Woman in Black Reading a Newspaper ~ Rik Wouters
Whenever I see one of those posts which lists “the best agricultural twitter voices” or “the top 10 sites for agriculture” or some similar theme, I think to myself that I shall never do one of those, because if I did, it would unfairly offend way too many deserving people and online publishers. So, this post is NOT that. Yet, I have spent so much time reading on the subject of agriculture -predominantly from online sources- that I’d like to share with you some of my favorites. It is frightening how rapidly the media and news world industries are changing. We really can’t keep up.
It is no secret that we suffer of information overload today. Writers are competing for the busy and news-bites-fragmented reader’s attention. I wish I still had the time to curate and provide readers with great articles like I’d planned. Many have emailed me asking about Sowing Seeds, the comprehensive news site I established late last year, and have told me how much they miss it. For those who are interested, I have gone to promoting articles I think are extra-good in tweets on Twitter, instead. You can see them in the Twitter scroll bar feed on the lower right-hand sidebar here.
Next, I’d like to point you to a few individuals and quality news sources that are available to all of us, sources that I find especially valuable or trustworthy. It is my hope that you find my list helpful as you swim and dive into this vast ocean which we call the internet.
Dennis Dimick’s tweets: @ddimick – the executive environmental editor for National Geographic. Many don’t know that he grew up on a farm and has an education in agriculture, which seems to be a main passion of his. He is a tireless tweeter and doesn’t miss a thing.
Michael Pollan’s tweets: @michaelpollan – Quality links from him, not overdone, what can I say?
Dan Charles: A very trusted source who writes for NPR and is a skillful analyst.
Tom Philpott: A great seasoned veteran sustainable agricultural writer for Mother Jones.
The DesMoines Register: Outside of the giants, this used to be, hands down, the best newspaper source of agricultural news, and it has saddened me to see that budget cuts over the past several years have greatly diminished coverage there.
The New York Times: Quality articles spanning a huge array of subjects are often sure to surprise, entertain, and inform the reader.
Mark Bittman: Great writer. Switched from food to covering agriculture a number of years ago (at the NYTs).
Nathanael Johnson: A relatively new agricultural writer for Grist, who is doing a super job.
Market to Market: Iowa State’s Public television show about agriculture.
Market Journal: The Univ. of Nebraska’s Public TV show about agriculture.
The WSJ: Finds the little known but important Ag story from time to time, sometimes with a great in-depth piece, other times with a newsworthy article containing great graphics. They have consistently and admirably opposed the industrial ethanol complex better than any other newspaper, although the Chicago Tribune has also done so.
The Economist: Features quality agricultural topics not infrequently, and is known for its fantastic but simple graphs.
Bloomberg and BBC: two more main stream news sources that do great pieces on agriculture.
HINT: Not everyone is aware that this site, Big Picture Agriculture, has a daily news feed under the tab up top labeled “Latest Ag News”, and there are also two news feeds on the lower right sidebar here. These are constantly updated and I catch some great articles that I wouldn’t otherwise see just by checking these daily. Plus, there is my twitter feed – on which I try to primarily stick with the subject of Ag news @bigpictureag .
Harvest Public Media: Quality, great, well-done…. kudos to them!
Tweets by Luke Runyon: Great quality Ag tweeter @LukeRunyon .
Chuck Abbott’s daily e-mails of agricultural news sponsored by the FERN.
National Geographic: Frequently includes great agricultural news from around the world; is currently doing a multi-month food series; and is great at telling the story of real-world farming by showing us quality photographs, such as those by Jim Richardson.
Policy Pennings: by Harwood Schaffer and Daryll Ray. Great analysis out of the Univ. of Tennessee.
The Contrary Farmer: by Gene Logsdon. This is one of the only “blogs” on my list. Gene is a great philosophical old farmer.
The Leopold Center: Iowa’s sustainability research center housing the great philosopher Fred Kirschenmann and my cohort who hails from the same farming region that I do and shares the same sentiments about it that I do, Mark Rasmussen.
UK Guardian: Great, great source of frequent food, agriculture, and sustainability articles.
The Perennial Plate: This is an amazingly well-done series by Daniel Klein, who has traveled to many countries of the world to show us how they eat and farm. I wish that I had time to go back and watch every single one.
The Splendid Table: Lynne Rossetto Kasper keeps us up to date on books and agricultural subjects through American Public Media.
Jason Bradford keeps a fine, but occasional, blog over at his company’s website, FarmlandLP.
Resilience.org, the “new” Energy Bulletin: Focuses on eat local and permaculture topics.
R Squared Energy: written by engineer Robert Rapier, great on future energy transition issues, and great on biofuels commentary, too.
I find that some of the best news comes from local TV news stations and smaller regional newspapers, too.
It goes without saying that the agricultural journal publications are also obviously good at what they do – sites like Brownfield, Agriculture.com, Feedstuffs, Progressive Farmer, and Capital Press. You can’t beat Mother Earth News for its down-home articles and projects, either. And many of the agricultural colleges have sites and blogs that provide great information, too.
Finally, I hope you like the new web design – so far. (Part involves a background which you probably can’t see on your iPad or cell phone.) Friends suggested to me that the old one was too simple and boring, and I took that suggestion to heart. I’ve also added a tab of “recent posts” up top.
If you have any favorite Ag sources that you’d like to add to this list, I encourage you to post them in the comments below.