ByJohnathan Hettinger/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
A law requiring foreign investors to report transactions of farmland to the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been on the books for almost 40 years. But, this Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting investigation reveals, little has been done to enforce the law.
Some farmers applying pesticides to fields this summer might ignore symptoms of being exposed to the chemicals, like headaches or nausea. But mounting evidence shows chronic exposure to pesticides may increase risks for certain cancers, like prostate cancer, and for other chronic illnesses, like Parkinson’s and thyroid disease.
A series of IowaWatch stories in late 2014 and early 2015 dug into concerns about how dog breeding facilities are inspected in Iowa. Animal rights advocates say not enough is being done to protect animals while breeders who talked with IowaWatch said inspections sometimes are unfair and aimed at the wrong people. Our quiz provides some updates.
Federal inspectors say they have increased their dog breeding facility inspections after a critical 2010 review that said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was not doing enough. But the inspection service had only 120 inspectors to check some 10,000 licensed dog breeding facilities in the United States.
Dog breeders in Iowa who repeatedly do not comply with the Animal Welfare Act are allowed to continue raising and breeding dogs – sometimes in horrible conditions – while federal inspectors give the cited breeders time to correct violations.
The mid-1920s marked the beginning of chemical farming and of organic agriculture, as a result.
Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, educator, and agricultural specialist among other titles, believed that the burgeoning industrial food system was dangerous and functioned on misconceptions about nature. He developed his own way of farming called biodynamic, the precursor to organic farming, according to the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, a non-profit based in Washington State and Oregon that fosters knowledge of the biodynamic method of agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.
For nearly a decade, the word organic has stood for all that is wholesome and pure to the health-conscious consumer.
But an emerging movement of farmers who consider themselves the real organic purists are saying their methods go “beyond organic.” Although still in its infancy, adherents to beyond organic methods are enlivening the debate about the effectiveness of the government certified organic program.