A growing number of farmers, researchers and nonprofits are working to transform the Midwestern corn and soybean belt into a more diverse cropping region, including a new USDA-funded project at Purdue University designed to study how to help growers diversify their farms. (No paywall)
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)
More than a half century after the first Earth Day, with our planet in worse shape than it’s ever been, the challenge of slowing global warming and the environmental, economic and social devastation underway can sometimes feel like too much — too expensive, too complicated and too politically divisive to overcome. But when we wake up every morning in rural Marion County, Iowa, we aren’t filled with despair. We’re filled with hope in a revolutionary idea: that farmers will help mitigate climate damage that farmers will help mitigate climate damage if we pay them to make their operations more resilient and sustainable. (No paywall)
When the seed bank in Tal Hadya, Syria, was threatened with destruction in the civil war that has engulfed that country, the seeds were smuggled out. Now, some those seeds — from wild wheat relatives in the Fertile Crescent — are being planted in the American Midwest in the hopes that they can protect the U.S. wheat crop from the pests and disease brought by a changing climate, according to FERN’s latest story, published with Yale Environment 360. No paywall
An unexpected thaw of Arctic permafrost let water into the famed "doomsday" seed vault 1,000 kilometers from the North Pole, reported Reuters. The water, halted in the entrance hall of the seed repository, "had no impact on millions of seeds of crops including rice, maize, potatoes and wheat that are stored more than 110 metres inside the mountainside," said the news agency.
Two-thirds of the grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and other crops grown and consumed around the world today originated in ancient breadbaskets in distant parts of the world, says a study of 151 crops and 177 countries.
Researchers say small farmers hold up to 75 percent of the seeds to produce the huge array of crops grown around the world, says Reuters.
Genetic resources in crops and livestock can play a crucial role in feeding the world and "much more needs to be done to study, preserve and utilize the biological diversity that underpins world food production," said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization...
Operators of diversified farms will see more affordable rates for crop insurance under the new Whole Farm Revenue Protection policy, said USDA's Risk Management Agency.
Since the days of the Gold Rush, "groundwater has been considered a property right; landowners are entitled to what's beneath them," says the Los Angeles Times; California is the only state in the West that does not regulate groundwater.