by a federal judge in California on Aug. 13 makes Roundup Ready sugar beets a regulated crop again, meaning that it can’t be grown commercially.
Beet growers have grown Roundup Ready varieties almost exclusively the past two years because it provides superior weed control and thus higher yields. Now growers are faced with the prospect of converting back to conventional varieties, and it’s not clear how much of that is available.
Jones worries that a serious seed shortage could affect the local sugar factory and his town’s economic future. Continue reading
A federal judge issued a ban Friday on any future planting of genetically modified sugar beets, potentially imperiling nearly all of the United States crop.
Judge Jeffrey S. White of United States District Court in San Francisco ruled that the Department of Agriculture had failed to conduct a required environmental impact statement before approving the genetically modified beets. Such beets now account for about 95 percent of the nation’s sugar beet production and nearly half of the sugar produced.
It is unclear how quickly the Department of Agriculture could complete the environmental study and reconsider approval of the genetically engineered beets. The environmental groups that brought the lawsuit argued that genetically modified beets would contaminate unmodified crops grown nearby by organic farmers and others who chose to plant conventional seeds.
Sugar beet growers sold the 2007-8 crop for about $1.335 billion, according to U.S.D.A. data.
BAGUIO CITY — Farmers groups have protested the field testing of genetically modified (GM) eggplants in the Philippines.
Known as the Philippine Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) resistant eggplants (Bt brinjal) or Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant, the Department of Agriculture has started multi-location field testing prior to commercialization. This is an eggplant that was embedded with Bacillus thuringiensis to make it resistant to the fruit and shoot borers.
The people of India where the Bt brinjal originated were successful in pressuring their government to issue a moratorium for the commercialization of Bt-eggplant. A French scientific study slammed the commercialization of Bt brinjal, heating up the controversy over the biotech crop’s safety. Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd (Mahyco) developed the genetically modified eggplant. Mahyco is the Indian partner of US biotech giant Monsanto.
A study team led by Caen University professor Gilles-Eric Seralini of the Committee for Independent Research and Information on Genetic Engineering has not only branded Bt brinjal “unsafe for human consumption” but also raised serious doubts on safety data presented by developers Mahyco to the government. Continue reading
SKARA, Sweden — Johan Bergstrom, a blond and boyish man of 31, who farms here with his father, reached into the dark, soft soil and extricated a tennis-ball-size potato, holding it gently so as not to snap off any of a half-dozen white shoots that were growing out of the potato’s eyes. He advised against tasting the potato, whose dulcet name Amflora belies its harsh flavor, a result of genetic jiggling that has made it almost pure starch.
The potato, the first genetically engineered organism to be allowed in the European Union in more than a decade, was planted on 16 acres of land on the fringes of this town in southwestern Sweden, after a quarter-century of bureaucratic wrangling.
Genetically Engineered Distortions
By PAMELA C. RONALD and JAMES E. McWILLIAMS
A REPORT by the National Research Council last month gave ammunition to both sides in the debate over the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. More than 80 percent of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States is genetically engineered, and the report details the “long and impressive list of benefits” that has come from these crops, including improved soil quality, reduced erosion and reduced insecticide use.
It also confirmed predictions that widespread cultivation of these crops would lead to the emergence of weeds resistant to a commonly used herbicide, glyphosate (marketed by Monsanto as Roundup). Predictably, both sides have done what they do best when it comes to genetically engineered crops: they’ve argued over the findings.
Lost in the din is the potential role this technology could play in the poorest regions of the world — areas that will bear the brunt of climate change and the difficult growing conditions it will bring. Indeed, buried deep in the council’s report is an appeal to apply genetic engineering to a greater number of crops, and for a greater diversity of purposes.