Earlier this year, the United States Global Change Research Program released its draft of the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA), which consolidates our current understanding of climate change and its impacts on states and regions across the country. The report is an impressive summary of what’s happening to our planet as we break temperature records that date back as far as the Holocene. Read More
March 12th, 2013
March 8th, 2013
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack made several recent pronouncements prompted by the growing recognition that climate change will make it harder to grow crops. It was a step in the right direction, but it will take a major shift in money and personnel to make needed changes happen. Read More
February 25th, 2013
February 14th, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. The President loves the First Lady’s bangs. Grammy-winner Kelly Clarkson loves fellow winner Miguel (now that she knows who he is). Babies (apparently) love Beyoncé.
And the Monsanto Company, the world’s largest seed and agrichemical seller, is making sure we all know how much they love American farmers.
February 11th, 2013
In writing about climate change it’s hard to avoid the use of catch phrases and clichéd metaphors, as much we try to stop shooting silver bullets and keep all those pesky canaries out of our coal mines. At times, though, such oft-repeated words are used in paradoxical ways, jarring you into thinking about them a bit more deeply. This happened to me a few days ago when, in response to new Department of Agriculture data on the U.S. livestock industry, a beef producer referred to the impacts of the persistent drought as “a perfect storm.” Read More
February 1st, 2013
January 18th, 2013
January 17th, 2013
November 20th, 2012
In my last post, I gave a general reason why the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Board was misleading in writing that a review by Snell and colleagues showed that genetically engineered (GE) foods are equivalent to non-GE counterparts.
Here, I want to discuss why the study does not lead to the conclusion that 90-day tests are generally sufficient to determine the safety of GE foods, and more reasons why the study says little about the long-term safety of engineered foods. Read More
October 30th, 2012
Recently, we have seen a flurry of stories about studies done on Iowa State University’s Marsden Farm demonstrating the power of crop rotation as an engine of modern sustainable agriculture. The study documented high yields and handsome profits on farming plots employing long crop rotations: three-or four-year rather than the usual two-year corn-soy rotations. In addition to high yields and high profits, the long rotations controlled weeds with only sparing use of herbicides and maintained productivity without excessive use of chemical fertilizers. Read More