Poverty Cannot be Eliminated by Charity Alone « Cycling for Change

via Poverty Cannot be Eliminated by Charity Alone « Cycling for Change.

Supporting local farmers and ranchers can have great multiplier effects on an economy at-large.  In addition to having a food system that is more sustainable, one can expect to have more money circulating locally.

Learn about a Colorado resident and business owner that is taking rural entrepreneurship into his own hands.

Read a great interview on this HERE.

Access to Local Food

In an AP article, a phenomena and trend which has been taking shape for quite awhile, is highlighted.

That trend is the limited access to food in rural areas (e.g. grocery stores), and the reason has to do with economics.  Smaller operations are generally more costly to run, and larger operations who can utilize the benefits of economies of scale to offer products and services for a lower price – will be able to attract more customers who are looking for cost-savings (especially if facing bad economic conditions).

Government proposals will include spending initiatives, and there are grants and other opportunities for these small grocery stores to try and stay in business.  What is truly sustainable, though, would be for consumers to change their purchasing patterns.  Because if the demand is not there, you cannot subsidize it – it will simply not work in a free market (and we are assuming that we are keeping the free market that we have).

So, if you are reading this and are a consumer and want to make a difference – find local farmers, ranchers, and producers to support, and be willing to spend some extra money to keep them in business.  If we keep our local guys open, and help their businesses to thrive, then eventually we will actually see local food prices decrease, and the wonder and beauty of economics in a free market can once again be realized.

It will take time, it is not easy, and we must all work together.  But it is possible.

– Tisha Casida

SARE 20/20: Sustainable Innovations Are Revitalizing American Agriculture

Beltsville, MD – A New Mexico farmer cut annual greenhouse heating costs from $2,000 to zero using the power of the sun. Perched at the edge of the Sonoran desert in New Mexico, Don Bustos’ family farm is endowed with ample sunshine – but cool temperatures limit the growing season to only four or five months. When rising fuel costs threatened his farm and family, Bustos tapped nature’s own energy source: the sun. With the help of a grant from the USDA/CSREES-supported Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, Bustos tested a new system that uses solar heated fluid to warm greenhouse beds, lengthen his growing season and increase profits.

Bustos’ innovative approach is just one of dozens profiled in SARE’s newest free publication, SARE 20/20: Celebrating our First 20 years, Envisioning the Next. Featuring farmers and ranchers who are turning to sustainable agriculture to boost profits, protect the environment and build their communities, SARE 20/20 chronicles two decades of agricultural innovation supported by SARE.

“We are proud of how SARE grantees – from every corner of the nation – have used sound research to advance the frontier of sustainable agriculture,” said Jill Auburn, SARE director.

SARE 20/20 highlights cream-of-the-crop projects from more than 3,700 SARE funded grants, illustrating how producers, researchers and educators are collaborating to advance sustainable innovations to the whole of American agriculture. A few examples:

  • A nonprofit uses innovative marketing strategies to open new markets for more than 40 produce farmers, resulting in a tenfold increase in sales spanning six years.
  • Researchers in the South develop a toolbox of low-cost strategies to detect and target parasites in goats and sheep, reducing the use of chemical dewormers.
  • Minnesota researchers find success using reduced tillage and rotations to control corn rootworm.

Download SARE 20/20 for free at www.sare.org/publications/highlights.htm. To order print copies, visit www.sare.org/WebStore, call 301/374-9696 or write to Sustainable Agriculture Publications, PO Box 753, Waldorf, Md. 20604-0753. (Please specify SARE 20/20 when ordering by mail.) Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

SARE 20/20 was published by the national outreach office of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA. SARE’s nationwide research and education grants program advances farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  The national outreach office operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland and the University of Vermont to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. Visit www.sare.org for more information about SARE.

More Reasons to KNOW YOUR FARMER

Paul Alhadef Photography

In an article from Bloomberg, producers are accusing and filing suit against Dean Foods (Dallas, Texas) and the Dairy Farmers of America (Kansas City, Missouri) for suppressing milk prices through controlling market access.

The economics behind this may or may not be complex, depending upon one’s political and social perspective.  So instead of arguing who is right or wrong (which will play out in court), let’s figure out how we can positively affect milk-companies that are producing a high-quality, safe, and nutritious product.

Here is one way – purchase milk shares from a local producer.  Have you researched if there is a dairy in your city/county?  Do you know if it is possible (or legal in the case of raw/unpasteurized milk) to purchase your milk and dairy products from someone locally?  Find Out!

Free-markets, which The Good American Post stands behind, are markets where consumers have access to information regarding what they are purchasing, and therefore can make an honest and informed judgment about what to purchase.

