Tag Archives: Agriculture

“Touted as ‘Essential’… Treated as Disposable”: Labor Day Anger as Migrant Farm Workers Toil Inside Wildfire Evacuation Zones

“For the workers, their hands were forced by a combination of circumstances as toxic as the ash that falls over the region’s famous vineyards.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

This Labor Day, immigrant and worker’s rights advocates are sounding the alarm in response to reports of migrant grape pickers, many of whom are undocumented, being forced to work in fire evacuation zones by California growers in a situation critics say demonstrates how some of those deemed “essential” at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic have been rendered “disposable” in the face of a record-setting heat wave and extremely dangerous conditions.

While the threat of flames and smoke was strong enough in Sonoma County to provoke the relocation of area residents, “the county agriculture commissioner invited workers to continue laboring in the fields, doling out evacuation-area access passes to dozens of agricultural producers,” Alleen Brown reported for The Intercept. Continue reading

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How Trump is opening the way for the Taliban to take Afghanistan back

Trump’s eagerness to ‘bring our boys home’ is leaving the Afghan government with little power to resist the Taliban afterwards.

By Paul Rogers. Published 7-31-2020 by openDemocracy

Goodbye Afghanistan | US Air Force photo by Clay Lancaster. Public domain.

One of Donald Trump’s main election pledges back in 2016 was to ‘bring our boys home’. Alongside this came criticism of Germany and other NATO states for not paying their way on military spending. He has followed up on both themes this week, by starting to reduce the US presence in Germany, albeit shifting some to Poland and leaving all the mechanisms of a rapid return in place, so that the extent of the ‘back home’ is far from what it appears.

Extricating US forces from Middle East is another matter. Many army units are consolidating in fewer bases in Iraq or moving to nearby Kuwait. The US Navy is holding on, too, mainly because of the confrontation with Iran. It currently has two carrier battle groups within reach of the region. Continue reading

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USDA’s $19 Billion in COVID-19 Relief for Farmers and Food Banks Sparks Questions About Who Will Benefit

The new plan, says the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, “lacks critical details to confirm whether it will actually reach all who need it.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-18-2020

Photo via salud-america.org

While some industry trade associationshunger relief organizations, and federal lawmakers welcomed the Trump administration’s new pledge to provide $19 billion in relief from the coronavirus pandemic to farmers and food banks nationwide, policy groups, and reporters highlighted that the announcement lacked critical details about who will benefit.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the plan at a Friday night press briefing with President Donald Trump. The president said that “the program will include direct payments to farmers as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat, and agricultural produce to get that food to the people in need.” Continue reading

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‘Victory for Farmers’ as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto’s Dicamba

“This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2020

Field day participants make their way past dicamba damaged soybeans to hear University of Arkansas System Div of Ag Weed Scientist Jason Norsworthy talk about volatility of dicamba products on Aug 8, 2017. Photo: uacescomm’flickr/CC

German chemicals giant Bayer announced Monday its intention to “swiftly appeal” a U.S. jury’s decision to award a Missouri peach farmer over $265 million in compensation for years of crop losses as a result of drifting dicamba weedkiller.

The legal challenge was the first dicamba suit to go to trial and was brought forth by Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Bader farms. Dicamba is produced by Monsanto, which Bayer acquired in 2018. Continue reading

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With 14 ‘Billion-Dollar Disasters’ and Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska and Across South, 2019 Was a Year of Climate Extremes for US

“Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2020

A fire burns near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Screenshot: ABC News

Underscoring the need for urgent climate action, a new report on the climate of the United States in 2019 sheds light on numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska was among the states which recorded unusually high temperatures in 2019, according to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report, which is scheduled to be released next week. Continue reading

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New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2020

A detail of the cover image for Toxic Hangover, a new report by Center for Biological Diversity. (Image: Center for Biologicial Diversity)

A new review into the pesticide products the U.S. approved in 2017 and 2018 reveals the Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out an industry-friendly, “broken” regulatory process that included green-lighting over 100 products with ingredients widely deemed extremely dangerous.

Entitled Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, the 11-page analysis was released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

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New Report on Ocean Oxygen Loss Gives ‘Ultimate Wake-Up Call’ to Act on Climate

“Decisions taken at the ongoing climate conference will determine whether our ocean continues to sustain a rich variety of life, or whether habitable, oxygen-rich marine areas are increasingly, progressively, and irrevocably lost.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2019

Screenshot: YouTube

A new report on ocean oxygen loss released Saturday should serve as the “ultimate wake-up call” to take bold action to rein in planet-warming emissions and save the world’s “suffocating seas,” researchers said.

The publication from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) shows how the problem known as ocean deoxygenation, driven by global warming and human-caused nutrient pollution, is expanding, with impacts on humans and marine ecosystems alike. Continue reading

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Israel’s West Bank settlements: 4 questions answered

A new housing project in the West Bank settlement of Naale, part of the Israeli government’s recent push to increase its presence in the disputed territory, Jan. 1, 2019.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Dov Waxman, Northeastern University

Editor’s note: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 18 said that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law. That pleased Israeli Jews who see the territory as rightfully theirs and infuriated the Palestinians who live there and claim it as their land.

Here, a professor of Israel studies and the author of a new primer on the Israeli-Palestinian confict explains the history of the West Bank settlements – and why they’re so controversial. Continue reading

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‘Unacceptable’: Family Farms, Ag Advocates Hit Back After Sec Perdue Says Small Dairy Farms Destined to Die

“Five years of plunging farm prices, increasing bankruptcies, and climbing suicide rates were not discussed by Perdue. His message to them was basically, stop whining, your demise is inevitable.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-2-2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits The World Dairy Expo and holds a stakeholder townhall in Madison, Wisconsin, October 1, 2019. (Photo: USDA/Flickr)

Furious family farmers flamed Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Wednesday after comments he made on the future of the dairy business that cast doubt on the future of small farms during a stop in Wisconsin Tuesday.

“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” said Perdue. “I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.” Continue reading

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200+ Groups Denounce UN-WEF Agreement That Entrenches Corporate Interests Driving Global ‘Social and Environmental Crises’

“It moves the world dangerously towards a privatized and undemocratic global governance.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-27-2019

Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), India, Alice Bunn, Director, International, UK Space Agency, United Kingdom, Frederick Kempe, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Council, USA speaking during the Session “Future Frontiers of Technology Control ” in “Situation Room” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2018. Photo: Greg Beadle – World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

Over 200 civil society groups this week voiced their firm opposition to a recently-inked agreement between the United Nations and World Economic Forum that stands to further entrench transnational corporations and their interests in global governance.

“It moves the world dangerously towards a privatized and undemocratic global governance,” said Gonzalo Berrón of Transnational Institute. Continue reading

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