Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fred Kirschenmann Wins Growing Green Award for Thought Leadership

Former NCR-SARE Administrative Council member and sustainable agriculture leader, Fred Kirschenmann, of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has won a 2010 Thought Leader Growing Green Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which states:

President of the Board of Directors for Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann was integral in the establishment of this unique nonprofit that advances community-based food production. Stone Barns Center operates as a farm, kitchen, laboratory and teaching campus for nearby New York City residents. A third-generation farmer, Kirschenmann engages chefs, scientists, growers and corporate executives about the need for local food systems that work in harmony with nature and human health.

Kirschenmann runs Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in Windsor, North Dakota, where he also was president of the certifying agency Farm Verified Organic from 1990-1999.

Among a wide variety of activities to advance sustainable agriculture, Kirschenmann served as chair of the Administrative Council for NCR-SARE, completed a five-year term on the USDA's National Organic Standards Board, completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, and has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, serving as president in 1997.

Kirschenmann received his degrees from Yankton College in South Dakota, Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut, and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he earned a Rockefeller Fellowship, among other awards. He was chair of the Department of Religion at Yankton College, and Dean of the College at Curry College in Boston.

Winners of the Growing Green Awards were selected by a panel of sustainable food experts, which was chaired by Susan Clark, Executive Director of the Columbia Foundation. Winners were recognized on April 29, 2010 at the Growing Green Awards ceremony in San Francisco, CA.

Friday, April 23, 2010

SARE’s 2009/2010 Report from the Field

Source: SARE Outreach

College Park, MD – Ranchers in Montana are conserving water and improving yields by diversifying their operations with a newly introduced winter forage. A South Dakota farmer who builds healthy soil through no-till and long crop rotations has boosted profits by bringing cover crops into his system. Corn growers in New York together have saved millions in recent years by making drastic cuts in their fertilizer use. And across the South, farm families are benefiting from an unparalleled collection of resources for small-scale poultry production.

These stories and more can be found in SARE’s newly released 2009/2010 Report from the Field, a collection of 12 profiles illustrating how SARE-funded producers, researchers and educators are collaborating to advance sustainable innovations to the whole of American agriculture. Report from the Field relates stories of innovation from every corner of the United States that are occurring in key areas of American agriculture, including land stewardship, clean energy production, marketing and urban agriculture, to name a few.

Report from the Field also includes updates on some of the funding allocations and priority activities being pursued by staff in each of SARE’s four regions. The SARE regions are launching new grant programs, conducting stakeholder listening sessions and taking other steps to ensure SARE grants continue to fund the research and education projects that are most needed and promise the greatest positive impact.

Filled with bold, bright photography and information on practical resources for further reading, Report from the Field is an inspirational and informative snapshot of the people who are working to make American agriculture more profitable for farmers, better for the environment, and a stronger foundation of rural communities.

Download SARE’s Report from the Field for free at To order print copies visit, call 301/374-9696 or write to SARE Outreach, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Maryland 20604-0753. (Please specify title requested when ordering by mail.) Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. Call 301/374-9696 for more information on bulk, rush or international shipments.

Editors: Contact Sean McGovern or visit to request review copies or download cover or profile images.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Next Step: Adding Cover Crop to a No Till System in SD

Source: Cooking Up A Story

Dan Forgey, farm manager at Cronin Farms in South Dakota, has been using no-till management for more than 17 years. Over that time, Forgey has developed a keen understanding of how his farming system works and where new challenges and opportunities exist.

Several years ago, Forgey began thinking about how he might include cover crops on the 8500-acre farm to improve soil and the bottom line. But how best to do this in a no-till system? Usually, cover crops are tilled into the soil while they are still green in order to promote soil quality and fertility, but that is not an option in a no-till system. Forgey received a SARE grant to test the feasibility of using cover crops at Cronin Farms. It’s an on-going experiment, but after three years, results are promising. One cover crop mix of turnips, cowpeas and lentils increased corn yields by 18-20 bushels per acre in the SARE farm trials.

