A new study has documented the retreat of Midwestern grasslands under fields of corn and soy. This is good news for farmers, who are earning good prices for their crops, but bad news for wildlife (due to habitat loss) and the environment (due to soil erosion):
The images show that farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska converted 1.3 million acres of grassland into soybean and corn production between 2006 and 2011.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case between Monsanto and a farmer who refused to buy new engineered seeds from the company each year. Observers agree that the court seems likely to favor Monsanto, on the grounds of supporting patent rights:
Justice Breyer seemed in a particularly playful mood on Tuesday. At one point he alluded to a notorious line from a 1927 opinion by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., in which Holmes sought to justify the forced sterilization of a woman with mental disabilities. (“Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” Justice Holmes wrote.) “There are three generations of seeds,” Justice Breyer said, to knowing chuckles. “Maybe three generations of seeds is enough.”
Change in our kitchens
Reflections on cooking — and a career that’s based largely at the stove.
Flatbreads from around the continent
Beyond a supporting role
The great Sicilian-Neapolitan kitchen rivalry
Five ideas each month for eating better