Extension Information on Cover Crops to Mitigate Drought Effects

For centuries, farmers have been using cover crops to prevent soil erosion, improve nutrient cycling, and sustain their soils. However, conditions in 2012 have renewed many growers interest in cover crops to help mitigate the effects of the drought by: 1) Trapping residual nitrogen that went unutilized by the current corn crop; 2) Building organic matter, and 3) Decreasing the risk of soil erosion. Listed below are selected cover crop extension resources, some of which were written in specific response to the 2012 drought:   

Additional drought resources from over 23 state Cooperative Extension Services are available through the Extension Disaster Education Network.

National Level Exercise (NLE) Puts EDEN Response Notes Through its Paces

Fresh on the heels of the Great Central US Shakeout, folks in the Central US and Washington DC are participating in the largest civilian exercise in the nation’s history: National Level Exercise 2011.

EDEN will be testing its “Response Notes” communications system during this time, with particular emphasis on EDEN’s connection with cooperative extension’s state emergency board activity. EDEN contacts from KY, TN, MS, AL, IN, IL, MO, and AR will test the system by submitting an update today and one Thursday regarding the actual disaster related activities currently being undertaken by the state’s cooperative extension service.

From www.ready.gov, more on NLE 2011:

The week-long capstone event in the National Level Exercise in which all participating Federal, State, Tribal and Private Sector entities interact to test the eight overarching Exercise Objectives defined during the planning process for NLE 11 at all levels of government (Federal, State and Local).

We are continuously monitoring real world events and assessing their impact on the exercise. At this time, several adjustments have been made to the exercise, most notably in the level of play for those regions actively engaged in disaster operations. For more information, please visit our blog.

Let’s hope we learn a few things that we never actually have to put into practice.

Best, Bill Hoffman – USDA/NIFA

USDA disaster relief programs that assist individuals and small businesses

The USDA Office of Communications just published an excellent fact sheet on its disaster relief programs that assist individuals and small businesses.

A quote from the fact sheet:

USDA’s authority to provide emergency assistance for its various disaster relief programs exists under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief, Emergency Assistance Act of 1987, Agriculture Secretary disaster declarations, Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as well as other authorizing legislation.

The disaster education professional will still need to determine which of these programs are applicable for a given crisis situation. One way that EDEN and cooperative extension adds value to this type of official information is to:

  1. Make it locally appropriate and relevant,
  2. Communicate it in a way that the target audience can understand, and
  3. Couple it with existing science-based information.

This annotated list of programs could serve as an “is it or isn’t it available to my clientele” checklist, which could be extremely useful in carrying out the aforementioned process.

Best, Bill Hoffman – USDA/NIFA