Other benefits include:
  1. healthier soil, with increasing benefits over a period of 4 to 5 years
  2. better soil aggregation and texture through the addition of organic matter and enhanced activity of soil microorganisms
  3. economic savings as a result of reduced use of purchased fertilizer
Forgey is aware that the cover crops in this system may perform differently in drought years, when a cover crop could deplete soil water needed by the cash crop (wheat, corn, soybeans). He will monitor this closely in coming years. As for managing cover crops without tillage, Forgey’s answer is to have his cattle graze them. Enjoy watching this video to learn more. In addition, an information sheet describing how cover crops and livestock fit into a typical crop rotation at Cronin Farms (PDF) is available at the SARE Web site at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NCR-SARE Announces 2011 Call for Research and Education Preproposals

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Research and Education Grant Program 2011 Call for Preproposals is now available online at

NCR-SARE’s Research and Education program supports innovators with competitive Research and Education grants. Individual grants are not to exceed $200,000.

NCR-SARE expects to fund about 8-12 projects in the twelve-state North Central Region.

Potential applicants can contact or 612-626-3113.

The deadline for preproposals is 4:30pm CDT, Thursday, June 10, 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Michigan On-Farm Research and Demonstration Book Available

Source: Gaylord Herald Times

Producers interested in receiving the 2010 edition of the On-Farm Research and Demonstration book can acquire one from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension county offices.

The 80-page book captures the latest information on field crop research conducted by MSU researchers and Extension specialists over the past year. Data are provided on topics ranging from fertilizer studies and bioenergy to pesticide trials.

The On-Farm Research and Demonstration book is published annually by the MSU Extension team of field crop experts to keep farmers updated on new production practices, said Dale Mutch, an MSU district Extension educator and co-author of the book.

“The On-Farm Research and Demonstration book keeps producers current on the latest research findings and recommendations,” he said. “Data are generated from field trials and field plots set up across the state. Projects are conducted under actual weather, insect and environmental conditions in a producer’s field, so the results readily apply to situations facing Michigan growers.”

Each year, county Extension educators work with farmers to identify what information farmers need to help them improve their businesses or address specific challenges at all stages of the growing process, from planting to harvest. Once challenges and opportunities are identified, the Extension field staff conducts on-farm field trials to create solutions and recommendations to address these needs. Mutch said they collected more data this year than in previous years.

“The objective is to generate recommendations for growers that can be used in the field to maximize productivity and profitability,” he said.

The publication receives funding from the Michigan Corn Growers Association, the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC), Project GREEEN, the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grants program, and the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.

Books are available from most county MSU Extension offices and are free of charge. The Otsego County office is located at 800 Livingston Blvd., Gaylord, or call 731-0272.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook Published by SARE

Contact: Sean McGovern:

Phone: 614/306-6422, email:

College Park, MD – Just a few years ago, community supported agriculture (CSA) enterprises were few and far between. Today, more than 2,500 thrive across the country. As CSA numbers increase, however, so does the need for innovative practices to keep them smooth running and profitable.

Written by former CSA growers and members Scott Franzblau and Jill Perry, Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook offers clear and straightforward guidance on an innovative practice that is helping CSAs stay strong and viable over the long term: cooperative marketing.

The 130-page book details how farmers can use CSA cooperatives to best market their produce, including advice on staffing, volunteer boards, distribution, legal topics and other practical information.

The book also includes a chapter on crop selection, calculating shares and adjusting to seasonal change, as well as a series of multifarm CSA profiles from around the country. Readers can adapt the book’s sample documents to their situations, gaining practical help with planning, marketing agreements, packing standards and organizational process.

A CSA is considered a partnership between farmer and member and Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook offers a framework for how these partnerships can work best to reduce labor costs, assure sales, and address the quality requested by CSA members.

Download Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook for free at To order print copies ($3.99 plus $5.95 s/h) visit, call 301/374-9696 or send check or money order to SARE Outreach, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Maryland 20604-0753. (Please specify title requested when ordering by mail.) Discounts are available on orders of 10 or more. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. Call 301/374-9696 for more information on bulk, rush or international shipments.

Editors: Contact Sean McGovern or visit to request review copies or download cover or profile images.

Published by SARE Outreach for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and features work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA. SARE’s mission is to advance - to the whole of American agriculture - innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education. SARE Outreach operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland and the University of Vermont to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. For more information visit