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Press Releases: FarmingPress Releases Found: 17
September 13, 2013
“It is widely known that phosphorous pollution from manure applied to farmland is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Phosphorous pollution creates algae blooms that consume oxygen and create “dead zones” where fish and shellfish cannot survive, block sunlight that is needed for underwater Bay grasses and smother aquatic life on the floor of the Bay.
“EPA statistics reveal that agriculture alone contributes 42 percent of the phosphorous pollution in the Bay; manure accounts for 37 percent of the loads of phosphorus to the waterway. This isn’t surprising since there are over 304 million chickens raised in Maryland that produce 1.3 billion pounds of waste annually, much of which gets dumped untreated onto fields, where it can leach into groundwater or run-off into the Bay.
“Farmland in the Lower Eastern Shore, where the chicken industry is most active, is already saturated with phosphorus. According to researchers, up to 80 percent of the fields sampled on the Lower Eastern Shore contain so much phosphorus that they simply can’t absorb anymore. Worse yet, a recent study suggests that even if phosphorous application were stopped today, it would take decades to reduce phosphorous levels in soils sufficient to protect our waterways.
July 1, 2013
Press Release: A report released today by Food & Water Watch analyzes the connection between the rapid proliferation of GE crops and affiliated pesticides in the United States and the rise of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” that have led to the steadily increasing use of more dangerous herbicides.
June 10, 2013
What Little Difference a Year Makes: Senate-Passed Farm Bill Nibbles Around Edges of Broken Food System
Media Statement: Today, the U.S. Senate passed a farm bill that did little to address the stranglehold that food processing firms have over America’s unsustainable and unfair food system. The Senate fiddled with minutiae but did nothing to stem the rising tide of mergers, takeovers and buyouts that further consolidates the food and agribusiness landscape.
December 7, 2012
Press Release: A coalition of local and national public interest organizations have asked a federal court for permission to participate in a legal action that will decide when Clean Water Act restrictions apply to the release of pollutants in animal manure into local waterways used for recreation, drinking and to support nearby communities. In the lawsuit, American Farm Bureau Federation and West Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) claim that a Clean Water Act permit is not required for discharges of animal waste from a large Hardy County poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). The organizations, including Potomac Riverkeeper, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, and Waterkeeper Alliance, are seeking to ensure that the Farm Bureau-backed poultry CAFO cannot sidestep Clean Water Act standards. Today’s filing asks the Court to give the public interest organizations the same right to participate already given to the Farm Bureau.
The motion to intervene in the case was prompted by the CAFO’s refusal to comply with an EPA order directing it to obtain a Clean Water Act permit for its discharges of pollutants from animal manure generated at the facility. The CAFO houses 200,000 chickens and contains ditches that direct animal waste from the operation into a tributary of the South Branch of the Potomac River which is listed by the state as “impaired” because of algal blooms and the presence of fecal bacteria. Although the CAFO is not disputing that its waste is discharged into these waters, it sued the agency claiming that the discharges to local waterways are exempt from the Clean Water Act, rather than obtaining a permit. The motion to intervene seeks confirmation that no exemption applies here.
“The issue here is about more than one CAFO polluting one waterway,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac River Manager for Potomac Riverkeeper. “It’s about defining a way to preserve and protect the right of everyone to have clean rivers and streams, even when they’re near industrial agriculture.”
November 2, 2012
Organic food has become big business and the largest food manufacturers have rapidly taken over the organic food sector, sweeping formerly independent businesses into large food conglomerates. An analysis released today by the national consumer group Food & Water Watch found that the farmers who grow organic crops and raise organic livestock now face the same forces of corporate consolidation that dominate the conventional food industry, with a declining number of buyers putting downward pressure on the prices farmers receive.
Iowa produces more pigs than any other state in the country. In years past, hog farming and pork processing boosted Iowa’s rural economies. But as the pork packing industry consolidated, the economic benefits of the hog sector shifted from rural Iowa to Wall Street. Today, growth in the consolidated hog industry has become a mechanism for draining value from, not adding to, Iowa’s rural economies.
August 28, 2012
Press Release: Just days after the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board refused to investigate Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter for conflict of interest violations, newly released documents reveal that he attempted to use a partnership with Iowa State University (ISU) to get U.S. government funding to establish his controversial agribusiness project in Tanzania.
Working with ISU faculty, Rastetter’s company AgriSol applied in 2011 for more than $7 million in taxpayer dollars as part of an international food aid program run by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA).
July 19, 2012
National Nonprofit Food & Water Watch Joins Complaint Against Rastetter, Exposes Another AgriSol Executive as Complicit in Tanzania Land Grab
Press Release: Today the national consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch – with more than 400,000 members nationally and over 5,000 in Iowa – joined Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement’s (Iowa CCI) ethics complaint against Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter for an egregious conflict of interest involving a Tanzania land deal he brokered in partnership with Iowa State University. Food & Water Watch delivered a letter delivered to Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board Executive Director Megan Tooker today requesting to be added to Iowa CCI’s ethics complaint.
July 17, 2012
Media Statement: “The facilities, known as Concentrated Animal Feeing Operations, or CAFOs, are responsible for a multitude of environmental and public health impacts and make up part of an industry that is the single largest contributor of pollutants to our nation’s waterways. The failure to follow through with a 2011 proposal to gather even simple data like locations of the facilities, number of animals contained and proximity to waterways is clearly pandering to agribusiness during an election year.”
“Specifically, the EPA announced late last week it will not move ahead with a 2011 proposal to gather even simple data like locations of the facilities, number of animals contained and proximity to waterways.
May 22, 2012
“Today, the state of Maryland became the first state in the nation to ban arsenical drugs in chicken production and took a significant step in addressing one of many issues associated with industrial agriculture.
“It is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing that this arsenic prohibition bill passed at all given the formidable opponents who fought for three years against removing the carcinogen from our food.
“Governor O’Malley’s cozy relationship with the poultry industry hasn’t helped, either. The poultry industry continues to push agricultural policy in Annapolis that pads their profits at the expense of Marylanders and the Chesapeake Bay—even though Maryland’s entire agricultural sector contributes only .35 % of the state’s GDP. We will continue to fight the industry’s attempts to block environmental regulations and reforms that would benefit the state’s farmers.”