Agriculture en Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 <div data-history-node-id="41680" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/timothy-wise" hreflang="en">Timothy Wise</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/sophia-murphy" hreflang="en">Sophia Murphy</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h3>Executive summary</h3> <p>The recent spikes in global food-prices in 2007-08 served as a wake-up call to the global community on the inadequacies of our global food system. Commodity prices doubled, the estimated number of hungry people topped one billion and food riots spread through the developing world. A second price spike in 2010-11, which is expected to drive the global food import bill for 2011 to an astonishing $1.3 trillion, only deepened the sense that the policies and principles guiding agricultural development and food security were deeply flawed. </p> <p>There is now widespread agreement that international agricultural prices will remain significantly higher than precrisis levels for at least the next decade, with many warning that demand will outstrip supply by 2050 unless concerted action is taken to address the underlying problems with our food system.</p> <p>The crisis certainly awakened the global community. Since 2007, governments and international agencies have made food security a priority issue, and with a decidedly different tone. They stress the importance of agricultural development and food production in developing countries, the key role of small-scale farmers and women, the challenge of limited resources in a climate-constrained world, the important role of the state in “country-led” agricultural development programs, the critical role of public investment. For many, these priorities represent a sea change from policies that sought to free markets from government policies seen as hampering efficient resource allocation. Now that those policies and markets have failed to deliver food security, the debates over how countries and international institutions should manage our food system are more open than they have been in decades.</p> <p>The purpose of this report is to look beyond the proclamations and communiqués to assess what has really changed since the crisis erupted. While not exhaustive, the report looks at: Overseas Development Assistance, both in terms of how much and what is funded; Multilateral Development Banks’ policies and programs; selected U.N. agencies and initiatives, notably the Committee on Food Security (CFS); the G-20 group of economically powerful governments; and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, who has injected a resonant “right to food” approach to the issue.</p> <p> </p> <ul><li>low levels of investment in developing-country agriculture in general and small-scale agriculture in particular; </li> <li>reduced support for publicly funded research and development and increased reliance on private research;</li> <li>a reliance on international trade to meet domestic food needs in poor countries that can ill-afford the import dependence and declining local production; </li> <li> <div>a bias toward cash crops for export over food production for domestic markets; </div> </li> <li> <div>increasing land use for non-food agricultural crops such as biofuels for industrial uses;</div> </li> <li> <div>support for high-input agricultural methods over more environmentally sustainable low-input systems; </div> </li> <li> <div>inadequate attention to the linkages between climate change and food security; and </div> </li> <li> <div>deregulation of commodity markets and increasing financial speculation in agricultural commodities,  including staple food crops as well as land.</div> </li> </ul><h4>Findings</h4> <div>Our review suggests that on the positive side, the food crisis was an important catalyst for change. As high prices persisted and public protest mounted, many governments were confronted with “moments of truth,” the cumulative result of which was to question some of the assumptions that had driven food and agriculture policy over the past few decades. This prompted renwed attention to agricultural development, reversing the long-standing neglect of agriculture as a vital economic sector. It also brought some important new funding, though at levels still far short of what is needed. </div> <div> </div> <div>The stated priorities for much of that funding suggest distinct improvement over the policies of the past few decades. The needs and political voices of small-scale farmers and women; environmental issues, including climate change; and, the weaknesses of international markets now receive more attention. The additional funding for these important areas is also driven by greater openness to country-led programs with strong state involvement, a marked change from past priorities. </div> <div> </div> <div>Our review suggests areas of great concern, though. We see neither the necessary urgency nor the willingness to change policies that contributed to the recent crisis. New international funding is welcome, but only $6.1 billion of the G-8’s pledged $22 billion, three-year commitment represents new money, and those pledges have been slow to materialize and are now threatened with cutbacks as developed countries adopt austerity measures. The overwhelming priority is to increase production. There are reasons to focus on this, specifically within low-income net-food importing countries. The setting of production targets at the global level, however, encourages an expansion in industrial agriculture and the consolidation of land holdings, including land grabs, and ignores environmental constraints and equity issues. </div> <div> </div> <div>Beyond funding, we find that the policies that contributed to the recent food-price crisis have gone largely unchanged, leaving global food security as fragile as ever. The world needs policies that discourage biofuels expansion, regulate financial speculation, limit irresponsible land investments, encourage the use of buffer stocks, move away from fossil fuel dependence and toward agro-ecological practices, and reform global