Yellow Canary

Sustainable Farming



Biodiesel Can Be Made from Canola Oil:
A demonstration project involving use of canola oil-based biodiesel in one or two tractors during the growing season. The biodiesel will be mixed with diesel fuel at a ratio of 20 percent biodiesel to 80 percent diesel.

Biodiesel Production Gets Simplified With New Method:
Michael Haas, a biochemist with the ARS Eastern Regional Research Center's Fats, Oils and Animal Coproducts Research Unit in Wyndmoor, Pa., has developed a new approach to synthesizing biodiesel. Soybean oil is the prevalent starting material in the United States for biodiesel, and its relatively high cost results in a high cost for this renewable fuel. The method developed by Haas and his colleagues eliminates the use of hexane, an air pollutant regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. . .

Portable Filtration: Clean your biodiesel and base vegetable oils:
A revolutionary development in cleaning up your biodiesel. It removes both particulate and water contamination at the same time. To make good, clean biodiesel, you need to remove any water and dirt from the manufacturing process - and now you can!

Gulf Hydrocarbon, Inc:
Premier provider of biodiesel to the petroleum industry.

Nebraska Biomass Roadmap:
A vision for the conversion of biomass feedstocks into power, fuels and products and outline a roadmap for achieving that vision in Nebraska.


Solar-Powered Livestock Watering Systems:
An introduction to solar-powered livestock watering systems, including discussions of cost, components, and terminology, as well as some suggestions for designing and installing these systems. The strengths and weaknesses of solar pumping are compared to the main options for pumping in remote locations: mechanical windmills and portable generators powered by gas, propane, or diesel fuel. The publication also includes descriptions of three successful projects and a brief resource list.

Farm & Ranch Efficient Water Use & Conservation

As producers throughout the nation grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity, farmers, ranchers and agricultural educators are beginning to explore new, conservation-oriented approaches to water use. They are managing soil to improve infiltration, selecting drought-tolerant crops and native forages, and designing innovative runoff collection systems.

Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch:
Innovative research into a range of conservation options including soil management, such as using compost, conservation tillage and cover crops; plant management, featuring crop rotation, water-conserving plants and rangeland drought mitigation; and water management strategies such as low-volume irrigation and water recycling.

Water Use Efficiency in Agriculture:
In Santa Clara County, as in the rest of California, water and water-pumping costs are important considerations for the agricultural industry. Efficient irrigation methods and scheduling are the key to maximizing water and fertilizer use efficiency. Agricultural customers can increase water-use efficiency economically. . .

Plant Management-Water-Conserving Plants:
Most pasture species are adapted to specific climates, thus warm-season grasses perform better in Texas. Cool-season varieties, such as fescue, grow better in higher altitudes and cooler temperatures . . . Certain varieties of grain crops also perform well in dry conditions. Consider new crops that might work in your climate and provide a market advantage. . .

Plant Management-Crop Rotation:
Devising an appropriate plant rotation is an effective way to manage water resources. . . By adding commodities such as corn, small grains, forage and beef cattle to cotton systems,SARE-funded researchers at Texas Tech University cut water use by 23 percent and saw higher profits. . .

Trees for the Future - Act Locally, Plant Globally (

Energy Efficient Crop Irrigation

Energy Efficient Crop Irrigation (pdf):
An energy-efficient irrigation system is useful for growers whose fields include areas of nonproductive land and whose fields have significant variations in soil properties, such as topography, texture, fertility, or water-holding capacity. Additional applications are possible in industrial and municipal wastewater plants, the forest products industry, chemical processing, and other industrial applications that use leaching processes.

Let's Talk About Agricultural Irrigation:
From Freddie Lamm, Associate Professor for Kansas State University conducting agricultural irrigation engineering research at the KSU Northwest Research-Extension Center, Colby, Kansas: ". . . discussion what I consider to be one of the most abused terms in irrigation, the infamous application efficiency"

Cut Agriculture Energy Costs

Reducing Energy Costs in Agriculture: (pdf)
Farmers and consumers alike have long taken for granted plentiful supplies of energy at a reasonable cost. Energy bills that have doubled or tripled have led to rethinking the energy situation - site offers potential cost-cutting suggestions farmers should consider to reduce the impact of energy costs in the home, in farm buildings, and in the field.

Methane Digesters:
Could a methane digester be an effective part of your livestock operation? Anaerobic methane digesters have been around a long time. The adoption of manure digesters at animal operations is much more advanced in Europe than in the U.S. But there are many successful digesters in operation throughout the U.S.

Fan Performance and Efficiency for Animal Ventilation Systems and Maintenance:
by Larry D. Jacobson and John P. Chastain, Department of Agricultural Engineering, UMN. Fans are a necessary component in a mechanical ventilation system. They are the driving force that provides needed air exchange in facilities housing poultry and livestock. Fan selection is the important first step in designing a mechanical ventilation system, and it is very important to choose fans that are performance-tested and energy efficient.

Strategies for Energy Use on the Dairy Farm:
Illini DairyNet: The Online Resource for the Dairy Industry. Energy usage also deserves close attention as the dairy producer attempts to produce the most amount of milk for the least cost possible. There are some things that dairy producers can do to reduce energy usage and/or improve milk production through adopting practices that will yield increased net returns. Three management practices relating to energy conservation and use of energy for maximizing profits discussed.

Research & Support for Sustainable Farming

Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships Programs:
Working to sustain Minnesota's natural resource-based communities and industries by addressing community-identified agriculture, natural resources, and tourism issues in partnership with the University of Minnesota. The Energy Self-Reliance Community/University Venture works to increase farm and community energy self-reliance through renewable fuels, energy conservation, and community ownership and governance of energy resources.

Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture: (MISA)
A partnership between the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota and the Sustainers' Coalition, a group of individuals and non-profit organizations. Sustainable farming practices are incredibly diverse. Farm families are experimenting with all kinds of ways to acheive the balance of economic, environmental and quality of life benefits that marks a sustainable system. Sustainable farms are likely to have a combination of crops and livestock. These balance each other and contribute to the triple bottom line. . .