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SG-W:/ Working with farmers


I've been wondering for a while how we might convey the potential for 
farmland to benefit us in more ways than just supplying food. Hemp for 
paper and textiles or biomass for fuel, for example. My thinking, in 
part, is that making use of land already cleared for these purposes is 
better than clearing forests and destroying wildlife habitat for lumber, 
paper, etc. Short of that, here's an article on how farmers can at least 
improve their land's impact on the broader environment.

Anyone interested in discussing how farmers and enviros can work together 
to accomplish this, as well as to make farming more profitable and 
valuable to our community in other ways? Maybe we can demonstrate how 
truly valuable agricultural lands *can be*, so we'll all have a greater 
incentive to prevent them from being paved over.



NEW YORK, New York, April 25, 2000 (ENS) - "Soil Sense: How Farmers Can 
Profit And Help To Control Global Warming," is a new brochure that shows 
farmers how they can grow crops in ways that keep more carbon in the soil 
not allowing it to escape into the atmosphere. Emissions of the 
greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (C02) from industry and automobiles 
contribute to global warming. There are also many ways for farmers to 
manage their fields and livestock that can improve their wallets and keep 
the planet cooler. The brochure was released today by the U.S.  
Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the 
National Agroforestry Center, the Soil and Water Conservation Society and 
Environmental Defense. 

"These practices are a win-win option," said Dr. Janine Bloomfield, an 
Environmental Defense scientist. "These strategies make economic and 
ecological sense for farmers. Investing in climate change control can 
have financial benefits for US agriculture, and long-term benefits for 
people and the planet." The brochure spotlights practices such as 
conservation or "no-till" cultivation systems that increase carbon 
storage in the soil, reduce the number of field operations, thereby 
saving energy, money, and time, and can increase productivity, and reduce 
soil erosion. Better management of nitrogen fertilizers means that less 
greenhouse gases will become trapped in the atmosphere and fields lose 
fewer  nutrients to ground and surface waters. Farmers save money on 
fertilizer costs and protect water quality. In large livestock 
operations, recovery systems for liquid manure reduce emissions of the 
greenhouse gas methane, improve water quality, and can be a source of 
energy - biogas. The brochure is available on-line at 

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