AIC Notes TopIssue 2011-33       September 22, 2011 
In This Issue
Farmers' Vew of Ag Careers Rosier Than Public's: FCC
Federal Government Funding for Bio-based Jet Fuel
New Breakthrough in War on Dandelions
Why Hairy Vetch Should Interest Farmers
Mint Crop Promising for P.E.I.
South Oxford Fuel Pellet Plant Opens Its Doors
Poultry Groups Pleased with Ongoing Support to Foster Agriculture Research
New Website Focuses on Value Chains
Canada Joins International Wheat Research Group
The Benefits of Biotech to Agriculture
Restoring Forests and Planting Trees on Farms Can Greatly Improve Food Security
Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada
Coming Events

Farmers' Vew of Ag Careers Rosier Than Public's: FCC


Canadian consumers are far less likely than producers to consider or encourage a career in agriculture, Canada's federal ag lender finds in a new survey.


Farm Credit Canada on Wednesday released results of a national survey of an "FCC Vision Panel" convened by polling firm Angus Reid in March. The survey, FCC said, paints a "challenging picture of the industry."


Canadian consumers who took the survey chose "weather-dependent," "struggling," "under-recognized," "underpaid" and "essential" when asked to choose the top five words from a list associated with the ag industry.


While producers in the survey sample chose "nearly identical" words, producer optimism "remains high," FCC said. About 80 per cent of producers would recommend a career in agriculture to a family member or friend, the survey found.


"Although farmers recognize the challenges inherent in the industry, they still would encourage others to get involved in it," FCC said.


Only 21 per cent of consumers, however, would consider a career in agriculture, and just 27 per cent of consumers would encourage someone else to pursue it, FCC said.


"It's obvious that both farmers and consumers recognize that there are challenges associated with agriculture," FCC CEO Greg Stewart said in the agency's release.


"It's surprising that the words chosen did not focus on opportunities. There are so many success stories in agriculture and related industries that counter this perception."




Staff and farmers FCC quoted Wednesday appeared to focus more on those opportunities.


"Although I didn't start my career in this industry, it wasn't hard to fall in love with it," Corinna Mitchell-Beaudin, FCC's vice-president of Prairie operations, said in the release.


"Agriculture is diverse, international and full of interesting challenges. You're constantly dealing with different issues such as commodity pricing, environmental practices, and international trade. The best part is the people. They have a passion, dedication and resilience that's unique to agriculture."


"I've seen agriculture evolve over the past 15 years I've been in it full-time," seed grower Calvin Watson of Avonlea, Sask., said. "I like that there are different challenges every year. Getting through tough times made us think outside the box. I think that education is also key to managing ups and downs."


"Agriculture is my future," said Jason Pinsonneault, a crop and vegetable producer at Dover Township, Ont. "You're always learning, and there are lots of resources out there to help. You're more of a businessperson than a farmer, I think. Agriculture is stable and rewarding, and the opportunities are endless."


"Right here in Canada, producers positively affect people on the other side of the world," Stewart said. "We hear that from customers every day. We need to share this information with consumers and young people who are making important career choices."


The FCC Vision Panel survey was conducted online March 8-10 among a sample of 2,015 Canadians who are Angus Reid Forum panel members, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 per cent on the full base, FCC said.


Country Guide, September 22, 2011


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Federal Government Funding for Bio-based Jet Fuel


Oilseed producers can look forward to tapping into a new emerging industry with a study that will assess the feasibility of producing renewable bio-based jet fuel. Saskatoon - Humboldt Member of Parliament Brad Trost announced today an investment of over $150,000 to determine the economic feasibility of developing this industry in Saskatchewan, as part of National Biotechnology Week celebrations.


"With major airlines aiming for the increased use of renewable fuels, it is important that farmers have the opportunity to be involved in meeting this demand," said MP Trost on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "This project will determine the potential benefit to producers and processors as well as Saskatchewan's economy, while helping to develop an emerging enviro-friendly industry."