agricultural trade rules to support rather than undermine food security objectives. </div> <div> </div> <div>Unfortunately, we find that the international institutions reviewed have shown too little resolve to address these issues. Although at the G-20 the world’s most economically powerful nations have asserted leadership on food security, their actions have been tepid if not counterproductive. This has had a chilling effect on reform efforts elsewhere in the international system, most notably at the United Nations. This raises important governance issues. The U.N.’s CFS is formally recognized by most institutions as the appropriate body to </div> <div>coordinate the global response to the food crisis, because of both its mandate and its inclusive, multi- takeholder structure. Yet in practice the G-20 has systematically constrained the reform agenda. Similarly, the WTO’s recent efforts to give the Doha Agenda more relevance by including food security issues in the form of restrictions on exporting countries’ use of export tariffs have failed, because many of the exporters (most of the G-20 members) refuse to surrender that policy space. Not surprisingly, importing countries’ wish for the same policy space with regard to their imports are now more determined than ever to insist on their rights.</div> <div> </div> <div>The recent food-price crisis exposed the fragility of the global food system. A paradigm shift is underway, caused by the deepening integration of agricultural, energy and financial markets in a resource-constrained world made more vulnerable by climate change. Powerful multinational firms dominate these markets. Many benefit from current policies and practices and their interests are a dominant influence in national and global policies—slowing, diverting, or halting needed action. This leaves international institutions promoting market-friendly reforms but resistant to imposing the concomitant regulations required to ensure well-functioning food and agricultural markets.</div> <div> </div> <div> <div>Three areas in particular demand decisive action:</div> <ul><li>Biofuels expansion – There is a clear international consensus that current policies to encourage biofuel expansion, particularly in the United States and Europe, are a major contributor to rising demand, tight supplies and rising prices. Yet international institutions, from the G-20 to the U.N. High-Level Task Force to the CFS, have diluted their demands for actions to address this problem.</li> <li>Price volatility – High spikes in prices remain a major problem for poor people worldwide, and for foodimporting developing countries in particular. The policy goal, for effective market functioning and for food security, should be relatively stable prices that are remunerative to farmers and affordable to consumers. We find few concrete actions toward this goal. There is strong evidence that financial speculation contributed to recent food-price volatility, though there remains considerable debate on the subject. As an FAO report on the topic noted, there is no demonstrated benefit to the public of allowing such speculation, and the potential costs are huge. Precautionary regulations are warranted but few have been taken. Similarly, the lack of publicly held food reserves contributes to the shortages that make speculation possible while leaving vulnerable countries at risk. Reserves should be explored more actively than simply as emergency regional humanitarian policy instruments. </li> <li>Land grabs – The scale and pace of land grabs is truly alarming, driven by financial speculation and land-banking by sovereign wealth funds in resource-constrained nations. The consensus is that such investments are not good for either food security or development. As laudable as recent efforts are to promote “responsible agricultural investment,” these initiatives risk being “too little too late” for a fast-moving phenomenon. Meanwhile, international institutions, such as the World Bank, must do more to protect smallscale producers’ access to land. </li> </ul><div> </div> <div>Fortunately, many developing countries are not waiting for international action or permission to more aggressively address the problems that can be dealt with at a national or regional level. Many of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) projects in Africa, for example, emphasize the kinds of changes that are needed. CAADP has four pillars: land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger, and agricultural research. Bangladesh and other countries used food reserves to reduce the impact of the food-price spikes in far more ambitious efforts than the G-20 is proposing to support in West Africa. </div> <div> </div> <div>Developing-country governments will be central to bringing about such changes. They need the policy space to pursue their own solutions and they need the support of the international community to demand deeper reform in developed-country policies. The evidence discussed in this report suggests the paradigm shift has started but is incomplete. Many developing-country governments have chosen to step away from the prevailing orthodoxy of the last several decades and are again exploring a larger role for the public sector in governing agriculture and food. Donors, too, have shown some willingness to re-order priorities and to give greater space to agriculture, and to changing priorities within agricultural spending to acknowledge the need for more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. But they still resist more fundamental reform and continue to promote private investment and liberalized markets, relying on humanitarian aid and social safety nets to try to help those who are displaced by the policies.</div> <div> </div> <div>Perhaps not surprisingly, developed-country governments have yet to make the needed changes to their domestic policies. Comfortable with re-ordering development priorities, governments of rich countries have proved unwilling to look at their domestic agricultural economies to see what changes are needed there. If the most powerful countries are not willing to make the changes at home that would help international markets perform better, they should at a minimum stop undermining international efforts, at the U.N. and within </div> <div>and among developing countries, to address the fundamental causes of the food crisis.