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photoThe Extension Sustainable Agriculture Program supports sustainable agriculture in Iowa by:

bullet providing information about sustainable agriculture in Iowa,
bullet providing training in the philosophy and implementation of sustainable agriculture to Extension staff and other information providers,
bullet sponsoring programs on sustainable agriculture for farmers, agricultural professionals, and the public, and
bullet working with government, non-profit, and agriculture groups in the state and region on a variety of sustainable agriculture issues.

red arrow What's New:

  • SARE PDP Call for Preproposals
    The 2008 Call for Preproposals for the PDP Competitive Grants is now available on the NCR SARE web site at:
  • Farmland numbers decline: Fewer farms exist in the U.S., as a result of consolidation and a movement of land to non-agricultural uses, USDA said Friday. U.S. farm operators are estimated at 2.08 million at the start of this year, a decline of 0.6 percent from a year ago. Some 930.9 million acres were in farmland, down 1.5 million from one year earlier. The decline in farm numbers pushed the average farm size up to 449 acres, an increase of three acres from the previous year. Farms with sales less than $100,000 - which account for about 83% of all U.S. farms - dropped 1.2% due to consolidation and rising incomes that moved some farmers and ranchers into the next sales bracket without adding land or boosting their businesses. Operations with sales of $100,000 or more rose 2.2%.
  • USDA Risk Management Agency announces 3 grant programs. The deadline for all three programs is:  March 24, 2008. Complete information is available at:
    1.  Commodity Partnerships for Risk Management Education
    PURPOSE:  to deliver training and information in the management of production, marketing, and financial risk to U.S. agricultural producers. Priority is given to reaching producers of priority commodities and specialty crops. Grants of up to $75,000 are available; projects will be one year in length. The agency expects to award up to 50 cooperative partnership agreements, with no more than 5 awards in each of the ten RMA Regions.
    2.  Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions
    PURPOSE:  to deliver training and information in the management of production, marketing, and financial risk to U.S. agricultural producers. The agency expects to award up to 50 cooperative partnership agreement, with no more than 5 awards in each of the ten RMA Regions; each is limited to $10,000.
    3.  Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program
    PURPOSE: to provide limited resource, socially disadvantages, and other traditionally underserved producers of priority commodities with training, informational opportunities and assistance to understand risk management tools and make sound risk management decisions. Projects will be funded for one year.  No maximum or minimum funding levels have been established for individual projects or geographic locations.

  • Free Newsletter
    Want to receive a great free wine growers newsletter? Contact Mike White at ISU Extension for this outstandingly e-mail newsletter. Past issues can be viewed at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ag/newsletters/winegrowers.html
    Michael L. White, ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist, 909 East 2nd St. Suite E, Indianola, IA 50125-2892, ph: 515-961-6237, fax: 6017 or mlwhite@iastate.edu
  • News archives

What is sustainable agriculture?

    In the words of one Iowa farmer, sustainable agriculture is a journey rather than a destination. Sustainable agriculture is about honestly identifying and trying to solve the problems in our current agricultural system. At least for now, no one has developed a fully sustainable agriculture, and for the foreseeable future there will always be room for improvement.

    The sustainable agriculture movement identifies three areas of concern that must be addressed by our agricultural system. These three areas are economics, environment, and social structure. In other words, a sustainable agriculture must provide a fair and reasonably secure living for farm families; it should benefit rather than harm the natural environment and must at least maintain basic natural resources such as healthy soil, clean water, and clean air; and it should support viable rural communities and fair treatment of all involved in the food system, from farm workers to consumers.

    There are many paths to sustainability. Some of the approaches Iowa farmers are working with include better use of pasture for raising livestock, reducing or eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and direct marketing of specialty products to consumers.

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by Liisa Järvinen
Contact: Jerry DeWitt, 2104 Agronomy, 515 294 7836, jdewitt@iastate.edu

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... and justice for all.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA,  Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964.