cover crops

Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media

By some estimates, producing our food consumes about a fifth of the nation's energy supply. It takes a lot of diesel to move tractors and semis around the farm, and electricity to pump water and dry grain. But some farmers are trying to cut back on the coal and gas they use and make our food system more energy efficient.

Grant Gerlock /Harvest Public Media

Like all business owners, farmers want to get paid for their work. Sometimes, that work creates problems for the environment, so regulators are advancing the idea of creating environmental markets to allow farmers to make money off of their conservation practices.

Food Companies Show Concern About Farm Runoff

Sep 22, 2015
Abby Wendle

Corn and soybeans are the two crops at the center of the U.S. food system. In order to grow massive amounts of the crops, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce and consumers to consume a lot of relatively cheap food.

NRCS's Kirk Hanlin Pushes Cover Crops

Oct 6, 2014
Michael Whiffen

Kirk Hanlin calls soil, "dirt where you want it." 

Hanlin, assistant chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in Hamilton, Illinois, and now has a second home in Nauvoo. 

Dry Weather Could Hurt Cover Crops

Aug 22, 2013
SSS

The USDA has issued a report saying over half of Illinois, and over 80 percent of Iowa is abnormally dry but corn and soybeans are not the only crops at risk if the dry weather continues.