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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The following op-ed appeared in the Des Moines Register on Monday, November 12, 2012.

It’s too late for Congress to pass a good farm bill this year. The coming lame duck session of the 112th Congress will have its hands full dealing with the “fiscal cliff” and should focus on issues that simply cannot wait.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The opening episode of the 4-hour epic that premieres on PBS on November 18 goes right to the cause of the problem.  In a short time, farmers converted an area twice the size of New Jersey and centering in the Oklahoma Panhandle from native grassland to wheat fields.  They did so because of a concerted policy in the 1920’s to industrialize agriculture and to “turn farming into a factory.” But the wind-swept prairie that dominated the region was unsuited for growing much, aside from drought- resistant grasses. Once farmers turned over the firm soil, they set the stage for a monumental disaster.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

With high crop prices, high land prices and guaranteed business income thanks to federal crop insurance, farm businesses are doing very well, thank you very much. The Bloomberg news service reports that during this Great Recession, farm earnings in Iowa and across the U.S. increased eight times faster than non-farm wages from 2008 to 2011. Actually, farm businesses have been doing nicely even longer than that. Farm household income has exceeded average household income every year since 1996.

Monday, November 12, 2012

With only five legislative weeks left, Congress must vote to extend the farm bill, but it must do it in a way that reflects the nation’s spending priorities, supports family farmers and protects the environment.

Friday, November 9, 2012

California dairymen are being regularly referred to suicide hotlines as many go broke from rising feed costs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If there was one message from yesterday’s voting, it’s that taxpayers – regardless of party – are worried about the nation’s economy and finances.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

By now, every American is familiar with Mitt Romney’s suggestion that 47 percent of Americans are “victims” who are “dependent” on government assistance.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Mississippi River is alive again here as it flows through the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Once again, this urban river runs clear and its waters are a world-class fishery for walleye, sauger and small and largemouth bass.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012


Despite all the attention being paid to the farm bill by political candidates, the coming elections are not likely to be decided by agricultural policy positions. In the run-up to Election Day, you might think rural voters were looking for someone to blame for Congress’ failure to pass a farm bill.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In May 2009, Steve Ruh, who was then chair of the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee, called corn ethanol the “most environmentally friendly fuel available today.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Americans are eating their weight and more in genetically engineered food every year, a new Environmental Working Group analysis shows.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Compared to the billions that the government pays to subsidize industrial-scale growers of commodity crops such as corn, rice and soybeans, federal farm bill spending to promote cultivation and marketing of healthy fruits, nuts and vegetables is tiny.  The Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program is one of the more important programs to support these healthy foods, known also as “specialty crops”.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Consumers are asking important and legitimate questions about what they are eating and feeding to their children.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Corn ethanol boosters held yet another pep rally today (Sept. 27) for a dirty, inefficient fuel that has eliminated jobs, increased the price of food and gas, damaged engines and increased pollution.  Yet it has replaced less than 1 percent of world oil.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Speaker Boehner was right to put a fork – a pitchfork – in one of the worst pieces of farm and food legislation in decades.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Food and Environmental Reporting Network released a striking report this week (Sept. 18) describing how industrial agriculture and climate change are fueling massive blooms of toxic algae: 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There’s nothing to make you feel like a dope like a bunch of experts telling you you’re wasting your money by buying organic food. And after the recent review of the issue by Stanford University scientists made national headlines – with CBS Newsdeclaring that “organic food is hardly healthier” – I even got tough questions at home about why I’m spending our much-in-demand money on organics.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tomorrow (Wed., Sept. 12), lobbyists for subsidized agriculture will hold a rally on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass a farm bill – any farm bill, even the terrible one produced by the House Agriculture Committee.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guaranteeing a clean and ample supply of water should be at the core of our energy policy. Sometimes Washington seems to have forgotten that. But a recent survey shows that the American people have not.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are you looking for ideas for healthy, affordable and brown-bag-ready lunches?  As kids head back to school, the Environmental Working Group wants to help you get the year started right.

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