Indice Rural Wed, 03 Aug 2022 18:10:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Indice Rural 32 32 Bangladeshi agriculture moving towards large-scale commercial farming: BIDS Seminar Wed, 03 Aug 2022 16:30:00 +0000

Bangladesh’s agriculture will increasingly be dominated by large-scale commercial farming as corporate interests dispossess the peasantry, says a paper presented Wednesday at a seminar organized by the Institute of Development Studies of Bangladesh (BIDS).

“It will continue to be a nation of small and small commodity producers, with some shifts from the motivation of subsistence towards increasing the net marketable surplus,” projects the article presented by Geof Wood, Emeritus Professor of International Development , Department of Social and Political Science, University of Bath.

Professor Geof sees the farm losing its prominence to services and other activities, which are also increasingly shifting from public to private.

MA Sattar Mandal, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Economics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh finds no problem with the changing trajectory of agriculture as he says a lot of positive things have already taken place in fish farming and agriculture. cattle breeding coming out of traditional agriculture. idea.

He asked whether the country should strive for food security or food self-sufficiency or a fusion of the two.

“The hypotheses put forward by Professor Geof Wood need to be tested,” he said.

Professor Hossain Zillur Rahman called for more research on the rural economy because many other things, such as power relations in rural areas, have completely changed over the years.

“Now people’s relationship with police stations at the upazila level plays an important role in the rural power structure,” he observed.

“And not necessarily, people who have land have to stay in villages. Many people who have land in villages live in urban areas, especially in the capital,” he added.

Other program participants attributed the value of intergenerational change to the changing situation of rural agriculture.

Many people who have worked in agriculture for generations no longer want their children to work there; they want their children to go into other professions.

Binayak Sen, Managing Director of BIDS, who chaired the seminar, summarized by saying that old farms are decaying and fragmenting under the pressure of population growth.

“At the same time, big farms are growing. Whether that will be good or bad remains to be seen,” he noted.

Planning Minister MA Mannan and Professor Mahbub Ullah among others also spoke during the programme.

New restriction in MGNREGA a “reverse of the rural economy”: from Kerala to the center Wed, 03 Aug 2022 05:52:00 +0000

The left-leaning government of Kerala has urged the Center to revoke its decision to limit concurrent works under the MGNREGA scheme, saying it would create a huge setback in the rural economy trying to emerge from the crisis inflicted by the COVID- 19.

Slamming the Center on the move, LSGD Minister of State, MV Govindan said it was taken without considering the prevailing circumstances in Kerala which is leading the states in implementing the program. This would not only plunge the workers into a deep crisis, but would also negatively impact the implementation of the program in the southern state, he noted. The state government has already sent a letter to the union ministry of rural development raising concerns about the new decision. “The Centre’s decision is a huge setback for the local financial sector trying to get out of the crisis caused by Covid-19. The Center should reverse its decision which plunges workers into crisis,” the minister said in a statement. communicated. The order that only 20 jobs can be authorized simultaneously would create problems in the labor sector as well as in the area of ​​the local financial sector, he said. “The decision also goes against the basic principles of MGNREGA that 100 days of work should be provided to all families who request it,” he said. Pointing out that the structure of village panchayats in Kerala and the northern states is quite different, he said that even a single ward in Kerala can comprise the same population of a panchayat in other states. Village panchayats in Kerala consist of 13 to 23 such wards and the state caters to the immense labor demand by implementing concurrent works. Although the state required 10 crore workdays this year, only six crore days were allocated by the Center, he said. The state has already completed 2,43,53,000 workdays in the first four months of the fiscal year, Govindan added.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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India’s natural farming policy should recognize the new role of women Tue, 02 Aug 2022 18:03:45 +0000

According to the 2011 census, about 33.7% of rural men migrate to find employment and better economic opportunities. The increasing migration of rural men has led to the feminization of the agricultural sector, with women’s participation in agriculture and related activities becoming more prominent. To cope with this changing scenario, it becomes essential to keep women at the center of India’s political initiative.

Women have always been involved in labor intensive agricultural activities. They have played a key role in the management of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture through ecological practices, such as the conservation of traditional seeds, the preparation of natural fertilizers and the use of various natural resources to meet daily needs. Household.

