June 27, 2012–One starting point to covering agriculture — and the health implications of land and water use — is to follow the money using Environmental Working Group's major database tool. Any reporter covering the ag-environment link should know about it.
May 2, 2012–Here are some recent reports by the Congressional Research Service related to the environment/energy beat. Congress does not release them to the public. We again thank the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for doing so.
April 18, 2012–Reporter Michael Booth's story resurrected the old issue of whether the public has a right to know the identity and source of foods in commerce that government agencies actually know may be causing fatal illness. The FDA refused to comment on the story.
February 22, 2012–This year's Farm Bill deliberations have been less transparent than ever before. In that spirit, SEJ's WatchDog shares a backgrounder, published by the Federation of American Scientists, on the 2012 Farm Bill done by the Congressional Research Service — which keeps their taxpayer-funded reports secret from the public.
February 15, 2012–The confidential National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool helps the livestock owner/operator figure out how changing on-site practices can reduce emissions of ammonia, methane, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide, fine particulates, and odors. This may be useful for journalists; whether an owner/operator will discuss the details of their operation or not, there's a story.
February 1, 2012–Finally, after numerous delays amid allegations of political interference by people who don't want to see documented evidence of climate shifts, the wait is over. The new detailed interactive map is based on data from 1976-2005, and is the first official revision since the 1990 update.
January 12, 2012–In response to a request for live-streaming of the trial, the judge has expanded the gag order for the case, a class-action lawsuit seeking medical monitoring for people who may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals produced at Monsanto's former plant in Nitro, W.V.
January 4, 2012–The USDA says the number of winter farmers markets rose 38% from 2010 to 2011; 17% the year before. Coverage can include local foods, family-owned vs. corporate enterprises, validity of claims about being family-owned and/or local, food inspections, quality control, state, FDA and USDA regulations, immigration, unemployment, and career changes.
September 28, 2011–As the federal budget battle continues, President Obama outlined on Sept. 19, 2011, a package of ideas designed to cut costs and increase income over the next decade. One element of the $3 trillion package is an $8.5 billion reduction in costs for crop insurance.