</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-upload field--type-file field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Upload</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf icon-before"><span class="file-icon"><span class="icon glyphicon glyphicon-file text-primary" aria-hidden="true"></span></span><span class="file-link"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=885806" title="Open file in new window" target="_blank" data-toggle="tooltip" data-placement="bottom">2012_01_17_ResolvingFoodCrisis_SM_TW.pdf</a></span><span class="file-size">865.04 KB</span></span></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Andrew Ranallo 41680 at Transforming global food systems: José Graziano da Silva on the path to Zero Hunger <span>Transforming global food systems: José Graziano da Silva on the path to Zero Hunger</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/09/2021 - 16:07</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>Originally published on <a href="">IPS News</a> on April 6, 2021. </em></p></div> Fri, 09 Apr 2021 21:07:37 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44514 at Groups Urge Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals Stay with FDA not USDA <div data-history-node-id="44513" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p><span>Center for Food Safety<br /> Friends of the Earth U.S.<br /> Steve Suppan</span></p> <p> </p></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em><a href="">Download a PDF of the press release.</a></em></p> <p><span><strong>WASHINGTON, D.C.—</strong>This week, thirteen national advocacy groups concerned about public health, environment, and animal welfare urged key federal agencies to maintain regulatory authority over genetically engineered food animals within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In response to a Trump U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to withdraw most of the FDA’s regulatory authority over genetically engineered animals, including fish, and transfer that authority to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the groups sent letters to U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) <a href=""><span>Secretary Becerra</span></a> and USDA <a href=""><span>Secretary Vilsack</span></a> urging them to maintain authority of genetically engineered animals within FDA.</span></p> <p><span>“Despite concerns that FDA still needs to develop final regulations on genetically engineered animals, FDA possesses the scientific and administrative capacities to regulate these animals better than USDA,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director at the Center for Food Safety. “President Biden has said that his Administration will be science-based. Leaving genetically engineered animal regulation to the FDA is the science-based approach here.”</span></p> <p><span>USDA’s administrative action took the form of a <a href=""><span>Memorandum of Understanding</span></a> (MOU) — signed on January 13, 2021, by former USDA Secretary Perdue and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Brett Giroir — and was subsequently posted on the APHIS website. However, although HHS did sign the MOU, the MOU has not been posted on FDA’s website, which means that the MOU is not currently in effect, as it states, “This agreement will become effective when signed by both parties and made publicly available on the USDA and FDA websites.”</span></p> <p><span>FDA’s inaction signaled the last-minute effort by Secretary Perdue to deregulate genetically engineered animals was rejected by the FDA Commissioner. On January 11, FDA Commissioner Hahn told HHS leadership that he refused to sign the MOU, <a href=""><span>according to Politico</span></a>, “amid concerns about its legality and the potential health repercussions of relaxing oversight of certain genetically altered products.” One senior administration official told POLITICO that the White House was behind the sudden push for approval. Career FDA lawyers opposed the MOU, but were overruled by HHS’ political appointees. The MOU is part and parcel of other Trump administrative initiatives to weaken FDA’s authority to protect public health.</span></p> <p><span><span>The groups behind the letters share Commissioner Hahn’s concerns and are urging HHS Secretary Becerra to ask Secretary Vilsack to instruct USDA officials to remove the MOU from the APHIS website, since it is not in effect. Additionally, the groups are urging Secretary Becerra to order the HHS Office of the General Counsel to evaluate the legality of the MOU in the context of FDA’s statutory authorities and scientific capacity to regulate and conduct pre-market and post-market risk assessment of genetically engineered animals and fish.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“Genetically engineered animals are a significant new threat to our food system. With the GMO salmon company AquaBounty looking for buyers, the FDA must urgently strengthen its regulations to fully evaluate GMO animals for public health and environmental safety,” said Dana Perls, program manager for Friends of the Earth’s emerging tech program. “Handing authority over to the USDA will dilute the already-weak GMO animal regulations and exacerbate harm to farmers and the environment.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>Secretary Perdue, in announcing the MOU, <a href=""><span>repeated</span></a> meat industry arguments that FDA’s safety-oriented regulatory approach impedes rapid commercialization of genetically engineered animals. The industry demands, in the words of the National Pork Producers Council, “regulatory certainty” to expedite investment in and commercialization of GE animals, especially swine. However, reassigning regulatory authority to an agency avid to market genetically engineered animal products worldwide is very likely to compromise the scientific integrity of the risk assessment of these animals.