Extension Ag Update
May/June 2003
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education


Publications Plus –University of Illinois Agricultural and Horticultural Publications

Call 1-800-345-6087 or order on the web www.PublicationsPlus.uiuc.edu. It’s a one-stop shop for a current catalog of research-based information (Mastercard and VISA accepted)

Pastures for Horses CD

A new CD-ROM, Pastures for Horses: A Guide to Rotational Grazing, C1387-CD is now available to help you understand the best way to manage your pasture for your horses. This information-packed CD-ROM, features unbelievably easy navigation tools that will guide you through every phase of pasture development and management.

Learn how rotational grazing can:

  • save you money and time by dramatically increasing forage amounts and improving forage quality—even in small areas .
  • reduce negative environmental impact for animals and humans by reducing erosion and runoff.
  • raise healthier horses in a natural setting that encourages exercise and lowers the risk of health problems.

Features include:

  • Excel worksheets that calculate pasture acreage, convert metric measurements to English, and more Illinois-specific recommendations for successful, cost-effective pasture establishment and maintenance.
  • A weed management section that includes a weed ID key with a handy guide to poisonous plants and a discussion of chemical-free management options.

This CD is a joint project of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota Extension. To order, call 1-800-345-6087. Pastures for Horses, C1387-CD sells for $58.00, plus shipping.

Climate change and its effect on water quality and soil resources


The Soil and Water Conservation Society has reviewed the literature and with an expert panel produced a report that connects climate change as a possible cause for set backs in progress, effecting water quality and preservation of soil resources. The report also gives suggestions of what needs to happen to circumvent these set backs. Suggestions include a new way for conservation planning and highlights areas where more information is needed.

The Field Crop Scouting Manual

Look here for economic thresholds, scouting hints and identification information on the major corn, soybean and small grain pest in Illinois. (214 pages for $40 with the CD-ROM or only the CD-ROM is $10). To order call the ITCS Publications office at (800) 345-6087

Forage Legumes-Clovers, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Cicer Milkvetch, Crownvetch, and Alfalfa, Station Bulletin 608-2003

This publication covers origination, use, management, comparable yields, adaptation, identifying characteristics, etc. (p.47) Univ. of Minnesota Publications at (800) 876-8636 or at http://www.extension.umn.edu/catalog/item.html?item=5963

Biobased Products and Bioenergy Coordination Council (BBCC)


This new Council is to provide a forum through which USDA agencies will coordinate, facilitate and promote research, development, transfer of technology, commercialization, and marketing of biobased products and Bioenergy using renewable domestic agricultural and forestry materials. This includes a broad range of nonfood and nonfeed products, such as chemicals, fibers, construction materials, lubricants, and fuels. Development and commercialization of such biobased and Bioenergy products provide new and expanded markets for agricultural feedstocks, accelerate market penetration, reduce U.S. dependence on petroleum and other imports of critical materials, and diversify agriculture while fostering rural and sustainable development.

Biobased Fuels, Power, and Products State Profiles for 2002


Fact sheets for each state include estimated installed power capacity, biofuels production capacity, incentives to increase the use of biomass and federally funded research. Biomass resource data are also available.

Exploring Sustainability in Agriculture


This publication provides a snapshot of different producers who apply sustainable principles on their farms and ranches. Ten farmers and ranchers from Montana to New Jersey describe how their farming systems evolved to meet their financial, ecological, and quality of life goals. The articles illustrate practices used on sustainable farms and a list of hints to help consumers make ecologically friendly choices when they buy food.

U.S. Organic Farming in 2000-2001: Adoption of Certified Systems


U.S. farmland managed under organic systems expanded rapidly throughout the 1990s, and that pace has continued as farmers strive to meet consumer demand in both local and national markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) implemented national organic standards on organic production and processing in October 2002, following more than a decade of development. The new uniform standards are expected to facilitate further growth in the organic farm sector. This report updates USDA estimates of land farmed with organic practices for 2000 and 2001, and provides new estimates on the number of certified organic operations in each State.

“Terrorism, Radicalism, and Populism in Agriculture”

Luther Tweeten, Ohio State University, Prof. Emeritus of Agricultural Trade and Policy
This book discusses the strengths and vulnerabilities of our agricultural systems to a terrorist attack. (p.176) To order contact Iowa State University Press at 800-862-6657 or http://store.yahoo.com/isupress/0813821584.html

Value-Added Development Grant Program

The 2002 Farm Bill authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to award $240,000,000 over the next six years ($40,000,000 per year) to producers or producer groups that engage in value-added ag operations. The Value-Added Development Grant (VADG) program offers two types of grants:

PLANNING: Grants will be awarded to proposals requesting funds for organizational activities – feasibility studies, business plans, marketing plans, legal expenses, and other expenses associated with beginning a VADG business.

WORKING CAPITAL: To be eligible for a working capital grant, a feasibility study and a business plan MUST be completed prior to requesting funds. USDA will want a copy of both before a working capital award is given. Working Capital funds cannot be used for “brick and mortar” or for equipment.

The maximum dollar amount for one of these VADG awards is $500,000. A dollar-for-dollar match is required. Match funds can either be in cash or in-kind – the more cash, the better. None of the match can come from other federal dollars.

Producer Categories
Producers must fall into one of these categories to be eligible for funds:

  • Individual Producer or a producer group (groups must be 100 percent producer owned)
  • Farmer/Rancher Cooperatives
  • Agriculture Producer Groups (Trade Association or commodity group as examples)
  • Majority-Controlled Producer Based Business Ventures (producers must own 51 percent or more of this type of business)

The VADG program will fund only those proposals that include development of an EMERGING MARKET. The program will not fund proposals that concentrate on expanding an existing market. It is critical that anyone submitting a proposal clearly identify an emerging market!

Eligible Activities
Value-Added Eligibility is another critical element in developing a proposal. According to USDA, four distinct activities are considered to be value-added – and all activities must fall within one or more of these four activities (we quote USDA):

  • A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour). The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as demonstrated through a business plan (such as organically produced products).
  • The physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product (such as an identity preserved marketing system).
  • The term value-added also includes using any agricultural product or commodity to produce renewable energy on a farm or ranch (example is collecting and converting methane from animal waste to energy).

Deb Yocum of USDA Rural Development in Beatrice, Nebraska provided the Center with copies of a handout with more details about the VADG program. Contact the Center if you would like a copy of the handout.

Contact: Mike Heavrin, mikeh@cfra.org or 402.846.5428, ext. 15 for more information or help in applying for the VADG program.