The project, led by Saskatchewan-based Ag-West Bio Inc., will assess the feasibility of using dedicated industrial oilseed crops Camelina sativa and Brassica carinata to produce renewable jet fuel. The study will look at feedstock production, processing requirements and potential commercial partners, as well as logistics and infrastructure.


The bio-based jet fuel industry is a very specialized field and Ag-West Bio will use external service providers with expertise in each of the critical activities to interview industry experts and prospective customers, and review research information to complete the three components of the feasibility report.


"With the aviation industry committed to developing sustainable biofuels, there appears to be huge potential in this area, both for producers, and for the province as a whole in downstream processing," said Mike Cey, VP Corporate & Business Development for Ag-West Bio. "This study will allow us to make informed decisions in order to map out the best path forward in further developing this exciting opportunity in Saskatchewan."


Organized by BIOTECanada, National Biotechnology Week celebrates the work of biotechnology scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs across Canada.


This project is being funded under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Saskatchewan, CAAP is delivered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan (ACS). CAAP is a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.


AAFC Press Release, September 22, 2011


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New Breakthrough in War on Dandelions


Dandelions and Canada thistles should beware. There appears to be a new weapon in the war on dandelions and other related weeds thanks to researchers at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Saskatoon Research Centre.


Dr. Karen Bailey, a research scientist with the centre has spent several years studying Phoma macrostoma, a fungus, for use as a bioherbicide and the results are impressive.


Bailey says public pressure in Canada to eliminate the use of chemicals herbicides for cosmetic reasons, has led to the banning of these substances in many jurisdictions.


"We may not want the chemicals, but we also don't want to have the weeds," noted Bailey. "So that has really helped create an interest in developing things like bioherbicides, which are made from naturally occurring organisms."


Bailey's research began in the 1990's as residents began sending the Centre dandelions and Canada thistles that looked sick. As scientists looked at the plants they were eventually able to isolate the organism responsible - Phoma macrostoma.


The fungus disables the plant's ability to photosynthesize, which then leaves them without food. The plants turn white and then die.


In 2003, Bailey and her team partnered with The Scott's Company to develop the organism into a bioherbicide.


This past June regulatory approval was given to commercialize and sell it in Canada.


"It's called a non-food use. So it's for use on turf grass," Bailey explained. "Homeowners can use it. People in parks can use it. Golf courses can use it. Anywhere where we're applying turf we could put this on to control weeds in it."


There are two ways to apply Phoma - pre-emergent and post-emergent. A pre-emergent application will attack the seedlings before they can take root.


"To me that is probably the most innovative and interesting aspect to this organism. Because it means that if I can control my weed seed bank, I'm taking preventative action and I'm stopping those weeds from coming in and establishing in the first place," says Bailey.


A higher rate of application and a second treatment is needed to kill established weeds. After that a minimal application once every one or two years is all that is needed to maintain a weed-free lawn.


The next step is finding a toll manufacturing company that can take Bailey's fermentation methods to grow the fungus and develop them on a much larger scale.


So when could this product be available to consumers?


"It's probably two, maybe three, years away from being on a store shelf," Bailey predicted.


Meanwhile, Bailey is continuing her research into the feasibility of using Phoma in agricultural applications. The harsh conditions in agricultural situations compared to the relatively ideal conditions of turf could be more challenging.


An added bonus for agricultural applications is the lack of long term effects. One year from the time of application the organism is undetectable in soil samples. Meaning, a treated field could then be used for crop production the following year - even growing susceptible crops, such as lentils or canola.


"They emerge fine, they grow perfectly fine. There are no signs of the effects of it," says Bailey.


As well, the application only affects plants that come in direct contact with the bioherbicide. Plants like sunflowers growing beside a treated lawn, for example, are unharmed.


"It attacks the things that a lot of people want to get rid of!" says Bailey.