Today, the government promotes natural agriculture in India. The Ministry of Agriculture announced a draft program with an expenditure of ₹25,000 crore for natural farming after the Prime Minister highlighted its importance during the National Conclave on Natural Farming, hosted by the Government of Gujarat last December. Chemical-free farming was also highlighted in the Union budget 2022-2023.

Women’s centuries-old knowledge and traditional natural farming practices make them a crucial part of promoting this model and achieving the national goal of doubling farmers’ incomes.

Owning a farm is essential for women

Women manage labor at the household and farm level, including caring for livestock and selling milk and other produce in the market. But, unfortunately, they continue to be marginalized in terms of land ownership. According to the agricultural census (2015-16), of the 73.2% of rural women engaged in agriculture, only 12.8% own land.

It is essential that women own the farm, as this improves their access to government rights, financial resources and decision-making power within the household. Studies also suggest that when women own land, they spend more of their income on children’s education and nutrition than men. In 2012, MS Swaminathan, an agricultural scientist and then a member of Rajya Sabha, introduced the Women Farmers Rights Bill, 2011 to identify women as farmers and not cultivators. Unfortunately, this bill lapsed in April 2013 due to a lack of support and interest. Today, there continues to be a growing need to identify women as farmers, with farm ownership which would in turn make them eligible for schemes and benefits, and not as mere cultivators who work on farms. .

Recognize the contribution of women

Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Agriculture (APCNF) is an example that several states can follow. It is based on the premise that since women cook primarily for their families, they understand the importance of natural products to nurture and nurture their children. As a result, women are likely to adopt natural farming earlier than men. APCNF has engaged women in social mobilization, collective action, community learning and community marketing using the existing institutional platform of women self-help groups (SHGs), which are instrumental in scaling, sustaining and deepening the natural farming program. This movement has also helped women improve their household nutrition and income and empowered them to establish their agency in their villages.

Such inclusive approaches in the implementation of agricultural policies are necessary to recognize the presence and contribution of women in the sector. In addition, better extension services and training programs for women can address gender disparity.

This would help increase women’s incomes and their involvement in decision-making. It would also have a positive impact on the health and nutritional status of the family – studies have indicated that there is a direct correlation between women’s control over agricultural resources as primary producers and the socio-economic characteristics of their household.

Training should target women

The National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Bharatiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati (BPKP) sub-programme are already underway in several states, and the government has pushed for agriculture natural through several training and awareness programs. However, most current programs do not focus on improving women’s participation and recognizing their role in the agricultural system.

For natural farming initiatives to be prioritized, policy makers should emphasize the participation of women, formulating targeted training and awareness programs. Additionally, social security coverage is essential to ensure that women have a strong support system to juggle household responsibilities, child-rearing and financial burdens while managing work.

Today, work is underway to bring the areas along the banks of the Ganges to natural agriculture through a comprehensive action plan. In addition, a committee has been formed to include natural farming courses at various universities. As an example of mainstreaming the role of women in India’s agricultural sector, these upcoming projects and action plans should include women in their planning phases. Women are more aware of the geography and topography of their village lands and can bring an equity and inclusive lens to planning. In addition, developing more case studies on women’s involvement in natural farming – such as the APCNF initiative – will help bring insight and nuance to the training modules.

Natural farming uses methods based on natural or ecological processes through natural inputs. It is a promising tool for minimizing farmers’ dependence on purchased inputs while increasing their incomes, providing ecological benefits and maintaining nutritional food security. Women have applied agro-ecological approaches that focus on local seeds and diverse crop varieties where they have greater insight. Their participation in natural farming will ensure the continuation and scale of the practice, promote economic well-being and equity, and support the nation’s sustainability agenda.

Madhu Verma is Chief Economist, Parul Sharma is Principal Researcher and Sahith Goverdhanam is Consultant at the Economics Center of the World Resources Institute India. First published in The Hindustan Times

Steven Meyen: How to keep wildfires from spiraling out of control Tue, 02 Aug 2022 01:30:00 +0000

As I write this, Europe is burning. So many huge fires are destroying thousands of hectares of forests across the continent during this latest heatwave.

the Mediterranean countries are the most affected, but the countries of central and western Europe, including Ireland, are also suffering.

We can all help prevent a fire from getting out of control. With a little planning, forest owners and countryside visitors can make a huge difference.

