Farms and ranches cover more than half of all land in the United States. EWG works to keep the land productive and to protect soil, water and wildlife.
The Latest on Environment
Chris Clayton, policy editor at Progressive Farmer/DTN, examines the curious position being taken by industrial agriculture’s lobbyists. They claim that farmers are doing all they can to protect the environment, but at the same time the lobbyists resist even modest attempts to require minimal conservation efforts in exchange for new farm subsidies.Read More
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.Read More
The imbalanced 900-page farm bill released by the Senate agriculture committee needlessly sacrifices conservation program funding to finance unlimited insurance subsidies and a new entitlement program for the largest and most profitable agribusinesses.Read More
Craig Cox, Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Environmental Working Group, offered this initial take on the just released Senate Agriculture Committee’s 2012 farm bill. “The 2012 farm bill should do more to support family farmers, protect the environment, promote healthy diets and support working families. Unfortunately, the bill produced today by the Senate Agriculture Committee will do more harm than good. It needlessly sacrifices conservation and feeding assistance programs to finance unlimited insurance subsidies and a new entitlement program for highly profitable farm businesses.Read More
The Environmental Working Group released a report (PDF) today (April 18) that shows that an EWG proposal to reform the costly federal crop insurance program through the 2012 farm bill could save taxpayers up to $18.5 billion over 10 years while delivering a reliable safety net to American farmers.Read More
The Environmental Working Group released its 2012 farm bill platform today. We believe that Congress should enact farm and food policy legislation that: provides producers with an effective safety net at a lower cost to taxpayers; creates new markets for farm products; invests in conservation and nutrition programs that benefit all farmers and consumers; promotes greater consumption of fruits and vegetables; and meets the nation’s deficit reduction goals.Read More
As Congress gets to work again in 2013 on renewing the farm bill, it has the opportunity to do more to support family farmers, protect the environment and encourage healthy diets, while ending wasteful and unnecessary subsidy payments that flow to profitable growers and the crop insurance industry. Here is the farm bill platform EWG announced early in 2013.Read More
Environmental Working Group’s new report Troubled Waters has laid out three ways the 2012 federal farm bill can protect drinking water from farm chemicals run-off. Congress should:
- End direct payments, reduce farm insurance subsidies and block any new entitlement programs that encourage all-out production and hurt the environment.
- Renew the conservation compact that requires farmers receiving taxpayer-funded support to carry out basic conservation practices.
- Provide adequate funding for conservation programs in order to reward farmers who take steps to protect water.
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.Read More
New York Times editorial board member Verlyn Klinkenborg writes about “ The Folly of Big Agriculture” at Yale 360. An excerpt: In its short, shameless history, big agriculture has had only one big idea: uniformity. The obvious example is corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that American farmers — big farmers — will plant 94 million acres of corn this year. That’s the equivalent of planting corn on every inch of Montana.Read More
In a rare bit of good news for Americans concerned about the quality of their water, a district court judge in Polk County, Iowa, has denied an industrial agriculture lobby’s efforts to raise legal objections to the state’s clean water provisions. The Iowa Environmental Council has the scoop: Legal challenges to new clean water protections in Iowa raised by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and other groups are “without merit” and should not move on to trial, a judge in the Iowa District Court for Polk County ruled Friday.Read More
In a new study reported in the April issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists from the University of California-Berkley have found that fertilizer use is responsible for a huge increase in potent green house gases. From UC Berkley’s News Center: University of California, Berkeley, chemists have found a smoking gun proving that increased fertilizer use over the past 50 years is responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide, which is a major greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change.Read More
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.Read More
A coalition of environmental groups including the Gulf Restoration Network, Prairie Rivers Network and the Iowa Environmental Council are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency to force it to set state water quality standards and tighten pollution limits on wastewater treatment plants.Read More