Fields Best Seeds inaugural Field Day on July 15th

Organic Spring Wheat Field Day – July 15th, 2015

Fields Best Seeds, serving farmers and markets with high value local seed and grain products, invites you to attend its inaugural organic grains field day in Caledonia, Boone County IL on July 15th, from 9:00 am until noon. This field day on the Beaver Creek West Farm of David Walkershowcases 44 acres of Orleans, Red Fife and Wilken spring wheat. Fields Best Seeds is regionally adapting these varieties to better serve Midwest farmers and their markets. Also on the farm this spring are 1.5 acres of red clover seed and 3 acres of diversified vegetable production.

Fields Best Seeds serves farmers the highest value and quality seed selections, matching production directly with what the market wants to buy. “We actively develop working relationships with grain product suppliers and new customers in local and regional markets. In addition, through the ‘rotation effect’”, continues Ron, “farmers earn a $50 per acre nitrogen credit toward their next corn crop.”

Fields Best Seeds partner Ron Doetch is nationally recognized as the founder and managing partner of Solutions in the Land (2010), a company designing whole-farm systems that provide societal benefits, restores the land, and makes money. Ron was raised on a working dairy farm in Northern Illinois and has worked in food systems his entire career with a bias toward organic, sustainable and restorative agriculture. His skill set includes whole systems integrated agriculture, crop production, and crop/food product marketing.

Fields Best Seeds partner John Steven Bianucci is Director of Impact at Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC, (2007) where he constantly researches and networks to maximize the social and environmental returns Iroquois Valley Farms generates. B Certified, this triple-bottom-line food and farmland company is committed to providing land access opportunities to family farmers,preserving farmland, facilitating organic land management practices, supporting local food markets, and creating values-based agriculture investment opportunities.

Fields Best Seeds inaugural field day will be held on Beaver Creek West, an organic farm forover 20 years, owned by David Walker. Please visit! Beaver Creek West is located at 365 Wyman School Rd. Caledonia, IL 61011

Directions to Beaver Creek West: If without access to Google Maps, please contact Ron or John Steven. Ron Doetch – 815-742-3450 John Steven Bianucci -847-401-6050


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California Department of Food and Agriculture is hiring


The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing three vacancies on the Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP)’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee. This subcommittee reviews and recommends fertilizer research and education proposals for funding and implementation to the department’s Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board.

The FREP funds and facilitates research to advance the environmentally safe use of fertilizing materials within the agricultural sector. The program serves growers, agricultural supply and service professionals, extension personnel, public agencies, consultants, and the public.

Applicants must demonstrate technical and scientific expertise in the fields of agronomy, soil science, plant physiology, production agriculture and environmental issues related to fertilizing materials use. This expertise can include, but is not limited to, issues related to nitrate in groundwater and greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertilizer use. The term of office for subcommittee members is three years. Members receive no compensation but are entitled to payment of necessary traveling expenses. The subcommittee and research program are funded entirely through mill assessments.

Individuals interested in being considered for appointment should send a resume to FREP staff at California Department of Food and Agriculture – FFLDRS Branch, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 or via email at The application deadline is July 31, 2015.

For further information on the Fertilizer Research and Education Program, please contact FREP staff at (916) 900-5022 or visit

Fertilizer Research and Education Program
Division of Inspection Services
California Department of Food and Agriculture
1220 N Street

Sacramento, CA 95814
HQ: (916) 900-5022
Fax: (916) 900-5349

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Ceres Trust Organic Research Initiative


The Ceres Trust launches the sixth year of their Organic Research Initiative (ORI) program to support research that helps the region contend with “the loss of our beneficial weather patterns, severe degradation and loss of our soils, dwindling and contaminated water resources, widespread loss of pollinators, and the collapse of entire ecosystems.”

They fund organic projects that might show us a way forward by providing grants of up to $60,000 per year for up to three years in the region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin). Grants must be submitted on or before September 25, 2015.

