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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Andrew Burger

Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Stresses Need to Take Action to Assure Food Security

November 25, 2011 |

CCAFS LogoAn increase in droughts, floods and severe storms as well as land degradation, rising populations, increasing demand for biofuels and the changing dietary habits of the world population have all come together to tax and strain food and agricultural resources worldwide.

The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, an independent group of prominent scientists last week urged “immediate, coordinated action toward transforming the food system to meet current and future threats to food security and environmental sustainability.” They also released a summary report that includes “a set of concrete recommendations” on how to achieve food security in the face of climate change.” Read More

Research Team Tackles Problem of Sustainably Harvesting Biomass

November 21, 2011 |

One of the biggest obstacles faced by those working to harness energy from biomass is how to harvest it in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Thus, a collaborative of researchers from the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) and the Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) department at the University of Illinois have joined forces to enable the development of solutions to solve for impediments in current biomass harvesting processes and equipment. Read More

Survey Outlines Challenges Faced by Young Farmers Along with Strategies to Help Them Succeed

November 17, 2011 |

Barriers to entry into a career in farming for young aspirants appear to be a bit daunting, but not impossible to overcome. So says a recent report based on a survey of 1,000 farmers across the US that was carried out by the National Young Farmer’s Coalition (NYFC). The report, entitled “Building a Future With Farmers: Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed,” cites access to capital, land and health insurance as the largest obstacles to launching a career in farming. Apprenticeships, local partnerships and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), on the other hand, were cited as the most valuable means of helping beginners get started.  Read More

USDA Report Investigates Impact of Marketing Channels on Local Food Sales

November 16, 2011 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleA new report from the US Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) aims to bolster private and public sector efforts to increase the amount of locally grown food bought and sold in the US by examining data on how farmers utilize direct and intermediated marketing channels to sell their products locally.

Though demand continues to grow for locally grown food, it still accounts for only a small percentage of the food Americans consume. Read More

NC Sustainable Agriculture Conference Highlights Challenges as well as Opportunities

November 15, 2011 |

Interest in sustainable agriculture is growing at quite a clip, at least if attendance at North Carolina Sustainable Agriculture Conference is any indication.

The number of people attending this year’s conference, which was held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park surpassed 1,200 this year, nearly double what it was just few years ago. According to an article by Colin Campbell in the News Observer, the average age of the conference-goers has also begun to drop.  Read More