Featured Articles

2014: A New Year, A Fresh Outlook - A Spotlight on Crop Insurance

A crop insurance outlook for Plains, North Central, and Heartland regions.

When Nebraska and Kansas farmers looked out their kitchen windows in the late summer of 2012, they saw withering fields that harkened back to the Dust Bowl years. The majority of both states were experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, a condition that would not change for most farmers through harvest in the High Plains.

National Ag Day - Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed

America’s farmers share a commitment to protecting the land and meeting the demands of a burgeoning population. Farm families are up before the sun, day in and day out to put food on the table for us. March 25th is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies, and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture.

As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food, fiber, and renewable resources produced in the United States. Read more

The Basics of Farm Fencing

Don't underestimate the value of farm fencing. An easily overlooked asset, a farm fence serves many purposes. It delineates property lines, contains livestock, and enhances security. A fence may increase the farm's aesthetic appearance, too.

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National Farm Machinery Show

For four days in February, more than 300,000 visitors will experience the most complete selection of cutting-edge agricultural products and services available at the 49th National Farm Machinery Show. More than 850 exhibitors will fill 27 acres of interconnected indoor exhibit space at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky for the largest indoor farm show in the country. Read more

Ag & Politics - Will it ever end? The farm bill saga continues.

In mid-December, the chances of having a new farm bill completed by early-2014 seem favorable. But like any other policy issue, there is no guarantee that this train will stay on track. What should’ve been the 2012 U.S. Farm Bill has grown into a three-year ordeal of constant new developments, all without any real progress.

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People and Soil Need a Balanced Diet to Thrive

Everybody should eat a balanced diet, consuming the right types and amounts of food to ensure proper nutrition. Agricultural soil needs a balanced diet as well, so that it can produce healthy crops.

That’s why fertilizer is so important. It’s the food that feeds the soil. Farmers everywhere must have easy access to it, especially in the developing world, where it’s often in short supply. Without fertilizer, soil starves – crops don’t grow as well as they should – yields drop – people suffer. Read more

Potatoes May Help Feed Ethiopia In Era Of Climate Change

With unpredictable annual rainfall and drought once every five years, climate change presents challenges to feeding Ethiopia. Adapting to a warming world, the potato is becoming a more important crop there – with the potential to feed much of Africa.

Semagn-Asredie Kolech, a Cornell doctoral candidate in the field of horticulture, studies the potato and bridges the tradition of Ethiopian farming with the modernity of agricultural science. Read more

Rice Grown Without Paddies – A New Way To Feed Drought-Stricken Communities

Consumed by 3 billion people, rice is arguably the world’s most important food staple, and one reason for its popularity is that rice can be grown under flooded conditions that suppress weeds, making cultivation easier.

In some parts of the world, water is in short supply, but farmers often devote what they can to rice farming because the crop is so important. However, research has led to a simple but profound solution that requires less water – growing rice in fields, a practice called aerobic rice production. Read more

No Dinner Tonight - Is India Ready To Rethink Biotech Benefits?

By V. Ravichandran

I’m old enough to remember India in the 1960s, when my country couldn’t feed itself. We had to import millions of tons of grain and other foodstuffs just to survive. The situation was so bad that Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri went on the radio to appeal to his fellow citizens to give up one meal per week in the belief that this sacrifice would enable others to eat.

I was about seven years old at the time. My family met the challenge by forfeiting a meal every Monday—so did a lot of other families. In our area, the restaurants and canteens would shut down temporarily to encourage participation. Read more

Three Billion Acres and Growing!

We don’t know exactly where it happened, so there weren’t any fireworks or parades. It could have been in my country of Brazil. It almost certainly was in South America where an early planting season offered the correct timing.

But sometime in the recent past, the acres planted to biotech crops passed three billion acres, according to Truth about Trade & Technology, an American non-profit group keeping track of planting reports from world governments.

How big is three billion acres? It’s bigger than all of the United States by one-third. It’s bigger than the Amazon rainforest. It’s bigger than all of Brazil. It’s big enough to say with absolute certainty that biotechnology is now a thoroughly conventional attribute of modern agriculture. Read more