Industrial Agriculture

Corn

How some Iowa farmers keep the land fertile, while others salt the earth

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a new study out about the sexiest subject ever — soil erosion! Wait, don't go, this is important: Topsoil takes forever to make, so as it washes off of fields, it's literally taking our …

Industrial Agriculture

Big Ag demands right to pollute California’s Central Valley

A Central Valley field.Photo: calwestThe Los Angeles Times details a brewing skirmish over agricultural runoff being fought in California’s Central Valley. At issue are proposed regulations that would for the first time force farmers to address fertilizer and pesticide runoff …

Food

Disappearing American bats are worth up to $53 billion

Bats eat a lot of bugs. Here are some living under a bridge in Austin, Texas that eat millions of pounds of pests every season. What happens if those bats are wiped out in a few years — as it …

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

Monsanto cash helped fund bill to stifle whistleblowers in Iowa

Monsanto: See no evil, speak no evil in Iowa’s factory farms.Speaking of Monsanto, it turns out they are playing a role in Iowa’s proposed anti-whistleblower bill — a bill focused primarily on agriculture. Should the bill pass, it will become illegal to …

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 …

Industrial Agriculture

Will the U.S. hog industry ever kick its reliance on low-dose antibiotics?

The editors of Scientific American recently encouraged U.S. hog farmers to “follow Denmark and stop giving farm animals low-dose antibiotics.” Sixteen years ago, in order to reduce the threat of increased development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in their food system …

Farm Bill

Budget fight threatens to turn Farm Bill into Industrial Ag Bill

Will eco-friendly and people-friendly farm programs get steamrolled?Will the next Farm Bill, scheduled for passage in 2012, put public policy in service of a food system that works for farmers, eaters, and the environment? Well, optimism over federal food-policy reform …

Industrial Agriculture

Startling new report shines light on farm labor conditions — and they ain’t good

Like a factory in the field, except for the wage protections, benefits, and union. Photo: Vera ChangMost corporations involved in the food business quietly benefit from the invisibility of U.S. farmworkers. Bon Appetit Management Co., a U.S. subsidiary of the …