Corn and soy production dominates approximately half of US prime farmland. In the Midwest, intensive corn and soy production is leading to the loss of soil, nitrogen, phosphorous, farm chemicals and biodiversity, and creating a ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. What are the externalised costs of this production system on the environment and what can be done to reduce these negative impacts at both farm and government level?
Chaired by George Boody, Executive Director, Land Stewardship Project, this session examines the production of corn and soy and their externalities. Professor Eugene Turner, Louisiana State University, focuses on the impacts of nitrate run-off on water systems; Professor Richard Cruse, Iowa State University, outlines the costs of soil erosion and explains how soil erosion costs more to the public than the farmer; Professor Matthew O’Neal, Iowa State University, gives an overview of the important role of pollinators in this production system; and Craig Cox, Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Environmental Working Group, explores some of the financial incentives that can be used to improve farming, arguing for standards instead of subsidies.
Photograph: Carol Von Canon
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