USDA Archives - Sustainablog

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US – India: Dealing With Monsoon Failure

By Lester R. Brown The scene plays out in India. At a reception, I met the head of Indian operations for Esso (now ExxonMobil). When I asked him how business was, he said it was great. In particular, diesel sales to fuel irrigation pumps were nearly double the previous year’s level. Why? Because farmers were […]

February 12th

Who Owns America's Farmland?

Nationwide, farmers only own 60% of the land they farm. In many of the most productive row cropping areas of the Midwest, the percent of farmer-owned land is significantly lower (see Map above from the USDA, 2007 Census of Agriculture). Much of our farmland resource is owned by non-farmers and rented to those who actually […]

November 29th

Apple Crop for 2009: Safest On Record

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published a new version of their criminally misleading, “Dirty Dozen list” based on data from the 2009 crop that the USDA released this spring.  Apples got the questionable honor of topping that list. I know a lot about apple growers and the Integrated Pest Management techniques that they employ […]

June 21st

A Rational Analysis of the USDA Pesticide Residue Data

    When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) makes its annual “Dirty Dozen List” of fruits and vegetables with pesticide residues, it does so without paying any attention to which chemicals were found or what level was detected. This is why it is so misleading.  To do the analysis properly does take a lot more […]

June 15th

US Organic Farming: Digging into the Numbers

In 2008, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA (USDA-NASS) conducted a first-time, in-depth survey of the US organic farming sector.  A summary was published in 2010 from which it is possible to see state-by-state and crop-by-crop how many organic acres were harvested, how much they produced, and how much the crop was worth. […]

January 31st

The Nature of “Natural”

[social_buttons] If you go to the Organic Consumers Association website you will see that they are upset about the way that stores like Whole Foods market products as “natural.”  They believe (and they are probably right) that consumers will confuse this with “Organic.”  In fact there are no real rules about what can be called “natural” […]

July 27th

An “Inconvenient Truth” about Composting

Composting is a really green thing to do, right? I’ve always thought so since my Grandfather taught me to do it in the early sixties. Large-scale composting is getting to be quite the rage. The City of San Francisco attracted a great deal of attention with it’s mandatory food scrap recycling program and lots of local […]

July 27th

An End to Local Meat Sources?

I am obsessed with farms and farmers markets. People that read my work probably know that by now. Did I mention that I sometimes go to three different farmers markets in a single week? One of the things I love is that in addition to fruits and veggies, my local farmers markets have vendors selling […]

March 12th