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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of three agriculture laws passed in September 2020. Meant to modernize the country's agricultural industry, the new laws eliminated government support for India's farmers. Thousands took to the streets and hundreds died during a year of fervent protest. While some farmers hail the repeal as a victory, others continue to demand legislation that guarantees a minimum price for their crops.
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Food journalist Sarah Mock set out to write a book about how small family farms would save the world. Instead, she found that impossible profit margins, unequal opportunity, and endless toil have busted the myth of independent farming as the ideal. Mock argues that the most resilient, equitable food systems are built on larger, regional, community-oriented farms.
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Midwestern states like Iowa and North Dakota are suffering their worst droughts in decades. Local honey cooperative Sioux Honey, which produces nearly 25% of U.S. honey under the Sue Bee brand, says that honey production is down nearly 40% this year. Those losses also impact agricultural crops because farmers rely on strong bee colonies for crop pollination. According to more than a dozen leading bee experts, economists, farmers, and industry groups, the Midwest shortage of strong bee colonies is putting West Coast crops like apples, almonds, cherries, and peaches at risk.
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In a few months, California will begin enforcing new animal welfare laws that require more space for pigs no matter where the pork products originate. Only 4% of US hog operations currently comply with the state's new rules. Unless lawmakers intervene, California may lose most of its pork supply, and pork producers will face higher costs in one of their key markets (the Golden State consumes 15% of the nation's pork products). In the California of 2022, bacon could be harder to come by.
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In Rio Vista, California, Ryan Mahoney's cattle ranch usually gets 16 to 18 inches of rainfall a year. This year it got only 3 to 5 inches, forcing Mahoney to sell off a big chunk of his Angus cattle herd. The same goes for Andrew McGibbon's 90,000 acre cattle ranch near parched Tucson, Arizona. Worsening drought conditions are forcing Western ranchers to reconsider their sources of income.