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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Sam Clovis speaks at a Rushmore Political Action Committee luncheon while campaigning for US Senate, Sioux City, Iowa, March 24, 2014. Credit: Jerry Mennenga/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News

Is Sam Clovis a Scientist? A Racist? 9 Questions the Senate Should Ask

Things are not going so well for President Trump’s nominee for the position of under secretary for research, education, and economics (REE) at the US Department of Agriculture. This job has responsibility for scientific integrity at the USDA, as well as oversight of the department’s various research arms and multi-billion dollar annual investments in agricultural research and education that are essential to farmers and eaters alike. The job also encompasses the role of USDA chief scientist, leading Congress in 2008 to emphasize that the person who fills it should actually be a scientist. But Sam Clovis is not one. And that’s not the half of it.

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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

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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This map of dissolved oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico shows the extent of the dead zone in July 2017. Courtesy of Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. https://gulfhypoxia.net/research/shelfwide-cruise/?y=2017&p=oxy_maps

Dead Zone 2017: Even Worse than Predicted (and That’s an Understatement)

There’s more bad news for the Gulf of Mexico. A team led by researchers at Louisiana State University this week confirmed the largest Gulf dead zone since standardized measurement began in 1985. The lifeless area of low oxygen in the Gulf is now at least the size of New Jersey, the researchers say, noting in a press release that because they couldn’t map the entire affected area, their measurement is an understatement of the problem this year. Read more >

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

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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This Summer’s Gulf “Dead Zone” Could Be Bigger Than Connecticut—and Trump’s Budget Cuts Would Make It Worse

Summer is almost here, and you know what that means. Sun, sand, and…a watery wasteland devoid of all life? Yep, this is the time each year when a team of federal and university scientists predicts the size of the so-called dead zone that will develop in the Gulf of Mexico later in the summer. We’re waiting for that official prediction, but based on federal nitrate flux data and Midwest weather patterns this spring, it seems likely that it will be bigger than usual. Read more >

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