Corn

Industrial Agriculture

Should some pesticides be banned to protect bees? A USDA scientist dances around the question

Photo: Maury McCownAs I reported in January, the USDA’s top bee researcher, Jeffrey Pettis, has publicly revealed that he has completed research showing that Bayer’s blockbuster neonicotinoid pesticides, used on million of acres of crops across the country, harm honeybees …

Industrial Agriculture

The American diet in one chart, with lots of fats and sugars

This is a non-interactive version of the chart. Also check out the interactive version, by Civil Eats and the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism News21 course.Over on Civil Eats, Andrea Jezovit has put together a terrific interactive chart on the …

Corn

Farmers in U.S. running out of land

Despite planting record amounts of corn and soybeans this year, U.S. farmers are sitting on unexpectedly small stockpiles of both crops. Meanwhile, the demand for corn is crowding out use of land for other crops, including cotton. The USDA reports …

Factory Farms

Introducing … the Vegan/Omnivore Alliance against Animal Factories

Every day, Americans eat more than a half pound of meat per capita — one of the highest rates on the planet. The vast majority of it is produced with methods that abuse the environment, animals, workers, and public health …

Biofuel

It’s the ‘burbs, stupid: on the Ezra Klein/Tom Vilsack dustup

Carried away: Ezra Klein and Tom Vilsack ride an imaginary “raft of subsidies.” This week, an interesting — and, I think, bizarre — argument broke out between Washington Post political blogger Ezra Klein and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The topic …

Industrial Agriculture

USDA chief flatters industrial ag while Obama honors its greatest critic, Wendell Berry

A year and a half ago, I complained that President Obama’s food and ag policy was “giving me whiplash,” because the administration seemed to keep zigzagging between progressive change and the agrichemical status quo.   Since then, a definite pattern …

Climate Policy

Minn. Rep. Collin Peterson’s crusade against climate policy rages on

Collin Peterson — a Democrat even the Koch brothers could love.Photo: Name Your Frame & Photography via Collin PetersonThe sad saga of climate legislation under Obama — its harrowing ride through Congress and final collapse — features many villains. For …

Food Safety

The world is one poor harvest away from chaos

An Indian woman sifts grain from a previous harvest. Water shortages could drastically affect this year’s harvest.Photo: World BankIn early January, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that its Food Price Index had reached an all-time high in …

Corn

With global grain prices surging, corn ethanol looking dumber than ever

There’s nothing green about wasting corn for ethanol.Grist has been tracking rising food prices for some time — and we’re not the only ones. New York Times columnist and Nobel economist Paul Krugman has been writing on the subject, including …