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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Sustainable Agriculture Information

USDA Extends $19 Million in Grants to Support Organic Producers and Processors

October 26, 2011 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleA growing demand for organic and sustainably produced food has led the USDA to announce nearly two dozen new grants to research and extension programs that will help organic producers and processors more effectively market and grow their products.

The 23 grants total $19 million, and are funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program.

“As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. 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

Wisconsin’s Farm Fresh Atlases Help Consumers Chart Path to Local and Organic Food

October 19, 2011 |

Wisconsin consumers seeking an easy way to find locally and organically grown food have a great resource to point them in the right direction: Wisconsin’s Farm Fresh Atlases.

The Farm Fresh Atlases have been around since 2002 and are produced yearly with five different editions for the various regions of Wisconsin. The Atlases are distributed at farmers markets, participating farms and businesses, tourism and convention bureaus, public libraries, and events like county fairs. The goal is to put “sustainable farms, farmers markets and local businesses and organizations that promote local food ‘on the map’,” according to the organization’s website. Read More

IDF, FAO Publish Revised Guide to Sustainable Dairy Farming Practices

October 11, 2011 |

Developing sustainable management systems has become a top priority for dairy farmers around the world. Negative social and environmental impacts related to the production of milk and dairy products such as the distribution of tainted milk products, pasture degradation due to overgrazing, and the spread of disease among dairy cattle herds due to poor nutrition and veterinary care have come under increasing public scrutiny.

Looking to address this concern and promote sustainable dairy practices, the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) have published a revised “Guide to Good Dairy Farming Practice.” Read More

Reports Says Empowerment of Rural Adolescent Girls in Developing Nations Will Increase Food Security

October 10, 2011 |

Children grow up fast and take on responsibilities early in rural areas across the developing world.  That’s especially true of some 283,000,000 rural adolescent girls living in developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and elsewhere, who from an early age work alongside their mothers and other family members gathering water, food and fuel and tending to livestock, farm fields and gardens. They also play a central role in the home, helping with food preparation, cooking, household chores and taking care of younger siblings.

Grandly ambitious in scale and scope, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, has released an extensive report that shines a light on the role rural adolescent girls play on farms and ranches in rural areas across the developing world. Read More