Agriculture

2:40pm

Mon April 29, 2013
The Two-Way

Europe Bans Pesticides In Move To Protect Honey Bees

Beekeepers demonstrate at the EU headquarters in Brussels Monday, as lawmakers vote on whether to ban pesticides blamed for killing bees.
Georges Gobet AFP/Getty Images

Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.

"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.

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1:25am

Wed April 24, 2013
The Salt

For Corn, Fickle Weather Makes For Uncertain Yields

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 7:06 am

By this time last year, 26 percent of the country's corn crop was already planted. A wet, cold spring means that only 4 percent is in the ground right now.
Seth Perlman AP

Last year's drought wreaked havoc on farmers' fields in much of the Midwest, cutting crop yields and forcing livestock producers to cull their herds. This spring, the rain that farmers needed so badly in 2012 has finally returned. But maybe too much, and at the wrong time.

It's almost the end of April, which is prime time to plant corn. But farmers need a break in the rain so they can get this year's crops in the ground and try to lock in good yields at harvest.

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2:45pm

Mon April 22, 2013
Agriculture

Looking For A Sugar Fix: Farmers Face Low Prices, Limited Water

A nationwide sugar surplus, triggered by a huge sugar beet harvest, has farmers and processors worried about the price of sugar. Colorado is one of the top ten states for sugar beet production
karma-police Flickr - Creative Commons

There’s more sugar in the United States right now than we know what to do with, a fact that’s concerning to both sugar growers and the processors that use sugar by the truckload, like candy companies and large-scale bakeries.

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3:06pm

Fri April 19, 2013
The Salt

Fertilizer Shows Its Deadly Side

Workers at a cooperative farm near Shanghai scatter fertilizer across fields of winter wheat. Image from the May issue of National Geographic magazine.
© Peter Essick National Geographic

My first reaction when I heard details of this week's deadly fertilizer explosion in Texas was horror.

My second thought was, "Maybe I shouldn't have pushed to change that headline."

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3:09am

Sat April 13, 2013
It's All Politics

Immigration Debate Puts Farm Workers Union In Spotlight

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 7:58 pm

United Farm Workers members were among the crowd that filled the lawn on Capitol Hill during an immigration rights rally Wednesday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

A new immigration bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate next week, calling for better border security and a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the United States without legal status.

One big hurdle toward that was cleared this week when the United Farm Workers reached a deal with growers that would address wages and caps the number of visas allowed for new workers.

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