Guardian Hints at “Regulating Agriculture” – Because Extreme Weather, Climate Change and Nitrates

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Farmers hoping for a little government climate cash to help them through a string of adverse seasons should be very careful what they wish for.

Politicians say nothing, but US farmers are increasingly terrified by it – climate change

Art Cullen
Fri 19 Oct 2018 23.00 AEDT

Research forecasts Iowa corn yields could drop in half within the next half-century thanks to extreme weather – yet it’s not part of the political conversation

This year, crops in north-west Iowa are looking spotty. Up into Minnesota they were battered by spring storms and late planting, and then inundated again in late summer. Where they aren’t washed out, they’re weedy or punky. If you go south in Buena Vista county, where I live in Storm Lake, the corn stands tall and firm.

Welcome to climate change, Iowa-style.

This drainage system is delivering runoff rich in farm fertilizer to the Mississippi river complex and the Gulf of Mexico, where the nitrate from Iowa and Illinois corn fields is growing a dead zone the size of New Jersey. The shrimping industry is being deprived of oxygen so Iowa farmers can chase 200 bushels of corn per acre – and hope against hope that corn will somehow increase in price as we plow up every last acre.

Few politicians in the five states around here are talking about regulating agriculture in an era of warmer and wetter nights and long droughts. Yet farmers are paying attention. Hatfield says that conventional producers in the Raccoon river watershed are starting to focus on profitability reports from sustainable agriculture groups like the Practical Farmers of Iowa. They advocate a rotating crop-livestock land use with more diverse plantings that can restore soil and make farmers more resilient – and get them off that expensive chemical jones. Because, the government doesn’t appear equipped to deal with it.

Read more:

My thought to farmers – invite the politicians to your table at your peril.

The bait is the offer of climate cash – the possibility of easier access to disaster relief, more cover for lean times, for when a string of bad seasons hammer farm finances. The hook is increased political regulation of farming practices, a long list of impractical government enforced ideas dreamed up by city based green elitists, starting with mandatory reductions in the use of nitrate fertiliser.

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nw sage
October 19, 2018 5:57 pm

Having the government regulate farmers (or farming)? That is really scary since there is no surer way to have a whole lot of people go hungry than get the government involved. If someone is worried about the corn crop – and it’s supposed negative effects – they WHY do we subsidize and encourage ethanol to mix with gas?

David Kahn
Reply to  nw sage
October 19, 2018 9:26 pm

We require 10% ethanol in gas because Willie Nelson said it was a good idea.

Reply to  David Kahn
October 19, 2018 11:46 pm

Trump’s trade was has pulled the rug on soya and the ethanol bubble ain’t as good as it used to be. It seems there is already plenty of govt. intervension in what is being grown there.

The Guardian article also give today’s climate expert Dr Gene Takle a fake Noble prize?

Everyone knows it has been getting wetter and weirder, especially Dr Gene Takle, a Nobel prize-winning climate scientist at Iowa State University.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  David Kahn
October 20, 2018 4:13 am

Burning food is immoral

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
October 20, 2018 2:44 pm

Force feeding cows corn, which evolved to eat grass, corn is what is immoral.

At least for now the planet still has more food than people to eat it.

The article says: “Hatfield says that conventional producers in the Raccoon river watershed are starting to focus on profitability reports from sustainable agriculture groups like the Practical Farmers of Iowa. They advocate a rotating crop-livestock land use with more diverse plantings that can restore soil and make farmers more resilient ”

And that is exactly what farmers should be doing. Sustainable agriculture can rebuild their soil to a healthy condition where they don’t need all those fertilizers.

It takes a few years to make the transition, but the farmers ends up with higher crop yields and lower expenses. It is the way of the future.

Reply to  Greg Freemyer
October 21, 2018 8:54 am

If what you said was true, Farmers would already be doing it. Your statement is the exact same falsehood that the global warming crowd uses to promote wind turbines and solar power. If it was as good or better than the current, they would all ready be doing it.
“but the farmers ends up with higher crop yields and lower expenses.” ranks right up there with the unicorns and rainbows….

Reply to  David Kahn
October 20, 2018 9:04 am

Ethanol added to gasoline was originally done because it resulted in significant efficiency and performance in carbureted engines. The same benefits don’t occur in fuel injected engines. Bob Dole saw an opportunity for his farmers and passed a bill that said it had to come from agricultural sources and promoted it with subsidies. Of course most of the benefit went to the big producers such as AMD. My understanding is that the solid residue is processed as animal feed, also the varieties that are grown are not the same ones that are grown for food and can be grown in less favorable fields. The production of corn is increasing annually, most of the increase since the 90s has been for ethanol production the same amount is grown for food production.

