Secretary of Agriculture


Navy-veteran Lenny Evans Miles, Jr. operates Bluestem Farms LLC, in Chestertown, MD. USDA Photo by Preston Keres

On Veterans Day, Why Aren’t Congress and the USDA Looking Out for Those Who Served?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

This Veterans Day is particularly significant, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Though US veterans from that long-ago war are gone, some 20 million of their brethren are with us today. Our culture honors them at sporting events and other public venues, but we also have an ugly history of mistreating those who served—from returning Vietnam vets being spat upon to mismanaged healthcare programs and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

And right now, misguided decisions by the Secretary of Agriculture and members of Congress threaten to reverse progress for service members and veterans who want to work the land and feed their neighbors. Read more >

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Photo: Cristie Guevara/public domain (BY CC0)

USDA Reorganization Sidelines Dietary Guidelines

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Last month, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a number of proposed changes to the organization of the vast federal department he oversees. While some of these changes may seem arcane, they will have real impacts on all of us. The proposed merger of two key nutrition programs is a case in point. Read more >

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How Oats Could Save Iowa’s Farmers (and Fight Pollution)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

That bowl of oatmeal pictured above was my breakfast this morning. The strawberries were from nearby Virginia (hello, spring!) but the oats may have come from as far away as Sweden, Finland, or Canada. In the future, my morning oats could be grown much closer to home, in a state like Iowa that is now dominated by corn and soybeans. A new UCS report shows why that would be a good thing for US farmers and our environment.

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Scott Bauer/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Five Ways President Trump Has Failed Rural America in the First 100 Days

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Look out rural America, President Trump has an executive order for you. As the White House looks to create a sense of achievement before its first 100 days is up on Saturday, the President will sign a flurry of new orders this week, including one today “promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America.” But will it really help struggling farmers and rural economies? That remains to be seen.

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Food Production Does NOT Need to Double by 2050 (And Other Required Reading for the Next USDA Secretary)

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Shortly after the inauguration, I wrote a post outlining a set of five questions I thought the Senate should ask President Trump’s choice for Secretary of Agriculture. Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue had been named to the position just days prior, and though the selection is deeply flawed, I expected a Senate hearing and confirmation vote would follow promptly. Read more >

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