Discussing climate change can be divisive in farm country, but more and more farmers today are willing to join the conversation. We talk with a corn, soybean, and wheat farmer in Ohio who’s been outspoken about the need to confront the issue.(No paywall)
In FERN's latest story, Michael Behar takes a close look at precision agriculture — cutting-edge tools like drones, satellite imagery and artificial intelligence that help farmers keep careful watch over their crops. In addition to improving yields, Behar shows how the technology also allows farmers to reduce water and chemical use. The story was produced in collaboration with EatingWell magazine.(No paywall)
A United Nations climate report on Thursday warned that the world’s unsustainable use of land is boosting greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change, and threatening future food production. But the report also said that land use, farming, and food consumption can shift in important ways that could help mitigate climate change. (No paywall) (No paywall)
The so-called Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy rules would be revised by companion bills in Congress that would triple, to $10 million, the amount of debt that could be reorganized. A House version of the bill is sponsored by six representatives, including House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson. It was filed three weeks after a Senate bill whose sponsors include Finance chairman Chuck Grassley.
The landmark 1999 Keepseagle class-action lawsuit against the USDA for systemic discrimination in its farm lending programs resulted in tens of millions of dollars in payments directly to Native American farmers and ranchers for mistreatment. One of its most lasting legacies may be the endowment of the Native American Agriculture Fund with $266 million left over from the 2011 settlement of the case, said the lead attorney in the case on Monday.
Whether growers operate indoors or out, vegetable production "seems to be on the rise in the Arctic," says Arctic Now, a news partnership based around the polar north. "Greenhouses and hydroponic systems are beacons of hope for the improvement of food security and health issues, and a diversification of the economy in remote Arctic communities."
For more than 40 years, the Emerald Triangle — "a densely forested region of labyrinthine back roads, secret valleys, and perennial creeks in Northern California" — has been a great place to grow a prohibited but highly desired product: marijuana. But this area is now coming under massive pressure with the state's legalization of recreational weed, reports Stett Holbrook in FERN’s latest story, published with GRIST, “The high price of cheap weed.”
Puerto Rico's agriculture secretary, Carlos Flores Ortega, estimates Hurricane Maria wiped out 80 percent of the value of the island's crops in a matter of hours, worth $780 million, says the New York Times. The newspaper quoted a farmer on the southeast coast as saying, "There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won't be for a year or longer."
The owners of Lazy Millennial Farms, near Salinas, Calif., may be the only veganic – vegan and organic – farm in the San Francisco Bay area, growing fresh produce without animal products, reports Civil Eats. “That means no animal fertilizers, fish emulsions, blood or bone meal … …
Researchers at UC-Riverside say desert winds are picking up dust from the widening beaches created as the Salton Sea shrinks, says public broadcaster KPBS in San Diego. The dust from the "playa," as the former lake bed is called, is saltier and higher in some trace elements, although "it was not especially toxic compared to desert soils."