The State of the Birds 2017: Farm Bill Special Report

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The Farm Bill provides a crucial safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers… and America’s birds.

For birds, the Farm Bill secures important habitat for more than 100 bird species and is America’s largest source of funding for habitat conservation on private lands.

For landowners, Farm Bill conservation programs are part of the safety net for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners. It provides financial support for vital ecological services, such as clean water, and keeps working lands working.

Dots on the graph indicate start dates for key Farm Bill conservation programs, showing the change in populations of wetland, forest, and grassland birds after these programs were implemented.

Floodwater pathogens can’t be washed off of fresh produce

Read the full story in Food Safety News.

The state of Florida produces more fresh fruits and vegetables than any other state except California, and is the top tomato state in the country. As with backyard gardens, Hurricane Irma has turned many of Florida’s commercial fruit and vegetable fields into patches of pathogens that can’t be washed away.

Climate Change a Buzzkill for Coffee Lovers

Read the full story from the University of Vermont.

Global warming could reduce coffee growing areas in Latin America — the world’s largest coffee-producing region — by as much as 88 percent by 2050.

That’s a key takeaway of the first major study of climate change’s projected impacts on coffee, and the bees that help coffee to grow. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

New study: Corn’s environmental impact varies greatly across the U.S.

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

It’s well known that meat has a high environmental impact, largely because of the amount of corn animals are fed, in contrast to the protein they yield. And yet not all corn is created equal – water and fertilizer use varies, along with the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with its production.

Until now, U.S. stakeholders trying to assess – and improve – the sustainability of their supply chains had to rely on one coarse national estimate for the upstream environmental impact of corn production.

New research from the University of Minnesota drills down to the county-level impact of corn production, connecting it for the first time to where corn likely winds up – based on the facility-specific demand of large-scale U.S. corn consumers, which include meat and ethanol producers. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the innovative research reveals that the environmental impact of corn varies significantly across geographic consumption locations of sectors and individual producers.

NSF Funds Project to Create Commercial Fertilizer Out of Wastewater Nutrients

Read the full story from the University of Arkansas.

A $2.4 million award from the National Science Foundation will enable a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Arkansas and their colleagues at two other institutions to develop a chemical process that converts nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater into commercial fertilizer.

The goal of the project is to make an energy-efficient fertilizer that competes with conventional, commercially available fertilizers.

Report highlights farm manure pollution in four PA counties

Read the full story in Bay Journal.

With Pennsylvania lagging badly in helping to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, a new report by an environmental group highlights the role that intensive livestock farming plays in the state’s shortcoming.

Four south-central Pennsylvania counties where animal manure is heavily used to fertilize crops “contribute disproportionately” to the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution fouling local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, according to the report by the Environmental Integrity Project.