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Beginning, Small and Urban Producers Gain Access to Credit

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of a streamlined version of USDA guaranteed loans, which are tailored for smaller scale farms and urban producers. The program, called EZ Guarantee Loans, uses a simplified application process to help beginning, small, underserved and family farmers and ranchers apply for loans of up to $100,000 from USDA-approved lenders to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations.

USDA to invest in expanding wood energy markets

The USDA has announced it will invest up to $7 million in grants for projects designed to expand wood products and wood energy markets that support sustainable forest management, especially in areas with high wildfire risk. The grants will be made available in through the U.S. Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Program.  According to the request for proposals (RFP) published to the Wood Education and Resource Center website, proposals must be submitted by Jan. 23.

Groups challenge federal approval of genetically modified salmon in court

Environmental groups head to court today to challenge a Federal Court ruling which upheld the government's earlier approval of genetically modified salmon.  "This whole approval process has taken place behind doors. There's been no engagement of Canadians on the subject should we genetically modifying animals for food'," argued Karen Wristen, of B.C.'s Living Oceans Society, one of the groups involved in the challenge.  In 2013, Environment Canada approved the production of genetically modified salmon eggs by the biotechnology company AquaBounty in a facility in P.E.I.

Is There a Place for GM in Aquaculture?

With no problems with sea lice, no risk of escape, minimal to no use of antibiotics and the same great taste and nutritional profile as other farmed Atlantic salmon, is the AquAdvantage® Salmon the perfect salmon? The Fish Site Editor Lucy Towers talks to Dr Ron Stotish, CEO of AquaBounty Technologies about its sustainable production. In a world where demand for food is growing, the Genetically Modified (GM) AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS) could be a sustainable option for meeting future dietary needs.

In Boulder County, An Effort To Ban GMO Crops Moves Ahead

Officials in Boulder County have released a plan to remove all genetically-modified crops from county-owned farmland within the next five years.  The county’s commissioners directed staffers to draft the plan following a series of heated public hearings in early 2016, where scientists argued farmers were being unfairly targeted and local activists said the crops in question threaten the county’s agricultural viability, and its reputation as an environmentally-conscious community.  The plan calls for farmers who lease county land for their operations to stop planting GMO corn within the next

GMOs Are 'Safe as Conventional Choices,' says Tufts Study

Genetically modified foods should be considered “as safe as conventional choices,” according to Timothy Griffin, associate professor at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program.  Griffin and 20 other scientists reviewed 900 research publications and concluded in their 398-page report that “genetically engineered crops are as safe as conventionally grown crops.” The extensive two-year review found no apparent health risk or environmental impact of growing and consuming genetically modified crops.

Hormel sued again over ‘natural’ claims

A Florida man, on behalf of a class of consumers, has filed a lawsuit against Hormel Foods alleging that the company’s “100% Natural” and “No Preservatives” claims on its product labels are false and misleading, according to federal court documents. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 11 in U.S.

Producers, vets prep for change to medication, paperwork

Randy Hilleman says he first heard of the new veterinary feed directive (VFD) policy earlier this year.  “I happened to be in the vet clinic not long after, and I asked about it,” he says. “I talked to our vet and figured we needed to get set up.”  Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, producers will no longer be able to use medications without veterinarian approval. Medically important drugs such as tetracycline will no longer be used as a growth promotant, according to guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Attack of the flesh-eating screwworm pushes up Key deer death toll

As of Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, 2016, 83 endangered Key deer had been euthanized because of an infestation of the New World screwworm. The screwworm, not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s, is leaving open wounds on the deer and then eating the flesh until the deer is incapacitated. U.S. Fish & Wildlife, in partnership with the Florida and U.S. Dept.

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