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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jessica Vernabe

Gates Foundation Partnership with Brazil Opens Doors to Sustainable Agriculture Projects

November 1, 2011 |

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is teaming up with the government of Brazil in an effort to help small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia boost their agricultural productivity, the foundation announced.

The Gates Foundation’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation is expected to result in collaboration between the two entities on various potential projects. The foundation describes those projects as ranging from “developing more productive and nutritious staple crops, improving soil and water management techniques, as well as reducing crop loss after harvest.” Read More

New Farm Bill Legislation Proposal would Benefit Local Farmers and Ranchers

October 28, 2011 |

Two members of Congress plan to introduce a bill next week aimed at meeting the needs of farmers and ranchers who are engaged in local and regional agriculture, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition announced.

Senator Sherry Brown of Ohio and Representative Chellie Pingree announced they will introduce the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, which is intended for inclusion in the 2012 Farm Bill. Read More

Startup Profile: Purveyor of Sustainable Manure Compost ‘Closes Loop on Poop’

October 25, 2011 |

Teddy Stray of Point Reyes Compost Co. isn’t afraid to call it like it is—his product is crap.

The entrepreneur, who runs his manure compost company out of Point Reyes, Calif., uses humor to get the message across about what he does. Point Reyes Compost Co., which also goes by the tagline “Purveyors of premium poop,” uses various sayings to catch customers’ attention. The company’s bags of products, which are used by organic growers to add nutrients to soil, say “Don’t let anyone else give you crap.” Inside the business’ office, customers can find a sign that proudly reads “Shit Shack,” Stray said.

Stray describes his company, which he founded in 2008, as “closing the loop on poop,” meaning he continues the cycle of use for a product that otherwise would have gone to waste. Read More

MSU and University of California Among Recipients of USDA Grants for Specialty Crop Research

October 21, 2011 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleThe U.S. Department of Agriculture is doling out cash to universities through multiple grant programs in support of specialty crop research.

The University of California announced that its researchers will receive more than $6 million in funding from the department’s 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The program aims to enhance the competiveness of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruit, horticulture and nursery crops. Meanwhile, Michigan State University announced that its researchers will receive more than $5 million from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative. Read More