All the stranded programs together account for only $2.8 billion of the nearly $1 trillion farm bill. But they provide significant value, and none less than the research and education programs now in budgetary limbo. In this post, I’ll focus on the three such programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Depending on how long Congress leaves these programs hanging before passing a new farm bill, important agricultural research and extension, and the field of agroecology, could suffer. Read more >
September 5, 2018 5:37 PM EDT
Recently, the 2018 farm bill—the massive federal legislative package that shapes our country’s food and agriculture system—cleared a major hurdle, as both the House and Senate voted to begin negotiations toward a compromise bill. This process is important for many reasons, including how it will impact the US Department of Agriculture’s $3 billion annual investment in research to help the nation’s farmers and eaters alike. Read more >
August 22, 2018 10:16 AM EDT
This year has been hard for all farmers—they have faced an ongoing trade war from the Trump administration and an uphill battle with climate change. But farmers who want to use sustainable practices are being particularly hard hit, as their interests are sidelined for the benefit of agribusinesses. And for the rest of us, 2018 has—almost like clockwork—shown the failure of half-hearted efforts to control farm-sourced water pollution that contaminates drinking water and destroys fisheries. Read more >
August 3, 2018 11:41 AM EDT
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.
June 12, 2018 11:25 AM EDT
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 >