Reply to  Phil.
October 20, 2018 9:48 am

Yeah, Phil, not sure I buy the “significant efficiency and performance” bit. It may reduce unwanted emissions a bit since carbs do a poor job of regulating mixture, but the attendent drop in power output and milage belies the efficiency claim.

Reply to  Cube
October 20, 2018 2:52 pm

The problem was in the US was that high octane gasoline wasn’t commercially available due the phase out of TELead, which meant that cars were run with relatively low compression ratios which lead to low efficiency and high CO emissions. In order to combat this, research showed that addition of oxygenates to gasoline would allow an increase in octane rating and a reduction in CO emissions. The most economical approach was to use MTBE, however it was realized that MTBE was accumulating in ground water and it was phased out. That’s when ethanol was phased in as a replacement. The effect of ethanol on CO emissions is less significant in modern fuel injection engines.

Philip Verslues
Reply to  David Kahn
October 20, 2018 9:53 pm

Willie was High at the time.

Charles Higley
Reply to  nw sage
October 20, 2018 5:07 am

“so Iowa farmers can chase 200 bushels of corn per acre – and hope against hope that corn will somehow increase in price as we plow up every last acre.”

Crony capitalism says that you have to create new companies such as ethanol for fuel plants to be able to give friends and family millions of dollars. In Ohio there is an ethanol plant that was “given” $2 billion in start up years ago. Now, they would claim that cron farmers cannot stand the loss of the high price for corn that they get from government subsidies and imagine all the people that would be put out of work if the plant closed down.

In reality, it is time to get the price of corn back to its real market price and time for the ethanol plant employees to go find real job that do something useful.

Reply to  nw sage
October 20, 2018 7:06 am

Government regulation of EVERYTHING is the goal. Government uses ‘science’ any way they can to justify – get us to accept – the regulation.

D. Anderson
Reply to  nw sage
October 20, 2018 8:17 am

Also scary that 4 or 5 international corporations control all the food.

Reply to  D. Anderson
October 20, 2018 6:19 pm

I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.

October 19, 2018 5:59 pm

Ok it’s the Guardian … They obviously haven’t heard of crop insurance.

Charles Higley
Reply to  commieBob
October 19, 2018 7:41 pm

I lived in Iowa for 17 years and every year the farmers had complaints. The weather was too wet, too dry, too early, too late, too cold, too hot, too windy (including tornadoes, a state product), and too nice. The reality is that weather in Iowa is not even and each area from year to year receives a different mixture of conditions. It’s the real world. However, crops have been doing just fine because we look at the totality of the harvest, not the variations from area to area.

The average farmer has been doing quite well, particularly because so many sell their corn to the biofuel industry to make worthless, wasteful ethanol to burn stupidly in our cars as gasohol; what a waste of food.

Farmers in Iowa know that corn is best at around 95°F, so what’s the problem if the summer is more in that region. Duh.

Eric Stevens
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 19, 2018 8:38 pm

I remember being shocked when I read my first advertisement for industrial boilers specially designed to burn corn as a fuel. But first, the corn has to be dried. e.g.

John Tillman
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 19, 2018 8:44 pm

IA is Number One in corn and Number Two to Number One in soy beans. Some years IL beats it out in beans.

Both crops suffer from huge government intervention.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 20, 2018 12:42 am

Politics in Iowa:

The farmers are having weather.

They need more money from the Federal Government.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 20, 2018 9:26 am

well exactly…100 years ago they couldn’t even grow a damn cactus for over a decade

…dust bowl

Reply to  Charles Higley
October 20, 2018 1:09 am

There was a farmer bemoaning conditions, and his friend said “Cheer up, things could be worse”. So he cheered up, and, sure enough, things got worse.

Farmer Flindt
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 20, 2018 2:02 am

Like the joke that ends…..and the third hooker said “You think you had a terrible ‘client’; I had a farmer last night. First it was too dry, then too wet, then too expensive…”

Reply to  Charles Higley
October 20, 2018 5:21 am

My understanding is that all farmers, everywhere, complain about the weather!

Reply to  Susan
October 20, 2018 5:35 am

As my grandmother used to say:

“No farmer will ever be contented unless he gets a head of corn at the top a beetrot in the middle and potatoes underground”

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Charles Higley
October 20, 2018 10:44 pm

Charles Higley:
“Farmers in Iowa know that corn is best at around 95°F, so what’s the problem if the summer is more in that region. Duh.”


“Optimal daytime temperatures for corn typically range between 77° F and 91° F. Growth decreases when temperatures exceed 95° F. ”

“Scientists have determined the lower base temperature for corn is 50 °F (10 °C). In some plants there is also an upper threshold temperature, above which conditions are stressful to the plants. The upper limit for corn is 86 °F (30 °C).”