So, now you have some knowledge – KNOW YOUR FARMER, know who is raising those cows or goats that create your dairy products, and support the people who are making an honest living by providing a product you can feel good drinking and giving to your family.

– Joseph Poder

BEEF – It's What for Dinner IF YOU KNOW YOUR PRODUCER


I stopped eating conventional red meat about 7 years ago (by conventional I mean from a producer that I cannot know, i.e. Tyson).  When mad cow disease (aka: BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, CJD) became an issue, I decided that I did not want to have my brain turn into mush, and that I would rather not eat beef.

But I LOVE A GOOD HAMBURGER AND STEAK, so that led me on a quest to find great beef products produced by farmers and ranchers that I trusted.  Luckily, in Colorado, there are several.

In a recent article I found on Mike Callicrate’s No-Bull website, it became apparent, again, that many people in the United States are still eating and cooking meat that is subpar and even dangerous.  Being a food-snob myself, I still refuse to eat beef from even nice restaurants because they are usually not tasty and the meat comes from huge food conglomerates that use growth hormones, large amounts of antibiotics, and new drugs like Optiflex and Zilmax, which (IN MY HUMBLE OPINION) can have untested and could have unknown results on the body of a human being.

Do you ever feel like a guinea pig?  That is because if you are not becoming more aware of your food supply – YOU ARE.

Never has it been more important to be more sustainable – find ways to purchase food from local farmers and ranchers who you trust, and grow your own food.

Read more about what is happening to beef HERE!

– Tisha Casida

Innovations in Agricultural Marketing

Beltsville, MD Years ago, Indiana farmer Brian Churchill won a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program to experiment with new pest management strategies on his 100 acres of sweet corn, melons, tomatoes and other produce. Scouting for pests, withholding routine spraying and building habitat for beneficial insects cut his insecticide use drastically. He decided to use that as a marketing hook by inviting chefs to an “expo” and opening a now-thriving farm stand.

“We drive the point home about using less chemicals all the time,” he said. “The customers keep coming back and bringing friends with them…Our farm has grown a lot since the grant.”

Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers, a 20-page bulletin recently revised by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, features innovative SARE-funded research in a range of marketing options, including additional resources for further information. Throughout, farmers and ranchers like Churchill share how farmers markets, CSA, tourism, direct-marketing, season extension, adding value, restaurants, and/or the Internet improved their bottom line.

Marketing Strategies is the latest of a series of publications that feature the most creative research funded by SARE.  Preview or download the entire publication at www.sare.org/publications/marketing.htm.

To order free print copies, visit www.sare.org/Webstore, call 301/504-5236 or email san_assoc@sare.org. Agricultural educators may place orders for print copies in quantity at no cost.

“Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers” was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is a program of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA, and works with producers, researchers and educators to promote farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  SAN operates under a cooperative agreement between CSREES and the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. For more information about SARE grant opportunities and other SAN resources, visit www.sare.org.

Rancher Ingenuity Improves Range, Increases Profit

Beltsville, MD When federal environmental regulators cut his herd sizes to protect an endangered fish, Arizona rancher Rich Collins got busy. With three other ranchers and armed with a USDA SARE farmer/rancher grant, Collins installed new irrigation pipe, built fences and developed rotational grazing plans. Intensive monitoring helped them document improvements to the rangeland and riparian areas.

“The riparian areas have come back amazingly and the uplands have improved,” Collins says. “Monitoring showed we were in compliance…and helped us make management decisions, too.”

Rangeland Management Strategies, a free 16-page bulletin published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, features innovative SARE-funded research on creating and sustaining a healthy range. Throughout, researchers and ranchers like Collins share goals and successes in winter and multi-species grazing, managing forage and other vegetation and protecting riparian areas.

Rangeland Management Strategies is the latest of a series of publications that feature the most creative research funded by SARE.  Preview or download the entire publication at http://www.sare.org/publications/rangeland.htm.

To order print copies, visit www.sare.org/Webstore, call 301/504-5411 or email san_assoc@sare.org. Agricultural educators may place orders for print copies in quantity at no cost.

“Rangeland Management Strategies” was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is a program of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA, and works with producers, researchers and educators to promote farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  SAN operates under a cooperative agreement between CSREES and the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. For more information about SARE grant opportunities and other SAN resources, visit www.sare.org.

New Book Details Cover Crop Use on the Farm

Beltsville, MD: Across America, tens of thousands of farmers are planting cover crops, a time-tested method of revitalizing soil, curbing erosion, and managing pests. Bryan and Donna Davis love what cover crops have done for their corn/soybean rotation. The Grinnell, Iowa couple relies on rye and oats to feed their soil and manage pests on their 1,000-acre, mostly no-till farm. “We have cut our chemical costs cut dramatically, and have reduced fertility costs in some fields by half” says Bryan. “With energy costs these days, you can’t afford not to do this.”

