Agricultural News

ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

Obama proposal doesn't change ag rules--why are farm groups worried

By Annie Snider– E & E Publishing, LLC – April 7, 2014

Today, farmers and ranchers can freely do any number of things on their property affecting rivers, creeks and wetlands that no other sector could undertake without going to the federal government for permission. Agriculture is different, Congress decided when passing the 1972 Clean Water Act. For the most part, the people who grow the country's food can plow their fields, build roads, spread fertilizer and drain water off their crops without needing a permit for filling in wetlands or washing pollutants into streams. For full story, click here.

Playing catch-up with runoff: Farmers plow new ground on water quality

By Scott Cooper Williams –  Green Bay Press Gazette–March 22, 2014

Randy Hallet hauled his cow manure out into the field to fertilize his soil every single day. Even in winter, he kept up the routine, knowing that the ground was frozen and that most of the manure would wash away into nearby creeks and streams. For generations, farmers throughout Northeastern Wisconsin have adhered to the same regimen. In the process, they have contributed to what is widely regarded as the region’s most serious threat to water quality. But a growing number of farmers are changing their ways and implementing practices aimed at protecting the environment by controlling runoff pollution from agriculture. For full story, click here.

Limits sought on weed killer glyphosate to help monarch butterflies

By Louis Sahagun – Los Angeles Times – February 25, 2014

With monarch butterfly populations rapidly dwindling, a conservation organization on Monday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement tougher rules for the weed killer glyphosate — first marketed under the brand name Roundup — to save America’s most beloved insect from further decline.  In a petition, the Natural Resources Defense Council argued that current uses of glyphosate are wiping out milkweed, the only plant upon which monarch caterpillars feed. The loss of milkweed is having a devastating effect on the life cycles of the large, fragile orange-and-black butterflies, which migrate through the United States, Canada and Mexico.  It takes several generations of the insect scientists know as Danaus plexippus to make the round trip because each monarch lives only a few weeks in the summer. For full story, click here.

Center for Food Safety sues USDA over genetically modified alfalfa

By David Pierson – Los Angeles Times – March 13, 2014

A food safety group filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release documents in court that could explain why the federal agency approved genetically engineered alfalfa despite its misgivings about environmental safety.  The Washington-based Center for Food Safety said Thursday the USDA may have come under pressure by seed giant Monsanto Co. to grant approval of its Roundup Ready alfalfa, which is designed to withstand multiple applications of herbicide. For full story, click here.

As Dow seeks growth, new Enlist crop/chemicals seen as key

Chicago Tribune – March 10, 2014

Dan Kittle has spent more than a decade waiting for this day. As the man in charge of research and development at Dow AgroSciences, the unit of Dow Chemical Co that develops agricultural seeds and pesticides, Kittle remembers the "big shock" when rival Monsanto Co unveiled a genetically modified seed in 1996 designed to be used in combination with a specific herbicide, a combination that rapidly led Monsanto to riches. Since then, Monsanto has become the world's largest seed company with $15 billion in annual sales, up roughly 200 percent from a decade ago, and Kittle and a team of Dow researchers have been working to catch up. For full story, click here.