The Latest on Farming
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 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.Read More
EWG and other environmental groups sent lawmakers a letter today (April 19) opposing the Domestic Fuels Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 4345) and its companion, the Domestic Fuels Act of 2012 (S. 2264). The bill would provide a broad exemption from legal liability to fuel producers, engine manufacturers and retailers of virtually all transportation fuels and fuel additives – including gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, or E15.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
This year’s effort to renew America’s food and farm policy through the farm bill creates an opportunity for Congress to do more to support family farmers, protect the environment, encourage healthy diets and ensure better access to healthy food – all while supporting working families.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.
A new Environmental Working Group report examines water pollution caused by farm runoff and details how treating the problem after the fact is increasingly expensive, difficult and, if current trends continue, ultimately unsustainable.Read More
The New York Times’ Ron Nixon has a report out on a just released Government Accountability Office study of federally subsidized crop insurance. An excerpt: The crop insurance subsidy, according to the G.A.O. report, ballooned to $7.3 billion last year from $951 million in 2000, or about $1.2 billion adjusted for inflation. A Congressional Budget Office study cited in the report estimates that the premium subsidy will cost $39 billion from 2012 to 2016, about $7.8 billion a year.Read More
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
Water that runs off fields treated with chemical fertilizers and manure is loaded with nitrogen and phosphorus, two potent pollutants that inevitably end up in rivers and lakes and set off a cascade of harmful consequences, contaminating the drinking water used by millions of Americans. Treating this water after the fact to clean up the contamination is increasingly expensive, difficult and, if current trends continue, ultimately unsustainable. The only solution that will preserve the clean, healthy and tasty drinking water that people expect is to tackle the problem at the source.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