healthy soil


Crop field with runoff
USDA NRCS

To Save Its Soil and Clean Up Its Water, Iowa Needs to Act Fast(er)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Iowans have long prized their state’s deep, rich soils and its position as an agricultural powerhouse. In the heart of the Corn Belt, its farmers lead the nation in corn acres planted, and come in second in soybean acres. But there’s a dark side to all that: Decades of intensive, industrial-style production of those two crops—and little else—has decimated Iowa’s soil and fouled its waterways, leaving farmers and communities downstream and across the state vulnerable. Among the many issues state legislators are considering this month in Des Moines, soil health and water quality are arguably among the most urgent. And they need to act fast. Read more >

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Billy Metcalf Photography/Flickr

Reviving the Gulf Dead Zone Is Worth it: Our New Report Shows the Benefits of Action  

, Economist

Earlier this month, NOAA forecast that this summer in the Gulf of Mexico an area the size of Delaware and Connecticut combined would have so little oxygen that marine life flees from it or dies in it. In 2017, this “dead zone” was the size of New Jersey, the largest one ever recorded. Read more >

Billy Metcalf Photography/Flickr
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USDA Photo by Lance Cheung/Flickr

Farm State Voters See Soil as a Solution to Agriculture’s Woes

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

The Trump administration’s still-fuzzy trade deal with China, announced (as usual) via tweet last Friday, has landed in farm country with a thud. Having endured financial losses and trade uncertainty for nearly two years, farmers have reacted with skepticism and even anger. Read more >

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Photo courtesy Jenn Vargas/Flickr

Reasons to Be Thankful—8 Food and Farm “Good News” Stories

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Sometimes gratitude feels like a stretch, and this fall has been one of those times. We’re in the home stretch of a difficult year. Bad news abounds, and even the holiday that many of us will celebrate this week is complicated—a day of thanks that also evokes loss and grief for many Native people, along with expressions of resilience. With Thanksgiving approaching, I went looking for hopeful stories, scanning the news of food and agriculture for signs of progress and promise. And though I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface, I actually found quite a lot. Here’s a roundup of good news food and farming stories. Got more? Share ‘em in the comments.

And happy Thanksgiving. Read more >

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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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