Trump signs disaster bill with $3 billion for agriculture
President Trump announced enactment of the $19.1 billion disaster bill that includes $3 billion for agricultural relief on Thursday. Delayed for months by White House efforts to limit aid to Puerto Rico, the package empowers Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to allot the farm assistance through block grants to states and territories.
A flooding reprieve for 25,000 acres of Louisiana farmland
A spillway on the Mississippi River, designed to prevent the river from overflowing its levees and inundating towns and cities in Louisiana, was set to be opened for only the third time in history this Sunday. But farmers with 25,000 acres of crops at stake won a last minute reprieve when the Army Corps of Engineers decided on Thursday to hold off action.
A dearth of data spurs debate over ‘insect apocalypse’
In recent months, the media have been abuzz about a series of studies that describe a looming “insect apocalypse,” a steady loss of bugs that would eventually put all life on earth at risk. Now Mongabay, an online magazine, has launched a four-part series to examine the science behind these studies and see whether the conclusions are premature.
Organic farmers want a solution to their plastic problem
It may not be well known, but organic farmers – like their conventional farming neighbors – depend on plastic to grow a lot of food. “It’s spread over the ground as a form of mulch to suppress weeds, conserve water and aid plant growth,” reports Lisa Elaine Held in a latest story, produced in collaboration with NPR’s The Salt. But when the season’s over, the plastic heads to landfills.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
EPA bows to Monsanto (Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting) The EPA scaled back protections for crops and wildlife habitat after Monsanto supplied research that lowered estimates of how far the weedkiller dicamba can drift.
Trump’s affect on beer (Washingtonian) President Trump’s planned 10 percent aluminum tariff could raise the price of your favorite beer. A D.C.-area brewer notes that aluminum accounts for at least 20 percent of the cost of producing a case of beer.
Climate change and the farm bill (Harvard) A new report from Harvard’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic features recommendations for how the farm bill can address agriculture’s impact on climate change, including disseminating climate data to farmers and better conservation compliance.
The status chickens of Silicon Valley (Washington Post) Backyard poultry has long been an urban signifier of food-movement cred. “But in the Bay Area — where the nation’s preeminent local food movement overlaps with the nation’s tech elite — egg-laying chickens are now a trendy, eco-conscious humblebrag on par with driving a Tesla.”