Bookmark and Share

EnergyAg Newsbriefs

October 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.

Note: Due to the government shutdown, links to federal government sites may not be working.


Wine Science Center breaks ground

The Wine Science Center at Washington State University broke ground on September 26, 2013, with Governor Jay Inslee present. The center is being designed to LEED certified standards, and will house research and activities specific to wine grape growing, wine production, and the promotion of a healthy and productive wine industry in Washington State. To learn more, see WSU’s Voice of the Vine, or visit the Campaign for Wine web page.

Submit now to present at Harvesting Clean Energy 2014

Harvesting Clean Energy, a project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), has put out a general call for presentations for the 2014 Harvesting Clean Energy conference, to be held February 4-6 in Helena, Montana. The conference will bring together farmers, foresters, energy experts, and other interested parties in order to advance rural economic development through clean energy.


Grains & Oilseeds website

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension recently launched a new website, Cooperative Extension: Grains & Oilseeds, with information on growing small grains and oilseeds for food use, animal feed, and energy feedstock. The new site contains the monthly Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter; a fact sheet and video section; and links to further resources. Although oriented toward Maine growers, much of the information on the site could be applicable to other regions.

Ethanol in antique tractors

A webinar archive, Ethanol Use in Antique Tractors and Other Legacy Engines, is available for viewing on the website. The webinar took place on August 30, 2013; it examines the interaction of ethanol fuel with older engines. The operation, care, and maintenance of the older engine are addressed in relation to fuel choice.

Oilseed conference 2014: Sponsorships still available

The 2014 Oilseed and Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference will take place January 20-22, 2014, in Kennewick, Washington. Topics will cover all areas of oilseed production, direct seeding management practices, and crop rotation with cereal grains. The conference is presented by the Biofuels Cropping Systems Research and Extension project at Washington State University, and the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association. Conference sponsorships are still available; scroll down for details.


Payoffs from soil carbon management

When Managing for Soil Carbon Really Pays,” by Chad Kruger, was posted to the WSU Organics blog on September 27, 2013. It contains case examples of effective soil carbon management strategies gathered by researchers at WSU Cook Agronomy Farm in Whitman County, Washington. In particular, it documents how no-till practices can increase soil water recharge and improve the retention of soil nutrients in dryland soil.

Prairie strips between row crops

The Cost of Prairie Conservation Strips” is a two-page fact sheet published in August 2013 by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. It calculates the cost of establishing strips of prairie between row crops, and suggests that the strategy is a cost-effective and low-input conservation practice for Midwest farmers. The research found that converting just one-tenth of a farm field to prairie strips resulted in an over 90 percent reduction in soil and nutrient runoff.


Food hubs expanding

According to results from a 2013 National Food Hub Survey conducted by Michigan State University researchers, food hubs are a viable and expanding option for consumers throughout the United States who are interested in obtaining locally sourced food. The survey found that many or most food hubs are financially viable, contributing significantly to the growth of their local economies, creating jobs, supporting regional producers, and contributing to food access. To learn more, see “Food Hubs Seen as Profitable Businesses, National Survey Shows,” published September 17, 2013, at CRFS News.


Emerging Research grants: Deadline approaching

Applications for the Emerging Research Issues for Washington Agriculture FY-2014 Internal Competitive Grant Program are due by October 21, 2013. The grant program is administrated by the WSU Agricultural Research Center, and provides seed money for selected projects that address an emerging regional or national issue faced by the agricultural sector in Washington State. Greater consideration will be given to issues which further the research goals of WSU, are not currently being addressed, or are under-invested.

Conservation Innovation grants awarded by USDA

On September 10, 2013, the USDA announced $13.3 million in funding for projects which accelerate the conservation of private lands. 33 winning projects were selected which demonstrate innovative approaches to improve soil health, conserve energy, manage nutrients, and enhance wildlife in balance with productive agricultural systems. To learn more, read the USDA press release, or see the list of projects.

REAP funds announced

On September 25, 2013, Tom Vilsack announced funding for projects in 22 states under the USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. Grant money will help farmers and rural businesses reduce their energy consumption and/or adopt renewable energy technologies. To learn more and access the full list of funded projects, see the USDA press release.


Inland Northwest Small Farms Conference
October 19, 2013, Spokane, Washington

Join us October 19, 2013 at the Spokane Falls Community College for the 3rd Annual Inland Northwest Small Farms Conference: Country Living with Purpose & Profitability. There will be three seminar tracts with seminars like Farm Design, Adding Critters to the Farm, Where and How to Sell, and Bad Dirt, Good Dirt, Better Dirt. There will also be a variety of vendors, and vendor bingo with prizes.

Tilth Producers of Washington Annual Conference
November 8, 2013, Yakima, Washington

This action-packed event is Washington’s largest gathering of the sustainable agriculture industry, with more than 400 growers, businesses, researchers, students and advocates in attendance. We’re proud to bring you this year’s conference: Nourishing the Future: Cultivating our Farming Legacy.

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