Thursday, October 16, 2008

Special Report Released on Soil Conservation in Nigeria

The Soil and Water Conservation Society has just released a special report entitled Soil Conservation in Nigeria: Past and Present On-Farm and On-Station Initiatives. The report reviews agronomic, soil management, and mechanical methods of soil conservation in Nigeria.

In a Foreword to the special report, Dr. Rattan Lal of the Ohio State University provides a context for the utility of the report and the urgency of improving soil conservation practices in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Lal states that “resource-poor and small land holders in SSA and elsewhere in the developing world must be paid for ecosystem services rendered through the adoption of recommended management practices.”
The report is available for free download here:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Soil Sensors Being Developed at Iowa State University

Researchers at Iowa State University are working on sensors and transceivers that could measure and report the amount of moisture in the soil. This would allow farmers to better understand how water travels through a field, allowing action to be taken to optimize water management.

The sensors will be buried about a foot underground so they would not affect current farming practices. Since the sensors will also be able to report their location, they will not get lost.

The research team hopes to improve the sensors so that they can also detect nutrient content and soil temperature. This would help farmers know how much nutrients to apply to which parts of the field. This information would allow maximum yield while minimizing environmental impacts.

The research team includes team leader, Ratnesh Kumar, Stuart Birrell, Ahmed Kamal, Robert Weber, Amy Kaleita, Candace Batts, Giorgi Chighladze, Jing Huang, and Herman Sahota.
For more information, go here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Biofuels and Climate Change are Hot Topics

Two articles in the Des Moines Register over the weekend demonstrate the fact that conservation is currently a hot topic and include comments from SWCS members.

Caution urged in new ethanol work
Cellulosic ethanol can avoid some problems encountered with corn, but poses different environmental risks as well.

Washington, D.C. — Scientists urge caution in the way new versions of fuel ethanol are developed from crop residue, wood chips and other sources of plant cellulose.

Cellulosic ethanol is being billed as a way to replace imported oil without the use of food crops.

Click here for the full story.

Climate Change:
Climate change threatens to raise the stakes for Iowa farms
Washington, D.C. - The world already counts on Iowa to meet food production needs. A warmer world will count on Iowa even more.

If the Earth heats up as climate forecasts suggest, agricultural production is likely to fall in many parts of the world, especially in poor countries near the equator and in Australia, a key producer of grain.

Click here for the full story.

Friday, October 3, 2008

USDA Announces Public Access CRP Incentive

The USDA Farm Service Agency announced today that "USDA would fully implement President George W. Bush's directive to offer incentives to farmers and ranchers for opening up their land in the Conservation Reserve Program [CRP] to the public for hunting, fishing, bird watching and other recreational activities."

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer stated that the goal of this incentive is to double public access by providing up to 7 million acres of CRP land for public access in the next 5 years in participating states.

According to a USDA Farm Service Agency news release, "The CRP public access incentive permits partnerships with existing state public access programs to identify and mark tracts of land as publicly accessible and publish maps for hunters and recreation enthusiasts. The incentive is consistent with current state public access incentives and will enhance the ability of state game departments to use hunting seasons as a wildlife management tool."

Fore more information, go to:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Online Launch of the JSWC

The Journal of Soil and Water Conservation (JSWC) is now online! You can check it out here:

To ask questions or to gain access to online pdfs, contact Robin Hockaday, SWCS member services, at or 515-289-2331 ext. 118.

New Features are Available!

Electronic Tables of Contents
Be the first to know! Sign up for electronic table of contents (eTOC) alerts. You will be notified whenever new JSWC content is available online. To sign up for eTOC alerts, go here:

Search Capabilities
In the advanced search form, you can search by year, doi, authors, or keyword. Once an article is selected, you can choose to pull up “Similar articles in this journal.”

Browse Archive Back to 1981
You can browse the journal archive by year or by cover image.

Rollover Abstracts
Get a preview! In the table of contents and search results pages, the article abstract (when available) will pop up in an overlay when you mouse over the article citation. (This feature currently works only for abstracts of Research Section articles; at some point in the future, it will also work for excerpts of A Section articles). Try it here:

Special Features
Once you have selected an article, you will find valuable options in the panel to the right:
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Alert me if this article is cited
  • Alert me if a correction is posted
  • Similar articles in this journal
  • Download to citation manager
  • Get permissions
  • Citing articles

View example:

HTML Hyperlinked References
Reference lists are free for issues of 2008 and after. View example:

HighWire Platform
The online JSWC is hosted by HighWire Press at Stanford University, which also hosts Science, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), SSSA Journal, Journal of Environmental Quality, Agronomy Journal, and thousands of other peer-reviewed science journals. The JSWC is one of the first journals to launch on the new HighWire H20 platform with new tools and features.

Contact Robin Hockaday, SWCS member services, at or 515-289-2331 ext. 118 for more information.