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Midwest Region Commodities and the Environment Workshop

Project Period:

1 year 7 months 2000-09-01 - 2002-03-01

Principal Investigator:

David Schorr, World Wildlife Fund, Ann Sorensen, AFT CAE and Kate Clancy, the Henry A. Wallace Center for Agricultural and Environmental Policy at Winrock International

In 1996, WWF started an ambitious project to look at ways to reduce the impacts of Midwestern agriculture on the environment. In August 2000, WWF asked AFT CAE for help. We commissioned some of the nationís best thinkers to respond to the challenge of reducing environmental impacts in the Corn Belt by 50 percent and let key stakeholders determine which solutions were best. We brought in the Wallace Center and held a two-day workshop for key stakeholders in May 2001, facilitated by the Wallace Center, to produce practical recommendations to reduce the environmental impacts of Midwestern agriculture.

Participants identified obstacles to reducing environmental impacts in five categories: specialization and the lack of crop diversity; industry concentration and anti-trust; the lack of a systems approach to policy; incentives and subsidies that discourage or donít reward healthy farming practices; and environmental laws. Numerous policy ideas emerged and some were shared with Congress in testimony given for the 2002 Farm Bill. Given the complexity of the issue, the ideas are more likely to have an impact on the 2006 Farm Bill. The proceedings and white papers were initially posted on and shifted to the WWF website February 2002

American Farmland Trust