Does efficient irrigation technology preserve groundwater? A new GAO report says the answer is probably no.

Note: This story is embargoed for republication until Nov. 24, 2019

Efficient irrigation may produce more crops, but it doesn’t appear to preserve groundwater, according to a federal report released this week. Decades of irrigation has already depleted aquifers that many irrigated farms rely on, according to the report from the Government Accountability Office, and efficient systems appear to not help. Minus a few exceptions, GAO researchers found “there is no change in the amount of water farmers apply to a field with more efficient technology,” according to the Nov. 12 report.

USDA Invests $1.4 Billion in Rural Electric Infrastructure Improvements in 21 States

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2019 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.4 billion in projects in 21 states (PDF, 143 KB) to build and improve rural electric infrastructure. "Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936," Secretary Perdue said. "This funding we are providing is critical to rural communities and reflects President Trump's commitment to increasing prosperity across all of rural America. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives."

USDA and DOE Join Forces to Increase Energy Technology Development and Deployment in Rural America

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2019 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary Donald "DJ" LaVoy and U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two departments to promote rural energy and the development of technologies that will support and advance rural and agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing. The signed MOU (PDF, 2.5 MB), which was required under section 6501 of the 2018 Farm Bill, will enhance collaboration and coordination between the Department of Energy (DOE) and USDA. The areas covered by the MOU include facilitating energy-related investments in America's rural communities; streamlining, leveraging and optimizing program resources; encouraging innovation; offering technical assistance to rural communities; strengthening energy-related infrastructure; ensuring affordable and reliable power; and helping rural businesses export energy products and manufactured goods around the world. "Energy creates jobs, supports local infrastructure expansion and provides new opportunities to increase economic development in rural communities," LaVoy said.

Experts advocate for human rights to a healthy environment

President Trump withdrew this week from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global effort to combat climate change. Earlier this year, Illinois Engagement Reporter Claire Hettinger attended the annual Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment Congress at the University of Illinois. This is what she learned about climate change.

Public science for private interests: How University of Missouri agricultural research cultivates profits for industry

The partnership is emblematic of the broader system of industry-sponsored research that takes place in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and especially in the Division of Plant Sciences. Corporate money goes to MU professors on both ends of the research spectrum, from basic science to product testing.

Industry’s stake in the system is clear. Companies gain the expertise and credibility of renowned plant science experts , University Extension experts who Missouri farmers trust.

What’s not so clear is how the public benefits

Opinion: Kraft-Heinz branded latest market manipulator – and it won’t be the last

Yes it's true, that once in a while a company or individual does something so outrageously stupid that the government wakes up out of a slumber and recognizes a manipulation for what it is.

But when it comes to commodity manipulation the government has been over-matched.

For the purpose of this blog we're going to look at just two major, major commodity manipulations that share a common thread.

USDA Invests in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Improvements in 31 States

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2019 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald "DJ" LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $201 million to improve rural water infrastructure in 31 states (PDF, 250 KB). "Modern, reliable and accessible infrastructure is critical to economic development and quality of life," LaVoy said. "Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural communities to help them improve their infrastructure, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives." USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

Opinion: American farmers catching on to gaslighting gasbag

As Dave Dickey writes, gaslighting has become a White House weapon of choice in trying to convince individual American farmers all is well while they financially are suffering from the POTUS agricultural policy choices.

#AgAlerts: Water: unaffordable; contaminated; flooding results

A new report finds nearly half the residents of Martin County, Kentucky, cannot afford water service. Local activists with the Martin County Concerned Citizens are ringing alarm bells about water affordability as the beleaguered county faces another likely water rate increase in the coming months.