Who will reap the benefits of Mexico’s ‘miraculous’ nitrogen-fixing maize?

Last summer, researchers from Mars Inc. and UC Davis announced the "discovery" of a variety of corn grown in Oaxaca that fixes its own nitrogen through mucus-covered aerial roots. Their study, in the journal PLOS Biology, touched off a debate—in Mexico and beyond—about the effectiveness of global policies designed to safeguard the genetic resources of indigenous communities, according to FERN's latest story, published with Yale Environment 360.

How farmers will adapt to the prospect of a new, soggier normal

American farmers, having endured the wettest 12 months in well over a hundred years and facing predictions that this could be the soggy new normal for the nation’s midsection, are looking at a variety of ways to speed up their processes next year, according to Bloomberg.

Inside the movement to convert Iowa farmers into climate evangelists

A faith-based nonprofit group is mobilizing farmers across Iowa to become evangelists in the movement to battle climate change — and it is getting a welcome reception, according to FERN’s latest story, produced in collaboration with Mother Jones. The story, written by Brian Barth, says the Iowa branch of Interfaith Power and Light convened a series of meetings, aiming “to round up a 100-strong squad of farmers who are willing to speak publicly about agriculture as a climate solution” ahead of the 2020 presidential caucuses in Iowa. (No paywall)

USDA keeps its mouth shut about climate research

Since President Trump took office, the USDA "has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change," reports Politico on Sunday. In a lengthy piece, it said at least 45 studies produced by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) did not receive any promotion, including a groundbreaking report that rice loses its vitamins in a carbon-rich atmosphere.

Sec. Perdue is open to carbon markets for farmers, Pingree says

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed support for carbon markets for farmers during a meeting, Rep. Chellie Pingree said on Monday. An upcoming agriculture appropriations bill will likely include language that urges USDA to research the possibility of such markets, added the Maine …

As the oceans warm, the seafood we eat will have to change

Americans eat only a small number of sea creatures of seafood—namely salmon, shrimp and tilapia. But the world’s warming oceans are shifting undersea ecosystems in a way that will force us to expand our minds and palates, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN's latest story, published with EatingWell.(No paywall)

Eating tomorrow: A conversation with Timothy Wise

Timothy A. Wise spent four years researching the industrialization of agriculture and the influence of agribusiness on policy creation around the world. Everywhere he traveled, he saw how governments and philanthropies have committed to a vision of hunger eradication that heralds industrial, large-scale agriculture. His new book, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, details how this vision has largely failed to bring countries closer to food security even as it has imperiled our water, soil, and farming communities.(No paywall)

New study confirms man-made climate change drives weather patterns

Researchers analyzed centuries of tree-ring data and found that human-generated greenhouse gases were driving drought conditions around the world as early as 1900, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The study, described by National Geographic as the “first of its kind,” substantially confirms what climate models have shown.

How climate change is altering the food America grows

From invasive pests and drought to longer growing seasons and floods, climate change is reshuffling our system of agriculture, reports The New York Times in a piece that summarizes how these new realities are affecting 11 crops. 

Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.