soybeans


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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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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Photo: dvs/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

The Midwest’s Food System is Failing. Here’s Why.

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

If you’ve perused the new UCS 50-State Food System Scorecard, you’ve probably noticed a seeming contradiction. As shown on the map below, the heavily agricultural states in the middle of the country aren’t exactly knocking it out of the park when it comes to the overall health and sustainability of their food and farming systems. On the contrary, most of the leading farm states of the Midwest reside in the basement of our overall ranking.

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What’s Driving Deforestation Now?

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

UCS has just created a new set of web pages summarizing the latest scientific information on the drivers of tropical deforestation. Even though we published a 120-page book about this issue, The Root of the Problem, just five years ago, there is so much new information that what we wrote then is rapidly becoming out of date. And some of these new studies have changed scientists’ minds about the problem in important ways. Read more >

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Small Insect’s Big Lessons for the Farm Bill: Agroecology and Breeding Top Monsanto’s Industrial Agriculture

, former senior scientist, Food and Environment

My last post discussed the success of public sector scientists who discovered and developed genes in soybean, using conventional breeding, that confer resistance to the invasive soybean aphid. These insects cost US farmers billions of dollars per year.

In contrast, an article in the New York Times in late July used the dramatic example of citrus greening disease, which is threatening the citrus industry in the US, to tout the possibility of GE to remedy challenging pest problems. Whether these will eventually work is far from certain. But we should keep in mind that while such future promises catch the public’s eye, breeding continuously makes significant advances in crop improvement. Read more >

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