9-21 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Supporters of tougher dust restrictions say the rules would help clear the air of tiny grains that can lodge deep in the lungs, causing heart and respiratory problems.

Farming groups have urged the environmental protection agency to keep its current standards for dust, soot and other microscopic particles. They say tighter restrictions would be unworkable and that dust isn't a real pollutant.

Next February, the E.P.A. is expected to release proposed changes to its standards for industrial pollution, and coarse particulate matter.

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The California Organic Farmers Association has lost its accreditation as an organic certifying agent. It is no longer authorized by the U.S.D.A. to certify organic crop, livestock, wild crop, and handling operations.

The California Farmer website says the national organic program audited the C.O.F.A.'s facility and records and found it was non-compliant on 12 issues, including inspections and record keeping.

It's accreditation has been revoked for three years. The C.O.F.A. was appealing the decision, but withdrew its request.

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Some ag producers say holes in the current farm bill's disaster program have left them with less protection. But some new programs might help.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says a crop assistance program is being established for upland cotton, rice, soybeans and sweet potatoes. Vilsack also announced special state-run grant programs for fish farmers affected by high feed costs and poultry producers who lost contracts when poultry companies went bankrupt.

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The F.D.A. meets again Tuesday to decide whether or not to allow genetically modified salmon on your dinner table.

"We have to address public risk, public concerns, food risk, food safety, risk assessment," said Yonathan Zohar with the University of Maryland.

A company called "aqua bounty" has taken a gene from an eel-like fish and combined it with the growth hormone of a Chinook salmon -- and then genetically engineered it into an Atlantic salmon. The fish grow bigger and faster.

If approved, the so-called "superfish" would be a first animal specially engineered just for food.

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