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October No. 4

Sheep Efficient at Vegetation Management in Poplar Plantation

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Cooperation between hybrid-poplar tree farmers and sheep growers, can be beneficial for both parties according to results from a recent Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant that GreenWood Resources received through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Richard Shuren, resource manager for GreenWood Resources in Clatskanie, was looking for a better way to control competing weed vegetation in the Columbia Tree Farm's 5,994 acres of hybrid poplars when he applied for the grant. To help with the study he went to Mac Stewart, a fourth generation Clatskanie farmer who was developing a program to raise commercial sheep and purebred Lincolns and North Country Cheviots o­n forage alone. To share the details and early results of their study, the two men hosted a field day August 24. 

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Group Promotes Alternative Crops for Profit and Water Quality

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The Greater Blue Earth River Watershed in south central Minnesota contains 2.2 million acres of highly productive farmland dominated by a corn/ soybean rotation and a strong, predominantly swine, livestock industry. Several aspects of the current corn/ soybean cropping system are not sustainable. Despite efforts to implement best management practices, soil and water quality continue to deteriorate and rural farming communities struggle to stay viable. Greater crop diversity is desperately needed, not o­nly for the environment, but also to diversify farm economics and provide more value-added opportunities.

In 2003 the Blue Earth River Basin Initiative [BERBI] received funding to provide an incentive to agricultural producers to grow something other than corn or soybeans. Through implementation and demonstration, this project is designed to build toward a more sustainable system by providing transitional and risk incentives for establishing greater crop diversity which will increase land stewardship, reduce environmental impacts, and accelerate economic opportunity within rural Minnesota.

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First AFTA President Recalls Highlights of Our 15th Anniversary

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Recognition of temperate-zone agroforestry as a separate discipline for teaching and research started to grow in the 1980's. The first North American Agroforestry Conference in 1989 eventually lead to the formation of AFTA. The following history is adapted from a presentation by Mike Gold to the AFTA Annual Meeting, June 28, 2004 - Editor.

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Woodlot Program Reaches Out to Alberta Landowners

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Many Alberta landowners and farmers have traditionally done some agroforestry and forestry practices. This will include woodlot management, shelterbelts and windbreaks, and fast growing plantations .

The Woodlot Extension Program for Alberta defines woodlots as a tract of land of any size and shape that contain areas of trees either naturally occurring or planted. Woodlots play a very important role in the Alberta agricultural landscape of which they are an integral part.

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