Burpee Seeds and GMO’s

Love it. It’s hard to find companies in this day and age that take much of a stand on anything, because in large part the lawyers and PR people get in the way. But this page says it all – kudos to Burpee!

Burpee’s Policy on GMO’s

Burpee’s Policy on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

April 2014

As America’s oldest and most trusted supplier of vegetable and flower seeds and plants, Burpee has provided home gardeners with the very best open pollinated and hybrid varieties for more than 100 years. We take great care and pride in supplying seeds that are well suited for both conventional and organic gardens across the U.S., with quality and integrity foremost in mind. For that reason, we do not sell seed that has been genetically modified (GMO). Burpee has never bought or sold GMO seeds, and we have no intention of doing so in the future.

There is profound confusion by the public as to what genetically modified seed is and is not. We are here to provide facts that we hope eradicate that confusion, specifically as it relates to Burpee and our seeds.

It is important to understand that hybrid seeds are very different from those that are genetically modified. Hybrids seeds are purposely bred in the field to produce offspring that have the best traits of their parent plants. Through a process of careful and painstaking selection, our breeders hand pollinate varieties using controlled transfer of pollen from one parent to another parent, which results in a specific and consistent combination of desirable characteristics. Horticultural experts identify the traits of varieties from within the same species over a period of months and years and develop new varieties that are grown in trial gardens at Fordhook Farm in Pennsylvania. This is much the same process as is used by horse or dog breeders to produce offspring with the desired results.

GMO seeds are quite different, however. GMO varieties are not bred in a field or greenhouse; rather, they are developed in a laboratory setting using modern biotechnology. Techniques such as gene splicing are used to extract traits from different species to insert them in to another plant. According to the Non-GMO Project, “this experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding”. To learn more about GMO varieties, we recommend a visit to: Non GMO Policy

Each year, more and more Americans discover the overwhelming joy and economic benefits of gardening at home. New gardeners often have questions about the features of different seed types and which offer the best qualities in terms of yield, disease resistance, size, and taste. Many of these answers can be found in the extensive library of resources housed at our website: www.burpee.com.

Burpee has always supplied safe, non-GMO hybrids, tried and true heirloom seeds, as well as certified organic varieties that are recognized as organic under the Oregon Tilth Certification, a subsidiary of USDA regulatory. Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) provides a system that combines strict production standards with on-site inspections. OTCO is internationally recognized and provides legally binding contracts to protect the producers and buyers of organic products. It was also one of the first organizations to gain accreditation to begin offering organic certification under the USDA organic regulations.

Burpee is proud to have supplied American home gardeners with the highest quality, non-GMO seeds since 1876. We look forward to providing you with all the ingredients you need for a beautiful, bountiful garden.

George Ball

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Bats Northwest in DA HOUSE!

Very cool….

From the Seattle Times:
Seattle couple hosts attic full of bats

bats in DA HOUSE :)

Six weeks ago, overnight, about 270 bats decided to take up residence at the Columbia City home of Brenda Matter and Bruce Crowley.

Yes, it was a disconcerting sight.

Every evening, 270 bats come streaming out of the attic of the two-story, century-old Victorian home so they can forage.

It’s a warm, cozy, protected attic with just the right size gaps as entrances. A perfect bat home.

Something like this had never happened in the 28 years the couple has lived there.

“It was,” says Crowley, “hard to believe.”

Luckily for these little creatures, Matter and Crowley didn’t immediately call a pest-removal service.

They could have. Bats are protected, but not when found in dwellings.

“I wasn’t really scared, more curious,” says Crowley. “Growing up on Capitol Hill, you used to see garter snakes everywhere in gardens. We don’t have poisonous snakes here, so I’m not afraid of them, either.”

Bats for centuries have suffered from lousy public relations. A few examples:

In the drawings for Dante’s “Inferno,” a gruesome Satan is shown with giant bat wings. You act unstable, and get called “batty.” Even a superhero like Batman is portrayed as a moody Dark Knight. For some people, bats are filthy, bloodsucking, ugly flying vampires that carry rabies. “Flying rats” are what some call them.

But bats are real protectors of the environment, say advocates such as Bats Northwest.

The ones in the Northwest eat insects, and if not for them we’d be overrun by moths, flies and mosquitoes. Plus, bat guano makes great fertilizer.

Matter and Crowley are truly your prototypical nice-type Seattleites. After some research, they decided to do the right thing by the bats and made them a neighborhood attraction, putting out lawn “bat-watching chairs” on the sidewalk in front of their home in the 3900 block of South Ferdinand Street.

On a recent night, 16 kids and adults gathered at dusk to watch the nightly bat excursion.