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Kristi Silber
October 21, 2018 10:06 am

My good lady, I lost a corn crop which did not germinate and had to replant because average temperatures were down near 50 degrees F. What is dictated by authorities in ivory towers is often quite different from the experiences of real farming. I would more trust the weather vs yield accounts of large farm owners near you before looking to academia for your proof.
The biggest problem for us is drought. In 2012 my area experienced a 75% drop in corn yields, and around 40% loss in beans. Aflatoxins were high also due to a lack of rain, so we took a hit on price. This year we had 10 weeks of highs above 95 F with lots of rain. our corn set production records and the beans look to do so also.
PS -I promise to be nice to you.

Rod Evans
Reply to  commieBob
October 20, 2018 1:44 am

If it is not in the little red book carried in the pocket of every Guardian journalist then no they won’t of heard about those scary capitalist concepts of shared risk.

Walt D.
October 19, 2018 6:28 pm

All the horse manure from the Guardian will provide an unending supply of excellent fertilizer for potato crops.

October 19, 2018 6:30 pm

One thing they could do…regulate fuel and fed corn the same way it’s regulated for human food

I’m afraid if they did that there would no more corn for ethanol though……/snark

October 19, 2018 6:31 pm

While many American farmers tend to look to the government a bit too much most of them understand weather and climate better than the average climate scientist.

The problem with nutrients in the Gulf of Mexico has been known for decades. Yet the problem has more to do with the diking and control of navigation on the Mississippi-Missouri than it does with the use of fertilizers. Water rushes passed the Delta well into the Gulf. The Mississippi Delta is fading away because the Corps of Army Engineers no longer allow the river to create delta land. Of course they are politically pressured by the shipping industry. When you hear about the lost of wetlands in the USA a very large portion is the loss of wetlands in the Delta.

HD Hoese
Reply to  Edwin
October 20, 2018 7:46 am

Correct, a number of diversion projects, actually small, are trying to counteract the problem. The dead zone ain’t dead, metabolically at least and is temporary. Azoic, not good for oxygen needing critters. However, the shrimp crop did not crater as predicted, and the shrimpers long ago discovered that catches next to the “zone” were improved, also shown by research, this a later one.
Craig, J. K. 2012. Aggregation on the edge: effects of hypoxia avoidance on the spatial distribution of brown shrimp and demersal fishes in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 445:75– 95.

A good possibility being discussed is that the nutrients are recycled into more pelagic animals, which are doing fine. The ultimate fate of the nitrogen is apparently not known, may go into protoplasm somewhere. A big shrimp crop occurred from a year of a big zone, not a simple situation. Similar thing happened as in climate scare, but is more measurable. It blamed nitrogen, current literature has been working it out as a function of stratification which is exacerbated by the nutrients. Historical research has been poor.

This does not mean the Gulf is an ideal situation and it takes only a visit to a small engine place to find out the problem with ethanol. I have been to two in the last month. Similar problem existed with boats. No telling what the cost has been. Engineers and mechanics so far have been able to more or less fix it, but will it last?

Dr. Bob
Reply to  HD Hoese
October 20, 2018 8:06 am

Nitrogen and phosphorus are too valuable for nature to waste. I would guess that all available N is converted to amino acids and proteins which phosphorus is converted into ADP/ATP as the energy carrier for cell metabolism. Nature wastes very little in this world.

HD Hoese
Reply to  HD Hoese
October 20, 2018 8:29 am

As to the lack of historical perspective, click on Oceans in Google Earth and see all the fish skeletons. The boxes showing the problem rarely go back very far, hypoxia discovered in the last few decades or less. Oxygen was measured from Challenger Expedition (1873-76) samples and other places. Live fish are also diagnostic, probably noticed for millennia.

The most productive places have the most fish skeletons.

Tom Halla
October 19, 2018 7:13 pm

Any group of greens who take the organic food movement as serious, rather than a cynical marketing ploy preying on fools is either a cynical exploiter and/or a fool themselves. Much of the criticism of the farming industry is coming from the organic cartel.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 20, 2018 9:44 am

Aren’t almost all foods made up off CHON, and, therefore, organic?

John Tillman
October 19, 2018 7:22 pm

As if agriculture isn’t regulated.

John Tillman
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 19, 2018 8:39 pm

Few if any industries are already as regulated as farming, in most if not all industrialized countries.

Reply to  John Tillman
October 20, 2018 4:25 am

try aus
chap in WA grew too many spuds he got fined n told off bigtime
how dare he!
this at a time when the eastern states spuds were near $3+ a kilo.
and in short supply
I have planted chestnut trees, if i plant 20 or more i have to tell the local DWELP( sorts a epa/stazi/usda crowd we have here
so i will plant 19 on one block
and 19 on another;-)

Reply to  John Tillman
October 20, 2018 5:25 am

When I owned a bit of grazing marsh DEFRA, acting for the EU, sent me a form requiring me to estimate how much manure the animals were depositing!

