The reporters called the proposition a "multi-million dollar food fight."
"All of the data that's come out from the American Medical Association and National Academy of Sciences have all agreed that the food products on the market today that are genetically engineered are safe," Van Eenennaam told the reporter
Polls show the 'Yes on Proposition 37' campaign is "way ahead" of those who oppose the initiative, "but there's a long way to go until November," the reporter said.
Vision still pays dividends after 150 years
Sacramento Bee editorial
The Sacramento Bee editorial staff called the 1862 Congress of the United States one of the most productive in American history. One of the reason was it's passage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act July 2, 1862. The act created the world's best system of public colleges and universities for people of modest means, the editorial said. Previously most Americans had no access to higher education. California took up the land-grant offer in 1864 and the University of California was born – at Berkeley – in 1868. Later, the University Farm would become UC Davis. The Citrus Experiment Station would become UC Riverside.
Building a better, tastier tomato
Lauren Sommer, QUEST Northern California, KQED
Lauren Sommer interviewed Ann Powell, associate researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, about her finding that the gene that creates "green shoulders" in tomatoes influences the amount of sugar in the ripe fruit. Powell says now that they know about this gene, plant breeders could put it back in commercial varieties.
Bees need a hand, especially in drought
Debbie Arrington, Sacramento Bee
In honor of National Honeybee Day, the Sacramento Bee paid homage to the indispensable pollinator with information about the challenges it faces. Colony collapse disorder, drought and urbanization take their toll. There was some good news: "Bees got through the winter a little better," said Eric Mussen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, apiculture. "This spring, we saw bigger, earlier and more swarms." However, nationwide, the hot dry summer has made it a tough year for honey production.
- Author: Brenda Dawson
Reporter Peter Jensen talked to Robert Timm, director of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, which is located in Mendocino County. Timm said that researchers track reports of coyote attacks on humans, though no such attacks have ever been reported in Napa County.
For some Sacramento area trees, it's already spring
The Sacramento Bee reported that Bradford pear trees along Sacramento streets are blooming, and sidewalks were littered with flower petals after Monday's storm.
Reporter Debbie Arrington talked to Eric Mussen, UC Cooperative Extension apiculturist with the UC Davis Entomology department, about how the early warm weather might affect pollination and fruit formation.
"Honeybees don't really get confused," Mussen said. "They do act predictably. Anytime the temperature gets above 55 degrees, if there's food somewhere, they'll go get it."
Though petals may fall, Mussen explained that bees will be able to pollinate trees unless storm winds and rain knock entire flowers to the ground, leaving nothing to pollinate.
Director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center Daniel Sumner told the reporter that rising costs for poultry producers will boost the retail price, unless something else acts to keep prices down.
"So, bottom line," Sumner said, "we should see higher retail prices with these high grain and oilseed prices."
Ranchers beef over obstacles to local meat
Carlos Alcalá, Sacramento Bee
Small ranchers in El Dorado County gathered at a Local Meat Summit in Placerville last week to discuss obstacles to selling their products locally. Meat must be harvested at a USDA-approved facility, and there aren't many of those.
Program representative Sean Kriletich of UC Cooperative Extension in Amador and Calaveras counties is working with ranchers to solve the problem.
"We're trying to work toward getting a USDA-inspected facility for our region," Kriletich said.
If more small ranchers can find a way to sell grass-fed beef locally, it will do more than benefit the farmers, Kriletich said. It will preserve open space for the entire community.
"If people want to keep more land in agriculture, we have to get more money to the producers," said Kriletich, who said he used to run cattle himself, where El Dorado Hills subdivisions now sit.
Beekeepers asking Humboldt cities to loosen regulations on residential hives
Grant Scott-Goforth, The Willits News
A recent change in attitudes toward urban sustainability and education about bee culture spurred the Humboldt County Beekeepers Association to ask the cities of Arcata and Eureka to loosen restrictions on residential beekeeping.
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Deborah Giraud said the risks of keeping bees in residential areas are minimal. ”In general, it's really important to have more honeybees,” Giraud said. “We have a lot of problems with pollination here because of weather. Most calls in here are about fruit trees. And it's a pollination problem.”
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Deborah Giraud said the risks of keeping bees in residential areas are minimal.
”In general, it's really important to have more honeybees,” Giraud said. “We have a lot of problems with pollination here because of weather. Most calls in here are about fruit trees. And it's a pollination problem.”
Even though scientists have been studying colony collapse disorder of honeybees for five years, the relentless bee mortality still has them mystified, according to a segment that aired on PBS' NewsHour yesterday.
"We really don't seem to have accomplished a whole lot, because we're still losing, on an average, approximately 30 percent or more of our colonies each year. And that's higher than it used to be," UC Cooperative Extension bee expert Eric Mussen told reporter Spencer Michels. "Only 25 percent of the beekeepers seem to have this CCD problem over and over and over. The other 75 percent have their fingers crossed and say, I don't know what this is, but it's not happening to me."
Michels outlined some of the research into the possible causes of persistent bee decline. At UC Davis, scientists are trying to find ways to improve bee health by changing what they eat and selectively breeding healthier, disease-resistant bees. At UC San Francisco, scientists are extracting DNA or RNA from healthy bees to analyze what viruses or bacteria are present.
"We found four new viruses in this study, and one of them was so frequent, there was more of that virus present than every other virus that we have know about put together," said UCSF's Charles Runckel.
A beekeeper featured in the program said he maintains healthy bee colonies by keeping them "forever young." Randy Oliver splits his hives every year, taking half the bees out and starting a new hive.
"That simple act of splitting gives the bees a fresh start. And, in nature, that's what they do. Bees -- bees reproduce frequently. They swarm every spring, and they give themselves fresh starts. And that's what beekeepers are tending to do, too," Oliver explained.
CNN posted a story on its website yesterday about a movement in beekeeping that embraces "organic" techniques. "Backwards Beekeepers" are advocates of chemical and pesticide-free beekeeping -- far different, they say, from the commercial beekeeping industry.
The article noted that commercial beekeepers are dealing with the disappearance of an alarming number of bee hives, a phenomenon scientists call colony collapse disorder.
Backwards beekeeper Russell Bates calls the problem "chemical collapse disorder" because, in addition to the stress on bees caused by certain commercial beekeeping practices, the beekeepers use miticides and antibiotics inside the hives to control Varroa mites.
CNN confirmed the fact with UC Davis honey bee expert Eric Mussen.
"The majority of commercial beekeepers do put chemicals in their hives mostly to control Varroa mites," Mussen was quoted.
Bates said the bees are stressed by the inability to freely leave the hive while being transported from field to field or orchard to orchard.
"They're starved between trips and they won't poop in the hive," Bates said. "When they get there, they're fed corn syrup and artificial pollen."
Bates says he's not vilifying commercial beekeepers, but believes that their methods and practices aren't sustainable.
In a CNN video posted with the story, the featured beekeepers assert that their old-fashioned approach to tending bees, "backwards," is the new forwards.