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EnergyAg Newsbriefs

June 2013

Welcome to this edition of EnergyAg Newsbriefs brought to you by the Washington State University Extension Energy Program Library. Please forward this issue to those of your colleagues interested in energy-efficient agricultural practices. Archives of past messages

While every URL in EnergyAg Newsbriefs is checked for accuracy prior to distribution, URLs may change, and servers may temporarily fail to connect to working URLs.


Advice for perennial grass feedstock test plots

" Test Plots Show How Perennial Grasses Can Be Grown for Biofuels " was updated May 17, 2013, at It provides information on setting up a test plot to demonstrate the cultivation of perennial grasses for biofuel feedstock. Advice for site selection, crop establishment, weed management, harvest, and project analysis is included, as are links to further resources.

Perennial grass feedstock learning modules

CenUSA has made available a series of learning modules to support the production and distribution of perennial grass biofuel. Although the program is designed for the Central U.S., it contains information which may be relevant to researchers, energy producers, and/or farmers from any region. Modules are available on feedstock production, development, conversion, and marketing. To learn more, see " Resources from CenUSA - Sustainable Production and Distribution of Bioenergy for the Central USA ," updated May 17, 2013, at

Agriculture and energy's changing relationship

"Agriculture's Supply and Demand for Energy and Energy Products" is a 35-page information bulletin released by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) in May 2013. It examines how the relationship between U.S. agriculture and energy sectors has transformed in response to increased demand for biofuel and bioenergy crops. A report summary is also available.


Dairy sustainability guide

In May 2013, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy released a draft version of " Stewardship and Sustainability Guide for U.S. Dairy: A Voluntary Framework for Tracking and Communicating Progress ." The framework is designed to help dairy producers and processors communicate about and effectively demonstrate progress towards sustainability goals. Stakeholders are encouraged to read the report and provide feedback.

U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report

The "2012 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Report" was published by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in May 2013. It reports on the progress of sustainability efforts led by the Center, and also assesses trends, attitudes, and progress towards sustainability in the U.S. dairy industry as a whole. An executive summary is also available.


Western SARE grant season is underway

Western SARE is currently accepting proposals for grants in five categories: Research & Education, Professional Development, Farmer/Rancher, Professional + Producer, and Graduate Student. Deadlines vary, with a pre-proposal deadline of June 2013 for Research & Education grants. Visit theSARE Types of Grants page for more information, or download the RFPs.


Data standardization for efficient irrigation with PAIL

The Precision Agriculture Irrigation Leadership (PAIL) Project is a collaborative effort recently launched by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEAA) and AgGateway. PAIL will develop a common set of data standards and formats to facilitate the sharing and utility of data which informs irrigation choices, thus enabling farmers to save both water and energy. To learn more, read the May 22, 2013, NEAA press release .

Efficient irrigation strategies

A Sustainable Agriculture Techniques series publication from Oregon State University Extension, " Strategies for Efficient Irrigation Water Use," was updated in March 2013. It provides a variety of strategies for reducing water use, such as the scheduling of irrigation based on field conditions, conservation tillage, and the adoption of efficient irrigation equipment. A list of helpful resources is also provided.


NAS perspectives on global agricultural health

A selection of freely accessible research papers, collectively named the Agricultural Innovation to Protect the Environment Special Feature, was published in the May 2013 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Each paper either describes an agricultural innovation which promotes environmentally and politically sound sustainable agriculture, or addresses global problems at the nexus of agriculture, societal and environmental health, and government policy.

Union of Concerned Scientists healthy farms vision

In May 2013, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a series of materials setting forth its vision for healthy farms. The Healthy Farm Vision website, which includes an interactive healthy farm graphic on the first page, and a link to a policy brief, describes the principals of an agricultural system which uses ecologically sound practices while maintaining productivity and economic viability.


Policies for healthy food in Washington State

In April 2013, the Washington State Department of Health published Growing Nourishing Food Systems: A Guide for Local Governments to Improve Healthy Eating in Washington State . This 68-page guide promotes policies that encourage the preservation and protection of agriculture in rural areas, ensure access to local food processing and storage facilities, increase access to healthy food, and reduce landfill waste.


Farm Walks with Tilth Producers
Selected Mondays, Spring/Summer 2013
A series of farm walks sponsored by Tilth Producers of Washington will take place throughout the Spring and Summer of 2013. Upcoming walks will visit Suyematsu-Bentryn Farms on Bainbridge Island and Lenwood Farms in Connell. Preregistration is encouraged; see website for details.

Webinar: Amending Soils in the Organic Dairy Pasture
Thursday, June 27, 2013, 11:00 AM PST
In organic dairy systems, the adage "it all starts with the soil" means that high forage intake and optimal milk production rely on maintaining good soil fertility. Investing in your soils can actually provide returns that continue to pay dividends long after the deposit is made into the proverbial soil bank account. In this webinar, Dr. Cindy Daley will describe a long-term soil remediation field trial designed at the University Farm in Chico, California, which studied the effects of a basic soil amendment program on forage quality and milk yield.

Want to Contribute? If you have information on events, publications, or other ag-related topics that you would like mentioned in an upcoming issue of EnergyAg Newsbriefs, please contact Talia Mathews at