First, keep an eye on the Forest Fire Danger Rating issued by the Department of Agriculture. This color-coded rating provides an early warning of high fire hazard weather conditions; see

As a forest owner

Every forest owner should have an up-to-date, detailed and practical fire plan in place for each forest.

Developing a plan will help you think through the important things and will be a great help when a fire breaks out and a quick response is required.

For example, when a fire breaks out, it’s not the time to go get the key to the forest door!

A good fire plan should include a clear list of things to do when a fire breaks out to keep you, your family, your neighbors and the emergency services safe.

Have a detailed map immediately available showing access points, escape routes, muster points, equipment locations (such as PPE) and potential water sources (eg nearby river). It will be a great help for fire fighting personnel.


Firefighters fight wildfire in Czech Republic

Also include contact information for emergency services, the consultant or logging company, neighboring landowners and local forest owners, to call for help if needed.

Have firefighting tools such as beaters, buckets, knapsack sprayers and pumps in good working order on hand.

Fire prevention relies on cooperation. The shared (and growing) threat of fire is an ideal opportunity for neighbors and forest owners to work together.

Owners of neighboring forests should develop joint fire plans and share responsibility for fire protection.

Forest owners must be particularly vigilant during periods of drought, especially at weekends and in the evening.

A period of 24 to 48 hours may be sufficient to dry out dead heathland vegetation after rain.

If a fire is detected, do not delay: immediately call the emergency services and activate your fire plan. Do not rely on others to call the fire department.

Where firebreaks are required, ensure they are inspected regularly prior to fire season and are clear of vegetation. Firebreaks should be at least six meters wide.

Also make sure that the access roads to your forest are kept in good condition. If there is a locked forest gate, make sure the padlock is well oiled and the well-marked key can be easily found.


Firefighters try to put out a fire in Germany


Your forest is a valuable asset that gradually increases in value as the trees mature.

In addition, the Department requires subsidized forest owners to maintain and protect their forests. This includes an obligation to replant when a forest is damaged by fire.

Insurance has become much more expensive over the past couple of years, but it’s still important to have adequate coverage in place.

Consider insuring against restoration costs, loss of wood value and fire department costs.

Restoration costs vary according to the age and species of the forest but are often around €3,000/ha.


An Irish forest damaged by fire

The value of wood increases with age and the annual insurance premium will reflect this.

The costs of the intervention of firefighters can be significant, so remember to cover these costs.

If your forest is destroyed or damaged by fire, you should report it to the nearest Garda station and the Department’s Forestry Division. The local forest inspector can advise on restoration measures.

As a visitor

Most forest fires in Ireland are caused by people, usually accidentally, but sometimes through negligent or even criminal behavior.

A forgotten grill or a jammed door can turn a small incident into something much, much bigger.

If a wildfire gets out of control, it will very quickly threaten homes and the safety of rural communities.

Forest fires destroy forests and peatlands. They destroy valuable but delicate habitats as well as its flora and fauna.

They release huge amounts of carbon. These ecosystems will take a long time to recover.

Forest fires destroy valuable timber resources that have taken a long time to mature.

And they take up the time and resources of emergency services.

Here’s how the general public can help:

■ Be considerate and do not park in front of entrances and gates, as this will obstruct access by emergency vehicles.

■ Do not light fires in and around forests or open areas.

■ If you see a fire, do not try to intervene in any way. Instead, gather all family or group members and move to a safe location, such as a car park, upwind of the fire, and immediately call the fire and rescue services on 112 .

Upcoming forestry events

The Forest Village at the Tullamore Show on Sunday August 14 will provide free, comprehensive and up-to-date information on forestry and renewable energy. See

And the Woodland Festival on Sunday 28 August at the Clonalis Estate, Castlerea, Co Roscommon aims to foster greater awareness of the benefits of trees.

It will focus on forest management and the amenity aspects of our woods, as well as the use of wood in furniture, crafts and construction.

There will be live demonstrations, walks and talks, games, information booths, wood products, food, crafts and family entertainment. See

Steven Meyen is a Teagasc Forestry Advisor based in Ballybofey;

Merkley outlines Oregon agriculture and rural community funding in appropriations bill Mon, 01 Aug 2022 16:12:49 +0000

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) – Sen. Jeff Merkley announced Monday that he has secured major investments in Oregon agriculture, rural housing, food assistance and rural business priorities through Bill FY23. of the Senate on Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies.