</span></span></p> <p><span><span>“USDA must not encroach on the FDA’s clear authority and competence to conduct risk assessments on the processes of genetic engineering applied to agricultural animals and fish,” said Dr. Steve Suppan, policy analyst at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “If importing country authorities believe that USDA has usurped FDA authority over genetically engineered animals, the reputation and sales of U.S. agricultural exporters will likely suffer.”</span></span></p> <p><span><span>The thirteen groups that signed the letters are Center for Food Safety, A Greener World, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, Food and Water Watch, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Friends of the Earth, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Family Farm Coalition, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and World Animal Protection.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="">Read the letter to Sec. Vilsack</a>. </span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="">Read the letter to Sec. Becerra</a>.</span></span></p> <p><span><span><a href="">Download a PDF of the press release</a>. </span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 07 Apr 2021 19:17:52 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44513 at Time for US and EU to regulate factory farms’ greenhouse gas emissions <span>Time for US and EU to regulate factory farms’ greenhouse gas emissions</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Wed, 04/07/2021 - 09:48</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>The largest hog and dairy operations in the U.S. are run more like factories than farms. They concentrate thousands of animals indoors and produce massive amounts of manure, which is often turned into liquid and sprayed on farm fields. This factory farm system is a major source of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) methane. Yesterday, U.S. rural and environmental groups <a href=""><span><span>called for the U.S.</div> Wed, 07 Apr 2021 14:48:10 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44512 at Campesino, Social, Academic and Research Organizations Warn Against Pressures from Agricultural Associations in the United States that Affect Our Sovereignty <div data-history-node-id="44502" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-agriculture has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > We Exhort the Federal Government To Maintain its Commitment Towards National Food Sovereignty</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Public Declaration signed by 300 organizations (see below). </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong><a href="">Read the original statement in Spanish</a>. </strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Download a PDF of the English translation of the statement and view the full list of 302 signatories</a>. </strong></p> <p><span><span><span>On March 22, 2021 various U.S. food and agriculture industry associations directed an open letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative manifesting their concerns over the decisions made by the President of the Mexican Republic Lic. Andrés Manuel López Obrador regarding the front of package nutrition warning labels (NOM 051) that came into force on October 1, 2020. The American associations argue that this, along with the decree published on October 31, 2020 that gradually phases out the use of glyphosate and genetically modified corn, endangers imports of their products.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>These actions are the result of more than 20 years of struggle by the Mexican citizenry and numerous organizations of farmers, environmentalists, consumers, academics, and researchers in defense of peasant agriculture and power of our native corn, as well as the recognition of Mexico as center of origin, cultivation and diversification of species such as corn, chili, beans, squash, avocados, etc., and cultural value that of our milpas (cornfields). In addition, many research scientists have demonstrated the damage caused to health human and the environment by the consumption of ultraprocessed products, the herbicide glyphosate and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In this sense, as civil society organizations we reiterate our support for the policy implemented to ban the planting of corn transgenic and to phase out glyphosate by 2024, as well as for NOM-051, which enables the implementation of front of package warning labels on food and beverages. We consider that these measures are a necessary and fundamental step for the transition to a healthy and sustainable agri-food model.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In this sense, it is important to highlight that the health crisis caused by COVID-19 is a call to leave the devastating consumption model of the environment and the deterioration of health for another where the center is the construction of comprehensive public policies for our country Mexico, which guarantees the production of food that is healthy, nutritious, fair, and competitive in order to achieve self-sufficiency and food sovereignty. In such circumstances, the measures implemented by the Mexican government have the clear intention of strengthening our food sovereignty, as well as protecting the health of Mexicans and transitioning into agroecological production.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Measures that are based on broad international support such as the 4 per 1000 Agreement implemented at COP 21 in Paris; as well as by the Second Symposium of Agroecology in Rome in 2018, where international agencies, governments, academic bodies, farmers organizations and environmentalists committed to move towards agri-food models that are sustainable and regenerative, not only ensure healthy and high-quality food for populations, but also cool the planet with organic projects.