Currently, Bailey is helping to organize the 4th International Biofumigation and Biopesticide Symposium hosted by Ag-West Bio, which takes place October 18-21. Bailey will present her research, along with other international researchers who will be discussing topics like biologically-based pest control.


Canada thistles, dandelions and other prairie pests could find their days numbered thanks to researchers like Bailey.


Jennifer Jacoby-smith, StarPhoenix, September 17, 2011


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Why Hairy Vetch Should Interest Farmers


As PhD student Caroline Halde held up the thick mat of rotting vegetation, it was at first tough to fathom why this would be considered an exciting scientific find.


Halde is studying organic-no-till cropping systems at the University of Manitoba's Ian N. Morrison Research Farm near Carman. She's looking for ways in which farmers can pursue organic crop production without having to do so much tillage.


Long thought to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum, both conventional and organic systems offer benefits to farmers and the environment, but both are flawed. One depends on destructive tillage as the chief means of weed control. The other depends on herbicides, which face increased resistance in the weed populations.


Until recently, marrying the two seemed unlikely.


But then researchers started exploring the use of cover crops and mulches. Cover crops have traditionally been used by organic farmers to produce fertilizer. A legume crop, which produces its own nitrogen, such as clover, is planted in the field every second year or so and then worked into the soil, where it decomposes and feeds the following year's crop.


As it turns out, some of these cover crops, particularly a legume called hairy vetch, are also good at controlling weeds.


The viny, creeping plant with pretty purple flowers literally climbs the weeds, pulls them down and smothers them as it competes for sunlight.


It also produces a lot of nitrogen. All it needs is sun and soil.


Even if it is rolled and left on top of the soil, instead of being worked in with tillage, it forms a thick nutritious mulch into which an annual crop can be directly seeded.


Organic wheat sown into plots that grew hairy vetch the previous season is noticeably free of weeds in Halde's replicated trials.


Organic flax sown into hairy vetch mulch in 2009 yielded 33 bushels per acre. In 2010, it yielded 24 -- respectable yield's by any farmer's measure.


This work is in its infancy. But these strategies could provide a tool for conventional farmers, too. Even if there is only one year in a farmer's rotation that doesn't require herbicides or nitrogen inputs, this could be an important resistance-management tool, and a money saver. It's main drawback is that there is no annual crop produced in the year the field is producing green manure -- unless it is being grazed by livestock.


Farmers and researchers in other parts of the world are studying these techniques. Some see it as a way for farmers to be more competitive in export markets. Others see it as a way to achieve food security by making their home farmers more productive. Halde has been invited to speak about her work in Korea later this year.


Ohio State University has recently coined the acronym "ECO Farming" to highlight efforts to reduce tillage through the use of cover crops.


"ECO Farming stands for 'Eternal no-till, Continuous living cover, and Other best management practices,'" says Jim Hoorman, extension cover crops specialist said in a release.


"Continuous living cover means farmers try to keep a living crop on the soil 100 per cent of the time," Ray Archuleta of the Natural Resources Conservation Service said. "The goal is to protect the soil from soil erosion, increase water infiltration, and decrease nutrient runoff."


Examples include grain crops followed by cover crops, pasture or hay systems, or perennial plants.

Ohio No-till Council president Dave Brandt has been practicing the concept on his farm for 15 years and said he has reduced his fertilizer inputs by 50 to 70 per cent and herbicide costs by 50 per cent. He also has reduced his fuel consumption. In the process, he has added soil organic matter, which has improved soil health and increased crop yields.


"For 100 to 200 years, farmers have been tilling the soil and basically mining it of nutrients, destroying soil structure and losing 60 to 80 per cent of soil organic matter," Archuleta said.


"Now we can use advanced knowledge of soils, soil health and soil ecology to work with Mother Nature rather than against her."


Granted, a plant named hairy vetch doesn't have the wow factor of some of the test-tube technology in plant genetics hitting the market these days. It is unlikely to replace conventional systems in the near future.


But you would think, given their production costs, farmers here would be all over a strategy that offers them weed control and free fertilizer. So far, they seem remarkably disinterested.