“As I hold a Town Hall each year in each of Oregon’s 36 counties, I hear people from all corners of the state talk about what matters most to them, including making sure our world-class agricultural sector has the support it needs to grow and thrive. said Merkley, who was previously the top Democrat on the subcommittee drafting the bill. “The Farm Bill I championed includes significant investments for family farms, rural housing, food assistance, habitat restoration and wildfire smoke collection. The legislation also prioritizes making Oregon agriculture more resilient to the impacts of climate chaos to protect the livelihoods of our farmers, ranchers and producers. I will continue to push this essential legislation through the appropriations process to benefit farms and families in every corner of the state.

Merkley is the only Oregon congressman from either house since Sen. Mark Hatfield to serve on the appropriations committee, considered one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. He joined the committee in 2013 so that Oregon would have a strong voice in decisions about investments our nation should make.

Key elements of agricultural finance legislation include:

Water conservation and habitat restoration: The bill includes $175 million, an increase of $75 million, for watershed and flood prevention operations. This funding used to replace open irrigation ditches with pipes is crucial for irrigation districts that need to improve water efficiency and conservation or improve fish and wildlife habitat. This program provides critical funding for ongoing collaborative processes across the state to conserve water and keep Oregon family farms operating while improving habitats for endangered species.

Research on smoke exposure from wine grapes: Unprecedented wildfire seasons in recent years have blanketed much of the state of Oregon in dense and dangerous smoke, which has had a significant impact on the wine grape harvest of Oregon. Oregon. To better understand the challenges facing Oregon grape growers, the bill includes $5 million for research into smoke-affected grapes at Oregon State University (OSU) and other universities in the West Coast.

Rural Energy Saving Program:The bill increases the funding available for energy retrofits from $11.5 million to $13 million. The program, which provides funding to rural utilities and other businesses to increase energy efficiency, was created by Senator Merkley when he was the lead Democrat on the agriculture subcommittee.

Investing in Oregon Agricultural Research and Facilities:The Agricultural Research Service received a $161 million increase in funding for cutting-edge research aimed at improving the productivity, sustainability and health of the nation’s agricultural systems. In addition, Merkley was able to obtain funding for major agricultural research programs in Oregon, including funding for research into the sudden oak death pathogen plaguing the South Coast. Other research funding victories include research on alfalfa, barley, fruit trees, pear, wheat, hops, hemp, apple, shellfish, berries, algae, floriculture, nurseries and rangeland ecology. The bill also includes funding for improved facilities at Corvallis, Burns and Pendleton ARS stations.

West Range Breeding: The bill includes $1.5 million for the Western Rangeland Precision Livestock Center to develop precision-based nutrition strategies for range-based livestock, as well as range-based and livestock management strategies. technology to optimize the health and productivity of livestock based on western rangelands and the rangeland ecosystem. This funding will be split between land-grant universities in Oregon, Montana, and Wisconsin.

Range Precision Livestock Management: The bill includes $3 million to promote economically efficient and environmentally responsible livestock production systems for western rangelands. The bill supports rangeland-based precision livestock nutrition strategies as well as technology-based rangeland and livestock management strategies to optimize the health and productivity of the western rangeland ecosystem.

rural housing: The bill includes $1.487 billion for rent assistance and $50 million for rural housing service vouchers, which will help address the urgent housing crisis facing rural communities in Oregon.

Rural development: The bill includes funding for a number of USDA rural development programs, including rural housing and business development programs. These programs invest billions of dollars in rural America every year. Total funding for the rural development mission area is $4.4 billion, an increase of $401 million from fiscal year 2022.

Summer EBT: Bill continues to fund the Summer EBT program at $50 million. This program has provided much-needed nutrition to Oregon families during the summer months when schools are not in session.

food body:The bill provides a $500,000 increase for food and agricultural service apprenticeships. This program helps improve educational resources for healthy eating, especially for children.

Hemp:The bill provides $4 million for agricultural research services to partner with institutions conducting biotechnology and genomics research to improve hemp genetics research and breeding with new techniques. Hemp has already quickly become one of Oregon’s top cash crops, and many believe it has the potential to generate over $1 billion in sales in Oregon in the coming years with a frame fair and reasonable regulation.

