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.
The Iowa caucuses are more than a year away but potential 2012 presidential hopefuls are already parachuting into corn country to pander to Big Ag. Perennially coy Newt Gingrich is only the latest to genuflect before Iowa’s long reigning monarch – King Corn. Delivering the keynote address at the Renewable Fuels Association summit (Jan. 25), the former Republican Speaker of the House (Speaker’s Bureau fee listed at $40,000+) and tax cutting champion called for continued mandates and support for the 30-year old corn ethanol industry.Read More
Big agribusiness hates it when we talk dirty. The Dirty Dozen that is, EWG's list of fresh fruits and vegetables that are most likely to carry pesticide residues.Read More
Last week was a reminder – if I needed it – of just how out of touch the powerful farm lobby is with the rest of America.Read More
Here’s who lost out today (Jan. 21) when the Environmental Protection Agency decided to allow the use of fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) in any gas-powered car or truck built since 2001:
- Car owners whose engines and catalytic converters may be damaged even as auto makers void their warranties.
- Owners of lawnmowers, outboard motors, chain saws, ATVs and a host of other outdoor tools whose engines will break down if they’re fueled with E15.
- The environment, as this misguided policy encourages all-out corn production and the massive water pollution that results, ultimately reinforcing the devastating “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay.
- Birds and other wildlife, which will lose habitat as large-scale farmers expand into marginal and highly erodible land.
A group of corn ethanol producers is mounting an aggressive campaign they call their “Fueling Freedom Plan” that would have taxpayers spend scarce resources on biofuels pipelines, gas station pumps and other infrastructure development in order to put ethanol on “a level playing field” with gasoline – and into the tank of every engine in America.Read More
Food and agriculture policy always comes down to money: how federal dollars will be prioritized and spent.Read More
The 10 most important stories from EWG's AgMag blog in 2010.Read More
Indications are that the wasteful corn ethanol tax credit may be included in a legislative deal negotiated by the Obama White House to extend tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. Last week the Environmental Working Group published a top ten list of reasons why Congress should allow the ethanol tax credit to expire at the end of the year.Read More
The $1.15 billion settlement awarded to black farmers to compensate for decades of discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) become a reality yesterday (Dec. 8) as President Obama signed the funding legislation in a White House ceremony.Read More
For more than thirty years, contamination from high-intensity farming has been adding to the pollution that fouls Chesapeake Bay, one of America’s most storied waterways. A new report from the Environmental Working Group today (Dec 7) shows that weakly regulated agricultural practices in the six states of the Chesapeake watershed are overloading soils with phosphorus, a major reason the bay is in trouble.Read More
For more than thirty years, contamination from high-intensity farming has been adding to the pollution that fouls Chesapeake Bay, one of America’s most storied waterways. A new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows that weakly regulated agricultural practices in the six states of the Chesapeake watershed are overloading soils with phosphorus, a major reason the bay is in trouble.Read More
Year after year, vast amounts of pollutants pour into Chesapeake Bay, fouling the largest estuary in the United States and ultimately creating large dead zones in waters that once teemed with life. For decades, many have lamented the decline in the bay’s health, but efforts to stop the ongoing damage and restore this once-pristine jewel have so far been largely fruitless.Read More
Rumors are flying that the lame duck Congress will attach an extension of the so-called ethanol “blender’s tax credit” to a bill to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts as part of a broader deal. Here are the Top 10 reasons – based on previously released EWG research – why Congress should say no to the tax credit extension.Read More
On Wednesday (Dec 1), 15 senators from Corn Belt states sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell asking them to extend the ethanol tax credits and tariff protection that expire at the end of the month.Read More
Richard Goldman, who died in San Francisco Monday (Nov. 29) at the age of 90, was a pioneer environmentalist and philanthropist who believed passionately in the power of the individual.Read More
DTN Progressive Farmer political correspondent Jerry Hagstrom is reporting that black farmers' claims against the US Department of Agriculture "could be settled today if the House, as expected, takes up a $4.5 billion bill the Senate passed just before Thanksgiving to settle the Pigford II black farmers’ discrimination case against USDA."Read More
Tea party backers, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, and the bulk of the U.S. meat and dairy industry joined forces today, calling on Congressional leaders to eliminate a wasteful taxpayer-funded subsidy that largely lines the pockets of companies that blend ethanol with fuel, including BP, Shell and Chevron. Go here to read the letter asking Congress to roll back support for corn ethanol from 59 groups.Read More
The cut-spending, small government posse that rode the Tea Party wave into Congress -- but just happens to cash in on federal farm subsidies -- is now using national defense as a shield for its contradictory stance. Vicky Hartzler, recently elected to Congress from Missouri and recipient of $774,000 in farm subsidies since 1995, played the national defense card when confronted over her haul of taxpayer dollars: "Everything should be on the table," she says. While she says some agriculture programs represent a "national defense issue" because they help guarantee that "we have a safety net to make sure we have food security in our country."Read More
Yesterday (Nov 19) it was announced that the $1.15 billion awarded black farmers in the Pigford settlement that arose from decades of discriminatory practices at the U.S.Read More
Yesterday (Nov 19) it was announced that the $1.15 billion awarded black farmers in the Pigford settlement that arose from decades of discriminatory practices at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finally been approved by the Senate.Read More