D. Anderson
Reply to  John Tillman
October 20, 2018 8:29 am

Mostly to limit the supply.

Stephen Stent
October 19, 2018 7:27 pm

When the government interferes there are all sorts of unintended consequences. Here’s an article from the guardian finding fault in government farm subsidies.

Reply to  Stephen Stent
October 20, 2018 6:49 am

Another reason for getting out of the EU!

Dave N
October 19, 2018 8:42 pm

“Hatfield says that conventional producers in the Raccoon river watershed are starting to focus on profitability reports from sustainable agriculture groups like the Practical Farmers of Iowa”

I want to know what the McCoy’s have to say about it

Alexander K
October 19, 2018 8:48 pm

Farmers generally earn their money and get to know weather patterns over their working lives. Governments, particularly the Socialist/Green among them, always run on someone else’s money and don’t have to live with the consequences of their own ignorance which leads to poor decisions.

October 19, 2018 8:51 pm

All governemnt agricultural subsidies need to stop as they misallocate limited land, labor and capital and toss a monkey wrench in the supply/demand dynamics.

Trump screwed up “big league” by offering even more ethanol subsidies:

The anachronistic Department of Agriculture needs to be shut down, as do all idiotic food-for-fuel programs.

Farmers are perfectly capable of determining what and how much they should produce, and those that can’t need to find another job.

There are free-market insurance and technological solutions to regional crop failures and weather vagaries…

Reply to  SAMURAI
October 20, 2018 5:05 am

You must be joking – Food doesn’t go between farmer and eater. Dominating trading and processing soybeans for example are Bunge, Cargill, ADM, Louis Dreyfus et al. FDR’s parity pricing is what is needed.

Reply to  SAMURAI
October 21, 2018 7:47 pm

SAMURAI October 19, 2018 at 8:51 pm says,
“All governemnt agricultural subsidies need to stop as they misallocate limited land, labor and capital and toss a monkey wrench in the supply/demand dynamics. Trump screwed up “big league” by offering even more ethanol subsidies:”

It’s quite simple. China and other countries are targeting US farmers — partly in response to the trade confrontations, and also as other unfair trade agreements, which have been in place for decades, are renegotiated by the new administration.

I don’t like it very much, but the policies are designed to protect the farmers, while other world markets are opened.

October 19, 2018 11:09 pm

“This drainage system is delivering runoff rich in farm fertilizer to the Mississippi river complex and the Gulf of Mexico, where the nitrate from Iowa and Illinois corn fields is growing a dead zone the size of New Jersey.”

Another armchair flunky invents “farm caused” woes, without actually sampling every, and I emphasize every farm for “runoff rich in farm fertilizer“.
Farmers can not afford to drench their crops in fertilizer and most farmers know how to test their soils for proper amendments.

Where “runoff rich” in fertilizers originates is from urban and suburban sewage systems where humans regularly dump detergents directly into drainages.

Nor do lawn care services help. These companies provide services where employees regularly drench lawns in a multitude of chemicals including plenty of fertilizers to make lawns lush and green.
Unlike farms, these human housing areas provide easy drainage from lawn to rivers.

Having fished along the Mississippi’s mouth and several exits into the Gulf of Mexico, I am unable to accept that “dead zone” claim.
Every day and especially on weekends, fisherpeople boat down to Mississippi outlets and out to the oil rigs to fish for a plentiful cornucopia of fish species.
Another case where ordinary people and commercial operators who visit the area frequently have a different perspective from confirmation biased activists and desk jockeys, looking at the same water.

The Mississippi River’s outflow rides on top of the salty water. One can fish near an outlet in what appears to be opaque green water and catch a variety of inshore and blue water salt water species.

Boat ten to twenty miles out from a Mississippi River outlet and all of the water is a beautiful blue with incredible clarity.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 20, 2018 1:54 am

Amen – I’ve had this argument with a local conservation officer. It’s not the farmers. Unfortunately the farmers are all too willing to accept the blame for some reason. They want to do what they can to fix it to the point of growing corn along with another crop between the rows. When I went to school they taught us that corn and soybeans compete with weeds for nutrients in the soil. I would think they’d be competing with another crop as well.

Reply to  4TimesAYear
October 20, 2018 8:47 am

A good way to do it is to plant clover in-between the corn or soybeans which adds nitrogen back into the soil, can be as much as 70 lbs nitrogen per acre.

Ron Long
Reply to  ATheoK
October 20, 2018 1:58 am

Thanks for the comments, ATheoK, nothing like a Reality Check from someone actually there.

HD Hoese
Reply to  ATheoK
October 20, 2018 12:07 pm

“Having fished along the Mississippi’s mouth and several exits into the Gulf of Mexico, I am unable to accept that “dead zone” claim.”

