USDA


USDA Secretary Sidelines Science, Sells Out Farmers, Workers, and Eaters

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Lest you think the Trump administration’s headlong rush toward rejecting science in favor of industry deregulation is mostly a problem in Scott Pruitt’s EPA, recent less-reported developments at the US Department of Agriculture demonstrate otherwise. Over the past few weeks, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has taken a variety of steps to sideline science and betray farmers, food chain workers, and eaters. Let’s review… Read more >

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Photo: Cristie Guevara/public domain (BY CC0)

USDA Reorganization Sidelines Dietary Guidelines

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Last month, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a number of proposed changes to the organization of the vast federal department he oversees. While some of these changes may seem arcane, they will have real impacts on all of us. The proposed merger of two key nutrition programs is a case in point. Read more >

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Conservationist Garrett Duyck and David Brewer examine a soil sample on the Emerson Dell farm near The Dalles, OR. USDA NRCS photo by Ron Nichols.

Congress Could Help Farmers, Prevent Pollution, and Reduce Flood and Drought Damage. Will They?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

The news lately has been full of Congressional battles—healthcare, the debt ceiling, and now tax “reform” (ahem)—and it’s starting to seem like Congress is only interested in blowing things up. But a huge legislative effort is gaining steam on Capitol Hill, one that is likely to have general bipartisan support, though you probably haven’t heard nearly as much about it. I’m talking about the next five-year Farm Bill—which really should be called the Food and Farm Bill, as it shapes that sprawling economic sector worth more than 5 percent of US GDP, and which Congress must reauthorize by September 30, 2018.

In this first of a series of posts on the 2018 Farm Bill, I look at how this legislation could do more to help farmers conserve their soil, deliver clean water, and even reduce the devastating impacts of floods and droughts, all of which would save taxpayers’ money. Read more >

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Customers shop at the Crossroads Farmers Market in Takoma Park, Maryland, July 2014. Photo by Union of Concerned Scientists

7 Fun Facts for National Farmers Market Week

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

And now, something we can feel good about. This Sunday marks the start of National Farmers Market Week, an annual celebration of local food systems. To get us in the mood, here are seven facts that illustrate the benefits of farmers markets and local food systems. Read more >

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Economist to Team Trump: More Trade Won’t Avert a Farm Crisis

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

On the face of it, new and expanded global markets might seem like a way out for US farmers suffering from low commodity prices and declining farm incomes. But will it work? I walked down the hall to ask an expert. Read more >

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