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Tag: Agriculture

From Facebook To The DEA, Industrial Hemp Industry Growth Stumped By War on Drugs

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

America’s burgeoning hemp industry faces significant barriers that can only be torn down by the full legalization of this potentially lucrative crop.

Hemp was once one of America’s essential crops, grown by presidents and cash croppers alike, and wars were fought over access to this valuable commodity. It became illegal to grow hemp in the United States with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The federal law bans all forms of the cannabis plant, even though industrial hemp has very low levels of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis that’s grown for recreational or medicinal use.

The 2014 Farm Bill reopened the door to legal hemp cultivation by allowing states which had legalized industrial hemp to license farmers to grow the plant for research purposes, including market research. But many aspects of federal regulation and law surrounding hemp remain “opaque” and confusing, according to John Ryan, founder and director of Ananda Hemp. A subsidiary of the Australian hemp company EcoFibre Industries, Ananda Hemp is growing hundreds of acres of hemp in Kentucky and Tennessee.

After Iraq War, Monsanto, Cargill & Dow Chemical Took Over Iraqi Agriculture

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

In the aftermath of the Iraq War, Iraq’s seed and agriculture industry was destroyed by U.S. corporations, with the aid of the U.S. government.

In May 2003, after the war officially ended, U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer became the head of the occupational authority, essentially controlling Iraq’s government. He issued 100 orders that set the strategy for rebuilding efforts, including Order 81, “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety Law.”

Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, a physician and environmental activist, explained the devastating impact of this order in a 2008 speech.

“Before 2003 they had a well functioning, centrally-controlled seed industry that had developed over the years a rich seed variety for almost variation of wheat in the world today,” she said.

Big Ag Is Big Money For Congress: Monsanto Spends $2.5M Lobbying In 2015

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Monsanto spends millions of its billions of dollars in annual revenue on lobbying and hiring some of Washington’s most notorious firms to ensure that laws continue to favor the agribusiness giant’s profits.

OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center For Responsive Politics, reported that, as of July 21, Monsanto had already spent over $2.5 million dollars on lobbying this year. The corporation is on track to meet or beat last year’s 2014 spending total, which reached $4,120,000. Yet it doesn’t appear to be on pace to break the record the company set for itself in 2008, when it spent $9 million on lobbying.

At the federal level, Monsanto’s millions are spent to ensure Congress passes laws that work in the company’s favor. The corporation lobbied heavily for the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, better known to food safety activists as the “DARK Act,” which would overrule hundreds of local laws regulating the labelling of foods containing genetically-modified ingredients with a still undeveloped USDA program.

Missourians Fight ALEC Over Big Agriculture’s ‘Right to Farm’

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

On Aug. 5, Missouri residents voted on the state’s Right-to-Farm, Amendment 1, a new addition to the state’s bill of rights. The results were extremely close: 498,751 voted in favor of the new amendment, while 496,223 opposed it. With a difference of less than half a percent, a recount is almost certain.

Though the Humane Society of the United States donated $375,000 in opposition, the amendment had the financial backing of Big Agriculture and its deep pockets as well as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, the secretive organization which writes legislation on behalf of major corporations.

That the bill came so close to defeat is a testament to the efforts of grassroots Missouri activists like the members of People’s Visioning, a coalition of diverse progressive organizations led by Columbia, Missouri, resident Monta Welch. MintPress News spoke with Welch and other members of her coalition as they rested from what they described as an exhausting campaign and considered what their next steps might be if the recount fails.

Welch explained that the conflict was essentially between large agricultural factories and consumers increasingly concerned with the sustainability and ethics behind the food they eat.