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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Andrew Burger

Israel’s Blue Sphere Launches US Dairy Farm Waste-to-Energy, Soil Amendment Initiative

November 14, 2011 |

Pioneering companies are bringing together expertise in sustainable agriculture and energy to develop technology and systems that approach the elegantly economical, zero waste systems found throughout the natural world.

Israel’s Blue Sphere Corp. is one such company. The agriculture/clean tech company focuses on preventing greenhouse gas emissions by turning waste into energy and generating revenue from energy, compost and carbon credits.

Last week, Blue Sphere announced a US initiative that entails installation and operation of organic waste management and on-site bioenergy systems that convert dairy waste into renewable electrical energy, natural gas and dairy biofiber. Read More

USDA Grants Fund 67 Rural Agricultural Energy Audits & Renewable Energy Projects

November 11, 2011 |

The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding for 67 project nationwide focused on helping rural agricultural producers increase energy efficiency, make use of renewable energy and/or carry out feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. The awards are being made through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

The USDA is awarding more than $2.4 million in energy audits grants and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants, along with more than $1.2 million to support feasibility study projects. In addition to the potential that the funded projects have to help rural agriculture producers cut costs, boost energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, the USDA believes the grants will also help increase rural and agricultural employment. Read More

Research Team Led by University of New Hampshire Seeks to Improve Quality and Quantity of Organic Milk

November 9, 2011 |

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) are heading up a multi-state project that aims to find ways for organic dairy farmers to increase the quality and quantity of milk that their herds produce. The project, comprised of researchers from the University of Maine and Cornell University, as well as the USDA, possesses financial backing to the tune of $2.9 million in grant funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative . Read More

IIED Brief Urges UN Climate Negotiators to Promote Traditional Sustainable Agriculture Practices

November 9, 2011 |

United Nations climate negotiators seeking accord on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol agreement on climate change action in Durban later this month are largely ignoring a wealth of readily available information that could protect food supplies and make agriculture more resilient to climate change, asserts a briefing paper from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Read More

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