|Betting the farm: the land grab for arable farmland|
Fortune - 6/15/2009.By Brian O'Keefe – (Fortune) – On a sunny Friday morning, Shonda Warner and I are in her red Toyota pickup heading southwest on Highway 61 out of Clarksdale, Miss., on our way to see one of her farms. While her black standard poodle, Walter, naps in the back seat, she's explaining the pitfalls of being an institutional land investor. "It's really hard to buy property at the right price," says Warner as we roll past the famous crossroads where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil to get the secret of the blues. "Half of all farmland that trades in the United States never sees a broker. We believe you've got to have a lot of local knowledge of the marketplace. Farmers are smart and they talk. And if one Town Car full of Wall Street types rolls into town and makes a bid, suddenly all of the prices go up."
|“No safe amount: the handshake theory of chemical toxicity”|
Treehugger - 6/14/2009.By Christine Lepisto – The medieval physician Paracelsus said: "Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy." Often quoted in paraphrase as the dose makes the poison, this truism has dominated regulation and chemical management for centuries. Agencies strive to keep people and the environment healthy by establishing the "safe" level of a chemical.
|A ‘time bomb’ for world wheat crop|
Los Angeles Times - 6/14/2009.By Karen Kaplan – The spores arrived from Kenya on dried, infected leaves ensconced in layers of envelopes. Working inside a bio-secure greenhouse outfitted with motion detectors and surveillance cameras, government scientists at the Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn., suspended the fungal spores in a light mineral oil and sprayed them onto thousands of healthy wheat plants. After two weeks, the stalks were covered with deadly reddish blisters characteristic of the scourge known as Ug99.
|That’s fascinating stuff|
Maine Sunday Telegram - 6/14/2009.By Meredith Goad – If you're driving along the midcoast and see a man on a bike paused by the side of the road, looking intently at some tree or flower, chances are it's Kerry Hardy. Hardy is a modern Renaissance man, one who moves easily back and forth between knowledge of forestry, gardening, history, farming, language and the environment. He is well known in the Rockland area for going everywhere on his bike so that he doesn't miss anything. That kind of all-encompassing curiosity pervades Hardy's new book, "Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki" (Down East Books, $21.95), an accessible dissertation on the lives of the original native Mainers.