The bill’s next step is merging with a counterpart bill from the United States House of Representatives to be passed by both houses and signed into law.

]]> Ecological agriculture proves beneficial for farmers in Africa Mon, 01 Aug 2022 04:00:00 +0000

An international team of scientists has found that environmentally friendly practices such as growing a range of crops, including legumes like beans or pigeon peas, and adding plant residues or manure to soils can increase food crop yields in places like rural Africa, where smallholder farmers cannot apply much nitrogen fertilizer.

Published in the scientific journal Nature Sustainability and examining data from 30 long-term field experiments involving staple crops – wheat, maize, oats, barley, sugar beet or potato – in Europe and Africa, the study is the first to compare agricultural practices that work with nature to increase yields and explore how they interact with fertilizer use and tillage.

“Agriculture is one of the main causes of global environmental change, but it is also highly vulnerable to this change,” said Chloe MacLaren, plant ecologist at Rothamsted Research, UK, and lead author of the article.

“Using state-of-the-art statistical methods to distill strong conclusions from divergent data from field experiments, we have found combinations of farming methods that boost harvests while reducing the overuse of synthetic fertilizers and other environmentally harmful practices.”

Recognizing that humanity must intensify production on current arable land to feed its growing numbers, the paper advances the concept of “ecological intensification,” that is, agricultural methods that enhance ecosystem services and complement or replace man-made inputs, such as chemical fertilizers, to maintain or increase yields.

The dataset included the results of six long-term field experiments in southern Africa conducted by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

African farming systems receive an average of only 17 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, compared to more than 180 kilograms per hectare in Europe or nearly 600 in China, according to Christian Thierfelder, cropping systems agronomist at CIMMYT and co-author of the ‘study.

“In places where farmers’ access to fertilizers is limited, such as in sub-Saharan Africa or the highlands of Central America, ecological intensification can supplement scarce fertilizer resources to increase crop yields, raise incomes household and food security,” explained Thierfelder. “We believe that these practices act to increase nitrogen supply to crops, which explains their value in low-input agriculture.”

CIMMYT’s long-term experiments were conducted under “climate-smart” conservation agriculture practices, which include reduced or no tillage, leaving some crop residue on the soil and (again ) cultivation of a range of crops.

“These maize-based cropping systems have shown considerable resilience in the face of climate effects that increasingly threaten smallholders in the Global South,” Thierfelder added.

In addition to increasing crop yields, ecological intensification can reduce the environmental and economic costs of productive agriculture, according to MacLaren.

“Crop diversification with legumes can increase profits and reduce nitrogen pollution by reducing the fertilizer requirements of an entire crop rotation, while providing high-value supplemental foods, such as beans,” said explained MacLaren.

“Crop diversity can also confer resilience to climate variability, increase biodiversity and suppress weeds, crop pests and pathogens; this is essential if farmers are to improve maize production in places like Africa.

Thierfelder warned that widespread adoption of ecological intensification will require strong support from policy makers and society, including the establishment of functioning markets for legume seeds and for marketing farmers’ produce, among other political improvements.

“Serious and worsening global challenges – climate change, land degradation and declining fertility, and freshwater scarcity – threaten the very survival of humanity,” Thierfelder said. “Renovating agricultural systems and bringing us back to a space environment is of the utmost importance.”

The No-Till Passport Series is brought to you by Martin Industries.

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19,000 km of roads being built in UP to boost the rural economy | Latest India News Sun, 31 Jul 2022 18:26:54 +0000

Lucknow: The government of Uttar Pradesh has started construction of 19,000 km of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as part of its mission to upgrade infrastructure and revive the rural economy.

A state government spokesperson said that to make Uttar Pradesh the leading economy in the country, the state government is sparing no effort to improve infrastructure. Over the past five years, the construction of more than 12,000 km of roads connecting the villages to the main road has been completed at a cost of more than 6,500 crores. Now, the construction of 19,000 km of roads at the cost of 15,000 crores would be completed by 2024-25, he said.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, about 4106.46 km of roads were constructed in the financial year 2017-18. An amount of 1,822 crores were spent on the construction. Similarly, 1688.27 km of roads were constructed during the 2018-19 financial year at a cost of 1134.80 crores. During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 376.08 km of roads were constructed at a cost of 356.63 crore. Later, in 2020-2021, the construction of 717.75 km of roads was completed at a cost of 440.19 crores. During the 2021-22 financial year, 3368.44 km of roads were constructed at a cost of 2074.24 crores.

