U.S. agriculture officials proposed changes Thursday to the federal program that helps pay the grocery bills for low-income pregnant women, babies and young children, including extending a bump in payments for fresh fruits and vegetables allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A changing climate is causing rain to fall in harder bursts that push back planting seasons and drown crops in the Mississippi River farm country.
Programs that provide locally grown, healthy foods are making them more affordable to people who are food insecure in Wisconsin.
“For years, Minnesota has struggled to reduce the farm pollution that runs into streams, lakes, the Mississippi River and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico. Crop breeders are working on 16 perennial and winter annual crops to suck up that nutrient pollution before it escapes.
One of the largest solar projects on cropland in the U.S. is pitting renewable energy boosters against each other — and farmers against farmers.
Wisconsin’s proposal to protect bees and butterflies does not do enough to discourage use of the types of pesticides tied to bee die-offs, critics say.
Agriculture creates most of the nitrate pollution, but consumers pay most of the cost, whether they drink from public wells or private ones.
Nitrate is a compound naturally found in plants and in vegetables and can be found in groundwater, depending on how much fertilizer and manure is applied to fields.
In the early 1990s, Jim Goodman and his wife began to worry about how the chemicals they were using on the farm might affect their children. The fourth-generation Wisconsin farmer decided to make the shift away from conventional farming at his Sauk County operation. Now certified organic, the farm includes 120 head of cattle on pasture, including 45 milk cows, and 300 acres of crops.
Levels of nitrate, one of the Wisconsin’s top drinking water contaminants, are increasing. Nitrate comes primarily from fertilizers, including manure, and puts infants and expectant mothers particularly at risk. A projected 94,000 households are drinking private well water with unsafe levels of nitrate. And many of them don’t even know it since few private well owners conduct regular testing.
We’ve transformed our reporting on problems with Wisconsin’s water quality and supply into sculptures that you can see and touch — including a life-size half cow and 1,000 balls of wool. Meet the artist and the reporters and learn about Wisconsin water in this series of events across the state April 30 through May 7.
Despite fish kills, toxic algae blooms, unsafe beaches and an annual dead zone in the Lake Michigan bay sparking concern across the region, the level of phosphorus loading has changed little over the past two decades, and even gone up in the past couple of years. “I’m part of the problem,” said John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, one of the largest farms in Wisconsin, at a summit hosted by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble in Green Bay. “But I’m also part of the solution.”