SA Newsletter June 1996

Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter

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Sustainable Agriculture Newsletters Archive

College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences
Volume 4, Issue 6 –  June 1996

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Two SARE grants for projects in Minnesota receive funding

Grants for two projects in Minnesota have been awarded by North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

A one-year project titled "Decision Cases for Sustainable Agriculture: A Video Project for Professional Development" will received $52,380. The project is to produce a professional development training package that will include two videos and supporting educational materials. The package will focus on decision case methodology as it relates to farming systems projects in sustainable agriculture. The package will be distributed within the North Central region to state Cooperative Extension Services, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and others by request.

The project will be a joint effort of the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) and the University of Minnesota's Program for Decision Cases. Helene Murray and Tammy Dunrud are project coordinators. For more information, contact Murray at (612) 625-0220.

A two-year project titled "Strengthening the Whole-Farm Planning Process through Producer-Agent Partnerships and Professional Development" will receive $75,000. The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society will work through the Natural Resource Conservation Service's whole-farm and ranch planning pilot projects in Minnesota and Nebraska.

The program will train NRCS, extension, and producer participants to use a site-specific, goal-oriented planning model to develop and evaluate whole-farm plans, and to use decision case studies as a teaching and learning tool for whole-farm planning. For more information, contact Cristiana Carusi at (402) 254-2289.

AURI accepting Pesticide Reduction Options (PRO) grant proposals

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is accepting proposals for Round IV of the Pesticide Reduction Options (PRO) program. Under this program, eligible Minnesota organizations may apply for grants of up to $30,000 to fund projects that minimize use of and contamination from pesticides on Minnesota farms. Approximately $180,000 is available under Round IV. Preproposals will be accepted through August 16. Invited full proposals will be due October 21. For further information, call (612) 223-8205 and ask for Marcia Schutt or the PRO intern.

USDA newsletter focuses on small and part-time farms

A newsletter on small and part-time farms is published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The newsletter is circulated throughout the land grant colleges and universities in the United States. One copy of the newsletter has been sent to each county office of the Minnesota Extension Service. For further information on the newsletter, call (202) 401-4385; fax (202) 401-5179; or e-mail

MISA Sustainable Agriculture Information Exchange has new World Wide Web site

MISA's Sustainable Agriculture Information Exchange is proud to announce its new World Wide Web site. The site, which is still in development, includes interactive features such as:

  • Let us answer your questions: Receive individualized responses to your questions.
  • Tell us your research needs and ideas: A framework for submitting research and education needs and ideas to the University
  • Gateway to sustainable agriculture information: Subject area information, key information providers, newsletters, current research, and links to other Web sites
  • In the news: Current, full text news articles related to agriculture and the environment
  • About MISA: Mission, goals and objectives, projects and programs, people, structure, history
  • Help for new Web users
  • Calendar of events
  • And more...

More information and features will be added as the site evolves. Please pay the site a visit, and let us know what you think! The URL is

Funding for the Web site comes from MISA and a legislative appropriation administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact: Debra Elias, MISA, 411 Borlaug Hall, St. Paul, MN 55108; Tel: (612)625-8217;

Minnesota Alfalfa and Forage Expo set for July 30-31

Grass roots learning opportunities in forage crop management will be available July 30-31 at the 1996 Minnesota Alfalfa and Forage Expo. The event will be at the Durst Brothers dairy farm north of Kasson. Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day.

The expo will occupy a 100-acre field with plenty of room for equipment demonstrations, plots, and parking. Scientists will share the latest in forage research. More than 100 commercial exhibitors will provide information on the latest in forage varieties, pest management, machinery and feed handling equipment, grazing systems, and more. For further information, call Neal Martin at (612) 625-8700.

Direct marketing conference has record participation

The North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Conference at Saratoga Springs, New York, in February had a record 1,282 participants, including speakers. The conference included 120 speakers in 30 educational sessions and a trade show with 104 exhibitors and 25 nonprofit organizations. To order audio tapes from the conference, call (800) 488-5455. For a copy of the proceedings, send $10 to Monica Roth, DMC Proceedings, CCE Tompkins Co., 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850.

The 1997 conference will be Jan. 28-Feb. 2 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pre-conference tour will be Jan. 26-28 and the post-conference tour Feb. 2. For updated information on the conference, call (505) 983-4010.

West Central Experiment Station will host Summer Station Day July 11

Sustainable sheep pasture production, intensive rotational grazing, and trees and shrubs for windbreaks will be topics during tours July 11 at the University of Minnesota's West Central Experiment Station at Morris. The 1996 Summer Station Day program will be from 7:30 a.m.-12 noon, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. In addition to the tours, there will be several exhibits and an open house at the USDA Agricultural Research Lab. For further information, call (320) 589-1711.

More MISA board members profiled

The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) is governed by a Board of Directors. According to the MISA by-laws, the 15-member board shall be comprised of seven sustainable agriculture practitioners, four U of M employees, and the remainder representing the community. In the April, May and June issues of the newsletter, we are profiling the MISA Board members.

Loni Kemp is a senior policy analyst with the Minnesota Project. She holds an M.A. in public policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Currently she chairs the water quality committee and is on the coordinating council of the Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture. She represents The Minnesota Project to the Midwest Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Loni is an advisory member of the Sustainable Agriculture Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development. She is an avid gardener at her home in rural Fillmore County. Loni currently serves as chairperson for the MISA Board of Directors.

