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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Andrew Burger

Agriculture Ministers Meet in Berlin to Renew Efforts to Reduce Food Waste and Eliminate Hunger

January 25, 2012 |

Ministers from 64 countries gathered in Berlin for the fourth Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit to sign a declaration and issue a communique this past weekend underscoring the importance of improving environmental sustainability and reducing food waste in order to better address the interrelated issues of poor nutrition, food insecurity and scarcity.

The ministers called on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to “draw up concepts for reducing the loss and waste of food,” and to cooperate with governments and other stakeholders to enact such policies, according to an International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) report. Present were agricultural ministers from Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, and the UK, along with counterparts from some three dozen developing countries. Read More

FAO, European Commission Launch Climate-Smart Agriculture Development Program

January 19, 2012 |

Farmers and others working in the agricultural sectors in Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia will be the beneficiaries of a three-year, 5.3 million euro (~$6.8 million) “climate smart” agriculture and development transition project launched by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and European Commission (EC). Aimed at reducing agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ameliorating the damaging risks associated with climate change, the project’s goals have a two-fold focus: reducing hunger and poverty through agricultural sector development and facilitating adoption of practices for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Read More

Beyond Biofuel, Cornell University Professor Seeks to Demonstrate Promise of Algae as Animal Feed Substitute

January 18, 2012 |

All the attention and R&D investment that algae has been receiving as related to its high-potential as a next-generation biofuel has obscured one of algae’s defining, and well-known, characteristics: it’s a great source of protein. This fact hasn’t escaped the attention of Cornell University animal science Professor Xingen Lei, however, according to an article in Cornell University’s Chronicle Online written by Stacey Stackford.

In his Cornell University lab in Ithaca, NY, Professor Lei is raising pigs. No big thing; people have been raising pigs for ages, right? Yet, there’s a significant difference between the way your average US pig is raised and the way Professor Lei is raising his pigs. While the typical US pig is raised on feed produced primarily from corn and soybeans, Prof. Lei’s pigs feed on a protein-rich source of feed consisting of marine algae. Read More

Agricultural Incubator Foundation Seeks to Develop Sustainable Agriculture Systems in Northwest, OH

January 16, 2012 |

Agriculture, aquaculture and food entrepreneurs in northwest Ohio looking to research, develop and test new sustainable food production methods and practices have a high-quality, growing resource in the private, non-profit Agricultural Incubator Foundation (AIF). Formed in late 1999 by a group of area farmers, agribusiness participants, researchers and educators, AIF’s mission “to promote the development, advancement and appreciation of agricultural systems in northwest Ohio that are economically, ecologically and socially sustainable” embodies sustainable agriculture’s fundamental principles.  Read More

Federal Programs in North Dakota Aim to Boost Organic, Conservation Agriculture

January 16, 2012 |

As in the rest of the country, organic farming driven by market demand has caught on in North Dakota, and the federal government and state branch of the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) are working to ensure that its growth continues in the state. NRCS is offering technical and financial assistance to ND farmers implementing organic agriculture and conservation practices on their lands as part of the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP).

Through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), NRCS North Dakota can provide technical assistance and as much as $20,000 per year ($80,000 over a six-year period) to certified organic producers, those who are making the transition to organic farming, and producers who qualify as exempt, the federal government service announced last month. Farmers that sell organic agricultural products and whose gross agricultural income total less than $5,000 qualify for exempt status under NOP rules. Read More