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PNS Daily Newscast - August 7, 2020 

The State Attorney of NY moves to dissolve the NRA; an update on the potential wave of pandemic evictions.

2020Talks - August 7, 2020 

The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump's campaign for a fourth debate. Hawaii has a primary tomorrow, but there are only 8 vote service centers.

Ag Expert: "Variety is the Spice of Life" for Iowa Farms

March 6, 2007

As if farming wasn't tough enough, an Iowa agricultural expert predicts the state's farmers will soon face an entirely new series of challenges, including climate change, water shortages and the end of cheap energy. Fred Kirschenmann of Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture says farmers must learn to use energy and other resources more carefully. The key to doing that is what he calls "bio-synergy," using crops and livestock that work well together.

"If we can figure out how to develop systems in which each species makes a contribution to the system, that can dramatically reduce energy inputs."

Kirschenmann explains this could require diversification of the crops a farmer plants, and using different types of farm animals in rotation on the land to provide much of the needed fertilizer. He also points out that energy use on a farm takes various forms -- not just fuel for machinery.

"It's our fertilizer, which is largely made from natural gas; it's our pesticides, which are largely made from petroleum; it's our farm equipment, which is very fossil-fuel-dependent.

Kirschenmann is convinced that Iowa farms can turn a profit and help the environment at the same time, and that the economic benefits of "bio-synergy" can be an incentive for today's farmers to change.

Dick Layman/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - IA