Organic Chair created at Wisconsin

A $2 million endowed chair for organic agriculture is being established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The funding comes from a $500,000 gift from Organic Valley, a $500,000 gift from Clif Bar & Company with matching funds from U.W. Madison alumni John and Tashia Morgridge.   The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) chair will… Read more »

Farmers take to the water

Farmers are setting sail on Lake Erie to learn about environmental challenges. For the last few years, Amy Gilhouse, conservation district technician in the Western Lake Erie Basin, has been organizing the From Fields to the Great Lakes programs to take farmers onto Lake Erie and educate about agriculture’s role in the basin. Gilhouse says… Read more »

USDA incorporates climate change policies

USDA plans to integrate climate change adaption into its policies and programs.  In a news release, the agency said existing programs and services will reflect efforts to understand and mitigate climate change impacts. It says updates to policies will integrate climate change adaption practices, analyze and measure climate change affects and manage challenges long-term.  This… Read more »

Cooling the Hot Spots

Preliminary work is underway for new resources helping farmers improve water quality. Monica Day, Water Resource Educator for Michigan State University Extension, says the Cooling the Hot Spots grant program will help farmers implement more conversation practices in the Western Lake Erie Basin.  She says the grant is specifically targeted toward farmers in the River… Read more »

Stewardship bill approved

State Legislature

Michigan’s environmental stewardship program will continue through at least 2021. The Michigan legislature approved changes to Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act which funds the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program through fertilizer fees. Matt Smego with Michigan Farm Bureau says updates can potentially add $1 million in funding to support expanded development. “Because the focus… Read more »

GMA says Vermont labeling law cost-prohibitive

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) says the cost of complying with Vermont’s new GMO food labeling law could be more than food companies make on a product.  GMA has filed suit against the Vermont law.  In a letter to Governor Peter Shumlin, the association charges the state has repeatedly failed to respond to numerous efforts… Read more »

Township moves to block large dairy

Officials of a township in Central Wisconsin are trying again to halt construction of a large dairy farm.  The Wysocki Family wants to build Golden Sands Dairy; a 5,300-animal dairy farm on 7,000 acres in the Town of Saratoga in south Wood County.  When they applied for the building permits, Township officials placed a moratorium… Read more »

Phosphorus reduction pledge made in WLEB

Leaders in the Great Lakes have agreed to significantly reduce phosphorus levels in the Western Lake Erie Basin.  The agreement includes Michigan, Ohio and Ontario making a unified effort to reduce phosphorus by 40 percent by 2025.  The phosphorus reduction pledge was made during the Council of Great Lakes Governors meeting in Quebec.  Officials plan… Read more »

NCBA lawyer warns of WOTUS’ other consequences

  If Congress is unable to stop the EPA from implementing the recently-announced Waters of the U.S. rule, environmental activist groups could have a field day in the court system. So says Scott Yager, environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “I think one of the biggest issues that EPA is not really recognizing… Read more »

“Dead Zones” remain average

Research from the University of Michigan says the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico will remain average.  A dead zone is an oxygen-depleted region in a body of water caused by algae blooms.  In the Gulf of Mexico, the dead zone is predicted to be about the size of Connecticut. The U.S. National Oceanic… Read more »