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Archived Agriculture News Articles:

Ranchers, Conservancy to tackle habitat projects
Improving 200,000 acres of rangeland and 164 miles of perennial streams isn't an easy task, unless you have a small army of volunteers willing to help and a team of ranchers to make it happen.
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Camelina falling out of favor with Montana farmers
?Camelina, the biofuel that five years ago Gov. Brian Schweitzer called his new girlfriend, now struggles for a planting date with Montana farmers.
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Local Foods Commerce Day brings together producers, buyers in Missoula
A group of sustainable food proponents played matchmaker on Monday, hoping to make lasting connections between those interested in buying and those interested in selling sustainable products around Montana.
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Utah county would benefit from small-farms bill
Utah state Sen. Wayne Niederhauser's bill that would give a tax break to farmers who have between two and five acres in production in Salt Lake County is a measure that promotes self-sustainability and healthy eating.
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Blackfeet Members Speed Up Livestock Feed Growth
In a time of widespread financial hardship and soaring unemployment, two men on the Blackfeet Nation reservation have developed a growing business that goes against the grain.
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Montana ranch gets $25,000 sustainable practices grant
Bryan Ulring, a business management major from Montana State University, who now manages the J Bar L Ranch in southwestern Montana, uses rotational grazing, and manages the ranchland to protect key areas of wildlife habitat during breeding season, and the sustainable practices caught the attention and funding of the Montana Audubon and the Livingston-based Western Sustainability Exchange, who awarded the ranch a $25,000 TogetherGreen Innovation Grant.
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MSU, partners in six states consider converting invasive plants to fuel
Invasive plants make life tougher for farmers and ranchers who live in the six headwater states of the Missouri River Basin, so why not turn the plants into fuel and make some money at the same time?
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Going against the grain: Grass-fed beef a niche for Utah farmers
Armed with information from agribusiness whistle-blowers such as author Michael Pollan and the documentary "Food, Inc.," a sector of the American population is changing the way they eat.
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Urban farms sprouting on government land
Salt Lake County announced that it would turn 50 acres of government-owned land over to urban farmers, and the Utah county identified 29 other acres that would be made available for community gardens.
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Heralded Pact for Tribal Grass-fed Beef Ends
Indians and whites have been doing business together since the time of Columbus -- almost invariably to the Indians' detriment. But the announcement last year that the Northern Arapaho tribe had been tapped to supply organic grass-fed beef to Whole Foods Markets seemed like a win for all concerned: The tribe would make money off its land, the grocery chain would score points for environmental and social responsibility, and consumers would enjoy the health and culinary benefits of eating free-range beef with a Native American pedigree.
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USDA program supports farm pollution prevention
A sign-up for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) will be available from April 18 to May 16 to approximately 64,000 potentially eligible farms and ranches in 51 watersheds covering more than 23.7 million acres. CSP is a voluntary conservation program that supports ongoing stewardship of private, agricultural working lands and rewards those producers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations.
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Alternative cropping protects water quality
Although the addition of nutrients to soil helps to maximize crop production, fertilizer can leach nutrients, polluting the water supply. A recent study by researchers at the University of Minnesota shows alternative cropping practices may help to protect the environment by reducing high nitrate levels in surface water and groundwater caused by conventional fertilizer use. Over a three-year period in southwest Minnesota, researchers measured tile drainage and nitrate losses under cropping systems categorized as conventional (corn-soybean rotations with inorganic fertilizer application and pesticide usage) and alternative (organic management practices that incorporated rotation of a variety of crops including corn, soybean, oat, alfalfa, buckwheat and rye with nutrients supplied from legumes and either fresh or composted manure sources). The study found that alternative cropping systems reduced the amount of water lost in tile drainage by 41 percent compared to a conventional corn-soybean rotation. Alternative farming practices also reduced nitrate-nitrogen losses by between 59 percent and 62 percent in two out of three years.
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Internet resources to reduce farm energy use
Farmers and ranchers can now use a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website to estimate farm energy use for things such as irrigation and nitrogen. For example, farmers can use manure instead of petroleum-based fertilizers to reduce costs by $55 an acre. The site also provides a list of farm energy options, with links to resources. Also on the Internet, a National Center for Appropriate Technology database provides state-by-state information that includes resources for making farms (and homes) more energy efficient. The database includes technical information and links to stores that sell innovative energy options as well as links to state databases of initiatives and incentives for using energy efficient technology. At this site, one can also search by topic such as solar, wind or anaerobic digesters.
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U.S. Dept. of Agriculture proposes to expand agricultural conservation programs
For the 2007 Farm Bill, the USDA proposes to increase funding for regional water and wildlife habitat enhancement, expand incentives for conservation practices, discourage conversion of grasslands to crop production, and maintaining the Conservation Reserve Program that reduces soil erosion.
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