ByJohnathan Hettinger, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
The pesticide harmed tens of thousands of farmers, overwhelmed state agriculture departments and damaged research plots across the United States, according to documents the federal agency released Tuesday. Wide swaths of natural areas and rural communities were also poisoned.
In recent years, farmers have increasingly chosen to insure both the yield of their crop and the revenue of their crop. By choosing a revenue-based insurance option -- such as the revenue protection policy -- farmers can insulate their crop against steep drops in prices.
Crop yields will be double compared to last year's yields, according to some estimations. Yet an increase in yields means a decrease in crop insurance payouts. And when the price of some crops has plummeted that means farmers might see their income dropping, as well.
Farmland in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska are among the nine states in the country that sell 50 percent of the U.S. agriculture products while netting nearly $100 billion in total produce sales, according to U.S. Census data.
The Mississippi River Basin forms a large funnel, channeling nitrogen and other nutrients into the Gulf of Mexico, where a growing dead zone wrecks havoc on the marine ecosystems. The river basin includes parts of 31 different states, draining over 41 percent of the continental United States. With a watershed this large, over 18 million people depend upon the Mississippi for their water supply.
Everyday, Iowa’s rivers send massive loads of nitrogen through the plains of the Midwest, down the Mighty Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico. No, bloated fish carcasses are not surfing the waves of the Gulf. In fact, a birds-eye view of the Louisiana and Texas coasts might suggest life continues as usual. But the Northern Gulf of Mexico is in danger of slowly, silently slipping onto the list of hypoxic wastelands, bringing grave consequences for the life forms it supports — including our own.