Idled Land Usually Returns to Crops – January 14, 2020

When USDA stops paying rent, idled land usually goes back into crops


A Reagan-era creation, the Conservation Reserve is the largest U.S. land retirement program, paying landowners an annual rent if they idle environmentally fragile cropland for 10-15 years. But when the contracts expire, most of the land goes back into crop production, says a USDA report.


In Minnesota, study finds drinking water tainted with nitrates


Hundreds of thousands of Minnesota residents are drinking water contaminated with elevated levels of nitrates, according to a new analysis from the Environmental Working Group. The state is rolling out new rules to regulate nitrogen fertilizer application and protect groundwater, but advocates say they may not go far enough to keep residents safe. 


Reduced-price meals should be free, says school food group

Congress can remove a roadblock to good nutrition by eliminating the reduced-price category for school lunches and breakfasts, and making the meals free for lower-income children, said the School Nutrition Association on Monday.

Talks & Eats – Manhattan – Surf ‘n’ Turf: Can our seafood survive Big Ag and climate change?

As oceans warm, our major fisheries are shifting. At the same time, farm runoff is contributing to dead zones from the Gulf of Mexico to Long Island. Both of these issues – climate change and farming practices – affect the health of ocean ecosystems and, ultimately, the seafood that winds up on our plates. Join moderator and best-selling author Paul Greenberg with an expert panel for a stimulating discussion Feb. 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m., at Subculture in Greenwich Village. VIP reception with drinks and bites beforehand.



Trump heads to Farm Bureau convention (Agri-Pulse): President Trump will keynote the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, his third straight annual appearance before the U.S. farm group.


Tougher food stamp rules did not raise employment (New York Times):  West Virginia tightened its food stamp rules four years ago to encourage people to work. But while demand at food pantries and homeless missions soared, the move did not impact employment.


Rural jobs grow but not as fast as in town (Daily Yonder): Two-thirds of rural counties showed job growth in late 2019, but growth was slower than in urban areas and slowest in counties furthest from metropolitan areas.


‘The biggest fraud of all’ (Kansas City Star): Missouri farmer Randy Constant “was a charmer, not hard to like.” He was also the perpetrator of one of the largest and longest-running frauds in U.S. agriculture by selling con

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