Thankfully, a small corps of researchers are -- and they are preparing for the day when the rest of us might be, too.


Laura Rance, Winnipeg Free Press, September 17, 2011


Mint Crop Promising for P.E.I.


Trials for growing spearmint on P.E.I. for its bioactive compounds are showing promising results, say Agriculture Canada officials.


Federal researchers are working on the spearmint project with Ceapro. This Alberta-based biotechnology company has a lab at the National Research Council in Charlottetown and plans to expand to the Biocommons business park.


The company is interested in the bioactives contained in these plants, elements that have been shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.


"They want to find out if spearmint grows equally well across Canada, and if the level of bioactives are affected by the region in which it is grown," Agriculture Canada researcher David Main told CBC News Monday.


"In other words, are there more bioactives in P.E.I. versus, say, a site in Ontario."


Main said the results from the P.E.I. research station are promising.


"On average you get eight to 10 per cent bioactives," he said.


"We found on this site we got as high as 13 and a half per cent of the bioactives that they're looking for. So that's very encouraging."


Ceapro is looking at possibly using the bioactives from spearmint in products to improve human and animal health, but has not yet released any specific plans.


CBC News, September 20, 2011


South Oxford Fuel Pellet Plant Opens Its Doors


A new Ontario grown fuel source will soon be available at your local hardware when a new pellet mill comes on stream in October. And farmers will have a new source of revenue coming from their otherwise unused land.

Using any biomass feedstock, Canadian Biofuels at Springford will be turning out consumer sized bags of fuel pellets ready to be dropped into stoves, furnaces and boilers or larger brickettes for industrial application.

Last Saturday, (September 17), officials from all three levels of government and the bio-industry gathered at the south Oxford site of Canadian Biofuels for an open house program. About 300 well-wishers joined them and to look at the plant.

Canadian Biofuels C.E.O. Ian Moncrieff told AgriLink that the site is a former Cargill grain elevator and some parts of the existing infrastructure is being used for the processing, handling and storage of the pellets. It can turn out 1,500 tonnes of biomass fuel each month.

The $2 million plant's renovation was made possible through a $500,000 loan from the federal government's Sand Plains Community Development Fund. The fund targets community based initiatives that support regional development, attract and retain people and investment and stimulate business development and job creation. In the case of this region, this is to aid in the shift from the tobacco production, the region has been noted for in the past.

Currently, Canadian Biofuels is using sawdust and waste pallet wood for a feed stock but in the future, the main source is to be miscanthus grass, corn stover, grain straw and greenhouse waste. Moncrieff says area farmers will be encouraged to plant miscanthus grass on class three land that would not normally grow food crops. "Once the miscanthus is established, a grower can net $500 per acre for something that requires no inputs whatsoever," he says. The perennial grass is harvested in the winter after it has dried down. The grass is then further dried, ground up and put into a ring dye pellet mill that turns out the fuel pellets.

These fuel pellets are a low cost energy source with Moncrieff estimating that a homeowner would find them turning out the same amount of heat at half the cost of propane gas.

The industrial users Moncrieff is working with are Ontario Power Generation at both their Courtright and Nanticoke plants as well as the greenhouse industry. Because European consumers are very familiar with pellet fuel and they have very little wood resources there, he intends to develop an export trade, as well.


AgriLink, September 19, 2011


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Poultry Groups Pleased with Ongoing Support to Foster Agriculture Research


Canada's national poultry organizations welcome the strong commitment of the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to ensuring that there is a solid network of agriculture research infrastructure across the country. Announcements this week demonstrate the Canadian government's continued support for agriculture research.


As innovation is one of the keys to our success, Canada's poultry industry shares the government's commitment to research. Research allows our sectors to grow as we look for more and new ways to make our products even better and to respond to evolving consumer preferences.


In recognition of the importance of research, the five national poultry organizations established the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) in 2001, with a mandate to implement research that addresses current and future needs of the poultry sectors. To date, CPRC members have approved nearly $3.0 million in research funding through the CPRC.