Roger Moon is a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota. He has made major contributions to biological control, with major research emphases in ecology and management of livestock insects and mites, biological control of dung- and manure-inhabiting flies, mosquito ecology and dispersal, and modeling and sampling of insect populations.

Jerry Perkins is a cash grain farmer with an active interest in implementing sustainable farming practices. He has experience in farming and agricultural development in a variety of settings, including southwestern Minnesota, a Montana Indian reservation, and the Andean Highlands in Bolivia. He served as chair of his local ASCS board in southwestern Minnesota and has been active in a sustainable agricultural research project through the Southwest Minnesota Farm Management group.

Mary M. Tacheny has worked for the past ten years as resource person, educational consultant, and activity coordinator on rural concerns for the Diocesan Rural Life directors and the Catholic Bishops of Minnesota. She has also served as a lobbyist for them. In the process she got to know, work with, and become an advocate for farmers and other rural people. One of Sister Mary's interests is the practice of a more sustainable model of farming than the industrial model. She has master's degrees in American literature and educational administration, and has also done postgraduate work in theology and ethics.

Bill Wilcke is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His interests are in crop drying and storage, alternative energy sources, and sustainable agriculture. He has ongoing extension programs on crop drying and storage and on produce cooling and storage; he also conducts research on grain drying and storage. Bill is co-chair of the Leadership Team for the extension faculty in the Crop Systems specialization. Bill serves as the current vice-chairperson for the MISA Board of Directors.

Poll shows support for conservation tillage, sustainable agriculture

There is strong support among farmers for conservation tillage and sustainable agriculture, according to a recent poll of 2,000 farmers. The Farm and Rural Life Poll was conducted by Paul Lasley, Iowa State University extension rural sociologist.

Poll results showed 82 percent of the respondents said they support the use of conservation tillage systems, with 13 percent uncertain about the use of such systems and only five percent opposed. Also, 64 percent said they approve of sustainable agriculture systems, 30 percent are uncertain, and seven percent are opposed. (Adapted from The Great Lakes Vegetable Growers News, June 1996).

Calendar of events

June 29, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

"Rotational Grazing Improves Pastures" at the Jennifer and Mike Rupprecht farm. Jay Dorsey, (507) 732-4086.

July 1, 2

Teamwork Bus Tour-Minnesota/Iowa/Wisconsin-Farming Systems and Learning Approaches. Helene Murray, (612) 625-0220.

July 6, 1 p.m

Living mulches in west central Minnesota wheat production, Meeker County. Dave Birong, (612) 857-2772 or (612) 773-5247.

July 11, 1 - 4 p.m.

Pasture walk at Doug and Twila Ward farm near Browerville. Doug or Twila at (320) 594-6169.

July 13, 2 - 4 p.m.

Soil quality factors affecting garlic production, Cannon Falls. Tim King, (320) 732-6203.

July 14, 2 p.m

Comparison of alternative and conventional carrot and aster leafhopper management systems, Ham Lake, (612) 434-5929.

July 17, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Establishing pastures using various low-input practices, Lake City. Ralph Lentz, (612) 345-2557.

July 21, 2 - 4 p.m.

Community shared agriculture: solve marketing problems in community with consumers, Wrenshall. Jane and John Fisher-Merritt, (218) 384-3356.

July 21, 2 - 4 p.m.

Alternative point sources of water, Grand Marais. Mary and Joseph Routh, (218) 475-2245.

July 22, 10 a.m.

Swedish style swine facility, Lake Lillian. Susan and Nolan Jungclaus, (612) 664-4843.

July 23, 10 - 3 p.m.

CRP: grazing and cropping when the contract expires, Mike Hackett farm, Fairbault, (612) 296-1277.

July 25, 1-3 p.m.

Pasture walk at Frank and Dolores Schroeder farm near Cushing. Contact them at (320) 749-2398.

July 28, 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Market development small farm strategies project, Carlton. Ken Peterson, (218) 768-4116.

July 29-31

Holistic Resource Management Seminar, Marshall. Call (320) 269-2105 or (507) 637-2142.

July 30-31, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m

1996 Minnesota Alfalfa and Forage Expo, Kasson. Contact Neal Martin, (612) 625-8700.

August 15, 7 - 9 p.m.

Pastured poultry and CSA, Todd Lien farm, Northfield, (507) 645-9036.

August 15-16

Midwest Gamebird and Hunting Preserve Conference, Airport Hilton, Bloomington. Call Peg Naumann, (612) 624-3434

August 17, 1 - 3 p.m.

Pasture walk at the Dan and Rosie Middendorf farm near Osakis. Contact them at (320) 352-3397.

August 20, 1 - 3 p.m.

Butcher hogs on pasture and marketing organic crops, Linda and Mike Noble farm, Kenyon, (507) 789-6679.

August 24, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Vegetable field tour at the Dan and Gilda Gieske farm near Sauk Centre, (320) 352-6255.

August 28, 3 p.m.

Horticulture Day, North Central Experiment Station, Grand Rapids. Call (218) 327-4490.

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