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It’s Time to Put a Price Tag on the Environmental Impacts of Commodity Crop Agriculture

February 2013

Citation: 43 ELR 10130

Issue: 2

Author: Linda K. Breggin, Bruce Myers, and Meredith Wilensky

This Comment examines what is known about the costs associated with environmental degradation resulting from the production of commodity crops—i.e., row crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat—that are grown on large swaths of land. Much has been written about the environmental impacts of contemporary agriculture, and the critical need for conservation practices, but far less is known about the cost of these impacts. Even less research has examined how those costs can be attributed to the various types of agricultural operations. This Comment provides a snapshot of the current state of the research and emphasizes the need for more cost data on impacts and for better public access to this information.

Linda K. Breggin and Bruce Myers are Senior Attorneys and Meredith Wilensky is a Public Interest Law Fellow at the Environmental Law Institute.

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