Revised and updated in 2007, the 3rd edition includes a new chapter on brassicas and mustards, 16 farm profiles, and a comprehensive chapter on the use of cover crops in conservation tillage systems. Updates throughout are based on more than 100 new literature citations and consultations with cover crop researchers and practitioners around the country. Appendices include seed sources and a listing of cover crop experts.

“This is the best book I have ever read,” says Wolfgang Rougle, of Twining Tree Farm in Cottonwood California. “It uses science to explain complex concepts, lays out options for different systems and climates, and allows innovative farmers to digest the information and make their own intelligent decisions. Thank you for the practical advice, acknowledgement of complex tradeoffs, specifics, details and conclusions.”

Download Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition at www.sare.org/publications/covercrops.htm. To order print copies ($19 plus $5.95 s/h) visit www.sare.org/WebStore, call 301/374-9696 or send check or money order to Sustainable Agriculture Publications, 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.

Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, was published by the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. SARE is funded by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA, and works with producers, researchers and educators to promote farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.  SAN operates under a cooperative agreement between CSREES, the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. For more information about SARE grant opportunities and other SAN resources, visit www.sare.org.

Producer’s Innovative Harvest Cuts Costs, Harnesses Renewable Energy

Beltsville, MD – “The concept of being self-sufficient is pretty exciting,” says Roger Rainville, a Vermont Dairy producer who has been working for four years to achieve energy independence on his farm.

Working with UVM Extension Specialist Heather Darby on a SARE funded grant, Rainville conducted three years of trials to identify top producing varieties of canola in northern Vermont. The easy-to-grow canola fit well into his existing corn-alfalfa rotation—and by the third year, after realizing that he could eliminate swathing, Rainville harvested directly from the field, achieving yields of 1.5 tons per acre, leaving him very optimistic about future production.

Clean Energy Farming, a free 16-page bulletin published by SARE Outreach, features Rainville and other innovative SARE-funded farmers who are increasing profits by implementing energy efficient farming practices and producing and using renewable energy. The bulletin is filled with stories of producers and researchers working together to demonstrate how clean energy practices are quickly becoming core to the operations of farmers and ranchers across America.

Cutting fuel costs was just one of Rainville’s incentives. With nearly 10,000 cows in a 20 mile radius of his operation, he quickly grasped the benefits of growing canola oilseed to produce his own fuel and using the by-product for cattle feed.

“Farmers can do this themselves,” says Rainville. “Years ago, farmers used ten percent of their land to fuel the farm — the feed went to the horses. This is the same idea.”

Clean Energy Farming is the latest of a series of publications that feature the most creative research funded by SARE. Preview or download the entire publication at http://www.sare.org/publications/energy.htm. To order print copies, visit www.sare.org/Webstore, call 301/504-5411 or email tech@sare.org. Agricultural educators may place orders for print copies in quantity at no cost.

Distributed by SARE Outreach for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), 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 www.sare.org.

Outstanding Youth/Uncommon Wisdom: Youth Renewing the Countryside

Beltsville, MD – Down a winding country road in Garnett, Kansas stands the Bauman farm, where agriculture is a family affair. Upon purchasing the farm in 2001, the family’s first farm venture was to raise pastured chickens and livestock.  Today, the Baumans sell about 7,000 broiler chickens each year and an average 350 dozen eggs a week.

With the help of a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, the Baumans experimented with pasturing different species of animals in the same area. With the “pasture stacking” project, the family increased their broiler chickens’ average weight by 50 percent.

Rosanna, the eldest of the Bauman girls, explains that the weight increase was due in part to the addition of a new water system. “The project had a positive social impact on us kids,” explains Rosanna. “It has led each of us to take steps towards farming sustainably.”

Rosanna is just one of dozens of young people returning to the roots of American agriculture who are featured in a new book—Youth Renewing the Countryside. Produced by Renewing the Countryside in partnership with young writers and photographers across the country and with support from SARE and the Center for Rural Strategies, Youth Renewing the Countryside shares remarkable stories of young people in each state changing the world through rural renewal.

Download Youth Renewing the Countryside for free at www.sare.org/publications/youth.htm. To order print copies ($24.95 plus $5.95 s/h) visit www.sare.org/WebStore, 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.

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 www.sare.org.

Renewing the Countryside works to strengthen rural areas by sharing information on sustainable development, providing practical assistance and networking opportunities, and fostering connections between urban and rural areas. For more information visit www.renewingthecountryside.org.

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