EWG’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. In the Midwest we pursue our mission by working to move agriculture in a more sustainable direction. Farmland dominates the landscape and watersheds in the Midwest. The way that land is used and managed has profound effects on our health through the water we drink and the food we eat.
Farming can actually make water cleaner and the environment healthier. Farms doing exactly that are scattered across the Midwest. We bring a unique combination of remote-sensing, big data and landscape analysis to bear to build pressure to change policy to heal the damage done by poor farming practices and to build excitement about how much healthier the environment could be through often simple changes in the way we farm.
The congressional budget deal signed by President Obama in early November includes a cost-saving measure that trims the profits taxpayers guarantee the crop insurance industry. The guaranteed rate of return of these companies would drop from 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent, saving $3 billion over the next 10 years.Read More
The federal crop insurance program has come under attack for its increasing cost, environmental impacts and secrecy. But the farm lobby, the crop insurance industry and their political patrons maintain that despite its flaws, crop insurance is better, cheaper and less likely to lead to environmental harm than disaster programs.
Ripped from the pages of an obscure science fiction novel, millions run screaming from the threat of a toxic algal bloom blanketing almost 650 miles of the Ohio River. Regrettably, this story isn’t made up. Officials in the Ohio River basin are scrambling to deal with poisonous slime that may compromise the safety of drinking water, suffocate aquatic life and halt recreational activity for much of the region.
Clean water is vital to sustaining life. Why aren’t we protecting it?
A new law requiring grass “buffers” to be planted between cropland and Minnesota’s rivers and streams is an innovative and important step toward cutting pollution from farm operations, EWG said today.Read More
Nitrogen from fertilizers and manures washed off farmland costs Americans $157 billion a year in damages to human health and the environment.
An article in the May 27 edition of Harvest Public Media, an online news outlet devoted to news about agriculture, amounts to first-hand evidence of the destruction of the iconic Prairie Pothole Region – an oasis of grassland and wetlands in North America.Read More
The so-called “prevented planting” component of the federal crop insurance program is wasting billions of dollars while encouraging growers to plow up wildlife-sustaining wetlands in the iconic Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota.Read More
A new EWG report reveals that from 2000 to 2013 a total of $4.4 billion in federal “prevented planting” crop insurance payouts went to farmers in 94 counties in the iconic Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota – despite attempts by the government to rein in the program’s costs.Read More
Last week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released the alarming results of a study of waterways in the southwest corner of the state, reporting that only three of 93 segments it assessed was “fully supporting of aquatic life” and only one was “fully supporting of aquatic recreation.”
A study of five representative Iowa counties shows that requiring simple buffer zones between crop fields and streams could get two-thirds of the way to the state's goal for reducing phosphorus pollution and one-fifth of the way to the nitrogen pollution target, while affecting only a tiny proportion of landowners and a vanishingly small percentage of row-crop acreage.Read More
Requiring farmers to plant 50-foot wide grass strips, or buffers, between cropland and streams would jumpstart progress toward cleaning Iowa’s dirty water while affecting only a handful of growers and a minuscule number of acres, a new report from Environmental Working Group shows.Read More
Nitrate and phosphorus runoff from farm fields is a major reason why water quality is notoriously poor in Iowa’s rivers, streams and lakes.
A mega-farm is a colloquial term, not an official designation used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor any other agricultural authority for that matter. Yet it’s often bantered about in reference to the Corn Belt—the corn-producing states in the Midwest—where the consolidation of commodity farms continues at an unprecedented pace.Read More
Two of the nation’s leading agricultural economists say federal crop insurance is greatly over-subsidized, adding yet another authoritative voice to those calling for reform.Read More
In 2007, corn ethanol was offered up as an environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline. But nearly seven years to the day since Congress put it in play, we’re still not seeing the benefits. In fact, quite the opposite.Read More
In what has become an annual ritual, Congress unveiled this week a massive spending bill to keep the government going, which includes provisions that would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from vital programs that protect our land and water.Read More
Organic farming isn’t just a niche for a privileged elite.
A new study, published today (Dec 10th) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London shows that organic farmers can achieve yields nearly as large as their counterparts practicing conventional agriculture. And they can still cultivate crops without highly toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers that pollute groundwater and stimulate algae blooms that suffocate marine life.Read More