For more information see the RFP

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National Wildlife Federation Cover Crop Team is hiring!

We’re looking for a knowledgeable and talented person to add to our cover crop team! Position is to be based in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.


Ryan Stockwell
Ph.D.Senior Agriculture Program Manager
Twitter: @rjstockwell

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Avian Influences: The Politics of the Mid-West Bird Flu Outbreak

Robert Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and social epidemiologist, and co-author of the groundbreaking Farming Human Pathogens (2009). In a recent blog post he addresses the recent – and ongoing – outbreak of avian influenza in the US. In this short essay he dissects the public discussion and institutional response to the outbreak, and lays bare the economic and ecological issues surrounding them. Wallace doesn’t pull any punches, so consider yourself warned – he makes a very compelling case that industry and government are both responding in ways that serves industry first, and the public not at all.

Originally posted June 10, 2015 on Farming Pathogens:

Made in Minnesota

Industrial turkey and chicken in Minnesota, and other states Midwest and South, have been hit by a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza A (H5N2). Millions of birds have been killed by the virus or culled in an effort to control the outbreak.

The epizootic began with a soft opening, hitting a handful of backyard farms and wild birds in December in Washington and Oregon before spreading east. Suddenly in early March, H5N2 wiped out 15,000 turkeys on an industrial farm in Pope County, Minnesota, the first of what would be nearly 9 million birds and counting killed or culled across 108 farms over 23 counties.

Go to original: Made in Minnesota

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Hey Students Abstracts are Due for the ASA,CSA, SSA Meeting

ASAGraduate students, abstracts are due for the trisociety meetings and there are MANY graduate student competitions that provide monetary awards.  For a list of these click here

Competitions include a poster session on Organic Management Systems, oral and poster sessions on Sensor Based Nutrient Management, and Evapotranspiration Measurement and Modeling,  poster sessions on Soil Health and Biomedical  and Health-Benificial & Nutritionally Enhanced Plants, oral and poster sessions on Pedology, a poster session on Soil Biology and Biochemistry, and much much more.

The following competition and travel award provide a nice example of how these efforts are organized to attract research to important areas.

SSSA Division – Soil Physics and Hydrology Soil Physics and Hydrology will hold its “Soil
Physics and Hydrology Student Competition: Lightning Orals with Poster Presentations” comprised of 3-minute talks plus 2 minutes questions to be linked with the Student Poster Competition. Combined lightning oral and poster presentations will be evaluated by judges selected by the Soil Physics Division Executive Committee. Guidelines for high-quality posters can be found on theabstract submission website.
Oral presentations are limited to two slides only. To be included in this competition, abstractsmust be submitted through the ACS website, selecting Soil Physics Division as the preferred division and noting that you wish to enter the paper in the student competition. The lead author on the abstract and presenting author must be a graduate or undergraduate student at the time of the annual meeting. The top 3 students will be
recognized with cash awards of $300, $200, and $100 each. The awardees will be recognized during the Soil Physics Business meeting and via
email to the Division, and in a short article to CSA News and posted on
SSSA Division – Soil Physics and Hydrology:
Robert Luxmoore Student Travel Award The Robert Luxmoore Student Travel Award is
designed to support travel of students to the Annual Meeting of the Soil Science Society of America. This award is supported by a generous bequest made by Robert Luxmoore to the Soil Physics Mentoring Fund, which has been established through the Agronomic Science Foundation and is administered by the Soil Science Society of America. Two $750 awards will be given to undergraduate or graduate students as travel support. Details on application procedures and deadlines can be found at:

Join today if you aren’t already a member of the Soil Science Society of America, Crops Science Society of America or Agronomy Society of America   You can join all three for just $35!

