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Policy Plate BLOG

Your daily serving of food and farm policy.

Making the Case for Conservation Compliance

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An article by Bill Berry for The Cap Times examines the impact heavy rains have had on Midwest’s water quality and agriculture production this spring, using EWG’s research to make the case for conservation compliance.

Berry writes:

In this case, the right thing is tying conservation compliance to taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance. Many row-crop farmers have insurance that’s heavily subsidized by the public. So they’ll survive to plant another day in an era of record farm profits. But this comes at great cost to water resources.

In Iowa, the Des Moines Water Works has dealt this year with record levels of nitrates — twice the allowable limit in some cases. Most of that comes from farm-generated nutrients. Untreated high levels of nitrates in drinking water can harm infants, and are linked to some cancers and miscarriages. Des Moines has a nitrate removal facility that cost millions to build and costs $7,000 a day when it’s running. Those costs and others are borne by ratepayers. It’s an example of how farm profits are internalized but the costs of environmental impacts are externalized.

Read the full story here.

Table Scraps:

Food safety provisions, designed and approved with bipartisan support in 2010 to address food-borne illness outbreaks, is being held hostage by the House farm bill, according to The Hill.

The Tea Party Patriots wrote a response to Paul Krugman’s take on the House farm bill, and surprisingly found areas of agreement.

Tweet of the Day:

@EWGsoilman Farm Bill Politics May Prove Devastating to the Environment: Scientific American … via @sciam

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