In ‘final report card,’ world fails to meet biodiversity goals, says UN

In 2010, global leaders set 20 goals for preserving biodiversity worldwide in the decade ahead. Today, none of the targets has been met fully and only six are even partially achieved, said the United Nations in "a final report card" on the effort. "Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate,” said the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report, “and the pressures driving the decline are intensifying." Still, the UN said, "it is not too late to slow, halt, and reverse current trends." (No paywall)

Cargill to support regenerative agriculture on 10 million acres

Agricultural processor Cargill said on Wednesday that it would support the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on 10 million acres of North American farmland over the next 10 years.

Climate change, migration, and the future of pandemics

In the late 18th century, a French zoologist visiting South Africa documented a deadly local livestock disease known as bluetongue. Today, some 240 years later, the disease can be found virtually worldwide. In FERN's latest story, produced with Ensia, Carson Vaughan explores a new way of understanding emerging infectious diseases, showing how climate change and migration can cause pathogens to spread in new and virulent ways. (No paywall)

Algae blooms have cost at least $1.1 billion over past decade, says EWG

Potentially toxic algae blooms, which are caused by farm runoff and urban wastewater running into streams and lakes, have cost an estimated $1.1 billion over the past decade in the United States, and that "is almost certainly a significant undercount," said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.

Harris on ag issues: Strong on farmworker protections, against the USMCA

During her time in the Senate, California's Kamala Harris, named Tuesday to be Joe Biden's running mate in this fall's presidential election, has been active on a number of farm and ag issues, including creating a path to citizenship for farmworkers. She has also been an advocate of aggressive action on climate change.

Democratic platform redirects farm subsidies, boosts SNAP

Farm subsidies would be reformed "to better support small- and mid-sized farms" if Joe Biden is elected president, says the draft platform written ahead of next month's Democratic National Convention. "Democrats will increase funding for food assistance programs, including SNAP, WIC, and school meals."

House report calls for major action on climate, lays out ag plan

House Democrats released a massive report on Tuesday calling for widespread changes in the economy to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in the United States by 2050, laying out in effect a policy blueprint after the 2020 election. “To turn the tide on climate change, the United States needs to …

Senate bill would help farmers get into carbon markets, say backers

Farmers could combine environmental and economic sustainability through practices that lock carbon into the soil, but it's dauntingly difficult to enter the carbon sequestration market and get paid for it, said the leaders of the two largest U.S. farm groups on Wednesday.

World Food Prize goes to scientist who ‘transformed the way the world saw soils’

Rattan Lal, one of the world's leading soil scientists, is this year's winner of the $250,000 World Food Prize, "the Nobel of agriculture," for his breakthrough research on the importance of carbon to soil health and the potential of carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Lal's research "transformed the way the world saw soils," said the foundation that awards the annual prize.

Ancient Southwest farming cultures faced extreme drought. Now it’s back.

Centuries ago, the Zuni people in the arid Southwest region of the United States developed a sophisticated farming culture, channeling water towards crops and breeding climate resilient seeds, reports Tim Folger, in FERN's latest story, produced with The Weather Channel. But that culture was also likely wiped out by a rare 50-year megadrought that may now be underway again in the West. (No paywall)