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5@5: New study tempers soil carbon sequestration hopes | USDA finalizes hemp production regulations

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

New Hope Network staff

January 29, 2021

3 Min Read
testing soil lab carbon agriculture
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We’re told that healthy soil sequesters huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Scientists are finding that’s not always the case

There's a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the buzzy world of soil-based carbon sequestration methods. And now a new study is fueling scientists' fears that rising levels of atmospheric carbon and higher temperatures could "bring us closer to triggering an irreversible but destructive, carbon-generating feedback loop in the soil cycle." The findings suggest policymakers would do well to reign in their expectations regarding the effectiveness of these methods, and instead push for policies that are certain to cut emissions at the source, like mandating a reduction in fossil fuel use. The Counter reports.

USDA finalizes hemp production regulations

New rules out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture increase the percentage of THC allowed in growers' hemp to 1% and expand the window to harvest the crop following a successful THC testing. But the industry is still concerned about an outdated rule that only allows growers to partner with testing labs that are registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has created a significant bottleneck for producers. The rules will go into effect March 22. Head to Modern Farmer for the details.

Biden might finally ban a pesticide that studies say poisoned kids' brains for decades

The pesticide chorpyrifos can be highly toxic to children, but current legislation doesn't prevent it from being used in farming operations (the chemical has been banned from household use since 2000). But all that is changing after President Biden issued an executive order to protect consumers and farmworkers alike against "exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides" and stated that as part of this move he would re-evaluate chlorpyrifos. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency maintained that, despite evidence showing that in high quantities the chemical could lead to respiratory paralysis and death, it needed to further evaluate the science before taking action. Not surprisingly, it was later uncovered that the largest producer of chlorpyrifos had donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural activities. Vice has the scoop.

The American grocery store is all about identity. And it's fueling a broken system

Where consumers shop for food and what they buy often says a great deal about their cultural identity; this is in part because grocers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are targeting ever-tighter demographic segments. But zooming out on the whole system reveals that the industry relies on only three things: convenience, high quality and low prices. These are all in tension with one another, though, and improving upon one of them often comes at the cost of the other. NBC News delves into the harmful effects on the supply chain that result from a supercharged drive to serve food shoppers.

Local food movements won't save the world

Contrary to popular rhetoric, it's clear that local food movements aren't going to fix the food system. This is because localism opts to ignore the injustices of the global food system instead of taking steps to rectify these wrongs, which further harms those who have been most abused by the system. Localism would also increase wealth in affluent communities while taking away income from farmers who depend on imports for income and survival. Medium tells it like it is.

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