Why Maine is Taking the Feds to Court Over Sludge
Modern Farmer
by Kirsten Lie-Nielsen
15h ago
In the 1970s, many rivers, streams and lakes in America were choked with trash, waste and sewage. The Androscoggin River, which flows between Lewiston and Auburn in Maine, was so quenched with toxic waste that 20-foot drifts of yellow and brown foam were said to float down it, and the rotten-egg odor would peel paint off riverside houses.  It’s no wonder, then, that longtime Maine senator and eventual governor Edmund Muskie helped to craft and pass the legislation that became the Clean Water Act of 1972, establishing regulations for discharging pollution into rivers and streams. But that ..read more
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Meet the 97-Year-Old Salt-Harvesting Matriarch
Modern Farmer
by Elena Valeriote
4d ago
Quintina Ayvar de la Cruz is the living embodiment of the environment that has been her home for 97 years. She has a brightness that matches the green mangroves near her house in Juluchuca, Mexico and she sparkles like the salt that has been the focus of her life’s work—and a great source of her life’s joy, too.  “I started from a young age, when I was about six years old,” says Ayvar de la Cruz, recalling her earliest experiences of harvesting salt from the area known in the vicinity as Las Salinas. “I began with my parents, then continued with my brothers, then with my children from whe ..read more
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Farmworkers Cannot Wait for OSHA to Adequately Protect Them From Heat. The Fair Food Program Provides a Solution
Modern Farmer
by Kathleen Sexsmith, Greg Asbed
4d ago
In the wake of the Northern hemisphere’s hottest summer on record, Cruz Salucio, a longtime farmworker and current educator with the Fair Food Program, recalled the painful effects of heat stress: “I remember the heat of the sun and the intense exhaustion during my first years in the tomato and watermelon fields,” he recalls. Over more than a decade, Salucio harvested watermelon and tomatoes across Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Maryland, working up to 12 hours each day. “Struggling with dehydration, I would get hit with terrible cramps in my feet, my legs, my fingers. They would get hard ..read more
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Ciudades y estados mexicanos podrían quedarse sin agua. ¿Cuál es la solución?
Modern Farmer
by Lauren Rothman
4d ago
We’ve also published this article in English. To read it in English, click here.  Era mediados de febrero y, en la Ciudad de Oaxaca, México, las temperaturas comenzaban a subir a los 80 grados Fahrenheit. La primavera es la temporada de calor aquí, y además de soportar el calor, mi pareja y yo estábamos en medio de una mudanza desde la casa que habíamos alquilado cerca del centro de la ciudad durante dos años, a una pequeña casa en el campo. Nuestro espacioso lugar en la ciudad nos había servido bien, pero nos preocupaba cada vez más el principal problema que habíamos enfrentado allí: la ..read more
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Meet the Pecan Farmer Who Wants to Change the Plant-Based Milk Scene
Modern Farmer
by Laurel Miller
1w ago
The wild pecan (Carya illionoisnensis) is the only major nut native to North America (depending upon who you talk to, that is. Some say it’s the only native nut, while others cite the eastern American black walnut as an indigenous species). The drought-tolerant trees grow in a belt that extends from northern Mexico to northern Illinois, with the pecans peaking in Texas, New Mexico and Georgia.  Tree shaking during late October at Sorrells Farms in Comanche, Texas. Photography courtesy of the Texas Pecan Growers Association. Plant-based milks have proliferated in the marketplace over the ..read more
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The PFAS Problem: Demystifying “Forever Chemicals”
Modern Farmer
by Modern Farmer
1w ago
In April 2024, the EPA passed its first-ever legally enforceable drinking water standards on a handful of PFAS—a group of man-made chemicals widely used to make non-stick coatings and products that resist heat, oil, water and more. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances keep food from sticking to packaging or cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective. They are referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their tendency to not break down. PFAS have been used commercially since the 1940s, and it has long been known that these chemic ..read more
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Asked & Answered: PFAS Q&A with Kyla Bennett
Modern Farmer
by Lena Beck
1w ago
This story is part of our ongoing PFAS series, The PFAS Problem: Demystifying ‘Forever Chemicals’ PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals that are used commercially for their nonstick or waterproof properties. The problem is that they don’t readily break down and have been associated with harmful health conditions. Today, these chemicals can be found everywhere. As a result of both direct chemical pollution from manufacturing facilities and exposure through everyday household items, PFAS can be in our water, soil and even the blood of most Americans.  In our previous P ..read more
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A Win for Growers Who Protect Biodiversity on Agricultural Land
Modern Farmer
by Jennifer Cole
1w ago
Truth be told, cattle farmers are no fans of lupine. If a pregnant cow chows down on the plant, its toxins can cause the unborn calf to be born with crooked cow syndrome and be unable to walk. In most instances, farmers will spray the plant with herbicide and kill it. But on Mallonee Farms, a Washington State dairy farm, things are different. Instead of eradicating the undesired plant, it is protected.  As a host to the larvae of the endangered Fender’s Blue Butterfly, Kincaid’s lupine was declared a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2000. Only found in s ..read more
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Farmers Face a Mental Health Crisis. Talking to Others in the Industry Can Help
Modern Farmer
by Libby Leonard
1w ago
Note: This story mentions suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call 1-800-FARM-AID (I-800-327-6243) or  call or text the Suicide Crisis Helpline at 988.  In 1992, Jeff Ditzenberger walked into an abandoned building near his farm in Monroe, Wisconsin and lit it on fire. His intent was that he wanted to die in there, but as the building continued to go up in flames, he changed his mind and escaped the blaze.  Later charged with arson, he was able to get help in a psychiatric ward, where he was able to talk without judgment. However, with those he knew, Ditzenber ..read more
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Women Are Reclaiming Their Hunting Heritage
Modern Farmer
by Kathleen Willcox
1w ago
On a recent 48-degree spring morning, I left my warm bed well before dawn to meet a stranger with a big gun. I donned my Upstate New York mom’s version of camouflage (black jeans, giant brown rain boots, a green puffer), doused myself in tick spray and nosed my superannuated station wagon onto a network of country roads, then gravel lanes, lined by budding maple, beech and oak trees and sprouting fields of ferns and wildflowers that would lead me to the unmarked trailer I was set to arrive at around 4:30 a.m.  It was dark, with a sliver of a moon lending a Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderlan ..read more
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