Photo: US Department of Agriculture/flickr

Trapped in an Endless Cycle of Corn, Farmers Need Better Choices

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Another July 4 has come and gone, and that old saying about a farmer’s corn this time of year (“knee high by the Fourth of July”) is a thing of the past too. Nowadays, the corn plants in many fields around the country are more like waist-high (or even taller!) in early July, and growing fast. But while a bumper harvest of corn seems like a good thing, the dirty little secret in corn country is that a glut of the stuff is wreaking havoc on farm families, on rural economies, and on all of us as taxpayers. Read more >

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Corn Belt Farmers Managing Weather-Related Risks Through Greater Soil Stewardship

Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, Ph.D. Sustainable Agriculture and Sociology, , UCS

Spring planting season in the Corn Belt reminds those of us living in the region that soil erosion is still a serious concern as we gear up for another year of intensive corn and soybean cultivation. For example, the Environmental Working Group, with the Iowa Daily Erosion Project, estimate that millions of acres of Iowa farmland are losing dangerous amounts of soil through wind and water erosion at levels far exceeding the so-called tolerable rate of soil loss (5 tons per acre). This has serious impacts on water quality via sedimentation and carries an economic cost to farmers and to society. Read more >

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We’ve Got More Than Enough Corn

, director, Food & Environment Program

Nowhere is the power and prowess of agricultural science so evident as in the Midwestern Corn Belt. More of this nation’s economic success and global dominance is due to the corn plant than most Americans realize. In fact, the reason most of us can be oblivious to that very fact—as we busily flit about our non-agricultural lives—owes to the crop’s exceptional productivity and its congenial malleability to our purposes. Read more >

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Corn Belt Farmers Respond to Climate Change

Gabrielle Roesch, PhD Student
, , UCS

My family’s direct ties to the land ended generations ago, yet I have been drawn to agriculture, food production and the broader issues of natural resource management since I was a child. It likely started picking raspberries for my grandmother on Long Island, and was further fueled by a food security fellowship in Zambia and Ethiopia. Read more >

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Cover Crops Dramatically Increase Corn Yields–Especially In Drought Conditions

, sr. scientist emeritus, Food & Environment

Farmers planting crops that can’t be sold? That doesn’t sound like a sensible proposition, does it? After all, seed cost money and so does the equipment to get them in the ground. Why grow ’em if you can’t sell ’em? Read more >

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