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Agriculture

Improving water management is of increasing importance in horticultural operations. A growing global population and changes in water availability will mean that less water will be available for ornamental plant production. There are also a growing number of federal and state regulations regarding water use and runoff from production areas. Better irrigation and fertilization management practices will help to limit the environmental impact of container plant production by limiting the runoff of water and nutrients from nurseries.

Livestock farms face a number of environmental concerns including both water and air quality issues. Stakeholders and regulators agree that attaining the dual goals of profitability and environmental accountability are major challenges facing animal agriculture. Under current economic conditions with increasing input costs and stagnant or decreasing product prices, many farms are struggling to survive. The additional costs of mitigating environmental impacts may accelerate farm exit.

Beginning in 2010, project participants at the Universities of Massachusetts and New Hampshire Extensions, along with two local food organizations, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) in western MA and Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) in eastern NH conducted research trials, and collaborated with winter vegetable producers throughout New England on methods for production, storage, and marketing to strengthen this aspect of the regional food system.

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