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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Why Aren’t Presidential Candidates Talking about Food and Agriculture?

, Fellow, Food & Environment Program

With the first Democratic debate a week behind us and the election still over a year away, we’ve entered a long but important window to influence campaign conversation.

In last week’s debate, the candidates spoke for 101 minutes during which gun control was mentioned 40 times. Russia and Syria followed in a tight second with 36 mentions, clocking in above the economy, which got called out 30 times. The health of Americans—or more specifically, healthcare—came up less than half as frequently, but still garnered 13 mentions.

How many times did the candidates mention food or agriculture? Read more >

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Farms, Forests, and Climate Change: Few Opportunities, Many Challenges

, , senior climate scientist

Farmers and foresters already face a great deal of uncertainty in their professions. All it takes is a few weeks of intense drought, a single hailstorm, or an uncontrolled wildfire to destroy the results of their labors, and with it, their livelihoods. 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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