agroecology


USDA/Flickr

At the Trump USDA, the “D” Stands for “Dow”

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Everywhere you look in the Trump administration, there’s the Dow Chemical Company. Or rather, DowDuPont, as the company has been known since a 2017 corporate merger. The influence of this multinational chemical and agribusiness conglomerate is being felt in regulatory decisions involving Dow’s products, and the administration has pulled multiple Dow executives and lobbyists through the revolving door into high-level government positions.

The latest example of the latter? Meet Scott Hutchins, the career Dow exec and pesticide booster nominated last month to oversee science at the USDA.

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Photo: Preston Keres, USDA

We Ranked All 50 States from Farm to Fork. Why We Bothered—and a Taste of Our Takeaways

, senior scientist

Recently, some fellow data geeks and I spent (quite a lot of) time ranking all 50 states on the health and sustainability of their food systems, from soil to spoon. 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?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

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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Extended crop rotations, which often include small grains like oats, pictured here, can provide financial benefits to farmers while also providing broader environmental benefits, like reduced soil erosion and runoff. Nick Ohde/Practical Farmers of Iowa

Crop Diversity: A Nice Thing If You Can Get It (and You Can Get It If You Try)

Gabrielle Roesch-McNally, PhD, , UCS

Diversity is incredibly important for a productive and resilient agrifood system. Diverse cropping systems can lead to greater  productivity, profitability and environmental health. Diversity in the form of extended crop rotations can also reduce weed, insect, and disease pressure, which can help farmers cut the costs of their purchased inputs like herbicides and insecticides. Beyond these financial benefits, diversifying crop rotations also provides broader environmental benefits that can be experienced at both the field scale (e.g., reduced erosion) and landscape scale (e.g., reduced water quality impairment), as noted in the UCS report Rotating Crops, Turning ProfitsRead more >

Nick Ohde /Practical Farmers of Iowa
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Photo: USDA/ARS

Room for Ruminants in a Sustainable Future? Taking a Step Back to Find More Steps Forward

, senior scientist

Ruminants, especially cattle (particularly beef cattle), have gotten a bad rap for their effects on climate, water, land and health. However, research and practice also point to cases in which ruminants can help improve the sustainability of farms, increasing farm resilience to extreme weather and supporting the livelihoods of some of the land’s best stewards. Read more >

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