Extension Ag Update
July/August 2007
Articles Research Resources Internet Links Ag Facts Education

Internet Links

Optimum Crop Productivity Ratings for Illinois Soils Bulletin 811

This important bulletin listing the crop productivity ratings for soils of Illinois has recently been updated. 

Environmental Credit Trading: Can Farming Benefit?

Environmental credit trading is a market-based approach to complying with regulations with the potential to achieve pollution abatement goals at least cost to society. Agriculture can contribute to credit trading programs by generating pollution-reduction credits through the adoption of environmentally preferred practices and selling the credits to regulated firms.

Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market

This article examines the possible market impacts of the ongoing expansion of the U.S. ethanol sector. To meet the sector’s growing demand for corn, some U.S. corn is likely to be diverted from exports and feed. In the future, corn may cease to be the main feedstock for U.S. ethanol production if cellulosic biomass is successfully developed as an alternative.

Increase Energy Efficiency, Decrease Carbon Footprint

The University of Illinois Energy Club has released a new publication designed to help the everyday citizen improve his/her energy efficiency and reduce his/her carbon footprint through everyday choices.

Farmer's Guide to Agriculture and Water Quality Web Site

Many agricultural producers may not appreciate how their actions affect water quality, nor are they fully aware of what environmental requirements apply to them, what actions they can take to meet those requirements, and what incentive programs are available to them. North Carolina State University, in partnership with NC A&T State University, Cornell University, California Polytechnic University, Purdue University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US EPA, USDA-CSREES, and Ice. Nine Environmental Consulting, has developed an educational resource for agricultural producers and agricultural service professionals to help them:

This resource is presented in the form of a web site containing extensive information, as well as links to additional detailed information.  Printable fact sheets that summarize major points are available for use in other settings. The website material is national in scope. Much of the content is available in Spanish, as well as English. 
There are five major water quality focus areas:

  • Erosion and sediment control;
  • Nutrient management;
  • Pesticides;
  • Pathogens; and
  • Wetlands and riparian area protection.

The Earth Portal

The Earth Portal is a comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the environment. It is a means for the global scientific community to come together to produce the first free, expert-driven, massively scaleable information resource on the environment, and to engage civil society in a public dialogue on the role of environmental issues in human affairs. It contains no commercial advertising and reaches a large global audience.

America's Diverse Family Farms, 2007 Edition

American farms encompass a wide range of sizes, ownership structures, and business types, but most farms are still family farms. Family farms account for 98 percent of farms and 85 percent of production. Although most farms are small and own most of the farmland, production has shifted to very large farms. Farms with sales of $1 million or more make up less than two percent of all farms, but they account for 48 percent of farm product sales. Most of these million-dollar farms are family farms. Because small-farm households rely on off-farm work for most of their income, general economic policies, such as tax or economic development policy, can be as important to them as traditional farm policy.

"How to Go Organic" Web Site Launched

The Organic Trade Association has launched HowToGoOrganic.com. This web site is for producers and processors transitioning to organic. The web site is designed as a clearinghouse of North American resources for farmers and businesses interested in becoming organic or in creating new organic enterprises. The web site’s regional directories showcase transition resources unique to specific regions and states. Resource listings in the North American directory can be searched by topic and subtopic, by type of resource, or by state. The site also features profiles of farmers and businesses that have successfully become certified organic or that are working through the process.