Daily Archives: December 4, 2012

Riverbank Cleanup below SpringHill Suites, Lawrence, KS

Join Friends of the Kaw on Sunday, December 9th, 2012 from 1 to 3pm to clean up the south side of the Kansas River below Bowersock Dam in Lawrence.  We will meet at the HeartlandCommunity Health Center parking lot just north of New York and 

E. 7th Street


What to wear: closed toe shoes, work gloves, long pants and long sleeves (dress appropriately for the weather – the event will be canceled if it is raining, or snowing.)

Optional to bring: small shovels, wire cutters and buckets for carrying heavy items.

Friends of the Kaw will provide trash bags, water, soda and snacks. SpringHill Suites is providing a dumpster for all trash collected. Sunflower Recycling is providing recycling services for all recyclables.

Friends of the Kaw’s Lawrence GiveBack Charity 10K team will also be earning flags for the competition to earn a cash donation.  You can register for a Lawrence GiveBack card at this event and help us raise funds all year round.

For more information contact the Kansas Riverkeeper at 913 963 3460 or at[email protected]! See you on Sunday!

World Soil Day is December 5th

World Soil Day is December 5th

World Soil Day is a day to remember that we owe our existence to those few inches of living and life-giving topsoil.

Soil is a living and life-giving substance, without which we would perish.

As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time.

By focusing more attention on soil health and by educating our customers and the public about the positive impact healthy soils can have on productivity and conservation, we can help our Nation’s farmers and ranchers feed the world more profitably and sustainably – now and for generations to come.

The resources on this soil health section of our site are designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.

So whether you’re a farmer, a researcher, a conservationist or an interested citizen, the information on this site will help you “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.”

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

Five year farm bill gets new life

by David Rogers


House and Senate farm bill leaders edged closer Thursday, joined in a last ditch effort —together with Agriculture Secy. Tom Vilsack—to put in place a new five-year plan before the end of this Congress.

Vilsack played host to the gathering of the top four Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. And he told reporters later that “absolutely” he remained optimistic that a bill can be completed before Dec. 31 and the focus must be on that goal, not a simple extension.

“What I was interested in doing today was basically get all four folks who are critical to this process in the room at the same time talking to each other and we’ve accomplished that,” Vilsack said. “There is a commitment to work and try to get this resolved. The countryside needs a five year farm bill, rural America needs a five year farm bill.”

The fact that Vilsack felt compelled to intercede reflects the drift that has set in since last June when the Senate surprised many doubters by passing its farm bill with strong bipartisan support in June. The House Ag panel quickly followed with its own version –only to be blocked from coming to the floor by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the GOP leadership. And in the months since, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has taken himself more out of the mix, awaiting a signal from Boehner.

Much as Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) insists that the four have never stopped talking, Vilsack clearly felt it was “progress” to have them all in the same room. And as part of the effort to get a House-Senate deal, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the ranking Republican on the Senate Ag Committee, appears to be showing more flexibility in shaping the commodity title to include some form of price supports important to Southern producers—something he has strongly opposed in the past.

“There is a concerted effort to get a five year farm bill,” Roberts said after the meeting held at the Agriculture Department.

“We are looking forward to working together to get a five-year farm bill. We want to get a farm bill done,” Stabenow said.

Just as Roberts may be moving, Lucas himself signaled a little more independence in reply to a question asking if he felt free to be part of the renewed talks “without Boehner assigning” him to do so. “As chairman of my committee I always have the option and the ability to work on good policy and legislation,” Lucas said.

For his part, Vilsack sidestepped any question about what authority the White House might have given him to negotiate on food stamp savings in the bill—a major demand from House Republicans and likely issue in the deficit reduction talks now between Boehner and President Barack Obama.

“We didn’t get into specifics and I am not going to get into specifics today,” the secretary said, preferring to characterize his role as a “facilitator.”

“It was about facilitating that conversation,” Vilsack said. “What we wanted to do today was accomplished, which was to get everybody in the room at the same time at the same place talking to one another. That’s been accomplished. That’s progress.”

“There is just a consistent drumbeat, they meaning the countryside wants a five year farm bill…There was a commitment on the part of all four of the folks in that room today to look at a five year farm bill. That’s what to focus on, a five year farm bill. It wasn’t on an extension.

Benefits of Walking/Bicycling to School

Active Living Research recently released three new research briefs featuring evidence on policies, programs and practices that support walking and bicycling to school. When children can safely and easily walk or bicycle to school, they get more physical activity-something that can help prevent obesity and promote good health. Research can help make the case for Safe Routes to School to legislators, funders, school officials, city officials and parents, so share the info you find in these three briefs to strengthen your message:

The Impact of State Safe Routes to School-related Laws on Active Travel to School Policies and Practices in U.S. Elementary Schools

Program Practices and Demographic Factors Associated with Federal Funding for the Safe Routes to School Program in the United States

Impact of a Pilot Walking School Bus Intervention on Children’s Pedestrian Safety Behaviors: A Pilot Study