Enclosed is a news item from the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE) program. Please distribute this item within
your organization, institution and among your colleagues.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.
SARE/ACE, Western Region
University of California
------------------------- Forwarded Message Follows -------------------------
Prepared by: Kristen Kelleher
Public Information Representative
USDA Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE)
University of California, Davis
or 916/752-7556 (messages)
USDA moves sustainable ag grants program from UC to Utah
OAKLAND -- Administration of a federal research program in sustainable
agriculture has been transferred from the University of California to Utah
The transition is part of a larger effort by UC's Division of
Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) to decentralize direct program
management from the University's Oakland headquarters to other entities.
Kenneth R. Farrell, UC Vice President for DANR, had requested that USDA
officials transfer coordination of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE) program.
The transfer to Utah State University in Logan followed a regional
selection process directed by the program's Administrative Council and has
been approved by the USDA's Cooperative State Research Service. The move
does not affect DANR's own Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Program (SAREP) based at UC Davis.
The SARE program -- authorized by Congress in the 1990 Farm Bill and
managed by USDA since 1988 -- is a competitive grants program aimed at
expanding knowledge and adoption of food production and farming practices
that are environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially
Currently funded studies focus on practical ways to cut synthetic
pesticide use on farms, control soil erosion, enhance soil quality, improve
ecosystem management, conserve natural resources, expand farm product
diversity without environmental harm, improve the quality of life for
Native Americans, Hispanics and farmers with limited resources, and
mitigate agricultural pollution -- all of which are measured against strong
economic and in-the-field factors before evaluating success.
The national initiative is directed regionally by four
independent policy-making councils: West, North Central, Northeast and
Southern U.S. In cooperation with the federal SARE office, these localized
committees of scientists, farmers and administrators represent a variety of
institutions, agencies and interests that provide regional perspective and
leadership to each of the research efforts.
UC has been host to the Western U.S. program since its beginnings in
the late 1980s under the leadership of David E. Schlegel, professor of
plant pathology and an experienced administrator in the UC Division of
Agriculture and Natural Resources. "Our thanks to Dr. Schlegel for putting
the program on a sound, sustainable basis in the Western region," Farrell
Schlegel said he was grateful for the opportunity to help shape this
national scientific effort and see it take on significant momentum at
local, regional and national levels. His successor is soil scientist V.
Philip Rasmussen from Utah State University.
"Phil Rasmussen is an excellent choice for coordinating the program,"
Schlegel said. "He's a scientist of merit, a sustainable agriculture
specialist and an innovator in developing communications tools and
technology that can bridge the gap between academic gains and application
in the real world." Rasmussen is currently head of USU's
Agricultural Systems Technology and Education Department. Through a
year-long transition period, he will coordinate both the Western SARE
program and its companion grants program Agriculture in Concert with the
Environment (ACE), which focuses on mitigating agricultural pollution. He
is also assistant director of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station and
of the Utah Cooperative Extension Service.
"Sustainability means much more than reducing chemicals and other
off-farm inputs," says Rasmussen. "It means developing a total system that
can feed the world, while protecting our communities and the environment. I
am convinced that our land grant system can do this -- if we focus our
efforts and increase our commitment."
Inquiries regarding Western region administration of ongoing grants
will continue to be handled by David Schlegel and his staff
through 1994. USU will become the primary contact for grants approved this
spring. The public information office for the western region will remain
at UC Davis for the foreseeable future. Kristen Kelleher will continue as
the key contact for the public and news media at (916) 752-5987.
Since 1988 Congress has allocated $44 million to the national SARE/ACE
program, roughly $9 million to the Western Region. In 1994 the national
budget totals just over $8 million, divided equally among the four regions.
Also this year Congress allocated an additional near $3 million nationally
to support regional sustainable agriculture training and education networks
and consortia. They will be managed by awarded host institutions and
directed by the same regional council structure.
Utah State University will be host to the thirteen-state Western
Region, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii,
Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and
the Island Protectorates.
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