Land Quality

Howard Buffett urges soil-health approach to helping African farmers end hunger, says crop diversity, not biotech seed and monoculture, will ensure families' survival

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2011-10-12

Regenerative ag could return 13 percent of today's CO2 to soil, researcher says; some ranchers, farmers employ composting, year-'round plantings, tillage reduction, plant diversity

By Kristin Ohlson

Discover magazine 2011-06-30

As landfills become increasingly full, diverting food waste - 14 percent of municipal trash - becomes growth industry for composting companies, benefiting gardeners, soil

By Georgina Gustin

St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2011-04-11

In Texas border town, Homeland Security Department fence slices through crop lands, citrus groves, pastures, even roads, trapping tens of thousands of acres in no man's land

By Richard Marosi

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-28

USDA resorts to imported wasps in attempt to control wildly thirsty invasive weed that has drained habitats, pushed species of fish to extinction and is taking over Rio Grande Valley

By Saul Elbein

The Texas Observer 2011-01-25

Legume-planting experiment alongside fields of subsidized corn in Malawi pays off for courageous farmers in more fertile soil, better nutrition for residents

By Dan Charles

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2010-12-01

Opinion: Nation's 8 million acres of public rangeland should be regulated according to intensive grazing principles to turn grasslands verdant and to increase soil health

By Sara Rubin

The Atlantic 2010-06-22

Dispute over hoop houses in Wordsworth country has been transformed into a battle for the British strawberry, a 60,000-pound staple at Wimbledon

By Jamie Doward

The Guardian (UK) 2010-07-04

Practice of combining farming and trees - agroforestry - from mushroom farm to cattle grazing in thinned trees, gains followers in Missouri

By Georgina Gustin

St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2010-06-03

India's agriculture decline, soil degradation from subsidized chemical fertilizer overuse undermines its ambitious positioning

By Geeta Anand

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-02-23

Concern grows over farmland investments in poor countries

Concern for equitable resource allocation grows as rich countries and world's largest food, financial and car companies invest $20 billion to $30 billion annually on farmland in developing countries (click 'See also'). UN says investment has doubled to nearly 20 million hectares (50 million acres) since last year. Analyst predicts civil unrest, with investing countries leaving trail of food scarcity for local populations, as well as devastated soils, dry aquifers and ruined ecology from highly intensive, chemical-based farming.

By John Vidal

The Guardian (UK) 2009-07-03

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Mapping soil as hedge against hunger, climate change

New African soil mapping plan to assess mineral, organic nutrients and guide farmers in using fertilizer or crop rotation aims to reduce poverty, feed growing populations and cope with impact of climate change on agriculture. African soils are among most depleted on earth. New York launch scheduled for Feb. 17 (click 'See also').

By Alistair Thomson

Reuters 2009-01-13

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Opinion: Cooperating for health of land, eaters, economy

Obama's secretaries of agriculture, health and human services share simple link: Health of America's eaters depends on health of food/agriculture system. The two must create science-based policies that build and protect healthy soil, make fruits and vegetables the easiest and most affordable choice, and promote local food production as community asset to strengthen economy.

By Angie Tagtow

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-18

Restoring the ground beneath us to fight hunger, civil unrest

From high-tech, expensive Italian efforts to digging a hole and filling it with manure, efforts to restore soil are widespread - and working. Payoff fights hunger, attacks water scarcity and could reduce global warming (click 'See also'). Restoring soil is solution to political stability, environmental quality. Political, economic institutions treat soil like dirt.

By Charles C. Mann

National Geographic Magazine 2008-09-01

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Earth moves

Earth moves


Nutrient-rich matter that sustains most of our food and supports life is eroding and disappearing, mostly because of modern agricultural practices, says author of "Dirt." Some farmers advocate no-till planting instead, which leaves crop stubble as erosion barrier and ready-made rows for new planting between the stubble.

By Tom Paulson

Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA) 2008-01-22

Opinion: Coming hunger

China and India, with burgeoning populations, face changing climate, water shortages and diminishing farmlands, and must boldly address pollution problems and infrastructure needs or they will be big customers on the world commodities market in 30 years.

By Hari Sud

United Press International 2007-11-06

Too much

In 100-year-old crop lands used for research, Illinois scientists found that 50 years of massive nitrogen fertilization reduced corn yields and that level of organic carbon in the soil was greatly diminished, which leads to greater drought vulnerability. Conclusion? Lower doses of fertilizer often are better for crops, soil, water and air.

By Debra Levey Larson

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2007-10-29

Endangered villages

As population ages, diminishes in rural Japanese communities, social services are cut for lack of use; with no way to get crops to market, isolated farmers let them rot in the fields, or abandon their farms and rice paddies, leaving soil to erode and slip into waterways.

By Masaki Takakura

Daily Yomiuri (Japan) 2007-10-06

Price of coal:

In 2000 in Kentucky, a torrent of coal-mining sludge was released when an earthen dam collapsed after a previous leak; the goo, 20 times the volume of the Exxon Valdez's crude oil spill in Alaska, covered vegetable gardens and suffocated fish as it fouled 100 miles of streams and rivers before dispersing at the Ohio River.

By Peter T. Kilborn

The New York Times 2000-12-25

Growing spirit:

Long the designated caretakers of the poor and disenfranchised, religious communities find their interests growing toward farming and food production for reasons including humane treatment of animals, fair wages to workers and stewardship of the Earth.

By Joan Nathan

The New York Times 2007-08-22

Review: No time

Judging from plastic bottles clogging the landfills and SUVs clogging the highways, the news that we're killing ourselves and our world hasn't kicked in, so that makes "The 11th Hour," an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary, essential viewing.

By Manohla Dargis

The New York Times 2007-08-17


New interactive map allows users to tract proliferation of factory farms by state and county - even number of animals - and it raises questions of whether we pursue the logic of industrialism to its limits, and how badly will it harm the landscape, the people who live in it and democracy itself?

The editors

The New York Times (may require subscription)

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Hard harvest:

In northeastern Brazil, farmers use simple technologies and great persistence to harvest, pick, raise and slaughter, despite high temperatures, little rain and unfertile soil; they begin with a mud-patch, to hold rainwater to create oases of production.

By Isaura Daniel; translated by Mark Ament

Brazil-Arab News Agency


Current agricultural policies distort food costs, waste billions of taxpayer dollars, and subsidize a handful of large farming operations that raise a few selected crops - and subvert subsistence farmers across the globe by dumping cheap surplus goods at below-market prices.

By Senator Richard Lugar and Representative Ron Kind

The Modesto Bee (CA) 2007-07-15

Food/Farm bill:

It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

By Carol Ness

San Francisco Chronicle