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In the case of Mexico, it is important to note that the front of package warning labels (NOM 051) represent respect for the right to choose what to eat based on clear and simple information, as well as the rights to health and to healthy food. In a context where we are the only country in the world where the Ministry of Health has declared an epidemiological emergency due to obesity and diabetes since 2016, both due to non-communicable diseases associated with malnutrition, on the one hand due to the lack of micronutrients and on the other to excess consumption of ultra-processed foods and sugary drinks. From our perspective, the front of package warning labels represents a transcendent achievement towards the construction of a new agri-food and nutritional model. As noted by Christian Skoog, representative of UNICEF in Mexico, "the labeling approved by Mexico provides the best international experience and the most current and relevant scientific evidence, which might even become an example to other countries that go through this process of struggle against overweight and obesity.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>It is a fact that for multinationals companies dedicated to the food industry, many of the free and sovereign actions implemented by the Government of Mexico constitute an attack on their economic interests, however, for our part, we agree and we back President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in his decision to move forward to make the right to food, to self-sufficiency and food sovereignty a reality, and to move towards an agroecological model, gradually eliminating import dependence on basic grains and therefore rescuing the millennial contributions of our country’s campesino communities and indigenous communities.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We call for support for the measures previously mentioned and strengthening of the Decree that prohibits glyphosate and GM corn, as cutting-edge measures on the international level for those who seek to preserve our food sovereignty, the milpa as a basis for nutritious, healthy and local foods, as well as to return wealth to our land that has been so devastated by the excessive use of pesticides in our fields.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We urge the Government of Mexico not to give in to the blackmail of the associations that, in their eagerness to maintain their profits and preserve their power, have crossed the boundaries of ethics and health, seriously damaging the health, economy and biodiversity of the Mexican population.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We urge the Government of Mexico to JOINTLY build a new model agri-food and nutritional system.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>We urge the Mexican population to remain alert to support the front of package warning labels and the prohibition of glyphosate and transgenic corn and to continue defending the national and food sovereignty and our sacred plant: corn.</span></span></span></p> <p><em>To continue reading and view the list of signatories, <a href="">download the PDF</a>. </em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/agriculture2" hreflang="en">Agriculture</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 26 Mar 2021 19:38:06 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44502 at The real value of water <span>The real value of water</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/23/2021 - 09:08</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item">Valuing Water is the theme of the 29th World Water Day this year. Valuing Water and Enabling Change also happened to be the theme of the Annual Report of the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Water Resources Group (now hosted by the World Bank) last year.</div> Tue, 23 Mar 2021 14:08:03 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44497 at How Minnesota should consider climate change and approval of factory farms <div data-history-node-id="44491" class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/ben-lilliston" hreflang="en">Ben Lilliston</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-feature"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2021-03/imgpsh_mobile_save.jpg?itok=qeTNXUd7" width="950" height="590" alt="CAFO photo" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href=" McArthur ">Jo-Anne McArthur </a></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h2><span><span><span>What’s at Stake</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Minnesota is off-track to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals set in the 2007 <a href="">Next Generation Energy Act</a>. An important process for reviewing new projects could help put Minnesota back on track, and the state wants your input by April 9. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Using 2005 emissions as a baseline, the Next Generation Energy Act set a target to reduce emissions by 15% by 2015, 30% by 2025 and ultimately 80% by 2050. Minnesota did not meet the 2015 target and is well behind meeting the 2025 target. Since 2005, Minnesota’s emissions have only <a href="">reduced 8%</a>, but emissions since 2016 actually have been increasing. While most other sectors, like electricity, are reducing emissions, agriculture and forestry emissions (the state combines the two) are flat and in recent years have risen. Agriculture is responsible for nearly one-quarter of the state’s emissions and is the highest source in the state of two potent GHGs, methane and nitrous oxide. <a href="">Since 2005</a>, methane emissions from animal agriculture have increased 15% in the state, and nitrous oxide emissions related to both manure and synthetic fertilizer use have increased 12%. Much of that increase in emissions is linked to the state’s continued approval of permits for new and expanding factory farm feedlots. