Farmer eaten by his own hogs
October 2nd, 2012
08:02 AM ET

Farmer eaten by his own hogs

Authorities in Oregon are investigating how a hog farmer was eaten by his animals.

The remains of Terry Vance Garner, 70, were found in his hog enclosure Wednesday, according to local news reports Monday.

The farmer had gone to feed the hogs, some weighing as much as 700 pounds, about 7:30 a.m., according to a report from CNN affiliate KMTR. After Garner was not seen for several hours, a family member went to check on him and found his dentures in the hog pen. Other remains were found, but the hogs had eaten most of the farmer, according to the report.

The sheriff's department is looking into the death.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Animals • Oregon
Millions of dollars in maple syrup stolen
As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec.
August 31st, 2012
12:44 PM ET

Millions of dollars in maple syrup stolen

Talk about sticky-fingered thieves. They've struck in Quebec, snatching millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, between Montreal and Quebec City.

Up to 10 million pounds of syrup was in the warehouse, according to a statement from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which bills itself as keeper of  the global strategic maple syrup reserve.

Officials could not say exactly how much of the product was stolen, but a Quebec police official told The Globe and Mail it was a substantial quantity.

“We know that it’s millions of dollars that was stolen,” Sgt. Richard Gagné is quoted as saying. “It’s a very large amount.”

The 10 million pounds of syrup that was in the warehouse is worth more than $30 million, according to the federation statement.

The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check of the warehouse, which "had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly," federation president Serge Beaulieu said in the statement.

The barrels that originally contained the syrup were empty, meaning it was somehow transferred to some other kind of containers to complete the theft, the federation said.

The warehouse where the theft occurred was being used to temporarily store the sweet stuff while a new facility was being prepared.

As much as 80% of the world's maple syrup comes from Quebec, the federation said.

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Filed under: Canada • Crime • Agriculture • Food
40% of U.S. food wasted, report says
Average supermarket losses are 11.4% for fresh fruit, the report says.
August 22nd, 2012
12:45 PM ET

40% of U.S. food wasted, report says

Forty percent of food in the United States is never eaten, amounting to $165 billion a year in waste, taking a toll on the country's water resources and significantly increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council released this week.

The group says more than 20 pounds of food is wasted each month for each of 311 million Americans, amounting to $1,350 to $2,275 annually in waste for a family of four. Think of it as dumping 80 quarter-pound hamburger patties in the garbage each month, or chucking two dozen boxes of breakfast cereal into the trash bin rather than putting them in your pantry.

The report points out waste in all areas of the U.S. food supply chain, from field to plate, from farms to warehouses, from buffets to school cafeterias.

"Food is simply too good to waste," the report says. "Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates."

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Filed under: Agriculture • Energy • Environment • Food
Hogs feel drought's pinch
The U.S. drought could hurt livestock producers more than farmers, who often are protected by federal crop insurance.
July 20th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Hogs feel drought's pinch

By Chris Welch, CNN

Washington, Iowa (CNN) - For Rachel and Dan Berdo and their four young children, hogs are everything:  They're the source of nearly all of the family's income.

The couple from the small town of Washington are particularly worried this year because of the drought, considered the worst in a generation.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Heat • Iowa • Weather
July 17th, 2012
01:02 PM ET

How the drought could hit your wallet

With more than half the country in some state of drought, farmers are feeling the impact on their livelihood and consumers could expect to feel a hit in their wallet when they go to the supermarket soon, experts say.

The U.S. is facing the largest drought since the 1950s, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday, saying that about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought.

The hot, dry weather in June, which ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center, made the problem worse.

That has left farmers on the edge of their seat worrying about how much damage their harvests will sustain and how much of their livelihood they may stand to lose this year.

