State of Science :: Environment
"A Dairy Farm's Footprint: Evaluating the Impacts of Conventional and Organic Farming Systems"
Comparison of milk and meat production, inputs used, cow health and longevity, and the environmental impacts of two representative conventional dairy farms and two organic.
Comparison of Two NAS/NRC Reports
Analysis of the conclusions and recommendations in the 2010 NAS/NRC report Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century and the 1989 NAS/NRC report Alternative Agriculture.
Comments on the Supreme Court's Decision in the RR Alfalfa Case
Brian Baker explains what was won and not lost in the Supreme Court's decision in the Roundup Ready alfalfa (RRA) case.
"The Browning of the Green Revolution"
Three leading scientists explain why the upward trajectory of yields initially achieved by the Green Revolution has stalled. Thanks to Dr. Mulvaney for permission to post this important piece.
"The Magnitude and Impacts of the Biotech and Organic Seed Price Premiums"
The size of the premiums charged for biotech and organic seeds is reviewed over time and relative to measures of farm income and production costs. The biotech seed premium is shown to be several times larger than the organic seed premium, raising questions about of farm level costs and returns.
Brief Review of USDA's July 22, 2009 Economic Analysis of the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" (ACES)
In a July 22, 2009 appearnace before the Senate Agriculture Committee, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack presented an analysis of the impacts of the House-passed energy bill. Several key issues are raised, and others are ignored.
Shades of Green: Quantifying the Benefits of Organic Dairy Production
The Center has developed a calculator to estimate certain pesticide, nitrogen fertilizer, and animal drug related "avoided impacts" associated with organic dairy farming.
"In defense of corn ethanol"
Kirk Leonard offers a different perspective on the impacts and promise of corn-based ethanol.
"Corn Ethanol Allure Plummets"
Commentary on the high costs and environmental shortcomings of corn-based ethanol by Organic Center Board member Dr. David Pimentel.
Another Perspective on Heavy Metals and "Rusted Roots"
OMRI's Research Director, Brian Baker, provides a cogent summary of the challenges faced by all farmers in avoiding problems with heavy metal contamination.
Habitat Destruction Driven by Misguided Efforts to Promote Food Safety
These pictures tell a thousand words.
Buyers of fresh cut leafy greens are forcing California farmers to pursue a "bare-earth" policy that is bad for the environment, wildlfie, and farmers. Even worse, removing habaitat and grass cover is more likely to increase food safety risks than reduce them.
Scientists Estimate That Pesticides are Reducing Legume Crop Yields by ONE-THIRD Through Impaired Nitrogen Fixation
The impacts of pesticides on nitrogen fixation by Rhizobia bacteria is much greater than previously thought. An important new study links this impairment of signalling processes within plants, and between plants and soil bacteria, to pesticides and other soil contaminants.
Organic Farming Improves Soil Quality
Nine long-term trials show that after an average of 10 years organic farming increases soil organic matter content by about 14% compared to conventional farming.
Assessing Soil Quality in Organic Agriculture
Tracking and managing changes in soil quality as farmland is transitioned from conventional to organic production is among the critical challenges facing farmers. This "Critical Issue Report" (CIR) was written by two leading Agricultural Research Service scientists, describes a "minimum data set" approach to manage changes in soil quality.
Impacts of Organic Farming on the Efficiency of Energy Use in Agriculture
State of Science Review on the impacts of organic production systems on the efficiency of energy use in farm production.