A new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that farm conservation practices in some parts of the Midwest have reduced farm pollution by 5-to-34 percent. Yet researchers are measuring near-record concentrations of farm pollution flowing down the Mississippi River this year.
We need a consistent approach to agricultural conservation.Driving around central Iowa on a crop survey this spring, EWG analysts came across a far-too-common scene: adjacent fields reflecting disparate responses to the problem of agricultural runoff. EWG’s report, “Fooling Ourselves,” showed that voluntary programs to encourage planting of protective vegetation along vulnerable waterways were not achieving lasting results.
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.
As summer approaches, so do the toxic algal blooms that plague Lake Erie every year, killing fish and making the water too dangerous to swim in.
Recently, spring weather in upper Midwest has been warmer and dryer, leading farmers in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota to plant corn in early April. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress Report, since 2013 there's been a big rise in corn planted by mid-April, the earliest farmers in the region can plant and be eligible for federally subsidized crop insurance.
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.
A new law requiring grass “buffers” to be planted between cropland and Minnesota’s rivers and streams is an innovative and important step toward cutting pollution from farm operations, EWG said today.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
Requiring farmers to plant 50-foot wide grass strips, or buffers, between cropland and streams would jumpstart progress toward cleaning Iowa’s dirty water while affecting only a handful of growers and a minuscule number of acres, a new report from Environmental Working Group shows.Read More
In what has become an annual ritual, Congress unveiled this week a massive spending bill to keep the government going, which includes provisions that would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from vital programs that protect our land and water.Read More
Clean, cheap water from your tap might soon be a thing of the past.Read More
Corn-based ethanol is a major cause of the water pollution that is ravaging the Mississippi River basin and the Gulf of Mexico, a report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) inspector general concluded this week (Sept. 4).Read More
A new audit from Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds the agency’s strategy to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico is ineffective.Read More
In 2013, an Environmental Working Group report titled “WASHOUT” documented that soil erosion across Iowa farm land during that spring’s heavy rains had been far worse than previous estimates – in some cases carrying away a devastating 40 tons of soil in a single week from fragile and poorly protected fields. In many places, runoff carved “ephemeral gullies” as a result of growers’ inadequate conservation measures.Read More
A new survey of Iowa farmland finds that “ephemeral gullies” are still ravaging many crop fields despite a few welcome signs of improvement compared to a year ago. Unprotected fields were once again battered by spring storms this year, according to a report released today by the Environmental Working Group.Read More