New research shows hunting’s effect on sage grouse population is mixed

The sage grouse population fell so low during the 1990s that the chicken-sized species was considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Now, two researchers say that restrictions on hunting the sage grouse have a mixed record when it comes to the bird's numbers.

Project will measure carbon on idled U.S. cropland

A $10 million project will sample, measure, and monitor the amount of soil carbon in environmentally fragile cropland idled as part of the Conservation Reserve, said the USDA on Tuesday. Earlier this year, the agency said it would harness the reserve to mitigate climate change by paying landowners to implement climate-smart practices.

Ag coalition proposes climate mitigation for $100 an acre

At the same time farm-state lawmakers are trying to add $2 billion to $3 billion a year to USDA conservation programs, a coalition of farmers and ag groups says the price tag for climate mitigation on the farm should be much higher —$100 per acre or $40 billion a year when fully implemented. No paywall

Comity fractures in face of House Agriculture Committee ‘shenanigans’

Hostile Republicans finally got under the skin of gentlemanly Rep. David Scott. The House Agriculture chairman limited discussion during a committee hearing on Thursday — "We're here to deal with climate change and nothing else," he said — and told Republican Austin Scott, "I'm tired of your disrespect."

Farming boom threatens Biden’s climate and conservation goals

High prices for corn and soybeans, coupled with the ethanol mandate and generous crop insurance, are spurring farmers in the Great Plains to plow up native grasslands in favor of commodity crops. The loss of these ancient carbon sinks "poses a conundrum for the Biden administration," which wants to cut agriculture's carbon emissions to net zero and conserve 30 percent of the nation's land in a bid to protect biodiversity.(No paywall)

House panel approves $66 billion ag bill; change in ‘stepped-up basis’ is abandoned

The Democratic-controlled House Agriculture Committee approved its $66 billion part of President Biden's $3.5 trillion "build back better" bill on a party-line vote Monday, with Chairman David Scott saying he was confident that $28 billion will be added later for land stewardship and climate mitigation by farmers. Meanwhile, House Democrats said they would not alter a tax break that helps farmers pass land from generation to generation.

Conversion of grasslands accelerates in Great Plains

After slowing with the collapse of the commodity boom nearly a decade ago, the conversion of grassland to row crops is accelerating in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, said the World Wildlife Fund.

IUCN Congress: Crop wild relatives in peril; food giants’ regenerative-ag push

The wild relatives of some of the world’s most important crops are at risk of extinction, threatening efforts to breed plants with greater resilience to climate change and improve yields, according to a new paper presented Tuesday at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. (No paywall)

Green, farm groups offer their plan for conservation spending in reconciliation bill

Congress should provide $30 billion for climate-friendly agricultural practices and organic production in the upcoming reconciliation bill, said five dozen farm, environmental, and food groups in a letter to Democratic leaders on Wednesday.