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Keith Berns (Greencover Seed) on rebuilding the nation's soils

Soil Carbon Coalition - Sat, 09/16/2017 - 7:11pm

From the 3rd Southern Soil Health Conference. What leaders are needed, what workers are needed, and what tools are needed to rebuild the nation's soils.

Walter Jehne: Restoring water cycles to naturally cool climate

Soil Carbon Coalition - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 10:30am

Walter Jehne, former CSIRO Climate Scientist and Microbiologist, founder of Healthy Soils Australia, explains the role of water in climate change and climate mitigation at an intensive workshop at Lake Morey Resort in Vermont, USA (November 2016). Water is the largest greenhouse gas and yet climate models have not fully included it because 1) it is considered too hard to model and 2) it is not considered possible for humans to influence. Jehne shows how we CAN work with hydrological cycles and the soil sponge to naturally, safely cool the climate, but only if we get started right away.

U.S. crop insurance

Soil Carbon Coalition - Tue, 07/11/2017 - 4:27pm

Losses covered by federally subsidized U.S. crop insurance have declined substantially in the last three years. See table, and maps of indemnities by county:

Crop insurance indemnities, 2014 crop year

Crop insurance indemnities, 2015 crop year

Crop insurance indemnities, 2016 crop year

Total crop insurance indemnities, 2014-2016 crop years

With crop insurance, as with any data set, looking at the data is a good way of learning about its particulars if not its intentions. Some knowledge of the context or domain of the data is usually required.

For background on federal crop insurance, the following may be a start:

Dennis Shields' 2015 report from the Congressional Research Service: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40532.pdf

Environmental Working Group's material on crop insurance, which includes interactive maps showing rate of return (payouts compared to premiums) on some crops by county from 2001 through 2014: http://www.ewg.org/research/crop-insurance-lottery. The average federal subsidy for crop insurance premiums is about 60%.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a 2013 paper on crop insurance, https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/soil-matters-IP.pdf. This paper suggests that crop insurance could be reformed to reward farming that is low risk with environmental rewards.

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