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Sustainable farming
Biodynamics,  revegetation, organic farming, sustainable beef production
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FarmBot Founder Rory Aronson explains Precision Agriculture

FarmBot Founder Rory Aronson explains Precision Agriculture | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
If you have not yet discovered project Farmbot, this interview will be a revelation to you. The project in question, has the ambition to bring digitalization into one of the oldest processes in society, that of agriculture. The vision behind "precision agriculture" is particularly interesting and so Open Electronics decided to interview Rory Aronson, the creator of the project. Rory gave us a few more details than available online up to now and helped further increase the interest that we have i

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Beef cattle -University of Missouri Extension

MU Extension, University of Missouri
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Resources and news to support Beef producers

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With big U.S. pork buy and diet shift, China now asks: Where's the beef?

With big U.S. pork buy and diet shift, China now asks: Where's the beef? | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it

By Dominique Patton and Niu Shuping

DACHANG, China (Reuters) - With more money in their pockets, millions of Chinese are seeking a richer diet and switching to beef, driving imports to record levels and sending local meat firms abroad to scout for potential acquisition targets among beef farmers and processors.

The need to feed the world's most populous nation has seen Chinese firms gobble up foreign dairy, sugar and cereal producers, and Shuanghui International's $4.7 billion bid last week for top U.S. pork producer Smithfield Foods is just the country's latest food 'land grab'.

Beef could be next on the menu as Chinese opt for the protein-rich meat, which is seen as a higher quality product than pork, the nation's staple. While pork and poultry remain China's meats of choice, beef consumption is growing rapidly as hot-pot restaurants, Korean barbecue joints and burger bars set up across the country.

Chinese consumers are also more wary about cheaper local meat products after a series of recent food safety scandals - from bird flu to rotting pig carcasses in Chinese rivers. This has tightened beef supplies and pushed up local prices by almost a third last year. Prices in February hit a record 51 yuan ($8.31) per kg.

All of which is making imports more affordable - good news for major beef producers such as Australia and New Zealand - and encouraging Chinese firms to look overseas to secure future supplies.

"There are many companies closely following this market and looking for the right time to come in. One of the major reasons is food safety," said a consultant who advises Chinese agribusinesses.

One state-owned agribusiness firm is in talks with a foreign beef supplier and eyeing future overseas production, he said, asking not to be named because the information is commercially sensitive. "They want to start importing beef as a first step. If they see an opportunity, they could build a processing facility or make an acquisition in the United States or Australia," he added.

Chongqing Grain Group, a state-owned business that has expanded aggressively overseas in recent years, plans to invest in breeding beef cattle in Australia, its president Hu Junlie said, without giving further details. Tianjin Dawnrun Beef, too, has been buying up rivals to expand its business and is looking to breed cattle in Australia, said a company official.

Australia and New Zealand are the two leading beef exporters to China, and are likely to be where Chinese firms will look first to invest, industry experts said. Major beef suppliers in Australia include Australian Agricultural Co Ltd and the local unit of Japan's Nippon Meat Packers Inc. Alliance Group Ltd and Silver Fern Farms are two of New Zealand's largest meat processors.

A STRUGGLING INDUSTRY

China's beef imports soared in January-April to more than 75,000 tonnes (1 tonne = 1.102 tons), more than 10 times those in the same year-earlier period, and look set to far outpace initial forecasts. That's still just a fraction of China's total consumption of around 5.6 million tonnes a year, but the proportion is set to swell.

"Domestic beef prices are going up faster than the import price," said Joy Tang, China manager at Meat and Livestock Australia. "The gap is closing."

Traditionally the domain of China's Muslim minorities, raising cattle for meat only began to expand in the 1980s, but remains small-scale and fragmented. In contrast to the pork and poultry sectors, beef processing has seen relatively little investment, with just a handful of integrated producers such as Changchun-based Haoyue Group, Inner Mongolia-based Kerchin, and Fuhua Meat, located about 50 kms (31 miles) from Beijing.

