Marcia DeLonge

Senior scientist

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Marcia DeLonge is a senior scientist in the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Dr. DeLonge conducts scientific research and analyses identifying practices that lead to healthy, sustainable food and farming systems. See Marcia's full bio.

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Marcia's Latest Posts

Photo: IIP Photo Archive/Flickr

With The Farm Bill Expired, Will Science Stall?

All the stranded programs together account for only $2.8 billion of the nearly $1 trillion farm bill. But they provide significant value, and none less than the research and education programs now in budgetary limbo. In this post, I’ll focus on the three such programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Depending on how long Congress leaves these programs hanging before passing a new farm bill, important agricultural research and extension, and the field of agroecology, could suffer. Read more >

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Photo: Preston Keres, USDA

We Ranked All 50 States from Farm to Fork. Why We Bothered—and a Taste of Our Takeaways

Recently, some fellow data geeks and I spent (quite a lot of) time ranking all 50 states on the health and sustainability of their food systems, from soil to spoon. Read more >

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Photo: USDA/ARS

Room for Ruminants in a Sustainable Future? Taking a Step Back to Find More Steps Forward

Ruminants, especially cattle (particularly beef cattle), have gotten a bad rap for their effects on climate, water, land and health. However, research and practice also point to cases in which ruminants can help improve the sustainability of farms, increasing farm resilience to extreme weather and supporting the livelihoods of some of the land’s best stewards. Read more >

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Farmer using diverse cover crops and animal grazing to build soil health.

Regenerative Farming Trailblazers: How Reintegrating Livestock and Restoring Soils Can Lead to More Resilient Farms

Across the United States, more farmers are finding that practices that have worked in the past are no longer cutting it. Persistent low prices for common crops (especially corn) paired with high production costs (for example, expensive equipment and fertilizers) have made it hard to stay afloat. At the same time agriculture has also moved increasingly toward systems dominated by a few annual crops—typically corn and soybeans—often with fields left bare between growing seasons. This trend has degraded core resources like soil and water, endangering the long-term viability of many farms. Read more >

Photo: USDA/Ron Nichols
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Farmer Kate Edwards of Wild Woods Farm in Johnson County, Iowa

Investing in the Future Farmers and Stewards of America

Many of you have probably heard that the average age of the American farmer has been trending up, as the number of farmers in our country has been trending down. As of the last census, US farmers averaged 58.3 years, continuing a steady creep over two decades. Six times as many farmers are over 65 as are under 35. The agricultural industry as a whole has the highest median age of all reported sectors in the US labor force. Who will be the farmers of the future? Read more >

Photo: USDA
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