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Previously, Minnesota has not included climate change within its Environmental Review program, which approves permits for major new or expanding projects including feedlots. Now, for the first time, the state is developing rules for how proposed projects will consider climate change within the environmental review process, including estimating emissions, how it will reduce emissions and measures to adapt to future climate-related events. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) is seeking public input on how it will incorporate climate into its Environmental Review program. It is critical that the state gets this right and includes a full accounting of climate impacts, considers alternative animal production systems like managed grazing, and incorporates adaptive strategies for the rising number of climate-related events the state will experience.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Minnesota’s Factory Farm Free Pass</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Over the last several decades, Minnesota has seen significant losses in the number of pork, dairy and beef producers — even as the number of animals has increased. For example, in the <a href=",_Chapter_2_US_State_Level/st99_2_0012_0012.pdf">latest USDA Agriculture Census,</a> Minnesota lost 130 hog producers from 2012 to 2017, but the annual number of hogs produced in the state grew by 850,000. The state lost 16% of its dairy farms from 2016-2019, while dairy herd size grew 16% over the same period, according to the <a href="">Minnesota Department of Agriculture</a><span><span> (MDA)</span></span>. The shift toward large-scale confined operations has steadily reduced the number of farmers, while taking animals off pasture. Since 2012, Minnesota experienced a 27% loss of pasture land. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The shift toward large-scale factory farms mirrors a rise in Minnesota’s agriculture GHG emissions. <span><span>In Minnesota, methane and nitrous oxide emissions sourced to feedlots, fertilizers linked to feed production, manure, manure soil application, ruminants and runoff all increased from 2005 to 2018, </span></span><a href=""><span>reports the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency</span></a><span><span>.  </span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s latest <a href="">Greenhouse Gas Inventory</a> documents this trend nationally. <span><span>The EPA reported that methane emissions from manure management has risen 68% since 1990. The agency concluded that, “The majority of this increase is due to swine and dairy cow manure, where emissions increased 49 and 119 percent, respectively.” The EPA goes on to explain, “The shift toward larger dairy cattle and swine facilities since 1990 has translated into an increasing use of liquid manure management systems, which have higher potential CH4 (methane) emissions than dry systems.”</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In Minnesota, proposed new or expanding feedlots of more than 1,000 animal units must go through the state’s Environmental Review program to be approved. Over the last four years, the state has approved 36 new or expanding feedlots.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What is the Environmental Review Program?</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The Environmental Review program is an information-gathering process for the appropriate governmental entity (local government, state agency) that aids in the decision to approve a project or not. The review is not a regulatory process. Yet, getting the right information from the project developer is essential for agencies with regulatory oversight, the public and community members who live or work near the proposed project.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For most proposed projects, the environmental review process begins with an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), where a project developer details required information about the project and potential environmental impacts, such as on air and water quality. If the state agency determines that more information is needed, it can order an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is a more detailed and rigorous assessment. Based on the information it receives in the Environmental Review process the agency can accept or reject a project.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>What is Minnesota Proposing? </span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>The EQB is made up of nine state agency heads and eight public members and is responsible for overseeing the Environmental Review Program for proposed public and private projects that may significantly affect the environment.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The EQB has never included climate change within its Environmental Review process. In 2019, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and the Land Stewardship Project successfully challenged the state at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which ruled that climate change considerations must be included within the environmental review process. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>In 2020, the EQB began a process to incorporate climate within its environmental review process, holding several public hearings. The result is a December 2020 draft report, which makes nine recommendations on how to include climate within Environmental Review, including how to quantify expected GHG emissions, how the project might report on mitigating those emissions, the climate risk associated with the project, and how the project will adapt to expected climate impacts.</span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>Key Issues to Consider</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>Getting full and complete information on proposed new or expanding factory farm feedlots is critical to assessing their GHG emissions. The EQB is requesting public input on their proposals. Based on the EQB’s initial report, here are some key issues you could weigh in on during the public input process: </span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em>Ensure a full life cycle assessment </em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span>When it comes to assessing new feedlots, it is important that all emissions be counted. Some assessments only include emissions from the animal, manure storage and manure application as fertilizer. But other sources of emissions should also be included, such as emissions linked to feed production (including fertilizer use), energy and fuel use on the farm and in feed production (if produced off the farm), and any land use change that occurs as a result of the project. This full assessment should be included for any project required to do an EAW.