One of China's earliest beef processors, Fuhua slaughters 30,000 head of cattle a year, with about a quarter of those raised on its own farm. Its Chinese Yellow-Swiss Simmental crossbred bullocks are reared in stalls on farmland that once supplied Chinese emperors, but is now overlooked by high-rise apartments - a sign of the capital's spreading urban sprawl that is rapidly swallowing up agricultural land and pushing up farmers' costs.

Fuhua supplies Yum Brands Inc's KFC and Pizza Hut chains, government canteens and its own chain of 160 premium hot-pot restaurants, but on a recent visit, there was little activity at its modern, halal slaughterhouse. The plant only operates on two days a week, or at 40 percent capacity, due to a shortage of live cattle.

"Farmers aren't breeding any more. It gives poor returns and they prefer to move to cities to work where they can earn 100 yuan ($16.30) a day, while a cow only earns them 3,000 yuan a year," said Fuhua sales manager Liu Chunsheng.

"The beef market is very scattered. There's not a single big company," Liu added. "It's to do with capital. This year everyone's losing money. Live cattle are expensive and imports are cheap. It's quite simple."

EXPORT APPROVAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts China's beef cow stocks will slip below 2011 levels this year to 46.3 million head - that's around one beast for every 28 people, compared with a ratio of 1:11 in the United States. Beef production has been steady at 5.5-5.6 million tonnes in recent years.

China currently only allows beef imports from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica, but recently added four Canadian firms to its list of approved exporters. It has also signed a framework deal with India to import buffalo meat.

The United States, the world's fourth-largest beef exporter, hopes a recent downgrade of its mad cow disease risk status by the UN World Organization for Animal Health will boost its chances of gaining a foothold in the growing Chinese market. Significant quantities of U.S. beef are already smuggled into China through Hong Kong, and the industry is pushing for new talks on formal approval when U.S. President Barack Obama meets President Xi Jinping in California later this week.

"If China opens its market to U.S. and Indian beef, the growth rate (in imports) will exceed double-digits," said Rabobank analyst Pan Chenjun.

For now, the Chinese eat just 4-5 kg of beef per head each year, around a fifth of the global average.

"Chinese knowledge about beef is still very low. We're teaching butchers how to cut the meat and consumers how to appreciate a good steak," said Tang at Meat and Livestock Australia.

($1 = 6.1345 Chinese yuan)

(Editing by Fayen Wong and Ian Geoghegan)


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Comprehensive Distance Learning - Holistic Management International

Comprehensive Distance Learning - Holistic Management International | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
Get Knee-Deep with Holistic Management HMI offers a number of flexible learning options for folks that want to learn Holistic Management whole/farm ranch planning.
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Online course available .US based
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Australian farmers get the dirt on US farming - Agri News

Australian farmers get the dirt on US farming - Agri News | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
Agri News Australian farmers get the dirt on US farming Agri News “We want to minimize the use of chemicals, do a more biodynamic sort of farming.” That includes smaller paddock sizes and using “crush grazing,” in which a high volume of stock is...
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John has a starring role
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Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef - DRAFT Principles & Criteria for Sustainable Beef

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links to the draft principles and criteria for sustainable beef released on march 2014 . Sustainable beef is defined as"a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes Planet(relevant principles:Natural Resources, Efficiency & Innovation, People and the Community);People(relevant principles:People and the Community and Food);Animals(relevant principle:Animal health andwelfare); and Progress(relevant principles:Natural Resources, People and the Community, Animal health and welfare,Food, Efficiency and Innovation).