"Canadian poultry and egg farmers have earned the trust of Canadians by continually committing to programs in research, food safety and animal care," said David Fuller, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, "We will continue to work closely with the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, CPRC and other stakeholders to ensure that we remain responsive to the needs of the industry, and innovative through our ongoing support of poultry research."


Through CPRC, we coordinate and enhance the poultry research effort in Canada, securing funding and establishing poultry research priorities. The government support for the poultry agri-science cluster under the Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program has allowed CPRC to focus a critical mass of scientific resources on the industry's priority issues. Bruce Roberts, CPRC's new Executive Director, says, "CPRC looks forward to working with AAFC to strengthen and deepen the poultry cluster."


"Research has always been a strong priority for poultry and egg producers," said Jack Greydanus, Chair of the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, "We have always been in favour of science-based approaches to improve our industries in a wide array of areas."


Canada's poultry farmers are supportive of new research and technologies that will bring further improvements to our production systems and, by extension, added value to the food chain and human health.


CPRC Press Release, September 16, 2011


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New Website Focuses on Value Chains


A new website recently launched by Alberta Agriculture provides producers with a database of over 300 resources from around the world to help develop a successful value chain.


Business development specialist Leona Reynolds-Zayak says the site contains a variety of case studies, successful pricing modules and consumer trends and tools all aimed at growing a profitable agricultural business.


Resources were collected worldwide on the basis of their applicability to Alberta producers and processors, according to Reynolds-Zayak. But the site isn't limited to Alberta users since the information can be adapted to operations across the country.


For example, Reynolds-Zayak describes one particular case study of a successful Maritimes value chain called Atlantic Tender Beef. The group developed a comprehensive production and branding program, opened a co-op processing plant, established strict quality and safety guidelines and identified marketing opportunities to increase sales of local beef.


So although the value chain partnership relates to a Maritime operation, the details describing how they overcame various challenges and developed successful strategies, along with valuable contacts, means the information can be adapted and used locally.


The website includes general information on value chains (including what it is and how to build one), consumer data, financial assistance, educational programs and financial management.


Livestock resources focus on consumer and industry marketing, companies in value chains and production protocols in addition to various Canadian and international case studies on value chains. Studies include a variety of operations, including beef, bison and pork.


Livestock sectors aren't limited to beef. Bison, elk, dairy, lamb and sheep, pork, poultry and eggs, and veal are also described.


Non-livestock sectors include fresh produce such as Ontario peaches and New Brunswick potatoes. Success stories for crops such as wheat, barley and canola are also profiled.


Check out the website.


D. Larraine Andrews, FCC Express, September 16, 2011

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Canada Joins International Wheat Research Group

Wheat researchers gathered in Paris Sept. 15 to launch a global research program in what G20 president France says will support efforts to feed a growing world population.


France hopes the initiative will select priority research areas by next year, but support for the initiative is uncertain, with only 10 countries signed up so far and the United States yet to join.


The 10 are France, Germany, Britain, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Hungary, Mexico and Turkey.
The International Research Initiative for Wheat Improvement (IRIWI) was among the measures adopted in June at a meeting of agriculture ministers from the Group of 20 major economies.


"We know that by 2050 we will need to raise wheat output by 70 per cent to meet people's needs. So there is an urgency to improve genetic progress," said Nicolas Trift, scientific advisor to French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire.

IRIWI will define public research priorities on wheat at global level to avoid duplication, although before that countries still need to agree on its organisation, including the designation of a chairman and scientific committee heads and the choice of a headquarters, Trift said.


"We hope that in 2012 we will be able to have a clear vision about what is important to select at global level, be it more resistant varieties, some with different nutritional qualities," he said.


About four times more money is invested in research in maize (corn) than in wheat, Trift said, adding that there was also little co-ordination between programmes around the world.


A levelling off in wheat yields has become an issue in major producers like the United States and the European Union.