In addition, as of July 19, the construction of 2055.734 km of roads had been completed in the fiscal year 2022-23 at a cost of 686.30 crore.

After Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of state, Uttar Pradesh focused on roads. Previously, it was not easy to reach the villages. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana sought to transform the villages. With the construction of new roads, ambulances and other medical facilities could easily reach the villages. With the introduction of public transport, ordinary people now reach their destination easily, the spokesperson said.

In the Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra 2022, the Yogi government had decided to strengthen the economy of the villages. To keep the promise, roads were considered as the first development parameter. Better roads would ensure better connectivity between villages and towns and provide a platform for villagers to sell their products. Even during the Covid pandemic, road construction had not stopped, he said.

Agriculture can be the solution, not the problem it is generally seen as Sun, 31 Jul 2022 06:26:00 +0000 There is a major fight between Irish farmers and the government. As the climate crisis engulfs the planet, the government must reduce carbon emissions from all sectors, and agriculture is an important one.

Many farmers feel they are being unfairly targeted. The fight seems inevitable and intractable, with big industry and lobbyists all vying for power.

Understanding the undeniable fact that something has to give, you would be forgiven for thinking that all farmers are stressed and fighting for their livelihoods, but you would be wrong.

Today, there are farmers in Ireland peacefully going about their daily lives of managing the land and feeding the people, while having fun while they’re at it.

They’re not emitting greenhouse gases at a rate that will destroy our environment, so they don’t have to worry about meeting the targets that are being disputed this week in Dublin.

In fact, their farms capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the earth.

These farms don’t make the headlines and, curious to know why, I spent the day on one.

‘Hazel and Davi’s Wicklow Farm’ is run by Hazel Nairn and Davi Leon on part of the Nairn family’s 20 acre farm and woodland in Ashford, Co Wicklow.

Their goal is to regenerate the landscape through agriculture and they produce vegetable baskets as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Syntropic agroforestry system

In early 2020 they planted Ireland’s first syntropic agroforestry system; a forest of apple, plum, hazelnut and walnut trees.

Syntropic agroforestry is a farming system that works with nature; syntropy means the accumulation of energy and life, and agroforestry means the cultivation of trees and shrubs among all that you grow, be it animals or crops or both.

At Wicklow Farm, they are pioneering trials of commercial syntropic agroforestry systems that will work with Ireland’s temperate climate and landscape. From what I’ve seen, it’s going great.

I saw the trees, already bearing fruit but not ready to harvest. All around them grew various fruits and vegetables, including radishes, carrots, spinach, kale, onions, potatoes, beans, strawberries, raspberries, currants, and rhubarb.

Hazel and Davi had also planted “service species,” including alders, poplars and willows, as well as shrubs called Tree Lupins.

These species provide cover and, when trimmed and pruned, produce potent biomass to add to the soil.

It keeps the fertility cycle going and indeed the abundance of berries, fruits and vegetables amongst the leafy trees on a July day was astounding.

I grew up in rural Cork and generations of my family have grown beef, dairy and potatoes.

Trees are already fruiting but not ready to harvest on Hazel Nairn and Davi Leon’s farm.

Hazel and Davi’s Wicklow farm is unlike what I’m used to – there’s no slurry tank, no tons of fertilizer in huge plastic bags, no massive, expensive machinery.

While the fields were arranged in neat rows, instead of a single crop of uniform height, the fields looked more like densely populated orchards.

Syntropic agroforestry is new to Ireland, but an ancient practice developed by early farmers in the Amazon.

Natives grew their food in a clearing, sowing their annuals and future tree crops together.

This dynamic – a diverse landscape with many layers of plants that take turns harvesting sunlight – inspired the system that thrives today.

Farmers love this system because within a few years it is possible to create a closed loop of productivity, without needing to add anything from the outside.

