farm policy


Photo courtesy Jim Horn/Flickr

As COVID-19 Reveals Our Food System’s Flaws, Congress Can Boost Protection Now—and Resilience for the Future

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

If we didn’t know it before—or had forgotten—the escalating pandemic and its widening economic ripple effects are hammering home the reality that our world is full of risk and uncertainty. Preparedness is paramount. Resilience is essential. And apart from the nation’s healthcare system, nowhere is this more apparent right now than when it comes to keeping ourselves fed, as food producers, workers, and consumers alike face mounting threats to their health and well-being.

Because the system wasn’t designed to protect them.

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Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

As Presidential Candidates Prepare for Ohio Debate, Farmers Need a New Vision

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

It has been a very bad year for Ohio’s farmers. Across the state, they were unable to plant crops on nearly 1.5 million acres this past spring due to unrelenting rainfall and flooding. The Buckeye State has also been hard-hit by the Trump administration’s trade war, with the price of soybeans—Ohio’s most financially valuable agricultural commodity—plummeting. At the same time, intensive commodity farming has taken a heavy toll on the state’s water resources. And growing just one or two crops, as many Ohio farmers do, leaves them and our food supply vulnerable in an erratic climate future. But changing the way farmers do business—starting with their soil—can help solve all these problems. And when the fourth Democratic presidential debate kicks off in Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday, it sure would be great to hear about the candidates’ plans to make healthy soil a reality. Read more >

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USDA Report: Farm Payments Up 42%, Farm Debt Rising

, Economist

On August 30th the U.S. Department of Agriculture presented its August 2019 Farm Income Forecast. What struck me most: the eye-popping one year 42.5% increase in federal government direct farm program payments. That’s right, federal government direct payments to farmers are expected to rise by $5.6 billion in just one year.  Read more >

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Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore

How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million. Read more >

Photo: Iowa State University/Lisa Schulte Moore
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Good News and Bad News on This Year’s Dead Zone Measurement

, Kendall Science Fellow

For the first time since monitoring began in 1985, there will be no official measurement of the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we already know how to cost effectively reduce water pollution. Read more >

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