Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Chance to Order SARE's Exploring Sustainable Agriculture!

Starting June 1, SARE's Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture will go out of print. Stock up now on this popular sustainable agriculture primer before it's no longer available.

Originally published in 2003, Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture illustrates sustainable agriculture by providing snapshots of producers who use profitable, ecologically sound practices on their farms and ranches. Download a review copy at

Exploring is now available in bulk quantities at no cost for educational purposes, but only 2,500 copies remain. Place orders in quanities of 100 or more via email to Sean McGovern. Please provide the number requested, with street address and telephone number for shipping. SARE program brochures and publication order forms are also available - just ask!

Check out SARE's WebStore for a wide range of other free educational materials, including What is Sustainable Agriculture? which replaces which replaces Exploring in the SARE library.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Women Farmland Owners Improve Conservation through WFAN Program

Source: Iowa Ag Connection

Women farmland owners in eastern Iowa have made significant improvements in soil and water conservation on their land over the past year, as a result of participating in a pilot program offered by Women, Food and Agriculture Network in early 2009.

About 45 women farmland owners in Linn, Johnson and Jones counties took part in a series of meetings and a field tour with WFAN's Women Caring for the Land program, which brings women together in informal, peer-to-peer meetings facilitated by a female conservation professional to discuss the conservation goals they have for their farms and to provide them with resources and information.

Nearly half of Iowa's farmland is currently owned or co-owned by women. A growing number of them are older women inheriting farms from spouses or parents. Most of the women in the pilot group rent their land to a tenant; the women often report that they do not have the knowledge or confidence to bring up conservation issues with tenants.

A one-year follow-up survey was conducted in April 2010. Nearly half of the participants returned surveys. Results showed that after participating in the Women Caring for the Land pilot, 14 of the women took direct action to improve soil and water conservation on their land, including:

-- writing conservation practices into their tenant leases

-- enrolling in state and federal conservation assistance programs

-- requiring tenants to keep cattle away from waterways

-- improving buffer strips, creating burn plans, and re-seeding grassy waterways

"I felt much more comfortable dealing with my tenant who is cash renting farmland," one woman wrote. "I also felt even better informed about land management in general."

The women owned an average of 180 acres of farmland each. Many said that they planned to continue making improvements and that they would appreciate further opportunities to meet.

WFAN is continuing to offer Women Caring for the Land meetings in various locations around Iowa. For information on bringing one to your community, please call 515-460-2477.

Funding for the program in 2010 is provided by Ben & Jerry's Foundation. An expanded pilot including Nebraska and Wisconsin will begin in the fall of 2010, with funding from North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NCR-SARE Announces Funded Projects

The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) has made public the lists of projects most recently recommended for funding for each of its grant programs: Farmer Rancher, Research and Education, Professional Development, Youth and Youth Educator, and Graduate Student.

Go to and scroll down to find links to lists of the projects recently recommended for funding.

NCR-SARE administers these grant programs, each with specific priorities, audiences, and timelines. The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education.

Funding considerations are made based on how well the applicant articulates the nature of the research and education components of their sustainable agriculture grant proposals.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. A collection of farm and non-farm citizens, the AC includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

In addition, regional representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and NCR agribusinesses, state agencies, and foundations sit at the table to distribute grant money.

Since 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant Named 2010 Soil and Water Conservation Society Fellow

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant has been named a 2010 Soil and Water Conservation Society Fellow.

About the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Fellow Award

The designation of Fellow is conferred on society members who have performed exceptional service in advocating the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. This award is given first and foremost for professional excellence. Professional achievement may be in practicing, investigating, administering, or teaching soil and water conservation or closely related fields. Only society members with at least 10 years of membership are eligible.

About Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant is being honored with the Fellow Award for her long and outstanding service to the society at all levels of the organization. Her nomination, submitted by the Illinois Chapter, details her efforts and excellence in both professional and society missions. She has served at the local and state levels and served as the SWCS president from 2003 to 2004. She has been extremely active and involved in a number of SWCS Board of Director projects, including the revitalization of the House of Delegates, Program Development Fund, land sale, Professional Development Director search, and a number of staff-led programs and initiatives.