Ernst Götsch is a Swiss farmer who moved to Bahia, Brazil in the early 1980s and developed syntropic agroforestry there on 400 hectares of land.

Götsch restored the composition of a very acidic soil (initially with a pH of 3) to one of the most productive cocoa plantations in the country.

Farming without chemicals

His farm is one of the most biodiverse stretches of the Atlantic Forest, and he did it without using chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides.

He is recognized as a leader in the field (sorry!) by the scientists, researchers and farmers who have studied and implemented his techniques.

Syntropic farming systems can produce about 60-80 tons of food per hectare.

Now, unsurprisingly, these would be heavily managed systems, but isn’t that fantastic?

Not only could they achieve such high levels of food production, but they would do so while preserving biodiversity and sequestering carbon.

In dark times for many farmers, with growing pressure from all sides, syntropic agroforestry is a beacon of hope that offers potential paradigm shift.

Researchers from the International Institute for Sustainability report: “Overall, it is widely recognized that agroforestry systems increase resource use efficiency, contribute to biodiversity conservation and improve the provision of ecosystem services. .

Agroforestry is also recognized as an alternative to improve food security and nutrition, as it increases agrobiodiversity and food production, contributing to poverty reduction and improving human well-being.

That last part, on human well-being, is huge.

As beef and dairy producers argue with the government over emissions, it’s essential to remember that traditional farming is hard, often unpredictable and lonely work.

Dr David Christian Rose is an expert in mental health and wellbeing in agriculture who works at the University of Reading.

In May this year, he spoke at a conference organized by Teagasc, The Agriculture and Food Development Authority, noting:

“Farmers face a unique set of acute and chronic stressors, including agricultural bureaucracy, climatic conditions, animal and plant disease outbreaks, time constraints, workplace hazards, rural crime , finances, isolation, machinery breakdowns and media criticism.”

It is equally essential to remember that agriculture does not need to stay that way.

A just transition from carbon-intensive agriculture to new systems is essential for the environment and also for farmers.

Community Supported Agriculture

Here, too, is where community supported agriculture and syntropic agroforestry shines because it’s not something you can do on your own.

The typical pattern of a lone farmer in a tractor for hours is not in play at Hazel and Davi’s farm.

The farm is lively and sociable, with neighbors volunteering to help plant woods and people coming to get food and see how the trees are progressing.

Having a more abundant landscape will depend on the participation of more people and will not leave it to a tiny percentage of the population to manage most of the land.

When I visited, Davi and Hazel were running a week-long workshop on syntropic agroforestry with Brazilian farmer and consultant Felipe Amato.

There were about 15 people from all over Ireland, learning the principles of the system and practicing it too, planting new rows of plum, apple and pear trees alongside strawberries, potatoes, kale and all support species.

The workshop was partly funded by National Organic Training Skillnet, and participants wanted to implement the system on their own land, whether it was a garden in Cabra or a farm in Cavan.

As the fight against emissions continues, keep in mind that farming isn’t the problem when done right.

And when farming is done really well? This may be the solution.

The Black Isle Show farming event will return in August after a two-year absence Sat, 30 Jul 2022 11:15:00 +0000

Perfume in the air at the 2019 Black Isle Show Flower Show. Photo: Gary Anthony.

It’s just not summer in the Highlands without the Black Isle Show!

And after two years without the first agricultural and family event in the North, this month of August, it is indeed Show time!

Taking place on Thursday August 4th, with the preview night on Wednesday August 3rd, visitors can expect a host of cattle, horse and fur competitions, show jumping, sheep shearing , the vintage tractor show, the ever-popular charity tractor push and much more. Gardeners and growers will showcase their stunning flower displays and fruit and vegetable products at the Flower Show with a host of trophies and prizes to be won, and dog owners can showcase their pooch at the Dog Show – with 18 classes in all , there is a category for every furry pal.

But there’s more to the Black Isle Show than displays of agricultural excellence, micro-farming and horse riding.

The Main Ring attraction sees the return of Monster Trucks this year!

Watch in awe as Big Pete and Grim Reaper soar through the air before crashing and crashing into vehicles that get in their way.

There will also be great music on Wednesday and Thursday with performances by the Black Isle Peas, Wee James and also Dancing with Sharks.

