Climate Change

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

Some Midwestern farmers are involved in a research project to help determine  how good some practices are for the environment, and it may help them take advantage of new attempts to establish a carbon credit trade market.

The project run by Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Soybean Association is looking at quantifying the reduction of carbon emissions when farmers take on practices like no-till, planting cover crops and refining fertilizer application schedules.

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

Agriculture is responsible for more than 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and some in the industry are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

One of those efforts is replacing the kind of crushed rock farmers use to neutralize their soil’s acidity, from limestone to basalt. 

Scientists are running tests in fields around the world to see if the swap will work to keep the soil healthy, increase yield and reduce agriculture's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. 

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People who work outside increasingly risk their income, illness and even death as climate change ramps up extreme heat.

 

That’s according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled “Too Hot To Work.” The study focused on workers who spend some or all of their work time outside, including construction workers, emergency responders and landscapers. 

 

Dana Cronin / Harvest Public Media

Amid a push from the Biden administration for U.S. agriculture to help slow climate change, a new study shows farmers in the Corn Belt are dropping the ball on adopting a climate-friendly practice.

 

A mountain of research shows the benefits of planting cover crops -- from sequestering carbon from the environment to keeping waterways cleaner. 

 

Dana Cronin / Harvest Public Media

Lin Warfel puts farmland owners in central Illinois into two categories: Those with a deep connection and desire to preserve their land, and those obsessed with short-term money.

 

The 80-year-old still owns the land that’s been in his family since his great-grandfather arrived in Champaign County in the 1800’s. After farming it for decades, he now rents the corn and soybean operation to his neighbors down the road.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media File Photo

A new poll from Iowa State University shows farmers overwhelmingly believe climate change is real and will cause significant weather problems but do not think it’s caused by human actions.

The latest annual Farm and Rural Life Poll conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa State Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology indicates 80% of farmers believe climate change is occurring and more than half are concerned with its impact on their operations.

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MANHATTAN, Kansas — Ellen Welti has a Ph.D. in, essentially, grasshoppers.

And yet she was still mystified about why the number of grasshoppers in a long-protected and much-studied patch of Kansas prairie was dropping. Steadily. For 25 years.

After all, the grass that the springy bugs feast on had actually grown more robustly as it absorbed mounting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

So why were the grasshoppers faring increasingly worse?

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

The Biden administration is fighting climate change in part by pushing for cars and trucks to be more fuel efficient and reduce emissions, but so far, that talk hasn’t landed in another mode of transportation: barges.

In light of more pressure to advance the cause of green energy, the future of the barge industry is unclear, and it could have a major impact on Midwestern rivers.

Courtesy of the University of Vermont

Many researchers have looked at nitrogen pollution hotspots around the country. But a new first-of-its-kind, multi-year study from the University of Vermont looks at areas where nitrogen pollution reduction is most feasible without affecting crop yield.

 

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media file photo

The tools and technologies that farmers use to get a decent corn crop during drought years should not leave the impression that innovation will make bad weather inconsequential. That’s the conclusion of a new study about corn and climate change. 

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