Throughout the Midwest, farmers are seeing signs of damaged crops. In the 18 states that produce most of our corn, only 31% of the crops were rated good or excellent this week, that’s down from 40% last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This same time last year, 66% of corn crops were rated good or excellent. Soybean crops, which can be used in creating diesel fuel, are seeing similar troubles; 34% of the U.S. crop was rated good or excellent, down from 40% last week. This time last year, 64% were in that condition.

Derek Mullin, a farmer from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, told CNN’s Chris Welch that in a good year he can get 200 bushels of corn per acre, but this year he expects that number reduced by 25%.

That lost money will hurt him and his family and he said there is nothing he can do about it.

Is the drought hitting your area? Let us know how you're coping on CNN iReport.

"This is our personal business. It's right at our back door. As soon as we walk out of our house we see our investment and when it goes downhill it does take a toll on you,” he told CNN.  “One of the hardest parts about this is you can do everything just right - planting dates, work hard at putting in a good crop, have a good stand established - and when mother nature works against you, then it all seems like it was for nothing."

Mullin's expected low yield of corn, and similar situations for other farmers, is specifically why this drought is getting a lot of attention, Richard Volpe, an economist with the USDA's Economic Research Service told CNN.

"Corn is a major input for retail food," he said. "Corn is used to make feed for all the animals in our food supply chain. As this drought reduces the harvest of corn, that would drive up the price of feed for animals and then in turn meat products."

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Filed under: Agriculture • Heat • Weather
Half-million pigs to be slaughtered in Chile health emergency
A dead pig lies among others at the Agrosuper slaughterhouse last week in Freirina, Chile.
May 29th, 2012
10:23 AM ET

Half-million pigs to be slaughtered in Chile health emergency

A half-million pigs on a Chilean farm will be destroyed after the facility was closed for several days during a dispute with local residents.

Jose Guzman, chief executive of Agrosuper, which owns the farm, said the animals would be killed rather than moved, according to a report from Agence-France Presse.

"They are going to be slaughtered. They are not going to another farm, nor to another plant," Guzman is quoted as saying.

The events that precipitated the slaughter began this month when villagers from Freirina blockaded the farm after months of protests about foul odors and disease-infested water they said emanated from the farm and its slaughterhouse. The 500,000 pigs went unattended for five days, prompting the Chilean government to declare a sanitary emergency, according to a report from MercoPress.

Agrosuper was given six months to move the pigs and remedy the sanitary problems with the plant, MercoPress reported.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Animals • Chile
Scientists: Giant cannibal shrimp invasion growing
This black tiger shrimp was caught in 210 feet of water off the coast of Louisiana.
April 26th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Scientists: Giant cannibal shrimp invasion growing

An invasion of giant cannibal shrimp into America's coastal waters appears to be getting worse.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday that sightings of the massive Asian tiger shrimp, which can eat their smaller cousins, were 10 times higher in 2011 than in 2010.

“And they are probably even more prevalent than reports suggest, because the more fisherman and other locals become accustomed to seeing them, the less likely they are to report them,” said Pam Fuller, a USGS biologist.

The shrimp, which can grow to 13 inches long, are native to Asian and Australian waters and have been reported in coastal waters from North Carolina to Texas.

They can be consumed by humans.

"They're supposed to be very good. But they can get very large, sorta like lobsters," Fuller said.

While they may make good eatin' for people, it's the eating the giant shrimp do themselves that worries scientists.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Shrimp • Texas
Gotta Watch: Poo you'll pay for
March 21st, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Poo you'll pay for

If you're easily grossed out or squeamish by the mere mention of words like poop, poo or dung, you've officially been warned.  Today's Gotta Watch is all about that and it's inspired by a Chinese businessman whose livelihood thrives on crap.  The thought of willingly consuming this excrement probably hasn't crossed your mind a whole lot, but there are people who choose to offer up quite a bit of money for it.  Would you pay to consume something made with poop? Sound off below.

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From panda poo to costly brew

Check out this video to see how panda poo tea is made and find out why people will pay $200 per cup.

