German Nonprofit Creates New Open-Source License for Seeds

Read the full story at Shareable.

We know about open-source software and hardware, but can the concept – decentralized development and open collaboration for the common good – be expanded to address other global challenges? The nonprofit OpenSourceSeeds based in German town of Marburg has just launched a licensing process for open-source seeds, to create a new repository of genetic material that can be accessed by farmers around the world, in perpetuity.

Why It’s Time to Stop Punishing Our Soils with Fertilizers

Read the full interview at E360.

Researcher Rick Haney travels the U.S. preaching the benefits of healthy soils. In a Yale Environment 360 interview, he talks about the folly of pursuing ever-greater crop yields using fertilizers and other chemicals and how farmland can by restored through natural methods.

Will The Government Help Farmers Adapt To A Changing Climate?

Read the full story from NPR.

The livelihoods of farmers and ranchers are intimately tied to weather and the environment. But they may not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate.

Corn with a cover of grass

Read the full story from the American Society of Agronomy.

The phrase “a double-edged sword” describes something that is beneficial in some ways but problematic in others. One example is removing maize stover (the husks, stems and leaves of corn plants) from fields. Maize stover is used to make cellulosic ethanol, a renewable biofuel. And renewable biofuels are beneficial to the environment. However, removing the stover can harm the environment because it can cause the soil to erode and lose nutrients.

Taking up this double-edged sword is Cynthia Bartel, a doctoral candidate at Iowa State University. She’s finding a way to lessen the harm and increase the benefits of removing maize stover.

Marijuana meets Big Food: Why green weed isn’t easy to grow

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

One byproduct of patchwork laws governing marijuana in the U.S. is that businesses only legal in some states can’t expect the Department of Agriculture to sign off on their organic status. Third party groups and consultants are increasingly offering up their own sustainability certifications for cannabis, often for a fee.

AP Exclusive: Pesticide maker tries to kill risk study

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Dow Chemical is pushing a Trump administration open to scrapping regulations to ignore the findings of federal scientists who point to a family of widely used pesticides as harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump’s Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them “to set aside” the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed.

Storm Lake Times Pulitzer winner: ‘They give you 15 grand. That’s worth it.’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer Prizes are committed to rewarding works of original and important journalism. Monday they credited this line, from the Storm Lake Times of Iowa: “It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties,” wrote Art Cullen in one of the pieces that secured the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen is editor of his 3,000-circulation newspaper, and as such, he can write “bejeebers” whenever he pleases: “The style guides is whatever we come up with. We have no style or class,” Cullen told the Erik Wemple Blog.

Whatever term you choose, Cullen and his small newspaper have scared something out of the powers that be in a few counties of northern Iowa. Since the founding of the Storm Lake Times in 1990, says Cullen, he and his brother John have been obsessed with how Iowa has changed its mode of agriculture. Gone are the cattle and grazing pastures, he says — they’ve been herded into feed lots. Meantime, the landscape has been gobbled up by expanses of corn and soybeans. With the changeover has come nitrate pollution. One of the first stories that the newspaper did, he recalls, reported how its coverage area had become “the hottest spot in Iowa for nitrate pollution.”