sustainable agriculture


The Second Worst Flooding in Iowa History That You Probably Didn’t Read About

, Kendall Science Fellow

“No news is good news” was a take-home message from heavy rains that soaked Northern Iowa in late September, raising river levels to their second highest mark ever. Thanks to proactive work of emergency responders, community leaders, flood scientists and eager volunteers, there were not damages on the scale of other recent deadly floods in Louisiana and North Carolina.

However, the increasing intensity and frequency of heavy rainfall means that the damages escaped this time around should not lead to complacency. Rather, even more proactive planning will be required, particularly in agricultural areas, in order to prevent future floods from making headlines. Read more >

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A Look at Iceland’s Food and Farming System (Or, What I Ate on My Summer Vacation)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

As a food lover and an agriculture geek, I frequently plan vacations around what there is to eat. This summer, I traveled to Iceland, ostensibly to admire its breathtaking scenery and ride its tough little horses. As a bonus, I escaped a couple weeks of DC’s stifling heat. But of course, I also took the opportunity to see (and taste) this unique country’s equally unique food and agriculture system up close. Read more >

Photo: Karen Perry Stillerman
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Why the Loss of Grasslands Is a Troubling Trend for Agriculture, in 11 Maps and Graphs

, Kendall Science Fellow

Grasslands provide substantial climate benefits. Shouldn’t we be protecting them? The obvious answer is yes, but a few maps and graphs illustrate what is really happening. Read more >

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Good News and Bad News on This Year’s Dead Zone Measurement

, Kendall Science Fellow

For the first time since monitoring began in 1985, there will be no official measurement of the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we already know how to cost effectively reduce water pollution. Read more >

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Book Review: Cowed’s Message is Less but Better Beef

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

There’s a lot to be learned from Cowed, by Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes. It’s about cows, but the eclectic topics range from the scandalous coverup of mad cow disease, to the origin of modern cattle from the legendary aurochs (i.e. the “Ur-ox”), to the gender politics of the cowboy, to the federal government’s subsidy of beef over-grazing on our public lands, to a visit to a dairy farm run by robots. Yet there’s a serious underlying theme as well—that the U.S. needs a fundamental transformation of its relationship to the cattle industry. Read more >

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