Some crop seed companies have launched research into genetically modified wheat, which does not currently exist, in the wake of yield gains registered by GM corn in recent years.


Trift said GM varieties - which are highly controversial in Europe - would not be covered by IRIWI.


Alberta Farm Express, September 16, 2011


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The Benefits of Biotech to Agriculture


The biotech industry boosted farming across the globe to the tune of almost $65 billion during the period 1996 to 2009, according to the latest analysis published in the International Journal of Biotechnology. $65 billion is the increase in net farm income, the farm level benefit after paying for the seed and its biotech traits. The study's authors estimate that almost half of that was derived by farmers in the developing world.


Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot of PG Economics Ltd., in Dorchester, UK, have investigated the economic impact at the farm level of agricultural biotechnology, looking at yields, key costs of production, direct farm income, indirect (non-pecuniary) farm level income effects and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. Biotech has added 83 million and 130 million tonnes, respectively, to global production of soybeans and corn, they estimate. Net farm level economic benefits amounted to almost $11 billion in 2009 alone.


"Biotech, and specifically genetically modified (GM) crops has had a significant positive impact on farm income derived from a combination of enhanced productivity and efficiency gains," the team estimated. It has added 5.8% to the value of global production for the four main crops investigated, with cost savings being greatest for soy. In terms of the division between different parts of the world, the team reports that in 2009, 53.1% of the farm income benefits went to developing country farmers and the vast majority of those income gains were from GM insect-resistant cotton and GM herbicide-tolerant soybeans.


The team concedes that their estimate of benefits amounting to $65 billion is based on the assumption of average levels of weed and pest pressure. If the assumptions are varied to assume extremes of low weed and pest pressure in all years and high weed and pest pressure in all years, then then the farm level benefits from using biotech in agriculture during the period studied would fall within a range of about $58 billion to $73 billion.


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Inderscience Publishers, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Inderscience Publishers (2011, September 19). The benefits of biotech to agriculture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2011, from­ /releases/2011/09/110919131612.htm


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Restoring Forests and Planting Trees on Farms Can Greatly Improve Food Security


Restoring and preserving dryland forests and planting more trees to provide food, fodder and fertilizer on small farms are critical steps toward preventing the recurrence of the famine now threatening millions of people in the Horn of Africa, according to forestry experts from the CGIAR Consortium.


Across the Horn, drought-induced famine has claimed tens of thousands of lives and swelled refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere, with millions of starving people -- many of them children. Bearing the brunt of the crisis is Somalia, which not coincidentally is also a country that has lost a significant amount of its forests.


Experts say forest destruction and other forms of human-caused land degradation have done far more than the drought to turn vast areas of once grazeable and farmable land into a lunar-like landscape.

"Forests and trees frequently form the basis of livelihood diversification, risk-minimization and coping strategies, especially for the most vulnerable households such as those led by women," said Frances Seymour, director general of the CGIAR's Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).


"However, deforestation and land degradation have hindered capacities to cope with disasters and adapt to climate variability and change in the long-term."


New research by CIFOR carried out in 25 countries worldwide has shown that forests serve as a crucial defense against poverty, providing about a quarter of household income for the people living in or near them. Forests in perennially parched areas of the Horn are critical to retaining moisture and nutrients in the soil, while offering a bulwark against wind erosion. They also provide sources of food and fuel, particularly in tough times.


"There is a mistaken view that because these are dry areas, they are destined to provide little in the way of food and are simply destined to endure frequent famines," said Dennis Garrity, director general of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).


"But drylands can and do support significant crop and livestock production. In fact, the famine we are seeing today is mainly a product of neglect, not nature."


Forest and agroforestry experts say the famine should prompt significant new investments in proven approaches to reforestation and agroforestry that elsewhere in Africa are restoring forests as protectors of drylands and providing important sources of food and other valuable agriculture products.


