Moraine Park Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Partnerships to Protect Fragile Mountain Ecosystems

Aaron Piña and Jill Baron, , UCS

If you are a cow, Colorado is an ideal place to be. Colorado’s climate is sunny and dry, and these characteristics have helped make the state fourth in the nation for numbers of cattle in feedlots. Weld County, just east of the Colorado Front Range mountains, is the fifth most livestock-rich county in the United States—beef and dairy, swine, sheep, chickens—and produces as much waste as 24.5 million people. Read more >

Photo: Frank Schulenberg/CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia
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A Honduran farmer digs irrigation channels in advance of maize planting.
A maize farmer near Alauca, Honduras, digs irrigation channels in advance of maize planting. Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 - Flickr

Making Agriculture “Climate-Smart” in Latin America and the Caribbean

Sharon Gourdji, , UCS

I recently returned to the United States from Cali, Colombia where I worked for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (or CIAT, its Spanish-language abbreviation) for a couple years. CIAT is part of a global network of 15 agricultural research centers in the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), which have traditionally focused on crop breeding to raise yields of staple crops around the world.  Read more >

Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Flickr
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Soil cross-section
Protecting and increasing soil carbon and soil health in agricultural soils is critical for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Photo: USDA-NRCS

Soil Carbon Can’t Fix Climate Change By Itself—But It Needs to Be Part of the Solution

, agroecologist

A rigorous study just published in the prestigious journal Science argues that soil alone cannot be can be counted on to save us from climate change. Yet the stark analysis does not undermine the importance of better understanding, protecting, and building carbon in soils (“carbon farming”). In fact, the findings reinforce the need for soil carbon science and action to remain priorities, especially when it comes to agriculture. Read more >

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Did the Local Food Movement Trickle Down to Local Farmers?

Dawn Thilmany McFadden, , UCS

We are quickly approaching the 10th anniversary of the March 2007 Time magazine cover on local food, a milestone indicating that the local food movement became a mainstream phenomenon. Today, there is continued public interest in local and regional food systems. But have these systems actually been able to support the farms and ranches that they depend on? Read more >

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Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore

How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million. Read more >

Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore
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