Sustainable Agriculture Information
Farm Bill Presents Opportunity to Implement Sustainable Agriculture Policies, says Union of Concerned ScientistsMarch 8, 2012 | seedstock
News Release – WASHINGTON (March 7, 2012) — When Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill this year, it should replace existing policies that subsidize junk food and encourage harmful farming practices with policies that prioritize healthy foods and farms, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
U.S. agricultural policies are aimed, in large part, at providing assistance for corn and soybean crops, offering large subsidies for the key ingredients in processed foods. In addition to giving an unfair advantage to unhealthy foods – making them cheaper – it incentivizes farming methods that release millions of tons of toxic chemicals into our air, water and soil.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is busy when it comes to helping mold the future of sustainable agriculture. Officials at the university’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences say thinking about how farming can be done in a more environmentally and socially sustainable is just part of the natural flow of what the college does.
“Nobody talks about crop or animal production without thinking about sustainability and without incorporating it into their research,” said Bill Tracy, UW-Madison’s agronomy department chair and professor who recently stepped down from his post as the college’s interim dean.
Tim and Lisa Meyers, owners of Meyers Farm, a sustainable farming operation in Bethel, Alaska, are in the process of opening up a new field to plant. In Bethel, 100 miles from the Bering Sea, that means scraping away topsoil and waiting a year or two for the permafrost to thaw.
Meyers farm is the region’s first and only farm. It started in 2003 as a small garden meant to feed the Meyers family and has since grown to 17 acres that feed the community. They grow a wide range of vegetables with an emphasis on cold weather crops that store well.
Out of Ostrich Boom Comes Advanced Livestock Monitoring Technology to Improve Feed Efficiency and Reduce WasteFebruary 17, 2012 | Noelle Swan
Alison Sunstrum already had her own business when she first met the three engineers behind Alberta, Canada-based GrowSafe Systems. They had hit a wall in their research and could not see their way to a commercial product. She offered solutions as a consultant. They ignored all of them, but still Sunstrum says that she was so impressed by what they were doing, she sold her company and bought into theirs.
What captured her attention was the concept of using advanced technology to monitor livestock, improve feed efficiency, and reduce animal waste and emissions, all without disrupting the natural behavior patterns of the animals. “It was a completely paradigm shifting idea and I thought that what they were doing was amazing.”
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.