For example, in Niger, a program launched in 1983 has transformed 5 million hectares of barren land into agroforests. ICRAF experts found that during the drought that hit the country in 2005, farmers who embraced agroforestry were able to sell trees for timber and use the money to buy food. They also were able to supplement their diets with fruits and edible leaves harvested from drought-resistant trees.


In Ethiopia, reforestation projects known as Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), implemented by the World Bank and World Vision, are restoring some 2,700 hectares of degraded land. The projects already are providing income-generating wood and tree products for local communities, improving pasture and achieving a drastic reduction in soil erosion.


Meanwhile, using trees in a wider variety of farm applications is rapidly making agroforestry a popular approach to improving food production in the drylands of Africa. So-called "fertilizer trees" that capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and deposit it into the soil are being used to restore degraded farmlands in Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Niger and Burkina Faso.


There are also a wide range of naturally growing trees suitable for livestock consumption that have long been used by livestock keepers in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the dry season when grass and crop residues are scarce.


"We need to pay far more attention to the role of forests and trees to serve both as protectors of productive farm lands and as ways to sustainably and substantially increase food security in the Horn," said Lloyd Le Page, CEO of the CGIAR Consortium, who sees the food crisis in the region as a call to action for agricultural innovation. He noted that the intensified focus on the link between forests and food security is part of a wider effort within the CGIAR to approach farms as agriculture ecosystems that depend upon and contribute to the health of broader landscapes.


Scientists are concerned that despite clear evidence of their benefits -- and of the disasters that occur in the wake of their loss -- dryland forest protection and restoration is receiving scant attention compared to humid forest preservation. They point out that this disparity is particularly evident within discussions of climate change adaptation and mitigation.


"It's ironic that dryland forests are not front and center in the climate change debate, because climate change is likely to bring more frequent and more severe droughts to dryland areas, and the adaptation challenge for affected communities will be great," Seymour said.


She also noted that protection of both dryland and humid forests can reduce the likelihood of future climate change-induced droughts through mitigation of forest-based greenhouse gas emissions. Humid forests in particular serve as vast "sinks" that absorb and store carbon and thus help slow the pace of climate change in the long term, but there are also many opportunities to maintain and enhance the amount of carbon stored in dryland landscapes.


Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) (2011, September 15). Restoring forests and planting trees on farms can greatly improve food security. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2011, from­ /releases/2011/09/110915102909.htm


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Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada  


The Council of Canadian Academies has released a new evidence-based assessment, the report of the Expert Panel on Approaches to Animal Health Risk Assessment - Healthy Animals, Healthy Canada


The Council of Canadian Academies is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that supports independent, science-based, expert assessments (studies) that inform public policy development in Canada. Assessments are conducted by independent, multidisciplinary panels of experts from across Canada and abroad.


The report represents the work of a 12-member panel of experts, chaired by Dr. Alastair Cribb, FCAHS, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary. The Panel's report is in response to a request from the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on behalf of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The charge given to the Expert Panel was to assess the state and comprehensiveness of risk assessment techniques in animal health sciences.


The full report is available for download, free of charge, in both official languages on the Council's website.

CCA Press Release, September 22, 2011

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Coming Events


Canadian Society of Soil Science and Soil Science Society of America joint conference, Fundamental for Life: Soil, Crop, & Environmental Sciences, San Antonio, Texas, October 16-20, 2011


Feeding a Hungry World: A Summit for Animal Agriculture, Ottawa, Ontario, October 17-18, 2011 


Catalyst Canada Honours Celebrating Champions of Women in Business, Toronto, Ontario, October 18, 2011


2011 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Acadian Entomological Society, Halifax, Nova Scotia, November 6-9, 2011  


Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, National Hemp Convention, Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 21-21, 2011 


Canadian Organic Science Conference, February 21-23, 2012, Winnipeg, Manitoba 


6th Annual Growing the Margins: Rural Green Energy Conference and Exhibition and 4th Annual Canadian Farm and Food Biogas Conference and Exhibition, London, Ontario, March 5-7, 2012



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