Sustainable Ag Series: Governments
How do government officials address agricultural sustainability?
How government regulators work with corporations.
How government regulators work with Farmers.
On November 30th 2017, the Trump administration continued this mandate requiring US refineries to incorporate 19.29 billion gallons of biofuels into our gasoline supply. This is about 40% of the US corn crop and 30% of the US soybean crop. This keeps corn and soy prices higher than they normally would be, which benefits farmers— but there are significant environmental side effects. Corn and soy are grown on land that ultimately requires more irrigation for these demanding crops.
Producing one gallon of ethanol takes half a gallon more water than producing a gallon of gasoline. The issue is that most ethanol facilities are within a 100 mile range of the crops, which means that precious water sources are being tapped, including the Ogallala Aquifer.
Better to use that water to grow crops for food and not fuel.
The ecological strain it places on US farming does not outweigh the monetary benefit of higher corn and soy prices. It will be interesting to see how the US government and farmers will work together in this space moving forward.
How government regulators work with NGOs.
How government regulators address consumer concerns.
“Businesses, governments, and NGOs can and often do work together for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of global society as a whole”
–Global Sustainability, Mark Lefko
The Bottom Line:
Government officials have the ability and authority to connect NGOs, farmers and corporations in very meaningful ways. However, governing offices can address sustainability very differently. The most sustainable economies are those that have elected officials that promote environmental stewardship while facilitating successful partnerships between corporations, farmers, and NGOs.
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“Government & Sustainability” Center for Sustainability at Aquinas College. Mission 2012 : Clean Water.
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Shughart II, William “How The Ethanol Mandate Is Killing the American Prairie.” Investor’s Business Daily, Investor’s Business Daily, 13 Apr. 2017,
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“USDA Provides $314 Million in Water and Waste Infrastructure Improvements in Rural Communities Nationwide.” USDA, US Department of Agriculture, 2 Nov. 2015