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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When the government allows oil and gas companies to avoid paying taxes, lawmakers call it a “subsidy.” But when the government pays 62 percent of the cost of obtaining crop insurance, it’s called a “discount?”

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Senate is expected to start debate this week on adoption of common sense reforms to the federal crop insurance program. This issue could not be more important. Crop insurance has quietly become the primary source of federal subsidies for farmers.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It seems that an expensive new entitlement program, unlimited insurance subsidies and new insurance programs designed just for cotton and peanut farmers just aren't enough for some Southern legislators.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

For those of us lucky enough to sit down every day to healthy, nutritious meals, it’s easy to forget that millions of American families in the grip of the recession are struggling to put food on the table and often end up consuming cheap, heavily processed food that puts their health at risk.

Friday, May 18, 2012

In June 1993, the Environmental Working Group released a report titled “Pesticides in Children’s Food.” In the very first line of the forward to that study, EWG President Ken Cook had this advice for parents:

Don’t toss out those fresh strawberries, mom.  Don’t dump the lettuce, don’t pitch the tomatoes, don’t throw out the bananas, and don’t pour that apple juice down the kitchen drain.
Thursday, May 10, 2012

Here’s a simple proposition to test whether the food movement can stand up to Big Ag.  We’re asking readers who care about providing healthier food to schoolchildren to take a stand by voting on our resolution - A Farm Bill for Healthy Kids:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The farm bill draft released by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week (April 20) falls far short of providing farm and food policies Americans want. In a national poll last year, 78 percent said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and accessible should be a top priority in the farm bill. They’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

High crop prices combined with unlimited insurance subsidies are contributing to the rapid loss of wetlands and prairie grasslands in the “prairie pothole” region of North and South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

One of the big challenges facing the globe in the next century will be access to clean water. In America, federal agriculture policies are putting drinking water used by millions of people at risk. Perverse incentives such as farm subsidies and ethanol mandates have ushered in an era of fencerow-to-fencerow planting of chemical-intensive commodity crops, even as funding to protect water sources has been repeatedly slashed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

For too long, funding provided by the United States’ most far-reaching food and farm legislation -- the farm bill -- has primarily benefited agri-business and industrial-scale commodity farms that aren’t growing food. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The cost to taxpayers of the current crop insurance system has soared from $2.4 billion in 2001 to nearly $9 billion in 2011 as a result of high commodity prices and the generous premium subsidies that lead farmers to buy the most expensive insurance available.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

America’s water, soil and wildlife habitat have never been under greater assault from the ravages of modern industrial agriculture. And since industrial crop production is exempt from most federal regulations, farm bill conservation programs and policies like the conservation compact are often our only line of defense against erosion and water contamination by toxic agrichemicals.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

“You learn something every day if you pay attention.” ~Ray LeBlond

And that happened this morning, when in an online dialogue, a farming friend popped in, talking about his trip to DC for the “Corn Congress.”

“What’s a ‘Corn Congress’?” I asked, never having heard the term.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Critics of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (previously known as food stamps) claim some recipients are wrongly receiving benefits after winning lottery jackpots. SNAP fraud is serious. Those who are not in need and improperly receive benefits are taking precious resources from people desperate to feed their families in our slowly healing economy. Thankfully, according to the US Department of Agriculture, SNAP fraud is limited.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some commitments should be honored. In exchange for farm subsidies, farmers have for decades committed to adopt land management practices that reduce the runoff from their fields – a provision of the 1985 farm bill called “conservation compliance.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tell USDA to stand by its pesticide data program. It's the time of year when the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to release its annual pesticide data – information the Environmental Working Group uses to bring you the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which helps careful consumers minimize their exposure to pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Aldo Leopold was perhaps the most influential conservationist of the 20th century. He died nearly 65 years ago, yet his life’s work continues to inspire us to love and respect our land, water and wildlifeGreen Fire, the first documentary film about Leopold’s life and work, looks back at his extraordinary career and examines how his philosophy of ethical land use endures today. As this year’s debate over renewing the farm bill gets underway, policymakers would do well to learn more about Leopold and other pioneering conservationists to better understand the need to protect and preserve the land that will feed future generations.

Key Issues: 
Thursday, February 9, 2012

December 31 marked the overdue demise of one of the government subsidies that has long propped up the corn ethanol industry. But if you think corn ethanol is now standing on its own in the energy marketplace, take another look. Yes, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) is gone and will no longer pay oil companies for every gallon of ethanol they mix with gasoline.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The National Academy of Sciences should review the health, environmental and safety effects of E15 ethanol blends before they’re allowed on the market, but limiting EPA’s authority to enforce the Clean Air Act would be a bad idea.

Key Issues: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

As the 2012 food and farm policy fights heat up, entrepreneurs have some lessons for Washington. These were on full display at a recent TEDx Manhattan conference, where the innovative business leaders shared how they are changing the way we eat and developing a following among consumers concerned about where their food comes from.