climate change

Congress encourages corporate sponsorship of USDA conservation programs

In the year-end Washington scramble to pass a government funding package, Congress snuck in a concerning new law that helps agribusiness corporations influence federal farm conservation policy. The SUSTAINS Act, first introduced by Republican leader of the House Agriculture Committee Glenn Thompson, allows corporations to give money to the Department of Agriculture to fund conservation programs. No paywall

Why are Pacific salmon shrinking?

Pacific salmon returning to waterways up and down North America are shrinking. As Miranda Weiss explains in FERN’s latest story, published with bioGraphic, the fish are growing more slowly at sea and, in many cases, returning to spawn younger and smaller than ever before. (No paywall)

The ‘four corners’ of ag policy are back for the farm bill

House Democrats elected Georgia Rep. David Scott as their leader on the Agriculture Committee on Thursday for the congressional session that begins on Jan. 3. The vote means the “four corners” of the 2023 farm bill will be the same four lawmakers who led the House and Senate ag committees for the past two years.

Advocates looked for a ‘Paris moment’ at biodiversity talks. They think they got it.

Environmental groups at the UN Biodiversity Conference hoped for a "Paris moment" for nature — one that would bring the same urgency to the fight against biodiversity loss that now propels the one against climate change. As the conference came to a close in Montreal on Monday, there was the sense among many that they had largely succeeded, even if putting the deal into practice will require a huge effort. (No paywall)

As ecological ‘triple threat’ looms, U.S. envoy urges action on biodiversity

Leaders must act to confront the "triple threat" of nature loss, climate change and pollution, said Monica Medina, the U.S. Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources, speaking Friday at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal. (No paywall)

How food became a weapon in America’s culture war

As the conversation around food got bigger in the ’90s, the stakes also got higher. Mounting evidence that the American way of eating was causing serious health problems spurred talk of reform. Rather than engage with reformers, however, the right simply broadened its culture war around food, politicizing the debate in ways that had significant consequences, not only for public health but, eventually, for the nation’s response to climate change.(No paywall)

Smallest Florida orange crop in 85 years

Hurricanes Ian and Nicole pummeled Florida's orange groves this fall, resulting in the smallest orange crop since the 1937-38 season, according to a USDA estimate.

Critic of Biden climate program will head House Agriculture Committee

With a farm bill fight brewing over President Biden’s climate agenda, House Republican leaders named Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson chair of the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday. Thompson, who wants to expand farm supports, has accused the administration of acting as “a lone wolf” in setting up its $3.5 billion proposal to develop climate-smart commodities.

Spending on climate-smart projects hard to track, says UCS

Meat, dairy, and livestock are likely to get a larger share of the funding than other commodities in the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program, though it’s hard to track spending on the pilot projects, said a Union of Concerned Scientists blog on Thursday.

World faces ‘mass climate deaths from starvation,’ says anti-hunger leader

By disrupting food production, climate change threatens “death from starvation on a scale that no living human today has ever witnessed,” said the head of an anti-hunger foundation during a panel discussion of malnutrition on Wednesday.

With cover crops, the hype far outpaces the science

Cover crops have gained elite status as a way for farmers to fight climate change. But a closer look at the growing body of research raises questions about their ability to lower agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Study: In California’s Central Valley, repurposing farmland could save communities

As the water crisis in California’s Central Valley intensifies, farmers are fallowing fields, slashing jobs and hemorrhaging money. But according to a study released this week, some rural towns might be better off abandoning agriculture entirely and repurposing farmland to create better-paying jobs, ease water usage, decrease pollution and preserve landowners’ revenue streams.

Report: Research is key to thwarting climate impact on agriculture

The global demand for food is rising at the same time that climate change is affecting agricultural production, especially in developing nations, said a new report that calls for increased funding of agricultural research and extension programs to boost productivity on smallholder farms.

Report suggests big changes for ag in Upper Rio Grande River basin

Taking more farmland out of production and increasing irrigation efficiency on farms were two of the management options that could boost water flow in parts of the parched Rio Grande, according to the first report card for the Upper Rio Grande River basin, which was released Thursday.

House task force pushes for climate action in 2023 farm bill

A House task force on climate and agriculture, led by Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree of Maine and Kim Schrier of Washington State, released a report Thursday recommending policies for the 2023 farm bill to make it as climate-friendly as possible.

What seed saving can tell us about the end of the world

"In fewer than 100 years, seed-saving, a practice that had always been essential to human survival, went from mainstream to something most of us are barely aware of, something happening at the fringes of our food culture — small farms, Native communities, survivalists," write Kea Krause, in FERN's latest story, published with Orion Magazine. No paywall

Climate a top issue despite turnover in House, says Vilsack

Food and agriculture will play an ever-larger role in climate negotiations on the world stage, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after participating in the UN climate summit underway in Egypt. Global warming also will be a top issue for the U.S. farm sector, he said, notwithstanding skeptical views among some Republican lawmakers.

 Click for More Articles