See my comments above, plus a few points. (1) The “dead zone” is a temporary mosaic of low (hypoxic) to no (anoxic) oxygen water, the boundary (boundaries) varying distances above and into the sediment. (2) The politics of it is not pretty, like climate, pushed by the press, local and otherwise. Sensible biological points are ignored and the negative is preferred. (3) The sparsity of research on the immediate delta and adjacent waters is long-lasting. (4) The same is true for some aspects about the zone, histrionic research results too often preferred. That seems to be slowly changing. (5) The Louisiana coast is one of the few most productive waters on the planet, which is why it was named long-long ago–“The Fertile Fisheries Crescent” including waters that get out of state. Also makes hydrocarbons. Send more nutrients? Heresy!

Blue, with brown and green, water also can be a mosaic. Always changing.

October 19, 2018 11:19 pm

Just when I thought it was safe to dismiss “Atlas Shrugged”, we see the climate parasites going after the farmers.

October 20, 2018 1:42 am

Oh, they’ve been talking about the “water quality” around here for some years now, and how they need to manage it and work with the government. The way I understand it, though (from an article I need to find the link to again) is that the nitrogen bonds to the soil. As long as the soil stays put, everything is fine. It’s when we have flooding that it washes the soil into the rivers. They’ve been working to keep the nutrients from getting into the rivers and streams. They’ve created manure catchments for the pig farms, have had buffer zones around rivers for a very long time and now Pheasants Forever is buying up that land. Farmers around here have also been terracing for a long time; it helps cut down on the erosion and run-off into streams and rivers.
As far as I’m concerned, this topic is like climate change. Do they really know how much is natural and how much comes from fertilizer? We have a large Canada goose population that leaves a tremendous amount of manure in some local areas. I would not recommend walking in the grass around local lakes. We also have large numbers of deer. that leave their droppings everywhere. I’m sure large numbers of carp in rivers also add to the problem. There are many, many sources. But they blame it all on farmers and it makes no sense to me. When I went to school, they taught us to test the soil to see how much fertilizer was needed. You didn’t want to burn your crops. Farmers do not want to destroy what they count on to make their living. How long have we been doing this and all of a sudden our waters aren’t “clean” because they have nitrates in them? Again, how much was in the rivers back in the 60’s? I still think they ought to check out the local fauna. Maybe it’s not farmers, but guano from the geese – or carp poo. An awful lot of unanswered questions and they still want to assume it’s farmers. I’m not buying it.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  4TimesAYear
October 20, 2018 2:32 am

Natural oes were there even before started permanent agriculture. During those periods, with good rains they were washed away and river water kept clean. Now, farmers are using heavy doses of chemicals. Rains carry them put in to oceans like Mississippi river making Gulf of Mexico a dead zone — zero oxygen and life in those waters comming to zero.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
October 20, 2018 7:59 am

Disposal of sewage, waste and garbage by households and businesses in, ….. primarily but not limited to, …. urban areas (cities, towns, etc.) has been a major pollution problem of streams, rivers and tidal zones for the past 200+ years, …. simply because that was the simplest and cheapest way to get rid of it.

Simply pipe it via the “storm sewer” network or dump it into the local creek, stream or river and it will be washed “downstream” to places unknown – “out of sight, out of mind”.

This practice continued in many locales up thru the 1960’s, …. as or until government mandated “sewage treatment plants” were constructed.

But not all households and businesses were “connected” to the new sewer system, thus their sewage/waste is still being flushed down the “storm drains” into the waterways.

And whenever “flooding” occurs, those sewer treatment plants are usually the first to be inundated by the flood waters.

And the Mississippi Watershed is the “transporter” of a major portion of the rainwater/snowmelt “runoff” flowing eastward of the Rocky Mountains and westward of the Appalachian Mountains.

And the Gulf of Mexico is the recipient of the Mississippi River outflow.

Thus, farming is probably not the major cause of Gulf pollution during the past 150 years.

D. Anderson
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
October 20, 2018 9:44 am

I don’t think we give ourselves credit for the progress we’ve made. 30 years ago the Mississippi south of the Twin Cities as dead. Nothing lived in it but bacteria.

Today because of gigantic investments in infrastructure it is a thriving environment. Not pristine by any means but so very much better.

I think farming run off is more of a pollution problem than urban sewage now.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  D. Anderson
October 21, 2018 4:16 am

D. Anderson – October 20, 2018 at 9:44 am

30 years ago the Mississippi south of the Twin Cities as dead. Nothing lived in it but bacteria.

“Yup”, proves my point exactly.

The “Ole Miss” south of the Twin Cities didn’t suffer an overnight demise of a “pollution surge”, ….. but more like a “slow-growth” cancer than began during the “early years” of the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul,

But the most motorist polluted river “on record” in the US was, to wit:

The Cuyahoga River is a river in the United States, located in Northeast Ohio, that feeds into Lake Erie. The river is famous for having been so polluted that it “caught fire” in 1969.

