Farmers can do more than producing food and fiber. They can also produce clean air, clean water, and abundant habitat for wildlife. But farm policies are doing too little to reward good stewardship and too much to underwrite unsustainable crop and animal production by the largest and most successful farm businesses.
Manure pits that hold livestock and poultry waste give off foul-smelling toxic air pollutants that can be deadly to farmworkers and local residents, who often are powerless to defend the health of their families from the noxious emissions.Read More
Days after the United Nations released startling new data showing that agriculture’s contribution to climate change is getting worse, the House and Senate Appropriations committees approved spending bills that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from monitoring and regulating greenhouse gas emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
Three decades ago, farmers reached a deal with taxpayers: farmers would reduce erosion on “highly erodible lands” and protect wetlands in exchange for generous government subsidies.
If true, it’s troubling news that cartoonist Rick Friday has been fired by the publication Farm News for an editorial cartoon suggesting that the chief executives of Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont and other multi-national agribusiness corporations are profiting at the expense of ordinary farmers.
If you care about the environment, human health or helping small growers, you should support reform of the federal crop insurance program.Read More
Pollution in Minnesota’s drinking water has gotten worse in recent years, but no one wants to call out the industry responsible. It’s been the primary source of water pollution for decades, making water in some areas of the country dangerous to drink and costing local taxpayers millions of dollars to clean it up.
It’s bad enough that farm subsidy rates are driven by politics, not good policy, as legendary agricultural economist Carl Zulauf noted last week. But it turns out, Zulauf says, that subsidies also drive growers to plow up wetlands and grasslands to grow corn and soybeans, increasing farm pollution.Read More
Today (April 19) the House Appropriations Committee will mark up the $21 billion agriculture spending bill for fiscal year 2017, which proposes to slash a number of vital conservation programs. To understand what’s at stake in the bill, keep in mind a couple of key points.Read More
The cotton industry and its supporters in Congress have not been coy about asking for what they want: a new $10 billion farm subsidy.
Federal crop insurance encourages growers to plant crops on land that is vulnerable to soil erosion and discourages landowners from adopting good conservation practices.Read More
We’re fooling ourselves if we think that voluntary conservation efforts are going to solve the Corn Belt’s dirty water problems.
Drinking water, lakes and rivers in Iowa and across the Corn Belt are in serious trouble because of polluted farm runoff. To tackle the problem, for decades we’ve taken the approach favored by agricultural interests – making federal tax dollars available for conservation practices that curb runoff, encouraging farmers to adopt those practices, then hoping enough of them volunteer to do the right thing.
The cost to taxpayers of providing crop insurance to farmers has more than tripled since 2001, rising from an average of about $3 billion a year in 2001-2003 to more than $10 billion a year in 2012-2014. The increase is largely the result of sharp jumps in the cost of subsidizing both farmers’ premiums and the companies that sell crop insurance.Read More
The House Appropriations Committee today passed an agriculture appropriations bill that destroys critical environmental protections while leaving the lavish and wasteful federal crop insurance program unchecked, costing taxpayers billions of dollars, according to EWG.Read More
The so-called “prevented planting” component of the federal crop insurance program is wasting billions of dollars while encouraging growers to plow up wildlife-sustaining wetlands in the iconic Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota.Read More
Last week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released the alarming results of a study of waterways in the southwest corner of the state, reporting that only three of 93 segments it assessed was “fully supporting of aquatic life” and only one was “fully supporting of aquatic recreation.”