Agricultural News


ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

Expert: Drone technology a game-changer in agriculture

By April Van Buren – Great Lakes Echo – October 16, 2014

We were first introduced to drones by the United States military, which has been using them, controversially, it must be pointed out, for years in places like Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and Yemen. But like many other technologies that have been pioneered by the military, such as computers, duct tape and GPS, drones have numerous commercial applications. And one of the biggest sectors where drones could become a game-changer is in agriculture. For full story, click here.

Six Reasons to Consider Wetlands for Nitrate Removal

By Lynn Betts – Farm Futures – September 2, 2014

There was a time when farmers considered natural wetlands to be wasted land, since they couldn’t be farmed. That’s not the case anymore, with all the emphasis on nutrient reduction in water that leaves the farm. In fact, as farmers, conservationists, and concerned groups continue to look for ways to make water cleaner before it leaves the farm, they’re actually creating wetlands where they fit the landscape. For full story, click here

Deadly Algae Are Everywhere, Thanks to Agriculture

By David Biello – Scientific American – August 8, 2014 – Video

The rains come and water the spring shoots of another bounteous Midwestern corn crop in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The rains also wash phosphorus off farm fields and into creeks, streams and rivers. The waters flow into the shallowest of the Great Lakes—Lake Erie, which is just 18 meters deep on average and far shallower on its western edge. All that phosphorus doesn't just help crops grow. When it reaches the lake it fuels the growth of mats of bright green algae, turning the water the color of pea soup. Such Microcystis cyanobacteria bear poisons, at least 80 different varieties of a toxin dubbed microcystin. And when the shallow waters deliver an algal bloom down to the right water intake pipes, an entire city like Toledo is left without water. For full article, click here.

Corporate farms get blame as key water-pollution culprit

By Tom Henry – The Blade – August 31, 2014

Perhaps former President Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he addressed a Buffalo audience in 1910, most likely in his trademark fist-pounding, cantankerous style. “Civilized people,” Mr. Roosevelt said, “should be able to dispose of sewage in a better way than by putting it into drinking water.” Hailed by historians as a key ally of naturalist John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, during the fledgling days of the American conservation movement, Mr. Roosevelt was no doubt using that upstate New York event as his bully pulpit to campaign for better Great Lakes protections. But what has changed in the 104 years since the horse-and-buggy era faded into the sunset, and the Great Lakes region — with its rich soil and Internet-savvy modern farming techniques — became increasingly counted on to grow food for a world of 7.2 billion people that has more than quadrupled in size from the global population of 1.75 billion in 1910? For full story, click here.

 

Lake Erie's algae explosion blamed on farmers

By Emily Chung – CBC News – August 8, 2014

Toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie fouled the water that hundreds of thousands of people rely on for drinking, cooking and bathing last week, forcing hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio to rely on bottled water. The slimy green problem is back with a vengeance. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that choke up huge portions of the lake have reemerged as an annual summertime scourge after nearly disappearing for more than a decade. For full story, click here.