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Water in the News

June 12, 2014

USDA announces programs to conserve sensitive land and help beginning farmers
Farm & Ranch Guide

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may now sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The Secretary also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).

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From agribusiness to subsistence: high-tech tools now available to all
The Guardian

Precision agriculture is closely associated with technology and its application to large-scale farms in developed countries. GPS-equipped sensors on tractors, for example, enable farmers to measure and respond to soil variability across vast tracts of land, and dispense the right amounts of fertilizer and water exactly where it’s needed. For many years, this was widely seen as irrelevant to small-scale farmers. But there’s a growing body of research now to support the idea that small-scale farmers can benefit from precision agriculture.

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Food companies and farmers collaborate on sustainable agriculture
The Associated Press via ABC News

U.S. companies relying on farmers for the raw materials in their products must take a more active role in ensuring the crops are grown in a way that minimizes damage to water, soil, and environment, a report released June 11 said. Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit network of investors, companies and public interest groups, focused in its report on climate change’s effect on corn production. It said farmers and the companies they supply must deal with drought and other weather extremes, an increase in groundwater depleting irrigation and more fertilizer use.

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Cover crops benefit farmers and wildlife
Agri-View

Ryan Stockwell knows farmers can benefit from cover crops, just as wildlife will. Farm-reared in northcentral Wisconsin, he is senior agriculture program manager for the National Wildlife Federation. Stockwell does outreach and policy analysis on agricultural legislation, most notably the Farm Bill, and other federal legislation impacting wildlife, natural resources and agriculture.

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Study: Water-saving techniques should be taught to farmers
The Modesto Bee

Farmers need to be more water efficient, and government funds should be used to help train them how, according to a new study. If California approves a water bond, the study’s authors want part of it to pay for “farmer outreach, education and assistance programs for on-farm water-use best management practices.”

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