Giving Compass' Take:

• Arohi Sharma argues that instead of subsidizing degenerative agricultural practices through the FCIP, the federal government should financially reward farmers who employ farming techniques that build soil health.

• Policy makers need to consider how agricultural subsidy policies incentivize agricultural practices that harm species and ecosystem health.  How can donors support this?

Here's how environmental restoration innovation will impact climate change. 


On May 6th, the United Nations released a summary of its Global Assessment on Biodiversity. The report finds that 23 percent of the world’s agricultural lands are less productive than five years ago, even though global food production has increased. How is that possible? In refreshingly bold language, the report comments on how agricultural subsidies catalyze land degradation and biodiversity loss. This is the case in the United States, where the federal government spends billions on agricultural subsidies through the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP). The current structure of the FCIP fails to address the environmental and public health effects of producing commodity crops intensively. Furthermore, the current structure of the FCIP does not incentivize farmers to change their farming practices to more regenerative, soil building methods.

The Global Assessment states, “Harmful economic incentives…associated with unsustainable practices of fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture (including fertilizer and pesticide use) …are often associated with [the] overexploitation of natural resources.”

Healthy soil is alive. One teaspoon of healthy soil has more life than there are people on the earth! The soil supports life like microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, algae, and earthworms, and these microbes are critical because they provide nutrients, carbon, and water to plants.

Read the full article on how US agricultural subsidies degrade land and soil by Arohi Sharma at Food Tank.