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FF Extra: The Greening of U.S. Agriculture, Online Resources

FF Extra: The Greening of U.S. Agriculture, Online Resources

These online resources can help you cut costs, build soil health and boost profitability.

Farm Futures recently published a special issue, “The Greening of U.S. Agriculture.” The issue focuses on how sustainable farming practice can lead to greater long-term productivity, less stringent regulations and higher farm profits. The following websites contain a wealth of information to help readers learn more about this important topic. --Harvesting the Potential: Farming to Feed the World is an initiative to inform U.S. farmers about the impact sustainable agriculture practices can have in preserving agriculture’s natural resources, while also producing high-yield crops that can help feed the world now and into the future. The site aims to share educational resources with farmers that can aid in the adoption of conservation-based production systems. Read testimonials of farmers and researchers who have seen first-hand the economic and environmental benefits of conservation-based production practices such as no-till, strip-till, cover crops and nutrient management. It’s funded by a grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. --The Conservation Technology Information Center is a national public-private partnership that envisions agriculture using environmentally beneficial and economically viable natural resource systems. CTIC’s mission is to champion, promote and provide information on technologies and sustainable agricultural systems that conserve and enhance soil, water, air and wildlife resources. --Global Harvest Initiative is a partnership established among several multinational corporations to shed more light on the daunting task of feeding a growing, global population with sustainable practices. Yes, it is backed by corporate funding, but this site (and organization) has a lot to offer. If you only have a few minutes to browse, check out the “Harvest 2050” blog. It’s a very comprehensive look at the problem global agriculture faces today.

www.nutrientstewardship.comNutrient Stewardship is a collaborative effort by the fertilizer industry aimed at increasing awareness of nutrient stewardship, a site-specific, scientific framework that addresses farmers’ use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, the right time and the right place. --At the Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Quality web page, you will learn about soil quality and how to improve your soils. Click through a series of web pages to learn how organic matter works to lower fertilizer costs and prevent soil erosion. - The Sustainable P Initiative, by Arizona State, offers a broad look at the unsustainable use of Phosphorus in the world and offers news and information about how the situation can be improved. Online forums where farmers ask questions and provide feedback is one way to get real-world advice on no-till or other conservation measures. -- According to Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education, the three pillars of sustainability are profit, stewardship and quality of life. Sounds like a good start. This website has a ton of information, but to get a good overview, click on the Learning Center. There’s enough there to keep both novice and expert busy.  SARE also provides funding for sustainable agriculture projects.

www.mccc, - The Midwest Cover Crop Council lists all the cover crop research in the Midwest. - The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices is the site for all the ag organizations that suggest best management practices.

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