America's wetlands and prairies are being lost and our drinking water and food supplies are contaminated with toxic pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics. The productivity of our farmland is being depleted, threatening future generations of farmers.
Many farmers are producing food in ways that protect family farms and the environment. 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.
Faster is better, right? So is it a good thing that it now takes only 59 days for an Iowa lake to undergo a change that once took 631 days? No. Not when we’re talking about how long it takes for a lake to fill up with mud.Read More
I need to start by publicly apologizing for not engaging in the debate over genetically engineered crops, technically, genetically modified organisms or GMOs, until two years ago.Read More
WASHINGTON – The decision by a federal appeals court not to block the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent corn ethanol (known as E15) is a setback for consumers and the environment, says Environmental Working Group vice president for government affairs Scott Faber.Read More
WASHINGTON – Buried in the 150-page “fiscal cliff” tax bill passed New Year's Day is a last-minute farm bill extension that buys time for Congress to craft and debate an improved measure to establish food and farm policy for the long haul.Read More
The top environmental health stories of 2012 were all about everyday hazards that are right in our backyards. They have to do with the unintended consequences of chemical pollution that could harm the health of our families, our neighbors, our towns - our nation.Read More
House Speaker John Boehner made the right choice when he refused to include a trillion-dollar farm bill in legislation designed to avert the “fiscal cliff.”Read More
Events that used to be called “acts of God” – but that we now realize are increasingly driven by human activity – became the most important environmental news stories of 2012 in the opinion of Environmental Working Group’s staff of scientists, analysts, lawyers, organizers and others. Topping their list was the devastating and ongoing drought that beset much of the United States. As a group, climate-related events – including superstorm Sandy – garnered more votes than any other topic.Read More
EWG’s Scott Faber joined representatives of several fiscally conservative organizations in calling on Congress not to slip a full farm bill reauthorization into any legislative package they cobble together to avoid the imminent “fiscal cliff.”Read More
Congressional leaders in search of a compromise to avoid plunging off the “fiscal cliff” are under growing pressure from the agriculture subsidy lobby and its friends in Congress to attach a subsidy-laden farm bill to legislation ostensibly designed to straighten out the nation’s finances.Read More
Congressional leaders in search of a compromise to avert the “fiscal cliff” are under growing pressure from advocates for subsidized agriculture to attach a $1 trillion farm bill to legislation ostensibly designed to straighten out the nation’s finances.Read More
Forty years after the Clean Water Act became law, the data are clear: Iowa's rivers and streams are still murky. The pollution that continues to degrade them has become a case study on the consequences of the most serious flaw in this historic and otherwise effective federal law: It does little or nothing to address agricultural pollution.Read More
Environmental Working Group joined several groups today to call on lawmakers to stop a secret farm bill from being attached to any legislation designed to straighten out the nation's finances.Read More
A New York Times headline this month (Nov, 13) read: “The Problem is Clear: The Water is Filthy.” It should have read: “The Problem is Clear: Agriculture Granted the Right to Make the Water Filthy.”Read More
It’s a new day for those who have felt poorly served by California’s chief food and agriculture agency.
Democrats in Iowa tried hard to turn Congress’ failure to pass a federal farm bill into a political liability for their Republican opponents. It didn’t work.Read More
With the elections finally behind us, Congress has returned to Washington to try to wrap up a slew of unfinished business. Among other things, lawmakers are grappling with how to revive the expired farm bill, while at the same time they must somehow address the looming “fiscal cliff” of higher taxes and crippling budget cuts that could drive the economy back into recession.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More