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EnergyAg Newsbriefs

May 2012

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.


Idaho farm tops the charts for largest diary biodigester

"Idaho Dairymen Have Largest Digester in the County," published Friday, April 20, 2012, in Capital Press, explains the economics, operations, and successes of Lincoln County, Idaho’s Double A Dairy, home of what is purported to be the largest manure digester in the country. The facility processes a half million gallons of dairy waste effluent every day from 12,500 cows, and produces enough power to supply the equivalent of 3500 residential homes.

The effects of biofuel legislation on global carbon levels

"Indirect Land Use Impacts of Biofuels" is a discussion of the potential impacts of biofuel legislation on national and global land use, and of the net carbon gain or loss which may result. A variety of perspectives are provided, and links to further resources and information are included. This article was updated on the eXtension website on March 30, 2012.

Triple crop rotation for biofuel crop production

Field trials in St. Pierce, Florida, have revealed potential for the short rotational cropping of sunflowers, legumes, and canola. The triple rotation strategy helps reduce pests and diseases, as well as producing more biomass per area. To learn more, read "Intensive 3-crop Rotation May Boost Biofuel Economics," published April 6, 2012, on The Grower website.


OFRF Request for Research Proposals

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is pleased to announce that funding is available to fund research on any agricultural production, social, economic, or policy-related topic of concern to organic farmers or ranchers. The majority of grants fund agricultural research in certified organic settings. Deadline for submissions is May 15, 2012.

USDA selects 10 projects for REAP

On March 30, 2012, Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 10 projects to receive funding for energy audits and renewable energy development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Among the recipients are Washington State University and the Oregon Department of Energy. For information, read the USDA press release.


Balancing heat and ventilation on pig farms

"Managing Swine Ventilation Controller Settings to Save Energy" is a fact sheet published by Iowa State University Extension in March 2012. This publication explains how to mitigate the heat loss from ventilation systems in swine barns, and describes how to set controllers to efficiently regulate both heaters and ventilation systems.


Bill exempts Washington biodigesters from sulfur regulations

On Friday, March 30, Christine Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5343, which exempts qualified biogas-fueled generators from meeting Clean Air Act requirements for sulfur emissions for five years. To learn more about the bill, read "Senate Passes Bill to Protect Anaerobic Digesters, Preserve Farms," published February 10, 2012, on the Senate Democrats Blog.

Perspectives on the 2012 Farm Bill

Congressional debate regarding the 2012 Farm Bill has continued unabated, and cuts to longstanding programs are looming as the numbers are crunched. Amidst the talk of cuts, some are urging legislators to consider the long term impacts of farm legislation. "Beyond the 2012 Farm Bill: In It for the Long Haul," published March 30, 2012 on The Hill’s Congress Blog, shares the viewpoint of AGree, an initiative to tackle long-term agricultural, food, and rural policy issues.

"Critical Homegrown Energy Programs At Risk in 2012 Farm Bill," published April 11, 2012, on the Institute for Trade and Agricultural Policy (IATP) website, describes a campaign in defense of at-risk Farm Bill programs designed to help American farmers produce, conserve, and save energy. A broad constituency in Minnesota and nationwide sent 123 letters to Congress in defense of the programs. The article includes links to the signed letters.

"Congress Begins Uphill Battle to Pass Farm Bill," published April 20, 2012, by the Associated Press, provides an overview of Farm Bill negotiations in Congress, with an emphasis on the budgetary issues under consideration.


Farmers share their energy strategies on video

The Iowa Farm Energy Working Group recently produced three videos of Iowa farmers sharing first-hand ideas, tips, and knowledge for farm energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy. The videos are available on the group’s YouTube Channel, or read about the production in "Videos Demonstrate How Farmers Reduce Fossil Fuel Use," published March 30, 2012, on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture website.

Regional Food Hub Resource Guide

The Regional Food Hub Resource Guide, published in April 2012 by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, is an 84-page comprehensive guide designed to help farmers tap into local and regional food networks. Included is an explanation of the food hub concept, a discussion of its economic, social, and environmental impacts, and a list and description of funding sources. Appendices contain a map of regional food hubs, a map of wholesale markets, and descriptions of functioning regional food networks.

High tunnel rainwater catchment fact sheet

A seven-page fact sheet from the Leopold Center, Rainwater Catchment from a High Tunnel for Irrigation Use, was published in January 2012. It describes a system to catch, store, and reuse rainwater for irrigation in high tunnels.


Low- and no-till row cropping

"Row Crop Conservation Practices Save Money," released April 10, 2012, on the eXtension website, briefly describes the practices of no-till, low-till, and strip-till farming in row crops such as corn and soybeans. The author explains how these tillage reduction methods can reduce energy consumption, improve soil quality, and reduce nutrient applications. 

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