In her 20+ years of service, Cavanaugh-Grant has served as a teacher, sustainable agriculture research and education coordinator, chapter advisor for the student chapter at the University of Illinois, and now serves as an extension specialist coordinating the Illinois Small Farm and Sustainable Agriculture Program. Additionally, Cavanaugh-Grant has served as a Soil and Water Conservation Society At-large Director, as well as president of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts between 1998 to 2000. She served as the cochair for the 2000 SWCS meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been honored in the past with two outstanding Service Awards (1996, 1998) from the SWCS, as well as the Honor Award in 1988, Merit Award in 1993, and Presidents Citation Award in 2001.

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant and Sustainable Agriculture

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant has been the Extension Specialist for Small Farm and Sustainable Agriculture since 2006. In her role as Extension Specialist, Deborah provides statewide leadership for educational programming for commercial small farmers, managers and coordinators of various direct and alternative marketing channels, and non-commercial small acreage landowner. She also acts a coordinator for the University of Illinois Small Farms program, working with county and regional Extension personnel to deliver educational programming on a regional and statewide basis. She is also the co-facilitator of the Central Illinois Farm Beginnings Program. Deborah also serves as the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) State Coordinator for Illinois and provides support and information about the various NCR-SARE grant programs and activities. Check out her book, Reaping the Rewards of Our SARE Investment. The goal, of this publication, is to share the innovative work that Illinois NCR-SARE recipients have done over the years- answering the "so what?" question.

Soil Health/Soil Biology Training for the Northern Plains

The North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts will be hosting several training sessions in both Dakotas.

These two-day intensive North Central Region Professional Development training session sessions are entitled, “Soil Health/Soil Biology Training for the Northern Plains.” They are two day intensive training sessions which will provide advanced training in soil biology, focusing especially on microbiology. This training is a response to the tremendous explosion of cover crops being planted by producers to enhance soil health with goals of improving yields while reducing inputs.

Observations on several farms have demonstrated amazing results using this long term vision for their farming system. As more and more farmers begin incorporating cover crops into their rotations, they are asking professional educators for explanations for their results. Often, Extension, NRCS, and Conservation District personnel are at a loss to give a scientific explanation for the observations. This training will give that scientific understanding.

The locations for the trainings are:

June 15-16, Pierre, SD, American Legion
June 17-18, Mitchell, SD, Extension Center

June 28-29, Carrington, ND, Research Extension Center
June 30-July 1, Bismarck, ND, Comfort Inn

This is advanced training. Soil physics and chemistry will be only lightly covered as it will be assumed the participants already have this understanding. Pre-requisites for the training include either:
  • an introductory soils course at NDSU/SDSU or other land grant institution
  • an NRCS soils training which would have covered soil physics and soil chemistry in depth

This pre-requisite can be met by requesting separate training materials from this office by return e-mail, telephone, or postal mail before May 1. To pre-register for the training, please contact me before June 1. We reserve the right to restrict attendance based on size of room (approximately 100 persons).

Expenses for those participants who are allowed reimbursement will be covered through the SARE grant. Vouchers for reimbursement (state rate) will be given out at the trainings. These expenses will cover:
Lodging up to $65
Breakfast state rate
Lunch state rate
Dinner state rate
Mileage state rate

No block of rooms has been reserved at any hotel so I suggest you get a room soon to make sure you have one.

Carrington Hotels
Chieftain 652-3131
Super 8 652-3982

Bismarck Hotels
Comfort Inn 223-1911
Comfort Suites 223-4009
Country Inn and Suites 258-4200
Days Inn 223-9151
Doublewood Inn 258-7000
AmericInn 250-1000
Candlewood Suites 751-2751
RamKota Hotel 258-7700

Contact Tom Hanson, NDASCD, 701-223-8518, before June 1, 2010 to pre-register or receive information about pre-requisites and assistance to attend the training.

Sustainable Agriculture Webinar: An Overview of Organic Research in Nebraska

The Organic Research and Extension team will explain their program in Nebraska. Presenters for the webinar include: Dr. Charles Shapiro, Dr. Rich Little, Liz Sarno and other members of the team. Topics discussed will include: a review of the 2010 USDA - OREI Grant "Improving Organic Farming Systems and Assessing their Environmental Impacts across Agroecoregions", research to control weeds with a flamer in organic crops, the Organic Winter Wheat variety project that examines breeding new wheat cultivars specifically for organic systems with an emphasis on disease and pest resistance, response to organic fertilizers, and end-use quality, the Healthy Farm Index and research findings that can help land-owners make decisions about managing their farm's ecosystem and food production , and the role extension has in working with organic farmers and the various on-farm organic research projects.

