sustainable agriculture


Taking Action for Public Science: Re-Imagining Iowa’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Angie Carter, Ahna Kruzic, and Carrie Chennault, , UCS

On a snowy February morning at the Iowa state capitol in Des Moines, students, farmers, community members, scientists, food system employees, and advocates gathered for a press conference and advocacy day. Their efforts came almost one year to the day after the state legislature voted to defund and shut down the Leopold Center, for 30 years the state’s pre-eminent institution for research, learning and practice on sustainable agriculture. Read more >

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Biofuels, if grown and processed correctly, can help contribute to emissions reductions.

You Might Be Wasting Food, Even If You’re Not Throwing It Away

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

An important part of the food waste problem remains unseen. It involves not the food that is thrown out because no one eats it—but the food we do eat. Read more >

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Photo credit: Rich Hayes

Floods, Droughts, and Soil: The Movie (or, Why I Destroyed a Small City for Page Views)

, Kendall Science Fellow

Our new report, Turning Soils into Sponges: How Farmers Can Fight Floods and Droughts, is a serious scientific analysis that documents how soil-covering farm practices can help farmers and communities better withstand rainfall variability. It took me the better part of two years to complete. But—lucky you!—we also made a quirky little movie about it that you can watch in less than three minutes. Read more >

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Soil scientist Natalie Lounsbury and farmer Jack Gurley inspect a tillage radish cover crop as part of a project funded by the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program. This plant’s roots penetrate soil deeply, reducing compaction, and increasing water infiltration, making it an excellent cover crop to improve soil structure. Image: USDA-SARE/Edwin Remsberg.

How Healthier Soils Help Farms and Communities Downstream Deal with Floods and Droughts

, Kendall Science Fellow

A scan of recent news reveals the wide-ranging impacts of too much or too little rain: intensifying drought in the Great Plains; the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico ever recorded, driven in large part by a wet spring that flooded parts of the Midwestern Corn Belt; and historic summertime rain in the mid-Atlantic. Climate change promises to bring more of this rainfall variability, with devastating effects on farmers and communities. But a new report we released today contains good news: healthier soil on farms can help combat the impact of floods and droughts.

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Photo: USDA-ARS/Scott Bauer

Northern Plains Drought Shows (Again) that Failing to Plan for Disasters = Planning to Fail

, Kendall Science Fellow

As the dog days of summer wear on, the northern plains are really feeling the heat. Hot, dry weather has quickly turned into the nation’s worst current drought in Montana and the Dakotas, and drought conditions are slowly creeping south and east into the heart of the Corn Belt. Another year and another drought presents yet another opportunity to consider how smart public policies could make farmers and rural communities more resilient to these recurring events. Read more >

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