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Cat poop coffee takes unappetizing path

You've gotta watch this video to find out how coffee is made from exotic cat poop.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Animals • China • Gotta Watch • Health • Michigan
Record price paid for massive tuna
Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, cuts into his prize purchase at his main restaurant near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market on Thursday.
January 5th, 2012
07:11 AM ET

Record price paid for massive tuna

Fancy a $50 piece of sushi?

That's what one piece of a 593-pound blue fin tuna sold Thursday at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market for a record $736,000 is worth.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs the Sushi-Zanmai chain in Japan, bought the record-setting fish at the first auction of the new year at Japan's main fish market, a popular tourist stop in Tokyo, according to the Tokyo Times.

The previous record for a fish was set at the market in 2011's first sale of the new year, when a Hong Kong restauranteur paid $422,000 for a blue fin. He took that fish to Hong Kong.

Kimura said he wanted to keep this year's top tuna in Japan. It was caught off Amori prefecture.

"We tried very hard to win the bidding, so that we could give Japan a boost and have Japanese people eat the most delicious tuna," the Mainichi Daily News quoted him as saying.

Despite the record price Kimura paid, pieces of the prize fish are expected to sell for around $5 in his restaurants.

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Filed under: Animals • Aquaculture • Fish • Food • Japan
Californians not getting their Thanksgiving crabs
Crabs were ready for the pot last Thanksgiving season in San Francisco.
November 23rd, 2011
12:47 PM ET

Californians not getting their Thanksgiving crabs

A couple of turkeys got a Thanksgiving pardon from President Obama at the White House on Wednesday, but beneath the Pacific Ocean, thousands and thousands of crabs will be around for a holiday they normally experience from a pot and a plate.

Dungeness crab have traditionally been served on Northern California tables along with the turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving. This year, however, a price dispute between crab fishermen and processors has left market shelves and restaurant menus bereft of the crustaceans, according to media reports from the Bay Area.

Crab fishermen want $2.50 a pound for their catch, but processors are offering only $2, so the fishermen are staying in port, and traps aren't going into the sea, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

"I feel terrible, because I know everyone loves Thanksgiving crab, but we can't work for nothing," Larry Collins, head of the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association, told the Chronicle.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Business • California • Economy • Food • Thanksgiving
Blue Angels to fly on biofuels
A Navy logo on a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet indicates the service's commitment to biofuels.
September 3rd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Blue Angels to fly on biofuels

When the six F/A-18 Hornets in the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team thrill the crowds at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo in Maryland this weekend, they'll be soaring on biofuel.

Each of the six Hornets will be powered by a 50/50-blend of jet fuel and camelina-based biofuel, according to a Navy press release.

Camelina is a high-oil flowering plant grown in rotation on land used for wheat and on land too marginal for food production, according to Sustainable Oils, the company providing it to the military. Sustainable Oils says camelina can also reduce carbon emissions by 80% over jet fuel.

The camelina mix has been successfully tested in several military aircraft, including the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor and C-17 Globemaster, as well as the Navy F/A-18. Two Air Force F-16s from the Thunderbirds demonstration team flew with the mix during a performance in May, the service and Sustainable Fuels said.

"This will be the first time an entire unit has flown on a biofuel mix," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in the Navy release. "Changing the kinds of fuels we use and the way we use them is critical to assuring the Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

By 2016, the Navy plans to deploy the Great Green Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike group powered entirely by non-fossil fuels, Mabus has said.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Aviation • Environment • Military • U.S. Navy
Whoops! $1 million worth of wine spilled
More than 5,000 bottles of Australian wine won't be in glasses after a forklift accident Thursday.
July 22nd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Whoops! $1 million worth of wine spilled

A malfunctioning forklift dropped 462 cases of wine in Australia on Thursday, a spill with a price tag of more than $1 million.

The 5,544 bottles of 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz, with a price tag of $185 a bottle,  fell almost 20 feet to ground of a wharf in Port Adelaide as the forklift was loading it for shipment abroad, according to media reports.