To participate in the Adobe Connect "Sustainable Ag Webinar Series - An Overview of Organic Research in Nebraska on May 26 from 10:00 - 11:00 AM CDT, you will need to have a computer with Internet access and a phone to participate. At the meeting time, simply click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser to enter the meeting: 

When you go to that URL you will find yourself at a login page. Simply click on “Click to Enter” under the “Enter as a guest” heading. You will then be prompted for your name. Enter your name and click “Enter” to enter the meeting space. The instructions that detail how to join the integrated phone audio conference will be on the screen when you join the meeting.

Anytime before the meeting you can visit the following URL to confirm your ability to connect to the Breeze server:

This will be an opportunity to learn more about what the USDA Organic Project is all about, what has been done to date and future projects it will be involved in. If you have any questions in regards to this webinar, contact Gary Lesoing at (402) 274-4755 or

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Illinois Researchers Recommend Sudangrass to Combat Canada Thistle

Source: Midwest AgNET

URBANA, IL(ACES release) – Farmers who don't rely on or want to minimize the use of chemical herbicides need creative solutions to win the battle against aggressive perennial weeds. In ongoing research at the University of Illinois on Canada thistle, Sudangrass is proving to be a worthy contender as a summer smother crop.

"Sudangrass get very tall. It outcompetes the thistle for light. The Sudangrass creates shade so photosynthesis cannot occur in the thistle," said U of I weed scientist John Masiunas. "In our test plots, primarily in the northern part of Illinois, we've seen 95 percent control, so farmers can plant a cash crop the following year in the patch that had been infected with Canada thistle."

Planting time of the smother crop of Sudangrass is critical, said Masiunas. "It's got to be seeded in the first couple of weeks in June. If you get much past the mid-to late June, the Sudangrass is not able to compete adequately because the thistle grows rapidly in that time period."

A combination of mowing and tilling the thistle before planting the Sudangrass is also recommended.

"Tilling and mowing the thistle interrupts its life cycle so that it can't put energy back into the roots," Masiunas said. Mowing the Sudangrass is important for several reasons. "You can mow to prevent seed heads from forming on the Sudangrass and reseeding itself, and mowing helps to control the amount of residue. If you let the Sudangrass grow the entire season, you'll have a plant seven or eight feet tall, with a lot of shoot tissue, a lot of biomass to deal with. So when you mow it, you just leave it as a surface mulch."

Research on the use of Sudangrass conducted by graduate student Abram Bicksler originated from questions from organic farmers about Canada thistle. "Particularly for sustainable or organic farmers, Canada thistle was becoming very difficult to manage and was becoming the problem weed," Masiunas said.

After Bicksler's project was completed, Masiunas received funding from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) for additional research with farmers around the state. For the past three years research specialist Dan Anderson has been working with from 9 to 20 farmers each summer on environmentally friendly ways to control Canada thistle.

"The farmers I've been working with are primarily in the northern part of Illinois," Anderson said. Because of the weed's adaptation, Canada thistle needs a longer day, so it's not as much of a problem in southern Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, or Alabama.

"I've seen some horrible fields in northern Illinois, just full of thistle. "The Sudangrass was planted on patches of ground where Canada thistle was prevalent, some larger patches and some smaller. That's one of the advantages to this is you don't have to devote the entire field to this."

Masiunas stressed that the problem is usually found in patches. "What we're aiming at is to eliminate a problem in patches that occur in a field. Our purpose is not to manage Canada thistle on 100 acres but in areas that might be 100 square feet," he said. "The hope is that the farmer would catch the Canada thistle in a relatively small patch in an intensively managed farm. If they're doing a lot of tillage, they're not going to have as severe a case of Canada thistle. If they're doing reduced tillage and staying on top of the weeds, they might have a small patch of Canada thistle, but it shouldn't have taken over a whole field."

Anderson said that some of the farms he has been working with also have a livestock component. "The Sudangrass can be mowed and left as a smother crop, or it can be grazed," he said.

Is this a strategy that a conventional farmer would consider trying?

Masiunas said that conventional farmers might incorporate Sudangrass as an integrated pest management approach if they're trying to diversify their management strategies. "You're generally not going to get 100 percent control with any type of herbicide that you can use against Canada thistle – 95 to 98 percent control is about the best you'll get with the best application of herbicides. And we're getting a similar level of control with Sudangrass."

Farmers who participate in the weed project are paid $250 at the beginning of the study and the remaining $250 at the end after they submit a report.

