‘Perilous Bounty’ Shows How Overuse And Climate Change Put US Food Production At Risk

Former farmer Tom Philpott argues water shortages and soil erosion represent significant threats to farmers, as does corporate dominance in agriculture.

By Laura RiceAugust 11, 2020 7:02 am, ,

The pandemic has led many people to focus on what’s essential – and that includes the food we eat. Meatpacking plants have shut down after the spread of the coronavirus, milk and produce have gone to waste as regular distribution channels were disrupted even as people in need have waited in long food bank lines. 

It’s a reminder of the importance of the sources of the food we eat: farms. Even without the current global health and economic crises, farms face daunting challenges. 

Tom Philpott is an Austin-based writer and former farmer. His new book is “Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It.” He cohosts the podcast, “The Secret Ingredient.” Philpott told Texas Standard that the food we eat tends to come from specific regions of the country – vegetables from California and soybeans and corn from the Midwest, for example. 

“The corn and soybeans going into the feedlots that produce the meat mostly come from the Midwest,” Philpott said. 

Water shortages in California and soil exhaustion in the Midwest are putting the nation’s agricultural sustainability at risk, Philpott argues in his book.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How climate change and water overuse play a role, especially in California

– What’s happening to the Midwest’s rich topsoil

– How Texas agriculture suffers from water shortages and erosion

– How large companies dominate agriculture


Web story by Shelly Brisbin.

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