It wasn’t IMAX-type excitement. The attic is what, 25 feet above ground, and the bats are small, each weighing a third of an ounce.

The bats also don’t fly out all at once, so no Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds”-type visuals. Just a handful at a time.

Still, nature!

As Romi Silverman, 9, who lives next door, says, “It’s just, like, cool.”

It’s the kids who sit nightly and have counted 270 bats, which takes considerably more patience than some of the adults have after standing around for 15 minutes watching the flitting creatures.

Doing all this for the bats will cost Matter and Crowley at least $610, probably more, and a bunch of their time.

They don’t mind.

“With the nightly gatherings, and meeting all the neighborhood, the whole thing will have the sort of memory load that comes with an exotic vacation. But the costs should be only a fraction of what a vacation like that would cost,” says the couple in an email.

The couple have spent $260 for rabies shots. Without their health coverage, they say, the price would have been $1,500.

They decided to get the series of shots when one night, a bat made a wrong turn and, instead of going outside, began flying all over the upstairs. Crowley finally caught it with a canning jar.

You never know when there might be a next encounter, with maybe a scratch or bite from a scared bat, and a tiny percentage of them do carry rabies.

The state’s Department of Health says that fewer than 1 percent of bats have rabies, and only 5 to 10 percent of sick, injured or dead bats tested had rabies. Don’t handle bats, says the agency, and the odds of contracting rabies are “extremely small.”

The state recommends sealing up attics where bats take up residence. A contractor contacted by the couple estimated that would cost at least $350, if “it’s an easy job.”

The job entails putting screen around the attic, with the screen funneled so that once the bats leave, they can’t come back in.

Matter and Crowley will wait until September for that work.

That’s because the bats right now have pups, and the pups are staying in the attic because they can’t yet fly.

Matter and Crowley also have crawled around the attic to cover their belongings in plastic to protect them from bat excrement. They’ll also themselves be replacing the insulation, where the bats likely are nesting.

Then, to give the bats a new home, Matter and Crowley are putting up a bat house — which looks like a stretched-out birdhouse — on a 12-foot pole.

Michelle Noe, president of Bats Northwest, joined the crowd outside the home on that recent night.

She’s 32 and became a bat enthusiast while getting her degree at the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources and itemizing the species on the Olympic Peninsula.

It turns out the Northwest has some 15 kinds of bats, with the most common aptly named the “little brown bat.”

Noe guessed that’s the kind that took up residence at the home of Matter and Crowley.

“Bats have been inhabiting the night’s skies for over 50 million years, while the rest of us mammals have mostly stuck to the ground or trees,” she says.

She preaches about bat myths, such as bats being vampires.

Vampire bats do exist, but only in the tropics, and they make up only three of the more than 1,200 species of bats.

Plus, they don’t suck blood, but just make a cut with their teeth in large mammals like cattle and lap up the blood.

Meanwhile, the nightly viewings continue at the home of Matter and Crowley.

“I was thinking today about why we are happy about the bats,” says Matter. “The bats need to go somewhere, and they think our house is a natural feature in the landscape. That feels pretty cool to us.”

E. Fudd

Wow is right!

From the Seattle PI:
Wow photos: Two orcas leaping in the NW and more

click through above to see the other great photos!

candybowl

That’s for sure!

Koch off!

E. Fudd

Right. On.

General Biodiesel breaks ground in AK

General Biodiesel puts its money where its heart is – protecting the environment.

E. Fudd

GFY, Butch Otter…!

and kudos to Chobani for doing the right thing!

E. Fudd

F Doc Hastings!

put that POS out to pasture like the moldy old goat he is!

From the Seattle Times:

Editorial: Rep. Doc Hastings endangers the Endangered Species Act

E. Fudd

F developers…!$#!

From the Seattle Times…

Bog a battlefield for developer, neighbor in Snohomish County

E. Fudd

Accountability…..?!?!?

It’s funny how easy it is to just “solve” things with a gun, funded by someone else (e.g. the American Taxpayer). High time conservative ranchers take some ‘personal responsibility’ and step UP….!!!! I have never had a problem paying into a system that compensates them for cattle losses as a result of predator species protection, BUT, it needs to be honest and require accountability from those claiming the funds!

From TakePart….
Getting Ranchers to Tolerate Wolves—Before It’s Too Late

Ever since the 1995 reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, ranchers in the region have loudly complained that their herds end up paying a heavy cost. Lately, as a result, they’ve taken to trapping and shooting wolves at seemingly every opportunity.

Hunters have already exterminated more than a third of the 1,600 wolves that were thought to live in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho in 2012, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended endangered species protection for gray wolves there. Environmentalists now worry about the danger of a new regional extinction. Ranchers and some state wildlife officials meanwhile seem to be ardently working to achieve it.