"It helps us a lot because we've been able to explore what works and what doesn't work on actual farms," Masiunas said.

Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense) Suppression with Buckweat or Sudangrass Cover Crops and Mowing was co-authored by Abram Bicksler and John Masiunas and was published in the October-December 2009 issue of Weed Technology.

To read more about Masiunas' NCR-SARE Research and Education project, go to the SARE reporting site here.

Iowa Field Peas offer Alternative to Corn and Soybeans in Swine Diets

Source: Iowa State University Extension

AMES, Iowa -- Swine producers concerned about continuing high grain prices might want to consider using field peas as a partial substitute for soybean meal or corn in swine diets. Research coordinated by an Iowa State University (ISU) Extension swine program specialist showed this substitution is well tolerated by pigs and can be a more economical choice.

Tom Miller said the research started in 2005 after an inquiry from a southeast Iowa producer. The initial study, funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU and through the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, included both raising field peas and using the field peas in swine diets.

“We looked at the growth of different field pea varieties in small field plots of 20 to 70 acres in southeast Iowa,” Miller said. “We also tested the use of field peas in diets of a hog operation near Keota and at the ISU Swine Nutrition Farm. We hoped this would lead to developing an economical supply of these feedstuffs to use in pork production.”

The feed trial results showed that it’s possible for swine producers to increase their profits by using field peas because they provide nutrients comparable to corn and soybeans at a lower cost than those grains, according to Miller.

“Field peas are a good source of lysine, and they’re high in fiber with low levels of a trypsin inhibitor,” he said. “Typically, they’re fed raw and can be used for sows, weaned and finishing pigs.”

Wider adoption of field pea use by Iowa producers hinges primarily on access to adequate quantities of the crop. The early field tests showed that field peas cannot withstand Iowa’s summer heat and winter cold, Miller said. And while double cropping is a possibility, planting one’s own field pea crop currently does not necessarily offer an economical advantage to Iowa producers.

“The next step is to find a profitable cropping system in order to be able to utilize the potential of the field pea, which includes research on modifying the peas to survive Iowa’s climate,” Miller said.

Another option for producers who want to incorporate field peas in their swine diets is to buy the peas from locations with more conducive growing conditions such as North Dakota and Canada.

“Ultimately, the cost of obtaining field peas, whether grown locally or imported from other locations, will be a determining factor in Iowa producer use,” Miller said. “The positive nutrient and palatability aspects are well-documented.”

A presentation on early results from these trials is available on the Iowa Pork Industry Center website at

To read more about this Iowa State University Cooperative Extension's NCR-SARE Research and Education project, go to the SARE reporting website here.

Providing locally grown produce to Southern Illinois University

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Students at Southern Illinois University (SIU) are eating ultra-fresh produce due to a relationship between SIU housing and two local farms, which are the destination of the next sustainable agriculture tour sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

The tour will take place on Friday, June 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., beginning at Mulberry Hill Farm in Carbondale. Later, the tour will caravan to Farmer Brown's Production Company in Pomona.

Tom Grant has owned Mulberry Hill Farm since 2000 when he began converting the conventional corn and soybean farm to organic produce production. "I wanted to make soil amendments without erosion, so I experimented with terracing garden beds and using grass clippings as green manure," Grant said. "Early on, I also decided to try to improve the soil as much as possible, figuring that healthier soil would result in healthier plants. I cook down the compost, incorporating wood chips and even oyster shells for a slow-release calcium to the soil." Mulberry Hill recently became a vendor for Southern Illinois University Housing. "There's a good group of chefs there who are interested in promoting locally grown, fresh foods," Grant said.

"We talk on a fairly regular basis. Communication is important. One day they ordered 200 pounds of spinach. We started picking it in the morning and had it on their delivery dock by 4 in the afternoon, and a good portion of it was served that night for dinner. That's fresh."

Grant also ships produce to Irv and Shelley's Fresh Picks in Niles. "We have it up on their dock the day after it's picked, so their customers have it less than 48 hours from picking and it hasn't traveled across the country."

Jerry Bradley, communications director and co-founder of Food Works, will provide information about his organization's work in helping to develop local, sustainable food systems in southern Illinois.

"I've been working along with Dayna Conner for two years with small-scale to mid-size fruit and vegetable growers in the region, farmers' market managers, and community stakeholders," Bradley said. "We are planning on starting a comprehensive, year-long new and beginning farmer-training program for growers in the region. It is modeled on the very successful Central Illinois Farm Beginnings program. We hope to give growers the business and marketing skills necessary to become successful growers over the long term. Part of the course also includes hands-on field days and one-on-one mentorships with established growers in southern Illinois."

