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Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

Federal judge in Hawaii bars county from excessive regulation

By Gene Hall

It’s always refreshing to see a legal matter settled on the basis of law and fact rather than emotion, overheated rhetoric and political theory. This was the case in Hawaii a few days ago when a federal judge ruled against Kauai County’s aggressive and anti-farmer Ordinance 960.

It’s not that silly laws never win in court, but this one, sillier than most, was turned back, though on more narrow grounds than I believe were justified.  Kauai County Ordinance 960 was passed some months ago with very strict curbs on many agricultural practices and the agribusiness firms that operate there. Included were restrictions on pesticide use and biotechnology, or GMOs if you will. The trouble is, that’s the state’s job—one that Hawaii performs aggressively.

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GMOs: It’s all in the name

GMOs: It’s all in the name

By Mike Barnett

Genetically modified organisms. GMOs.

I’m not sure who thought up the nomenclature for this biotech wonder, but the acronym GMO probably contributes more to public fear and misunderstanding than anything else.

GMO. It sounds scary. Genetically Modified Organisms. That’s even more frightening. Those are words and phrases activists can hang their hat on, and let me tell you, they’ve done one fine job of hanging hats.

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Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

Texas farmer emphasizes need for workable ag labor force

By Mike Barnett

“A farmer should never have to destroy a crop due to the lack of an adequate labor force.”

Attribute that statement to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman. It is a thought echoed throughout Texas and the nation as food spoils in the field because Congress is unwilling to address labor shortages in agriculture.

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Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

By Kenneth Dierschke
TFB President

I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.

El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.

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Insects: Coming to a plate near you

Insects: Coming to a plate near you

By Mike Barnett

Don’t look now but insects may be coming to a plate near you.

I’ve seen several reports in the news lately about bugs becoming a source to meet global food challenges. Although some cultures depend on insects for protein, they are considered a “poor man’s” diet, according to one entomophagy expert. Entomophagy is a fancy word for the study of eating insects.

Which is growing in popularity. At least that’s what Arnold van Huis says, who is organizing the first international conference to address whether insects can feed the world.

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Hey, EPA, it’s time to ditch the rule!

Hey, EPA, it’s time to ditch the rule!

By Mike Barnett

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to clarify the Clean Water Act (CWA) is muddying the water for farmers and ranchers in Texas and across the U.S.

That’s not much of a surprise knowing EPA’s history, but their new proposed rule could be bad news for your land use decisions and farming practices.

The CWA was established to give EPA and the Corps the authority to regulate navigable waters, such as interstate rivers.  The law calls these “waters of the U.S.” State and local governments have jurisdiction over smaller, more remote waters, such as ponds and isolated wetlands, because state and local governments are more accountable to their citizens.

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