“Earth overshoot day” arrives six days sooner

Global Footprint Network, a sustainability think tank, calculates that today is Earth Overshoot Day, "when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year."

USDA chief economist Glauber moves to think tank

USDA chief economist Joe Glauber, whose job required him to translate dry data into the story of U.S. agriculture for policymakers, is leaving USDA to become visiting senior fellow at a Washington think tank. His deputy, Robert Johansson, "will assume the duties of chief economist beginning January 1," said USDA. Glauber is shifting to International Food Policy Research Institute after 32 years with the federal government.

More conservation benefits if land-idling formula is revised

The government could idle more environmentally fragile cropland if it alters its management of the Conservation Reserve to maximize the benefit achieved per dollar instead of aiming for the greatest benefit per acre, says a study by the think tank Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. Created in 1985, the Conservation Reserve, which pays landowners to idle fragile cropland for 10 years or longer, is the largest U.S. land set-aside program ever with an annual cost of $2 billion.

Low market prices could mean $6-$8 billion in corn subsidies

Two agricultural economists say corn subsidies could cost $6 to $8 billion for this year's record-large corn crop, says Reuters. The estimates are based on the projected U.S. average price of $3.50 a bushel for the crop, the price guarantees of the farm bill and...

Lower corn, soy and wheat prices for 2015 crops?

Analysts at the Congressional Budget Office are penciling lower prices for corn, wheat and soybeans into their budget assumptions, according to documents that circulated among commodity traders. The preliminary estimates are prepared for consultations with other agencies and will be refined in coming weeks.

The tussle over agricultural analysis money

Politico writes about the internecine scuffles among the nation's land grant universities and their think tanks for federal money to carry out analytical work.