Mid-morning, the tour will travel to Farmer Brown's Production Company in Pomona. Owner Josh Brown will describe the process and strategy behind becoming USDA Certified Organic, discuss the best practices and maximum yields using raised beds,share some of his marketing strategies and an overview of his crop plan.

Farmer Brown's Production Company also supplies fresh produce to Southern Illinois University housing. "Chef Bill Connors from SIU contacted our local co-op about the potential for some of their small-scale farmers providing food for the students," said Brown.

"We do some volume as far as small farmers go, so we were a likely candidate to getting that relationship under way. Things worked out well last year, and we have started selling to them again this year."

Brown said his farm specializes in leafy greens, lettuce, kale, and spinach, culinary garlic, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and herbs. "We have a strong emphasis on soil building through cover crops, crop rotations, and nutrient management," he said.

For more information, visit

Bill Connors, chef at Southern Illinois University Housing residence hall dining facilities will prepare the tour lunch made from locally grown produce as well as pasture-fed and finished beef raised by Joshua Buchheit at Lick Creek Beef. Buchheit will speak briefly during the lunch about how he raises, grazes and processes his cattle. And Chef Connors will talk about how he has made serving local food to his students a top priority.

The schedule for the remaining 2010 sustainable agriculture tours is as follows:

July 27, Illinois Berries

J & J Berry Farm

Jersey County

August 13, Romance Tour — Flowers and Wine

Bright Flower Nursery and Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery

Jo Daviess County and Stephenson County

September 15, Agritourism — Farm Fresh Fun

Country Corner

Henry County

A fee of $20 per person will be charged for each tour, which includes lunch. Two adults pay $30 when registered together, and children under the age of 10 attend free.

Registration at least one week in advance is required.

Visit to register and for more details about each of the tours, including a map and agenda. To register by phone, contact Donna Cray at 217-241-4644. For more information, contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant (217-968-5512;

University of Illinois Extension is a statewide educational network that links the resources and research of the University of Illinois to the people of Illinois. The programs and workshops, which take place throughout the state, address issues involving youth, families, community development, agriculture, and natural resources. If reasonable accommodations are needed in order to participate in any of the programs, call 217-241-4644.

The tours are sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, the NCR-SARE Professional Development Program, the Agriculture Tourism Partners of Illinois (ATPI), the Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois, Mulberry Hill Farm, Farmer Brown's Production Company, and Food Works.

Managing Alternative Pollinators Now Available from SARE

Source: SARE

During the past 50 years, America has witnessed an almost 50 percent decline in the number of managed honey bee colonies. With two-thirds of the world’s crops requiring pollination—beekeepers and growers are seeking pollination alternatives and ways to bring honey bees back from the brink.

Managing Alternative Pollinators: A Handbook for Beekeepers, Growers and Conservationists is a first of-its-kind, step-by-step, full-color guide for rearing and managing bumble bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees and other bee species that provide pollination alternatives to the rapidly declining honey bee.

Written by Eric Mader of the Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Program; Professor of Entomology Marla Spivak; and Elaine Evans, author of Befriending Bumble Bees, the book includes expert information on the business and biology of pollination and how-to guidance on raising the alternative bee species.

The book is ideal for:
Beekeepers: Detailed information on each alternative pollinator’s biology, disease, pest and chemical susceptibility, and step-by-step instructions on how to rear and manage.
Growers: Guidance for understanding the business of pollination, matching pollinators to crops, and deciding how best to pollinate for successful agriculture and pollinator protection.
Concerned Citizens: Easy-to-understand accounts of the honey bee’s plight, the business of pollination, and what we all can do to protect pollinators and our food systems.

Download SARE’s Managing Alternative Pollinators for free at To order print copies ($23.50 plus $5.95 s/h) 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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Garden Information Workshop in ND

Join ND SARE State Coordinator Frank Kukta along with Mark Hamley, Michelle Short Azure, Tom Kalb and Holly Mawby at Turtle Mountain Community College’s Anishinabe Learning, Cultural and Wellness Center for a morning workshop on gardening.

