Why “Infrastructure” Includes the Ground Beneath Our Feet

Tim Youngquist of Iowa State University (left) with Larry and Margaret Stone at their prairie strips near Traer, Iowa. This is a first year of growth after frost seeding in the winter of 2015. Prairie plants are coming but have been mowed to keep weeds down. Credit: NRCS/SWCS photo by Lynn Betts Long a joke […]

To Save Its Soil and Clean Up Its Water, Iowa Needs to Act Fast(er)

USDA NRCS Iowans have long prized their state’s deep, rich soils and its position as an agricultural powerhouse. In the heart of the Corn Belt, its farmers lead the nation in corn acres planted, and come in second in soybean acres. But there’s a dark side to all that: Decades of intensive, industrial-style production of […]

Questions for a Once-and-Future Agriculture Secretary

Secretary Vilsack is no stranger to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Here, he appears at a hearing on the Farm Bill in February, 2015. USDA photo by Bob Nichols/Flickr The last time the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) got a new leader, I was decidedly unimpressed. Okay, understatement…I was incensed by a […]