"We just couldn't believe it," winemaker Sparky Marquis said in a report on Adelaide Now. "As you can imagine, this wine is our pride and joy. To see it accidentally destroyed, and not consumed, has left us all a bit numb.

"The container manager said that when his team came and told him what had happened, he was looking around for cameras to see if it was a 'gotcha' hoax. He realised it was serious when nobody was laughing," Adelaide Now quotes Marquis as saying.

Marquis told ABC.net that only one carton among the 462 was undamaged. His staff was searching through the others to see if any other bottles may have escaped.

"All of the bottles are in the cool store and we're just having to go through every single bottle, check it first of all to see if it has any cap seal damage to it, in which case it just gets immediately discarded," ABC.net quotes him as saying.

The lost wine represents a third of his company's output for a year.

Brett McCarthur of Kerry Logistics, the company which operated the forklift, told Adelaide Now his company moves tens of thousands of heavy containers each year.

"We move hundreds of pallets a day filled with sand and even stuff that it wouldn't matter if you dropped it from 50 feet in the air, but the only premium container had to be the one," McCarthur was quoted as saying.

Marquis said he was working with insurers to get compensated for his loss.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Australia • Food
Report: Genetic breakthrough could increase value of rice by 25%
A farmer checks on rice plants at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines last year.
July 19th, 2011
09:46 AM ET

Report: Genetic breakthrough could increase value of rice by 25%

Scientists say they are close to identifying the genes responsible for the chalkiness of rice, knowledge that could lead to increasing yields of the staple crop, the International Rice Research Institute reports.

Developing chalk-free varieties of rice could increase the grain's value by 25%, according to the report.

Chalk is the white portion of the grain. During the milling process, rice with high chalkiness breaks apart more easily, reducing the amount that makes it to market.

The chalkiness of rice is a product of genetics and environment, with a few low-chalk varieties now available.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Food • Philippines
Gotta Watch: Weird foods
June 8th, 2011
09:27 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Weird foods

Have you ever heard the saying you are what you eat? Well, if you like to sink your teeth into some of the foods in this Gotta Watch, we really hope that saying isn't true. Here are three of our favorite videos about foods that are not for people with a weak stomach. Bon Appetit!

Tacos a pest hazard - A California restaurant owner can no longer serve their most talked-about dish. That's because it's made out of grasshoppers and the health department isn't too thrilled with having bugs in your food. Supposedly they taste just like chicken.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Arizona • California • Gotta Watch • Insects • San Francisco • U.S.
'River snot' could damage pristine waterways, study finds
Didymo is present at many points along Rapid Creek, South Dakota.
June 7th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

'River snot' could damage pristine waterways, study finds

Some of the world's cleanest waterways may be in trouble for being so clean.

A species of fast-growing freshwater algae that lives in streams and rivers - sometimes called "river snot" - can alter food supplies to other aquatic life and hurt fisheries, according to a new report published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of South Dakota Carbon Scientist fund.

Scientists such as P.V. Sundareshwar, associate professor of biogeochemistry, conducted their research in Rapid Creek, a clear mountain stream in the western part of South Dakota where the first strains of Didymo were found in 2002. Sundareshwar has been working on the project for the past four years.

"When you normally see a kind of green scum in a pond it's because there's runoff, or some pollutant causing that to happen from the outside of a body of water," he said. "But this is unusual because it's happening organically."

The formal name of the potentially damaging algae is Didymo for Didymosphenia geminata. It looks like thick mats of bacteria on the bottom of waterways and thrives in the Southern Hemisphere, from New Zealand to Chile.

"Didymo has become a major nuisance," he said. "It's so adaptable, it can dominate, virtually take over all other algae that (normally) provides a structure for the food chain in waterways. You're talking about affecting, or altering, an entire ecosystem."

