soybeans


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Root of the Problem, just five years ago, there is so much new information that what we wrote then is rapidly becoming out of date.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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Genetic Technology’s Answer to A Major Insect Pest

, former senior scientist, Food and Environment

It’s a huge insect pest problem on soybeans, one of the country’s major crops. A recent paper estimates that it costs growers 2 to 5 billion dollars annually in lost productivity and insecticide use. But fortunately technology has an answer—several genes that control the pest, and can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical insecticides that harm people and the environment. Read more >

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