Agricultural News


ASWM is keeping an eye on the development of the 2012 Farm Bill. On this page you can find updates on the Farm Bill as well as agricultural news in the context of wetlands and related issues. For Farm Bill 2012 resources on the web, click here.

Midwestern farmers wage war against 'superweeds'

By Tim Barker – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – July 13, 2014

After driving several miles along a winding rural road west of this Mississippi River town, Denny Mertz finds what he’s looking for. The retired engineer, turned full-time farmer, stops next to a neighbor’s field covered in soybeans — and something sinister. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Until Mertz points out the yellowish cast infiltrating the deep green of the soybean leaves. It’s waterhemp, a fast-growing weed that torments Midwestern farmers. For full story,click here.

Grazing on federal land under threat because of drought

By Julie Cart – Los Angeles Times – June 15, 2014

There's not much anyone can tell Barry Sorensen about Idaho's Big Desert that he doesn't know. Sorensen, 72, and his brother have been running cattle in this sere landscape all their lives, and they've weathered every calamity man and nature have thrown at them — until this drought came along. Sitting recently in a rustic cabin where he spends many months looking after his cattle, Sorensen's voice was tinged with defeat. "To be honest with you," he said, "I think our way of life is pretty much going to be over in 10 years." Years-long drought has pummeled millions of acres of federal rangeland in the West into dust, leaving a devastating swath from the Rockies to the Pacific. Add to that climate change, invasive plants and wildfire seasons that are longer and more severe, and conditions have reached a breaking point in many Western regions. The land can no longer support both livestock and wildlife. For full story, click here.

Farming for improved ecosystem services seen as economically feasible

Science Codex – April 9, 2014

By changing row-crop management practices in economically and environmentally stable ways, US farms could contribute to improved water quality, biological diversity, pest suppression, and soil fertility while helping to stabilize the climate, according to an article in the May issue ofBioScience. The article, based on research conducted over 25 years at the Kellogg Biological Station in southwest Michigan, further reports that Midwest farmers, especially those with large farms, appear willing to change their farming practices to provide these ecosystem services in exchange for payments. And a previously published survey showed that citizens are willing to make such payments for environmental services such as cleaner lakes. For full story, click here.

StrikeForce Funds to Assist Conservation Efforts in 20 States

Contact: Sarah Maxwell – USDA – May 20, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that $15 million in targeted assistance will be provided to help farmers, ranchers and private forest owners in rural areas of 20 states that experience “persistent poverty.” The funding, part of USDA’s StrikeForce initiative, was announced on the Secretary’s behalf by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller during a visit to predominantly Native American and Hispanic American communities in New Mexico. For full story, click here.

Scientists Frustrated by Factory Farms

By Jim Lundstrom – Peninsula Pulse – April 11, 2014

Professor Robert Lawrence is in a select company of researchers.

"I think the only other group of scientists who probably are more frustrated than we are are the climate scientists," Lawrence said in a recent telephone call.

Read more...