It has caught fire a total of 13 times dating back to 1868, …

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
October 20, 2018 4:49 pm

In India major rivers are polluted with point sources like industrial waste, domestic waste and non-point source like agriculture runoff. The pious River Ganga starts from Gangotri in Himalayas and pass through 2525 km and join the Bay of Bengal at Gangasagar. Government of India spending thousands of crores of rupees [one crore = 10 million] but achieved little. Even the treatment plants are not doing good job. In the case of my city – Hyderabad, around 2000 mld of waste water is generated of this 715 mld has STP facilities with only 50% capacity. Finally they join [treated and untreated] in Musi River. Downstream of Musi, the polluted waters are used for crop-milk production. People unknowingly consume this food and suffer from new diseases and doctors are thriving. A book by Cox, Sick Planet present the health and food aspects all over the world. On several occassions we as environmental activists brought to the notice of concerned government officials with zero result. They are more interested in beautification of the banks of the river for commercial profits. Even the tanks in the city are filthy and the officials wanted to do the same beautification game for profit. Least bothered on water and air pollution.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Reply to  4TimesAYear
October 20, 2018 4:33 am

Some Australian research some years ago showed that contrary to the current belief that farmers fertilizing field crops and the subsequent runoff from rainfall and irrigation were the source of the very high nitrate loads in the coastal rivers, most of the high nitrate loads in rivers particularly near the more wealthy coastal residential areas were due to runoff from the very over-fertilised lawns and the horse studs of the wealthy who had bought up almost the entire river frontages for their scenic and location values and river frontage access.

E J Zuiderwijk
October 20, 2018 2:16 am

Prepare to be hungry.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
October 20, 2018 2:42 am

So the Guardian and it’s ever more insane writers want government control of farmers now – because that really worked well in the Soviet Union’s agricultural policies. I think I prefer to let farmers sort out their practices. As it seems to work better that way.

Still not at peak stupid at the Gruaniad then…

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
October 20, 2018 3:54 am

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

Didn’t New Zealand cut the farmers free from subsidies, and much regulation associated with it, a number of years ago and instead of suffering, farming flourished?

Reply to  HotScot
October 21, 2018 2:03 am

Hot Scot,
We had subsidies mainly minim price support back in the late 70s under Mulldoon’s government In1984 these guaranteed prices were scrapped and there is no government support for farming now or at least none that I know of.
New Zealand exports meat and dairy products to the world and is the biggest exporter of dairy products in the world but no where near the largest producer . Agricultural exports are the lifeblood of our economy but we have the same problems with our regulators with the Waikato river catchment with nitrogen loading , phosphate, e coli and sediment .
We now are facing being ruled by bureaucrats which we as farmers are pushing back as they want to control how many stock and what crops we grow and where we grow them .
A command economy did not work in the USSR and it wont work in New Zealand .
Auckland our largest city is expanding and the regional council intend to control the land that vegetable growers want to use instead of letting individual growers make the decisions what crops to grow and how much area they will plant as has always worked in the past .

October 20, 2018 3:44 am

Nitrates in the water are nitrates that have not done their work in the fields.
Nitrates in the water are a waste of money for the farmer as well as damaging to the bio-system.
Stop confusing real environmental issues with fake environmental issues like climate change.

October 20, 2018 4:32 am

Aussie farmers get no subsidies and arent paid NOT to plant either like eu and usa
they compete with bad exchange rates and distance to markets and soaring fuel costs around 1.70 au$ for petrol or diesel now
after some yrs of drought or bad floods they ask for help like reduced interest rates or deferrals
and the outrage from many is plain shameful
for most further out rural dwellers, services like healthcare school and other things like phone/net are scant or none but people forget that

October 20, 2018 4:58 am

In the UK a cynic would say that the government policy is led by the ẞoil Association (organic lobby), the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Ramblers Association.
The National Farmers Union don’t count because they have a ‘vested interest’ .

Car makers can be sure that a certain amount of steel, rubber, plastic etc can produce a certain number of cars.
Farmers in the other hand put a certain quantity of inputs each year and end up with yields plus or minus 15% depending on the weather in any particular season.
In some countries the yield can be zero in difficult seasons.

As for drenching crops in anything, that is a facile statement puts out by the anti-cancer brigade. Farmers cannot afford to waste any inputs.

Reply to  StephenP
October 20, 2018 5:00 am

Anti-farmer brigade. D..n autocorrect.

Reply to  StephenP
October 20, 2018 5:01 am

Soil Association. Ditto

October 20, 2018 6:16 am

Does anyone think that the corporate monoculture farming industry gives a rats about the independent farmers?

They want the land. All of it.

October 20, 2018 6:24 am

Farmers Want and Need Profits. So, it is true that they listen to “sustainable agriculture groups like the Practical Farmers of Iowa. They advocate a rotating crop-livestock land use with more diverse plantings that can restore soil and make farmers more resilient.”