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YLAD Living Soils is an Australian owned company formed to supply a large range of biological, organic and humus compost fertility products and programs.
Established in 2002 by Bill and Rhonda Daly,

YLAD Living Soils is an Australian owned company formed to supply a large range of biological, organic and humus compost fertility products and programs.<br/>Established in 2002 by Bill and Rhonda Daly, | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
Description
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InsightYLAD Living Soils is an Australian owned company formed to supply a large range of biological, organic and humus compost fertility products and programs that support the natural balance of the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the soil, lessening the reliance on conventional chemical fertilser inputs. Established in 2002 by Bill and Rhonda Daly, YLAD Living Soils have gained the reputation as leaders in agronomic advice for natural farming systems including environmental educational programs for farmers making the transition from industrial to biological agriculture.
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Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review

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Conclusions: On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. The small differences in nutrient content detected are biologically plausible and mostly relate to differences in production methods.
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NeuroLogica Blog » New Organic Farming Meta-analysis – What Does it Really Show?

NeuroLogica Blog » New Organic Farming Meta-analysis – What Does it Really Show? | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
The Guardian's headline reads: Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds. While this article was better than most in including some...
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Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) Grassy Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands of South-Eastern Australia

Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) Grassy Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands of South-Eastern Australia | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
A booklet prepared by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. This booklet is designed to assist land managers, owners and occupiers as well as environmental assessment officers, consultants and the general public to identify, assess and manage this nationally threatened ecological community.
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What Is Biodynamics?

Australia Biodynamics-Victoria Inc. is a non-profit organisation run by a group of dedicated professionals committed educating Australians about biodynamic farming practices.
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New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops

New study shows honeybees harmed by herbicide used on GMO crops | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
“ One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honeybees. Yet, over the past decade bee populations have been on a rapid decline.”
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Events | Soils for Life

Events | Soils for Life | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
The Soils for Life Program facilitates improved management of the natural environment in Australia by encouraging the adoption of regenerative landscape management in agriculture - focusing on soil health, water management and a biodiversity of vegetation.
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Presentations of past events are available for download

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NASAA - Steps to Certification - Within Australia

NASAA - Steps to Certification - Within Australia | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
NASAA - Australian and International Organic Certifier
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NTS certificate in sustainable agriculture November

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To be held in Yandina  QLD

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Joel Salatin responds to New York Times' 'Myth of Sustainable Meat'

Joel Salatin responds to New York Times' 'Myth of Sustainable Meat' | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
Is sustainable meat production possible? Polyface Farm's Joel Salatin takes on a recent New York Times op-ed point by point.
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Agricultural Soil & Plant Testing - Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) - SCU

Agricultural Soil & Plant Testing - Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) - SCU | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
The Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) at Southern Cross University (SCU) Analytical and Consulting Services., EAL offers very competitive pricing on a wide range of testing for home, recreational and agricultural applications.
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Ag soil testing prices ranging from $25 to $ 180
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Major Study Documents Nutritional And Food Safety Benefits Of Organic Farming (VIDEO) | TheSleuthJournal

Major Study Documents Nutritional And Food Safety Benefits Of Organic Farming (VIDEO) | TheSleuthJournal | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
“The largest study of its kind has found that organic foods and crops have a suite of advantages over their conventional counterparts, including more antioxidants and fewer, less frequent pesticide residues. The study looked at an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed publications comparing the nutritional quality and safety of organic and conventional plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables,”
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Are organic foods safer or healthier than con... [Ann Intern Med. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI

PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.
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The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
Description
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Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) aims to foster and improve the widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policy that brings more farmers and acreage into organic production. Founded in 1990, OFRF is a leading champion of American organic family farmers.
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Who We Are: ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Who We Are: ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service provides information and other technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, Extension agents, educators, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States.
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Rethinking Agriculture | Biodynamic Association

Rethinking Agriculture | Biodynamic Association | Sustainable farming | Scoop.it
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The Biodynamic Association (BDA) is a  US nonprofit association of individuals, groups, and organizations who are committed to rethinking agriculture through healthy food, healthy soil, and healthy farms. BDA is considered to be the oldest sustainable agriculture organization in North America.

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