And no visit to the Black Isle Show would be complete without enjoying some of the best food, drink and crafts from the Highlands and beyond. The Black Isle Show is a must visit for families and farmers in the Highlands and beyond with competitions, attractions, activities and events for everyone!

Big Pete Nigel Kirby Photography
Big Pete Nigel Kirby Photography

Here’s what’s going on…

At its heart, the Black Isle Show is North Scotland’s premier farming event where farmers, smallholders and riders can showcase their animals and skills.

On Wednesday nights, enjoy the full ring experience with Show Jumping, Charity Tractor Push and Monster Trucks with Big Pete and Grim Reaper.

There are also plenty of vintage tractors and implements to admire and compare to the giant tractors on sale at other stalls throughout the show.

Other attractions include sheep shearing, shopping stalls, fun fair and flower show.

Doors open at 4pm with an entry fee of just £8 and children under 12 enter free.

Black Isle Show 2019..The Sheep Show..Photo: James MacKenzie.  Picture No. 044520.
Black Isle Show 2019..The Sheep Show..Photo: James MacKenzie. Picture No. 044520.

Visit the shopping stalls, the village square and the food and craft hall where local artisans will offer a wide range of products and delicious food and drink.

There’s also the Marquee Bar, with music all evening from bands such as the Black Isle Peas and Wee James. Black Isle Farmers’ Society President Freida McKenzie was delighted with the return of the show: “It’s fantastic to be back. We look forward to welcoming you all to the 183rd Black Isle Show on August 3-4.

“We took advantage of the two-year break to improve the Show experience for our visitors. Come and host the show again and meet all the old friends you haven’t seen in a long time. The main sponsors of the Black Isle Show this year are mutual agencies NFU, Dingwall, Thurso, Elgin and Inverness. NFU Mutual is the UK’s leading rural insurer.

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Newly Appointed USDA Rural Development Officer Visits the Rio Grande Valley Sat, 30 Jul 2022 02:13:00 +0000

The new state leader for rural development spent four days in the Rio Grande Valley this week to better understand the region and its role.

Lillian Salerno, state director of the Agriculture Department’s rural development office, visited settlements in Hidalgo and Starr counties.

“The South Texas area is so important to all of Texas and the country, and it has all of its nuances and its special character of this part of Texas because of its proximity to the border,” Salerno said in an interview Thursday. .

Salerno, a Texas native, comes from a rural farming community so small that only 18 people graduated from her high school class. She draws on her background to better understand her role.

“I know the rural part of Texas very well and all the great things about it, and also those things that hold you back,” Salerno said.

Salerno pursued an undergraduate degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin, earned his master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of North Texas, and earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University. As a bilingual attorney, she often worked as a court-appointed attorney for vulnerable Spanish-speaking Texans.

The new director is no stranger to the USDA rural development office. She previously worked with the Obama-Biden administration for six years as rural affairs administrator and later as deputy assistant secretary for rural development.

She was also a member of the White House Rural Council, where she voiced concern for rural Americans and worked to improve economic development, innovation, entrepreneurship, and access to capital for rural Americans. farmers.

Those concerns resurfaced during his visits to residents of the valley this week.

“They have a lot of challenges because of the drought, making sure their water sources are in good shape and having answers for fires and ambulances,” Salerno said. “That’s why they’re asking for help.”

Colonia residents and others mentioned the drought in nearly every conversation, the manager said, but they were also concerned about the economy.

And that’s where the USDA comes in. The six USDA offices in the valley attempt to connect rural areas to the opportunities the department offers.

“We have loans and grants for community facilities where the federal government, under the USDA, just for rural communities…provides low-interest loans or grants so they can purchase ambulances, fire stations, city halls — things small towns can’t afford without a little federal help,” Salerno said.

The department’s programs also extend to individual families.

“We also have a whole housing portfolio where we give loans for single-family homes and also to fix people’s roofs, insulation and that sort of thing,” she said, adding that she had noticed many needs in Starr County.

During her tour of South Texas and beyond, she strives to meet with community leaders who might be able to spread the word of the help that exists for those battling the pandemic, the inflation and now recession.

“Part of my goal is that the people who lead these communities – whether they be mayors, city councils, fire chiefs, police officers, school board members, community members – (know) what we do,” Salerno said. “I want to make sure the Texans get their fair share.”

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