Both of my grandparents were farmers, at least part of their lives. The younger farmers (born in the 70s and 80s) are well educated and savvy. They use computers to project profits and plan crops and planting times — and to watch prices.

They buy crop insurance, they watch the weather. They are not afraid of climate change, they are always concerned about bad weather which can damage crops.

The smartest ones are watching for opportunities to squeeze and extra bit of profit from their land — and cutting costs or increasing income is always good.

Nothing new in this news.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Reply to  Kip Hansen
October 20, 2018 6:27 pm

It is not rotating crop but it is crop rotation. In the case of tobacco, In Andhra Pradesh, the buyer put a condition of not growing tobacco year after year on the same piece of land. If grows, the tobacco will not be purchaged from that farmer. In the crop rotation, But, the farmer suffers and causing the suicides in the Bt-cotton growing areas. Soil become dead zone and yeilds and pests hamper the profit. In the case of paddy under irrigated agriculture farmers do practice crop rotation after two crops of paddy a third crop of pulses or greener plants that are used as fertilizer to the next paddy crop.Here the government must put policies. Indian government and state governments are least bothered on that issue. In fact I wrote a series of articles including crop rotation a Telugu daily newspaper — Vaartha , and Prajashakthi.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

October 20, 2018 7:08 am

‘Research forecasts Iowa corn yields could drop in half within the next half-century thanks to extreme weather – yet it’s not part of the political conversation’

“Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run,
we are all dead.”— John Maynard Keynes

October 20, 2018 7:10 am

Riiiight! Big Brother knows best, no matter how abysmally ignorant he is.

October 20, 2018 7:22 am

If you want to see mass starvation all you need do is put government in charge of which crops are grown: when, where, and how.

Reply to  ScienceABC123
October 20, 2018 9:30 am

A five year plan ahead? After 50 years of annual 10% nominal growth, there last remaining productive babuschka closes the facility before being jailed for hate speech. Millions will starve. Nobody is left to tell why communism failed yet again.

michael hart
October 20, 2018 7:22 am

Where they aren’t washed out, they’re weedy or punky

OK, we know about Guardian Climate Correspondents, but what about the crops in Minnesota and North-West Iowa?

John MacDonald
October 20, 2018 8:08 am

When I drove I-70, 80 and US 30 in July, I saw a lot of corn and beans. None of it looked weedy or punky. Especially the Raccoon river basin.

D. Anderson
October 20, 2018 8:16 am

NW Iowa up into Mn was prairie because it was to dry for trees to grow there.

D. Anderson
Reply to  D. Anderson
October 20, 2018 8:26 am

Too dry.

Gary Pearse
October 20, 2018 8:48 am

Should we be advertising Gaurdian pap here? Iowa farmers dont read it. It seems Europe is aiming all their efforts at killong off US resistance to marxinesd.

Pop Piasa
October 20, 2018 9:03 am

It’s hard to find any folks who farm here in the “Forgottonia” part of Illinois who buy into man-made climate. We are mostly lamenting the loss of our regional coal fired power stations because there is no more free sulfur for the fields. It now costs us more in soil amendment. besides that, brownouts and interruptions are much more common on the rural grid than when we had plants nearer to us.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 20, 2018 1:28 pm

Is there anything more on the Illinois rural grid situation? Many wind turbines in rural Illinois.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Barbara
October 20, 2018 2:02 pm

They used interstate market regulation to make the coal and nuclear plants in mid-to-southern Illinois unprofitable for the owners. Dynegy has been sold, so it’s anybody’s guess as to where it will go from here. We depend mostly on Ameren MO generation here at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, having had precipitator-equipped plants shut down and scrapped ten or more years before the end of their usable lifespans. All we have close is a scrubber equipped plant at Portage DeSoux that Ameren operates and it doesn’t put out enough sulfur to enrich the fields downwind.
To be honest I have no idea how much of the lost gen capacity is sometimes picked up by wind, but having worked in the power industry I can appreciate what a strain this is on the dispatchers. Automation helps, but sometimes the power has to be shunted too far, too fast when you have no local generation.

October 20, 2018 9:19 am

The Guardian is a ‘coast elite’s’ paper. It considers farmers or anybody of Iowa deplorables, who should be overseen, regulated, taxed, subsidised and taxed again. The elite is full of knowitalls who are ready to give farming advice which you take at your peril.

The ultimate goal is to reduce farming, empty sparsely inhabited ‘flyover’ areas, and only produce little amounts of ideologically produced food. It used to be Steiner style biodynamic vitalism, but has later hidden its roots and reduced to antiproductivism, where low productivity is hailed as “sustainability’.

