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Workshop kicks off sustainable agriculture project

December 13, 2007

Sustainable Agriculture 101, a workshop taking place in January, will give faculty members at UW-River Falls an opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture and how to incorporate it into course content.

UWRF was awarded a grant for a project in sustainable agriculture, and the workshop serves as the start of the project.

“It’s the kick-off event for the grant,” Outreach Coordinator Juliet Tomkins said.

The workshop, as well as the sustainable agriculture project, is done in connection with Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).

The main purpose of Sustainable Agriculture 101 is primarily to provide training for faculty in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) on current trends and production techniques in sustainable agriculture, Michael Crotser, project director, said.

On the agenda for the first day is a keynote speaker, Jerry DeWitt, an executive director for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. He will be speaking on “Sustainable Agriculture: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

Deborah Allan, from the University of Minnesota, will speak on healthy soil characteristics. She will specifically be discussing management practices to help keep long-term soil health, and she will give an overview on how the current practices effect soil quality and sustainability. Jerry Nolte, who retired from UWRF, will give a slideshow on projects in Paraguay, Ethiopia and Nicaragua that he was involved in.

At the end of the first day, Gregg Hadley will speak on the “Economic Analysis of Grazing and Conventional Dairy and Beef Production.” His presentation will compare the economic advantages and disadvantages of dairy and beef operations with the use of conventional production systems.

The second day of the workshop includes “Rotational Grazing in Beef and Dairy Operations” by Dennis Cosgrove of the plant and earth science department at UWRF and “Alternative Structures for Raising Hogs” by Gary Onan of the animal and food science department.

There will also be a presentation on “Comparison of Long Term Agronomic Rotation Systems” by Bill Stangel, who is an assistant superintendent at Arlington Agricultural Research Station.

Jed Colquhoun, an assistant professor at UW-Madison will give a presentation on “Sustainable Vegetable Crop Production & Alternative Weed Control in Vegetables.”

The workshop is limited to about 40 people, and first priority is given to faculty members and county ag extension agents. If students would like to attend, they can contact Michael Crotser.

Students should not be discounted, he said.

“We welcome anyone coming,” Tomkins said.

For more information on the workshop, or to register by Jan. 15, contact Juliet Tomkins at juliet.tomkins@uwrf.edu.

The workshop will take place Jan. 22-23.