I am right now attending the 2013 Environmental Law Institute – Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum:
U.S. Agriculture and the Global Environment. I pasted the notice for the panel below. The key concerns brought up by the panel in the opening series of questions were global food insecurity, how to balance yields and environmental concerns, preservation of wetlands, and agricultural runoff from nonpoint sources. The panel is very balanced between those concerned more about yield/economics and those concerned about environmental issues. Some implicit points of conflict are inputs (e.g. fertilizers), water usage, air and water pollution due to agriculture, biodiversity loss, and farm bill incentives/subsidies.


This year’s ELI – Miriam Hamilton Keare Policy Forum will focus on the environmental and human effects of modern agriculture. Congress is once again considering the once-every-five-years Farm Bill, which is now three years late. And although the fate of the bill remains undecided — the Senate has passed its version while the House has failed to pass its version — experts envision both costs and benefits of its passage.

This year’s Keare Forum will not only consider the potential environmental costs and benefits of the legislation, but also the effects on consumers and the 47 million Americans who depend on food assistance. From there, the conversation will turn to international implications of our domestic agriculture policies. Policies in the developed world — chiefly the United States and Europe — produce bountiful harvest at great cost to taxpayers, while harming the environment and undermining farmers and hungry citizens in the developing world. Our expert panel will consider the global context of the Farm Bill and the complex relations among agricultural policy, environmental impacts, and harvest and famine on a global scale.

Andrew McElwaine, President & CEO, American Farmland Trust (moderator)
William Eubanks II, Partner, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal
Scott Faber, Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group
Valerie Hickey, Senior Biodiversity Specialist, Agriculture and Environmental Services, World Bank Group
Blake Hurst, Board of Directors President, Missouri Farm Bureau
Robert Johansson, Deputy Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture