Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
Scroll to top

Top

Research

East African Farmers to Benefit from Intercropping Bananas and Coffee

November 3, 2011 |

Smallholder farmers in Rwanda are experimenting with the intercropping of bananas and coffee in an effort to better adapt to changing climate conditions and increase their yields. According to an AFP News report, mean temperatures in Rwanda’s highlands and Africa’s Great Lakes region are forecast to rise in coming decades and threaten the fragile growing conditions necessary to insure successful harvests of coffee, Rwanda’s primary export crop.

The news report notes that the intercropping of bananas and coffee could significantly reduce the risk from warming temperatures to the country’s coffee crop. Read More

Sustainable Saltwater Shrimp Cultivation Center Grows in Missouri

November 3, 2011 |

Missouri is not the first place that typically springs to mind if you’re thinking about growing saltwater shrimp. Nonetheless, that’s just what University of Missouri Professor of Agricultural Systems Management, David Brune, along with his students, has been working on since July.

Brune and his students are in the process of building a greenhouse at MU Columbia’s Bradford Research Farm that will enable them to sustainably cultivate saltwater shrimp year-round, according to an article by Yiqian Zhang in the Missourian.

While most fish farmers use traditional still-water ponds to cultivate saltwater shrimp, Brune’s system, which will be about the size of a tennis court, employs a series of raceways rather than still ponds. Read More

Report Says US Unlikely to Meet Biofuel Production Mandates by 2022

October 20, 2011 |

The US is unlikely to meet the 2022 biofuel production targets set out in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) barring the discovery and rapid development of innovative technologies or substantive policy changes, according to a National Research Council report requested by Congress.

The report notes that achieving the RFS mandates “would have have mixed economic and environmental effects.” Moreover, the report authors add that striving to meet the mandates would likely increase federal budget outlays at a time when cutting the US budget deficit and debt levels is dividing Congress. Read More

Start Farming Program in Pennsylvania Helps Beginning Farmers Chart Sustainable Path

October 11, 2011 |

Start Farming,’ a program that seeks to develop new farmers, was developed by Penn State Extension in 2009 to address the the rising average age of farmers in Pennsylvania as well as the increasing demand for local and sustainably produced food.

The program offers a variety of courses throughout the year to beginning farmers interested in learning organic farming techniques, pasture management, financial management, land acquisition and marketing. The Penn State Extension program, ‘Start Farming’, is run in collaboration with Pennsylvania Farm Link, a nonprofit dedicated to the mission of “creating farming opportunities for the next generation,” and The Seed Farm, an agricultural business incubator in Lehigh County, PA.  Read More

Iowa Study Finds Gap in Knowledge of Sustainable Agriculture Among Lenders and Crop Insurers

October 3, 2011 |

Is it more difficult for farms that practice sustainable agriculture to obtain loans and crop insurance due to institutional bias and lack of domain expertise? That’s what researchers at the Center for Rural Affairs, with support from the Iowa Farmers Union and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State, apparently discovered.

“Our study found there is certainly a gap in the knowledge level amongst bankers, lenders and crop insurance agents in their awareness and knowledge regarding sustainable agriculture,” Traci Bruckner, report author, policy analyst and rural policy program assistant director at the Center for Rural Affairs told the Public News Service.

The bias against those trying to farm using sustainable agricultural methods and techniques extends all the way up to the 2012 Farm Bill, one aspect of which stipulates that sustainable agricultural producers, deemed to be riskier investments, must pay a 5% surcharge premium for being an organic producer, Bruckner noted. Read More