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.
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
Despite Drought, Hundreds of Fracking Sites Used More Than 10 Million Gallons of WaterRead More
Critics of EWG research that highlights the runaway conversion of pasture, forest and rangeland to grow row crops like to claim that our findings are contradicted by the Census of Agriculture published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. They say that the census shows that acreage under cultivation is actually dropping. There’s just one problem with that.
Many of the Democrats who lost their seats this week voted for the 2014 farm bill – only to see farm groups donate to their Republican opponents.Read More
According to a new study from the Department of Energy, corn ethanol has helped drive down the energy content in a gallon of gasoline by 3 percent since 1993. And less energy per gallon means fewer miles per gallon.Read More
Clean, cheap water from your tap might soon be a thing of the past.Read More
Policy makers seem to freeze with fear when confronted with terrifying algae. Regulatory and voluntary programs still haven’t produced a comprehensive and effective effort to stem nutrient pollution and combat the blooms. Left unchecked, water overloaded with nutrients willl cause more blooms in the future.Read More
Cleaner water in the Chesapeake Bay could mean billions of dollars in economic growth for the region.Read More
Defenders of genetically engineered crops regularly claim that these varieties cut erosion by encouraging farmers to use tillage practices that enhance soil conservation.Read More
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.Read More
From 2003 through 2012, crop insurance premium subsidies cost taxpayers $42.1 billion – 72 percent of the federal crop insurance program’s total costs. If Congress had paid attention when it had the chance, it would have trimmed premium subsidies – instead of ballooning the deficit.Read More