Bruce Cobb
October 20, 2018 9:28 am

“Politicians say nothing, but US farmers are increasingly terrified by it – climate change”
Oh really? Well, politicians say nothing, but the MSM, being firmly onboard the CAGW bandwagon continually scream lies about “climate change”, and fewer and fewer people are paying attention any more, and I highly doubt farmers are.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 20, 2018 9:50 am

It’s more as if they wonder why farmers are not terrified!

October 20, 2018 9:43 am

They want to tax your air, tax any food you grow, send you taxes to the poor of the world and all the need now is tax sex and they got everything covered in the new green wonderland.

October 20, 2018 10:00 am

Farmers already get TONS and TONS of govenment handouts. Check how much money goes to farm states. I have no sympathy for anything they end up losing due to greed and apathy concerning politics versus science.

October 20, 2018 10:18 am

Wasn’t it a politician — the name Reagan comes to mind — who said the most terrifiying nine words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”?

October 20, 2018 10:51 am

Sadly, the Guardian is a destructive influence in order sell copy! Bad news and ever increasing state control!
I will,never understand why intelligent people read it! Ah. They are not intelligent. Silly me.

October 20, 2018 11:04 am

Government mismanagement of agricultural science is nothing new. The policies of Soviet Russia bureaucrats, based on fake genetics science, caused the starvation of millions in the 1930’s. Yet we seem to have not learned from these mistakes:

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Johanus
October 20, 2018 1:39 pm

I’m surprised that the Atlantic would acknowledge that. I consider them as left as the Grauniad.

Mark Pawelek
October 20, 2018 12:17 pm

Guardian went all in crazy on climate and eco doom a long time ago. Their writers are eco-fanatics, not climate scientists. Energy and agriculture have always been the two overriding concerns of eco fanatics. Witness their many wars against energy: Hydroelectricity, Nuclear power, fossil fuel. Their obsessions over organic farming (with unsafe pesticides), hatred and fear of GMOs. But these people are loonies, Refuting them is shooting fish in a barrel. I rather WUWT stuck to climate science.

Dave O,.
October 20, 2018 7:46 pm

Eliminate fossil fuels and you will have mass starvation. In the mean time, there will be massive surpluses of agricultural commodities and anybody who eats will be a winner.

Kristi Silber
October 20, 2018 10:32 pm

Sure, farmers complain about the weather. Who doesn’t? But farmers are not dumb. Those who have been working the land for decades can see changes over time better than those who sit in front of a computer all day.

I wonder how many who have commented here actually read the article. It’s always interesting to see what is omitted when a story is excerpted.

“[W]hat were considered 500-year floods in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines 30 years ago are now considered 100-year floods. Iowa has been getting soggier in spring and fall, with scary dry spells interspersed, and more humid at night by as much as a third since 1980.

“Everyone knows it has been getting wetter and weirder, especially Dr Gene Takle, a Nobel prize-winning climate scientist at Iowa State University. Takle predicted 20 years ago the floods we see today, already linking it to climate change back then. Farmers just saw ponding and called the tiling company to install more. We’re on our way to doubling the size of the northern Iowa drainage system in the past 30 years as the upper midwest has grown more humid and extreme.

“This drainage system is delivering runoff rich in farm fertilizer to the Mississippi river complex and the Gulf of Mexico”

Has anyone suggested mandatory reductions in the use of nitrate fertilizer? Or is that just something dreamed up by Eric?

Just maybe farmers are beginning to realize that things need to change.

“We are losing soil at two to three tons an acre a year. Nature can regenerate the soil at only a half-ton a year. So we are washing our black gold down the river four to six times faster than we can regrow it.

This would seem to be a problem. Sure, farmers could change on their own, but any investment they would need to make could set them at a disadvantage compared to other farmers; this is why some might favor regulation.

“Because we have less soil, the corn and soya beans are starting to show it in lower protein in the kernel or pod. Corn is yielding higher starch content, notes agronomist Dr Rick Cruse of Iowa State.”

The other issue here could be that increased CO2 can lead to lower N, which means less protein. This may not be an issue for human consumption, but it could when it comes to animal feed.

But all this is apparently just stupid climate change BS, according to many of the comments here. They know better than Iowa farmers … it’s just weather.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
October 21, 2018 12:27 pm

The weather and climate moves through cycles and it has for centuries all around the world .
You must have read about the dust bowl period in the 1930s in the mid west of the USA and the high temperatures that occurred at the same time .
Have you not read about the Medieval Warm period and the climate optimum .
The Vikings farmed in Greenland but that is not possible now .
The loss of soil is not connected to climate change and has been going on for ever before the prairies were ever farmed .
No till and strip till are used to prevent soil erosion .
I have been farming for 60 years in New Zealand and our soil is our greatest asset and we try to conserve it and not let it wash away.
This article is BS and makes assumptions that CO2 is weirding the weather when there is absolutely no proof .

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