A new analysis by economists at Ohio State University and the University of Illinois concludes that lavish subsidy programs created in the 2014 farm bill could cost taxpayers billions more than expected.
Yesterday I heard someone talking about how the US has a responsibility to “feed the world”. I have a real problem with this, who gave us this mandate? The thought of the US “feeding the world” is ridiculous in so many ways, but more so, it is condescending to say the least, to the rest of the world. Who made us keepers of the world? Who decided we knew how to feed them and who decided the people of world were incapable of feeding themselves?
Under the blistering Central Valley sun, Filiberta Sanchez and her toddler granddaughter strolled down a Parkwood sidewalk lined with yellow weeds, dying grass and trees more fit for kindling than shade.
Michael Specter’s recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in U.S. today. Rather than reduce pesticide inputs, GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity.
Sustainable consumer behavior has decreased since 2012 in five countries including the US and China — with US consumers’ behavior still ranking the least sustainable of all countries surveyed since the inception of
Willie Nelson and Neil Young headlined a concert on a Nebraska farm to spotlight how the Keystone XL pipeline would hurt farms and tribal lands. Nelson and Young played separate sets for the crowd of 8,000, joining together to sing the Woody Guthrie anthem "This Land Is Your Land,"
You probably know your Social Security number, your driver’s license number and perhaps the latest wrinkle in mattress marketing, your sleep number.But do you know your drought number?The latter represents the amount of water you
With nearly 3 billion people already facing water scarcity, farmers look to both tech and tradition for ways to grow more food with less of an increasingly strained resource Today some 2.8 billion people face insufficient supplies of fresh water,...
Today some 2.8 billion people face insufficient supplies of fresh water, and according to the United Nations that number is set to increase to half the world’s population by 2030. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that 40% of the world’s food depends on irrigation, which accounts for almost 70% of fresh water used.
It makes sense then that farmers are turning to new and old technology in an attempt to manage their water.
Measure twice, pump once
The old business dogma, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, holds especially true with water usage. But in many places around the world the amount of water diverted from rivers or pumped from the ground to irrigate crops is not measured. Even California groundwater was totally unregulated until this month.
That’s a political rather than a technological problem, said Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute, an independent research organization focused on water issues. Flow meters to measure water use are neither new nor expensive, Gleick said. But in many places groundwater has long been considered a property right, so farmers have seen no need measure or justify how they use it.
But with drought and over-pumping dropping water tables, some are beginning to recognize that better water use tracking will help to keep a dwindling resource flowing.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Wellntel, a water technology company, is answering that need with a water-measuring system that uses sound sensors to detect the water level in a well – without touching the water or opening the well. The sensors transmit data to the Wellntel website, where customers can log in to private accounts and see their water level at various points: when pumping, after rainfall, and over time.
In an attempt to mollify farmers, Wellntel specifically touts a farmer’s right not to share data on the amount of water used with anyone else.
Waste not, want not
The first place to save water is in conveyance: as much as 60% of the water withdrawn for irrigation is lost through leaks in canals, spillage and evaporation, according to the FAO.
Another part of the problem is flood irrigation – the most common method of field irrigation globally. About half the water on flood irrigated fields isn’t absorbed by crops, according to the US Geological Survey. Instead it runs off, taking with it fertilizers, pesticides and topsoil that pollute water bodies around the world and cause dead zones, areas where too much fertilizer causes algae to bloom, which in turn sucks oxygen out of the water, killing other life....