Can Syrian seeds save climate-challenged U.S. wheat?

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

Arctic thaw sends water into entryway of ‘doomsday’ seed vault

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.

Your home-cooked meal is an immigrant

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.

Seed diversity is in the hands of small farmers

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 diversity is a tool for climate change, says FAO

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...

More attractive crop insurance premium for diversified farms

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.

California eyes slow shift to control of groundwater usage

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.