</span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em>A thorough mitigation strategy</em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span>Each project developer should explain clearly how it will mitigate the emissions cited above. In proposed feedlot projects, pasture-based systems that emit fewer GHGs should be considered as an alternative. While the EQB proposes the purchase of renewable energy offsets, we believe the operation should be directly responsible for reducing the project’s direct emissions and shouldn’t escape that responsibility through offsets. The project developer should be required to list out all possible mitigation strategies that were considered and explain what was chosen and why. </span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em>Climate risks to the project, the surrounding community and the environment</em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span>The <a href="">MPCA reports</a> that the climate crisis will affect the state in a number of ways: warmer winters, shifts in growing seasons, more severe rainfalls, more flooding and longer dry spells. These changes are already affecting the state’s infrastructure, including large-scale animal agriculture operations where giant manure storage facilities are vulnerable to extreme weather events. The EQB report requests that project developers assess predicted climate-related impacts for their region and lay out an adaptation strategy for the project. For feedlots, these adaptation strategies need to pay special attention to the climate risks associated with manure storage and spread. </span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em>Full consideration of alternative systems of animal production</em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span>Some Minnesota farmers are using alternative systems of animal production that emit fewer GHGs, including pasture-based grazing systems. A <a href="">Department of Agriculture report</a> assessed 22 different practices to reduce GHGs on the farm and estimated the emissions reductions, including state programs to support those practices (there are also complementary federal Farm Bill conservation programs). </span></span></span></p> <h4><span><span><span><em>Explain how the project helps to meet the state’s climate goals</em></span></span></span></h4> <p><span><span><span>The EQB report does not provide enough clarity on how Minnesota’s state climate goals spelled out in the Next Generation Energy Act should be considered within a project. More guidance is needed. Each new or expanding feedlot project will increase the state’s GHG emissions. It is important that state agencies have the information they need to get the state back on track, including whether there is a threshold of emissions from proposed projects that should spur an Environmental Impact Statement. </span></span></span></p> <h2><span><span><span>How You Can Engage</span></span></span></h2> <p><span><span><span>In the immediate term, the EQB is accepting written comments on its report through April 9. It will be holding its first public forum on its recommendations on March 17. The EQB is also offering the public an opportunity to take a survey and/or to request a one-on-one meeting. All details can be found here: <a href=""></a>.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The EQB will consider and respond to comments, revise its proposal and submit to the full board this Summer for consideration.</span></span></span></p> <hr /><h2>Downloads </h2> <p><a href=""><strong>View and d</strong></a><strong><a href="">ownload your own copy of the fact sheet in PDF form.</a></strong></p> <hr /><p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 17 Mar 2021 21:57:53 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44491 at Detener la carrera al barranco en la política comercial <span>Detener la carrera al barranco en la política comercial</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/16/2021 - 14:44</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong>Publicado en <a href="">The American Prospect</a><em>,</em> 15 de marzo de 2021. </strong></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span>El gigante de la agroindustria Bayer/Monsanto afirma que las restricciones propuestas por México sobre el ingrediente activo de su herbicida Roundup violan el acuerdo comercial del país con Estados Unidos. ¿Estará de acuerdo la Administración Biden?</span></span></span></p></div> Tue, 16 Mar 2021 19:44:30 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44493 at Stopping the race to the bottom in trade policy <span>Stopping the race to the bottom in trade policy</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:48</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>The following op-ed was published originally on <a href="">The American Prospect</a>. Republished with permission below. </em></p></div> Tue, 16 Mar 2021 14:48:46 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44488 at Calling on the World Bank: It is time for a reset <span>Calling on the World Bank: It is time for a reset</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/15/2021 - 13:08</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item">Mid-March, IATP joined 345 other civil society organizations, social movements, trade unions, academic allies and independent experts from 75 countries to launch a campaign to bring an end to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report (DBR). </div> Mon, 15 Mar 2021 18:08:44 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44487 at