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Researchers are studying whether insecticide-coated seeds could be harming the bee population. (File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)
Researchers are studying whether insecticide-coated seeds could be harming the bee population. (File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

The government’s announcement that it would slow the use of some insecticides that have been linked to decline in the honey bee population does not go far enough, environmentalists charged this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told chemical companies that it is unlikely to expand its approval of neonicotinoids, or “neonics,”while it continues to evaluate the risks the pesticides may pose to pollinators like bees.

The pesticides are used on almost 80 percent of corn acreage in the U.S., according to recent estimates by researchers at Penn State University.

The EPA’s decision slows or halts the new versions of the pesticides, but does not affect pesticide treatments that have already been approved for use.

Farmers all over the world use tractors to apply herbicides like glyphosate to their fields. (Chafer Machinery/Flickr)
Farmers all over the world use tractors to apply herbicides like glyphosate to their fields. (Chafer Machinery/Flickr)

As you’ve probably heard, a well-respected group of World Health Organization scientists said glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s wildly popular Roundup herbicide and its generic cousins, is probably capable of causing cancer in humans.

Here are five things you should know.

(File: Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media)
(File: Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed changes on Tuesday to the rules that govern which farmers can receive government subsidies.

The goal is to cut off payments to people who claim they’re involved in the management of a farm, but aren’t doing much managing.

Farmers who own land, run cattle, or spend their spring planting corn can relax – the proposed rule change doesn’t impact their ability to collect up to a $125,000 a year in government subsidies.

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