The wolves are no longer safe even within a protected federal wilderness: Just last week, facing a lawsuit by environmental groups, the State of Idaho recalled a hunter it had sent into the Frank Church-River of No Return National Wilderness Area to kill wolves there. Environmentalists claimed a small victory. But state officials said the hunter had already killed nine wolves and presumably eliminated the two wolf packs thought to inhabit the wilderness.

In this combative context, a new study in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics reports the disturbing conclusion that the ranchers are right about at least one thing: The cost.

Together with his co-authors, Joseph P. Ramler, a graduate student in economics at the University of Montana, examined detailed livestock records over 15 years for 18 ranches in western Montana. Ranchers there typically graze cattle for part of the season on their own pastures, and then, for much of the summer, turn them out onto federal forests and grasslands. Ten of the ranches had lost calves to wolf attacks, and eight hadn’t.

Calculating the loss from an attack is relatively easy, and states have programs to compensate ranchers for the direct loss. But ranchers also complain, according to Ramler and his co-authors, that “wolves decrease the average weight of calves by stressing mother cattle, increasing movement rates, or encouraging inefficient foraging behavior.” That is, the cattle have to spend a lot more time looking around for danger, and a lot less with their heads down in the grass. The study set out to determine if ranchers are simply crying wolf, “or is there evidence that wolves have indirect effects on calf weight?”

First the good news: When the study mapped both the location of cattle and the movement of wolf packs, it found that simply having wolves in the vicinity had no effect on calves. But once a herd experienced an attack, the resulting “landscape of fear” distracted everyone from the business of grazing. When it came time for ranchers to sell those calves at the end of the season, they weighed on average 22 pounds less. For the typical ranch, that translated into a loss of $6,679 per year.

So shoot the wolves, right? On the contrary. While wolves may be the most visible threat to cattle, and even the most enraging one for ranchers, the study found that they explained “only a very small proportion of the change in calf weight,” according to co-author Derek Kellenberg, an associate professor of economics at the University of Montana. Rainfall, extreme heat and cold, breed type, and above all, ranch husbandry, had the biggest effect on how well calves put on weight.

The study doesn’t make any policy recommendations. Kellenberg points out that recovery efforts for endangered species generally succeed only if they have proper funding. Recognizing the true costs of wolf reintroduction is a way to get that funding and then use it to win the support of ranchers, so they don’t automatically reach for a gun every time they see a wolf.

But fatter compensation programs aren’t the way to get there, says Lisa Upson, executive director of Keystone Conservation, a wildlife group based in Bozeman, Mont. She argues that the ranchers themselves should be working to prevent predator attacks in the first place by managing their herds more actively.

Keeping cattle safe is basically a matter of how the rancher herds them, says Matt Barnes, a former ranch manager who now works for Keystone Conservation teaching ranchers how to do it. Instead of turning cattle loose to wander at large across thousands of acres of known predator habitat, range riders—that is, cowboys—stay with the cattle to watch over them and also move them into the best possible forage.

In “open herding,” the cattle stay relatively spread out, but the riders move them away from creek bottoms, and other areas where they tend to concentrate, and into upland forage. That strategy takes advantage of all the available grazing and avoids causing federal land managers to evict a herd because the creek is being hammered into dust. “Close herding,” on the other hand, involves keeping the cattle in a tighter group, sometimes with the help of temporary electric fences, and moving the herd around in a sort of rotational grazing system. In both systems, the idea is to “rekindle the herding instinct” and train cow-calf pairs to stay together. In predator habitat, there is strength in numbers.

Active management doesn’t work 100 percent of the time, Barnes admits, and all the available measures cost money—typically about $2,000 a month for a range rider. So the ranching community as a whole isn’t buying into it yet. “It’s not what their fathers and grandfathers did,” says Barnes.

“But the good thing is, once you figure it out, it seems to pay for itself,” and it’s not just about avoiding both the direct and indirect costs of predator attacks. Ranchers who have experimented with more active management, says Barnes, find that they can dramatically increase the number of cattle they graze—in one case by 100 percent—and the time spent grazing. It means working closely with livestock—that is, being a rancher—but with the possibility of tens of thousands of dollars of additional income at the end of the season. Getting ranchers to buy into their own future success will, however, require transitional funding for training programs.

But that funding needs to turn up soon. Otherwise, the shooting spree will go on and, soon, the only thing wolf restoration advocates will have to show for their hard work is an empty wilderness.

Go Snow Leopard Trust!

great backgrounder on a local Seattle green success story…

From The Seattle Globalist:
Local love for the world’s cutest (and most endangered) cats

SLT

E. Fudd