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Alex McBratney on Soil Security for this International Year of the Soils

AlexAlex McBratney holds BSc, PhD and DSc degrees in soil science from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and the DScAgr degree from the University of Sydney for research in precision agriculture. After completing his PhD work at Rothamsted Experimental Station in the UK, Alex spent seven years with CSIRO Division of Soils in Brisbane, Australia. Alex joined the University of Sydney in 1989. He is currently Pro-Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environment, Professor of Soil Science and Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences. He is Chief Editor of the global soil science journal, Geoderma. He is heavily involved with the activities of the International Union of Soil Sciences and the global digital soil map project, GlobalSoilMap. Alex has been major professor for 30 PhD students and published some 260 refereed scientific journal papers with an h-index of 49. In 2014 he was awarded the 2014 VV Dokuchaev medal in soil science from the International Union of Soil Sciences, which is the highest honor in the discipline of soil science and widely regarded as its ‘Nobel prize’. Currently he is helping to develop and promote the concept of Soil Security

Instructions to stream will be posted here and to facebook if we get that organized.

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What on Earth Day would we do without the Student Sustainability Committee?

For Earth Day on campus this yoliviaear lets thank our Student Sustainability Committee!  Last week they held a symposium in the Illini Ballroom to report on projects they have funded and it was really impressive.  Check out all their funded work here.  Featured projects included projects at Allerton, discussed by Derek Peterson. Then Jen Bechtel discussed the Sustainability Living-Learning Community, Mark Taylor spoke about the Solar Decathlon, and Jason Finkelman provided an overview of the upcoming “sonified sustainability festival”.  It should be great.  The video he showed of Ken Butler,  who uses recycled materials to make instruments, might have been the highlight for many but for me, the highlight was the presentation made by Olivia Webb, SSC food and waste sub-committee chair.  By sharing her personal experiences she inspired all who were there. The SSC has been transformative for the campus and the students who participate in the important work they do.  What on Earth Day would we do without them?

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Student Sustainability Committee Symposium

usgbcssc sympThe U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)/ and Student Sustainability Symposium is tomorrow, talks run from 12 (noon) – 1:30PM followed by posters

The Student Sustainability Committee will present their funded projects to the campus community tomorrow! This is an amazing group of students that deserve our recognition

  • Keynote panel led by Professor John Abelson of the Materials Science and Engineering department on the definition of sustainability and how it relates to various disciplines.
  • Workshop on divestment from Students for Environmental Concern’s Beyond Coal group
  • Presentation by representatives from Lend Lease


This event will also include a lunch for attendees to network with industry representatives, environmental RSOs, and professors, with the goal of bringing parties doing their part to further a sustainable future.

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National Wildlife Fund Seeks Agricultural Program Coordinator

nwfThe National Wildlife Federation is seeking an Agriculture Program Coordinator to join our staff in DC.  This is an entry level position that will provide administrative and programmatic support for all aspects NWF’s Agriculture Program work, which includes wildlife-friendly agriculture, bioenergy, cover crops, and grasslands.

Successful candidate will:

  • Take the lead in keeping our web page updated and in maintaining a blog on our work
  • Assist in research on agriculture and bioenergy issues, develop fact sheets, white papers, and other educational materials
  • Assist with media and communications, administer and moderate listservs, and participate in coalition meetings and activities.
  • Help to organize and plan meetings and events, including taking a leading role in organizing the America’s Grasslands Conference, a 250 person biennial conference about the conservation of grassland ecosystems
  • Take a lead role in grant tracking and reporting, including helping to write grant reports and monitoring budgets.
  • Depending on interest, there will also likely be opportunities for the Coordinator to build out areas of work on cover crops, grasslands, bioenergy, agriculture conservation policy, or other related issues.


  • A four year degree in policy, natural resources, communications, or agriculture
  • At least one year professional experience in policy, communications, or natural resources and a basic understanding of U.S. Agriculture and interest in wildlife conservation and sustainable agriculture
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, research skills, ability to translate complex information into publicly accessible forms
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively in a team
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to be a self-starter

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, passionate about protecting wildlife for our children’s future.  NWF is an equal opportunity employer committed to workplace diversity.  MORE

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