One-Third of Topsoil Is Gone From Midwestern Farmland

One-Third of Topsoil Is Gone From Midwestern Farmland

New research shows that fertile, carbon-rich topsoil is completely gone from one-third of all farmland in the Midwest, severely impairing crop growth and future harvests. 

Why This Matters: Experts say this “growing” problem is mostly due to over-tilling the soil and other unsustainable farming practices.

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“Corn Sweat” Compounds Humidity in Sweltering Midwest States

“Corn Sweat” Compounds Humidity in Sweltering Midwest States

by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer This past weekend’s weather was hot in Iowa and Illinois. But it likely felt even hotter, due to “another episode of corn-catalyzed extreme humidity,” Matthew Cappucci reported in The Washington Post. “Corn sweat,” or the water released into the atmosphere by crops like corn as a cooling mechanism, helped […]

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Bayer Forging Ahead with New GE Corn That Can Withstand 5 Herbicides

Bayer Forging Ahead with New GE Corn That Can Withstand 5 Herbicides

Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, is “forging ahead” with developing genetically engineered (GE) crops that could be used with at least five herbicides at once, Lisa Held reported last week in Civil Eats.

Why This Matters:  The fact that Bayer is likely to get approval for this new crop, which would be resistant to the active chemical in Roundup, suggests that the losses in court had and will continue to have little impact on the company’s trajectory. Just because these herbicides won’t “harm” GE corn does not mean they won’t harm us.

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Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

To offset a portion of the losses, some of the nation’s largest ethanol producers have switched to making hand sanitizer, even though it costs them.

Why This Matters:  President Trump because the administration is under pressure from the gas companies and refiners to lift the ethanol requirement altogether – something they had been doing often on a case by case basis in the past.

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Demand For Ethanol Plummets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic and Gas Price War

Demand For Ethanol Plummets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic and Gas Price War

It’s not only conventional oil and gas that is suffering due to the pandemic and price war, demand for corn-based ethanol fuel has also plummeted by 20% — the lowest since the Energy Information Administration began publishing weekly data in 2010, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

Why This Matters:  The Clean Air Act requires every gallon of gas sold during the summer contains about 10% ethanol.

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Corn Producers Get A Boost From Trump Proposal to Increase Ethanol Production

Corn Producers Get A Boost From Trump Proposal to Increase Ethanol Production

After starting a trade war with China that hurt midwestern farmers, and giving “small” refineries a free pass on requirements to produce ethanol, the Trump Administration last Friday announced new rules to increase the mandates for ethanol in order to increase the sale of the biofuel beyond the current requirement of 15 billion gallons annually.

Why This Matters:  With so many special interests pressuring the President, it is hard to please everyone. The American Petroleum Institute (API), the lobby for the oil industry, and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, which represents oil refineries, announced that they would challenge the policy.

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