9:00am-10:00am: Successful Gardening Tips for North Dakota presented by Tom Kalb-Horticulture Specialist for NDSU Extension

10:00am-11:00am: Food Safety and Handling from Garden to Market presented by Holly Mawby-Director of Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture at Dakota College at Bottineau

11:00am-12:00pm: Tillage and No-Tillage in Gardening presented by Frank Kutka-North Dakota SARE State Coordinator

Sponsored by TMCC’s Anishinabe Learning, Cultural & Wellness Center, USDA Equity Program, Improving Family Health through Gardening Extension Program and NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center. For more information please contact Mark Hamley @ 701-477-7834 or Michelle Short-Azure @ 701-477-7972.

Friday, May 7, 2010

NCR-SARE Elects New Administrative Council Representatives

Heather Duncan, Jim Goodman, Mark Kuzila, and Steve Wegulo have been elected to serve as Administrative Council (AC) members for the NCR-SARE this past year.

Heather Duncan will be serving the NCR-SARE Administrative Council as a co-chair of the Technical Committee and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representative. Duncan is an Environmental Scientist for the EPA Pesticides Program, Region 7 where she assists in implementation and enforcement of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri, serves as the regional contact for drift issues, integrated pest management, and competitive grants, and promotes pesticide stewardship in agricultural and community settings.

Co-owner /operator of a 500-acre certified organic dairy, beef, and crop farm, Jim Goodman has been elected to serve as the Wisconsin farmer rancher representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Among other activities, Goodman serves on the Board of Directors for Family Farm Defenders, is Director of the Vernon Electric Cooperative, and serves as a member of the USDA Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. He was named a WK Kellogg Foundation/Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Food and Society Policy Fellow for 2008-2009.

Mark Kuzila has been elected to serve as the Geological Survey representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Kuzila is the Director of the Nebraska Geological Survey and is a member of the North Central Education/Extension Research Activity-3 Soil and Landscape Assessment, Function, and Interpretation Committee. Among other activities, Kuzila has served as the Principle Soil Scientist and Director of the School of Natural Resources at the University Nebraska-Lincoln.

Assistant Professor/Extension Plant Pathologist from the University of Nebraska, Steve Wegulo has been elected to serve as the Nebraska research representative to the NCR-SARE Administrative Council. Wegulo has a scientific perspective on plant diseases in small grains, forages, and ornamental crops. He is a member of the American Phytopathological Society and has served on the Diseases of Ornamental Plants Committee. In 2009, he won an Outstanding Extension Publication Award, American Society for Horticultural Science.

NCR-SARE would like to extend gratitude to the following AC members who either fulfilled their terms or are stepping down: Illinois farmer rancher representative Dave Campbell, Nebraska Extension representative Karen DeBoer, national Extension representative Jerry DeWitt, foundation/nonprofit representative Tim Kautza, Geological Survey representative Fred Madison, Wisconsin research representative Bill Tracy, and Environmental Protection Agency representative Barbara Van Til.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council represents various agricultural sectors, states and organizations. It sets program priorities and makes granting decisions for the region. A collection of farm and non-farm residents, the Administrative Council includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in our 12 states. Council members hail from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, and nonprofits. In addition, regional representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and NCR agribusinesses, state agencies, and foundations sit at the table.

Since 1988, NCR-SARE has helped advance farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

USDA Funding for Local Regional Food Systems Guide

Source: SARE Outreach

Check out the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's new Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems, which identifies and explains key programs that can help community based organizations and others that are working to build infrastructure, provide training to farmers, research new marketing opportunities, and otherwise working to strengthen regional food systems.

Download the PDF and pass it on to other organizations that might find it useful!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Will Allen Named to Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People

NCR-SARE grant recipient and sustainable agriculture leader, Will Allen (of Growing Power) has been named to the 2010 “Time 100: The World’s Most Influential People” list.

Read about it here:,28804,1984685_1984949_1985243,00.html

Webinar: "Enhancing Soil Health with Cover Crops and Livestock"

The Nebraska state SARE Program is sponsoring a series of webinars on sustainable agriculture for anyone interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture.

The first of this series is: "Enhancing Soil Health with Cover Crops and Livestock".

Presenter: Joshua Dukart, Field Representative for North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition & Holistic Management Certified Educator In Training.

Time: Thursday, May 6th, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

To participate in the Adobe Connect "Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series" on May 6 from 10:00 - 11:00 AM CDT, you will need to have a computer with Internet access and a phone. At the meeting time, simply click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser to enter:

If you have any questions in regards to this webinar, feel free to contact Gary Lesoing (402) 274-4755 or at