Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Know Your Farmer Program Attacked

Heaven forbid that the USDA finally support the local effort to help the public connect with small farmers to help them understand where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate.

Farmers' Markets Today, May/June 2011
Three Senators attacked USDA'S "Know Your Farmer" Campaign

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack received a sharply worded letter against the ag department's Know Your Farmer program from Sen. John MaCain (R-AZ), Sen. Ag Comm. Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and House Ag Comm. Member Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Argi-Pulse reported that the contents of the the letter included, "while the concept of educating consumers about production agriculture is a worthwhile endeavor, we have serious misgivings about the direction of the Know Your Farmer program." The letter charged that the Know Your Farmer initiative also included "Subsidizing the so-called locavore niche market" with $65 million this year, and claimed that the USDA 'pledged to deliver more in Fiscal Year 2011."

The Senator's letter charged that 'this spending doesn't appeared geared toward conventional farmer who produce the vast majority of our nation's food supply, but is instead aimed at small, hobbyist and organic producers whose customers generally consist of affluent patrons at urban farmers markets."

Additional charges are related to spending "rural Development funds on feel-good measures" and how 'propping up the urban locavore markets addressed their [American families and rural farmers] needs." The letter also requested that USAD provide proof of congressional authority to spend money for Know Your Farmer purposes along with a full accounting of all spending.

Agri-Pulse has posted the MaCain/Chambliss/Roberts letter for public review online http://www.agri-pulse.com/20100429H1.asp -- use the link there to see the full letter.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Exploding Watermelons

From: the New York Times
World Briefing | ASIA

China: Acres of Exploding Watermelons

CHINATOPIX, via Associated Press

Farmers cleared out watermelons that had burst from their rented greenhouse in Danyang city in eastern China's Jiangsu province.

Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, creating what state news media called fields of “land mines.” About 20 farmers in Jiangsu Province have been affected, losing up to 115 acres of melon, China Central Television reported. High prices over the past year prompted many farmers to enter the watermelon market. All of those with exploding melons apparently were first-time users of the growth stimulator forchlorfenuron, which has been widely available for some time, the report said.

Now do we really need growth stimulators for produce??? Come on now...it's bad enough it's in our dairy & meats!!