He said that the problem has been especially bad in New Zealand where studies there have said that damages to fishery profits have run into the tens of millions.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Earth • Environment
Oxfam: 'Broken' food system leaving millions hungry
The poor reach for food from the table of the rich during an Oxfam-produced performance in front of Germany's Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday.
May 31st, 2011
10:31 AM ET

Oxfam: 'Broken' food system leaving millions hungry

Climate change and decreasing natural resources will increase pressure on food supplies in the coming decades, threatening millions of people with chronic hunger, Oxfam International said in a report Tuesday.

The international humanitarian relief and development organization calls the world's food system "broken," saying food price increases have driven 44 million people worldwide into poverty just this year.

“Our world is capable of feeding all of humanity yet one in seven of us are hungry today," Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs says in a press release.

"As climate change impacts become increasingly severe and fertile land and fresh water supplies become increasingly scarce, feeding the world will get harder still. Millions more men, women and children will go hungry unless we transform our broken food system,” Hobbs says.

Oxfam puts the blame for the crisis on governments, businesses and wealthy elites.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Charity • Food • World
Dam releases are killing hundreds of thousands of fish, farmers say
Fish farmers say nitrogen gas generated by the Grand Coulee Dam’s increased water flow is killing their crop downstream.
May 27th, 2011
11:04 AM ET

Dam releases are killing hundreds of thousands of fish, farmers say

Hundreds of thousands of fish in the Columbia River are dying from the bends.

That's the layman's explanation. Here's the detailed one.

A large winter snow melt is forcing the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia in Washington state, to increase water flows through the dam. The turbulent water is releasing gases, including nitrogen gas, which is what causes the bends in scuba divers when they surface too quickly. Gas levels have been more than 130% of normal recently, the Seattle Times reports.

"We've easily got hundreds of thousands of dead fish," Bill Clark told the Seattle paper. He works for Pacific Aquaculture, which farms steelhead trout in nets in the river.

Pacific Aquaculture's parent company, Pacific Seafood, says it is losing 100,000 fish a day from the 2.7 million still living on the farm in the river 20 miles south of the Grand Coulee, according to a report on SeattlePI.com.

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Filed under: Aquaculture • Fish • Washington state
'Corpse flowers' raise stink on Easter Sunday
A few titan arums bloom each year. In 2010, the Indonesian plant flowered at the botanical gardens in Tokyo.
April 24th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

'Corpse flowers' raise stink on Easter Sunday

In the botanical sciences greenhouse at Ohio State University, "Woody," a titan arum, bloomed Saturday for the first time after growing for nearly 10 years.

The plant, commonly called a "corpse flower" because of its pungent odor,  is the second cultivated titan arum to blossom this weekend. In Switzerland, a botanical garden is getting a whiff of its own titan arum.

“(The leaves) began to open just a little bit after 4 p.m. and it was fully open at 9:30 p.m.,” Ohio State greenhouse coordinator Joan Leonard told CNN Sunday.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Indonesia • Ohio
From candy to cashmere, prices rising
A worker arranges spools of thread at a textile factory in Karachi, Pakistan. Cotton prices have doubled in the past year.
February 15th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

From candy to cashmere, prices rising

Manufacturers of everything from cereal to refrigerators say they have absorbed price increases as long as possible and will now start passing along those costs to consumers.

Who's to blame? It depends. A cold snap in Mexico means potential shortages and higher prices for cucumbers and tomatoes. The Chinese economy is growing strongly, and it is gobbling up everything from oil to grains to metals.

Bad weather for cotton growing in Pakistan, China and Australia is fueling a historic rally in cotton. Cotton prices have doubled over the past year and will certainly translate into higher prices for T-shirts and underwear.

Hanes, Nike, and Polo Ralph Lauren are just some of the brands whose prices will rise, because of price increases for cotton, wool and cashmere.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Business • Economy • Food • World
Salmonella outbreak sickens 89 people
December 23rd, 2010
06:10 PM ET

Salmonella outbreak sickens 89 people

A salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts has sickened 89 people in 15 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Food • Health
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