Pesticide use on California farms at near-record levels

Farmers in California, the nation’s top agricultural state, are applying near-record levels of pesticides despite the rising popularity of organic produce and concerns about the health of farmworkers and rural schoolchildren.

We’re partnering with agricultural communities to measure pesticide drift

If you live in central Illinois, you may have spotted a small, dome-like device that resembles a flying saucer along a fence or in a neighbor’s backyard. Those devices are air samplers, specifically designed to measure pesticide drift. We’ve placed four samplers in agricultural communities to learn more about what chemicals, if any, might be drifting from corn and soybean fields onto nearby backyards, school grounds and parks as spraying gets underway this spring. We have also placed a sampler near our office in Champaign to serve as a control. Below, you will find more information about how this project will contribute to our reporting, how the community helped determine the locations of the samplers and exactly how the samplers work.

High-stakes pesticide battle pits farmer against farmer

With the new planting season beginning, legal battles over dicamba are heating up in
federal and state courts.

Monsanto, BASF and DowDuPont are defendants in lawsuits initiated by farmers
seeking millions in compensation for crops they say were damaged last summer.

The plaintiffs have brought 14 cases in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri but, as a result of a February ruling, they will be heard together by a federal panel in St. Louis.

Meanwhile, a coalition of food safety, environmental and farming groups is asking the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rescind the Environmental Protection Agency’s conditional approval of the new version of Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, known as
XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.

Report: U.S. Department of Agriculture can do more to keep pathogens out of meat and poultry supply

A new report released today from a congressional watchdog agency says the U.S. Department of Agriculture can do more to keep foodborne illness-causing pathogens out of meat and poultry products. The Food Safety and Inspection Service, a branch of the agriculture department, inspects approximately 6,500 meat and poultry processing plants nationwide. The inspectors test meat to ensure that salmonella and campylobacter bacteria, two common pathogens that cause roughly 2 million Americans to fall ill and each year, aren’t present in the food supply at unsafe levels. The new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the process the USDA uses to determine safety standards for pathogens in meat is outdated. The standards for ground beef, for example, have not been updated in more than 20 years, the report said.

Indiana-based farm issues recall for more than 200 million eggs

An Indiana-based company has recalled more than 206 million eggs over reports of illness related to a strain of salmonella. 

Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, issued the voluntary recall Friday of eggs produced from its Hyde County, North Carolina farm after an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration traced the rare strain back to the farm.