Karen Perry Stillerman

Senior analyst, Food and Environment

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Karen Perry Stillerman is an analyst and advocate for transforming the U.S. agriculture and food system to one that produces affordable, healthful foods for consumers; reduces air and water pollution; and builds healthy soil for the farmers of tomorrow. She holds a master's degree in public affairs and environmental policy. See Karen's full bio.

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Karen's Latest Posts

What Our 50-State Scorecard Says About Farming and Water Pollution (and What the Farm Bill Should Do About It)

Last week, my colleagues and I launched a super-cool data tool on the UCS website. The 50-State Food System Scorecard compiles loads of publicly available data dealing with the health and sustainability of food and farming, and ranks the states on their performance in various data categories and overall.

Finding and evaluating a critical mass of data to say something reasonably comprehensive about each state’s food system—from farm to fork—was a big project, and its lead scientist Marcia DeLonge summarized how we did it and why we bothered in a post last week. So today, I want to home in on just one of the aspects we looked at.

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Photo: Tim McCable, USDA/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)
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Sonny Perdue’s USDA Is in Bed with Big Pork. That’s Really Bad for Everyone Else.

In his first year running the US Department of Agriculture, Secretary Sonny Perdue has displayed a curious tendency to say things he really shouldn’t. The most recent example is his striking off-the-cuff comment about a big court judgment won by neighbors of a massive hog farm and its stinking cesspools in North Carolina. Read more >

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U.S. Marine Corps veteran Calvin Riggleman holds an oregano seedling and soil on Bigg Riggs farm in Hampshire County, WV
Photo courtesy Flickr/Lance Cheung, USDA

Will Congress Give Farmers the Farm Bill They Want?

Last week, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee made headlines by unveiling a truly terrible farm bill proposal. In stark contrast, a poll released today shows that farmers across the political spectrum are eager for precisely the kind of tools and incentives House Republicans have firmly turned their backs on. Read more >

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Betrayal at the USDA

Unqualified government employees. Elected officials using their positions for personal gain. Policymakers favoring industry and disregarding science. Such betrayals of the public trust have become commonplace in the Trump administration. And while there’s been plenty of press coverage of HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s lavish dining set, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s shady condo deal, and President Trump choosing the White House physician to lead the VA, the same pattern is apparent in corners of the administration that have received less scrutiny.

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Photo: Preston Keres/USDA
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Nathaniel Currier lithograph, 1852

8 Presidents Who Shaped the US Food System (for Better and for Worse)

As we prepare to observe Presidents Day, I’m thinking about a president’s role in shaping the way we grow food in the United States, and how we eat. Quite a few of our past presidents were farmers or ranchers at some point in their lives, and some had infamous relationships with certain foods, whether cheeseburgers or jelly beans or broccoli.

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