Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - January 5, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* California Farmers Work to Move Beyond the 'O' Word
* Vermont's Intervale Produces Local Food and Farmers
* Leopold Center Launches Grassland Agriculture Program
* Colorado Ranchers Face Mounting Pressures to Sell Land
* Report Finds Financing Barrier to Growth of Sustainable Farms
* Sheep Producers to Vote on Lamb Checkoff
* Kentucky Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program
* USDA Scientific Cooperation Research Program
* Integrated Pest Management Section 406 Program
* Wisconsin FarmDirect Conference
* No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference
* Texas Conference on Organic Production Systems
News & Resources
California Farmers Work to Move Beyond the 'O' Word
A feature article in the East Bay Express profiles farmers Rick and Kristie Knoll of Brentwood, California, and their concerns about national organic certification. Although their 10-acre farm would likely qualify, they have refused to certify it out of concerns about the direction national standards are heading. "What are people eating, exactly?" asked Rick Knoll. "Is it the organic food that they thought it was when they went to the farmers' market and first discovered it twenty years ago?"
Vermont's Intervale Produces Local Food and Farmers
The New Farm Web site profiles Burlington, Vermont's Intervale
Project. The 700-acre project features an innovative farm incubator program and a large-scale composting operation, and provides six percent of Burlington's fresh food. Most importantly, it helps protect Vermont's agricultural heritage." The agricultural landscape is part of our culture and our character—and it's also a huge benefit to our tourism industry," said program director Lindsey Ketchel." But you can't preserve that landscape without farmers working the land."
Leopold Center Launches Grassland Agriculture Program
Iowa's Leopold Center recently announced that it will launch a grassland agriculture program. "It's really an exciting focus area for the Leopold Center," said Jeri Neal, who leads the Center's Ecology Initiative. "There is a desperate need for higher visibility of grass-based systems and for these systems to play a much larger role in working agricultural lands." Neal said she hopes the program can create new partnerships and collaborations and help bring together grass-related research and work already being done by many landowners in Iowa and surrounding states. She said the time is right for such an effort, noting growing consumer interest in grass-fed meat products, and research that has identified efficiencies in intensive rotational grazing systems. Grass-based agriculture emphasizes grasses, forages and legumes that preserve the best qualities of productive agricultural land. Although grazing is key to grass-based systems, there are roles for other crops. Potential benefits include improved income opportunities, restoration of wildlife habitat, hunting, erosion and flood control, renewable energy, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration.
Colorado Ranchers Face Mounting Pressures to Sell Land
The Denver Post reports on struggling Colorado ranchers who face increasing pressure to sell ranchlands. The Post notes that 60 percent of Colorado farms and ranches had total annual sales of less than $10,000 in 2002. And while it may be more difficult for ranchers to earn a living, the land they work is skyrocketing in value. "Farmers and ranchers in Colorado are seeing their equity slipping away, and they see an opportunity to cash in and start sipping piña coladas, even though most of them don't know what that is," said Don Ament, a farmer and agriculture commissioner. "As we continue to apply these pressures - pressures for growth, pressures for water - these old guys out on the farms and ranches, they are gonna crack. Can you blame them?"
Report Finds Financing Barrier to Growth of Sustainable Farms
A report from the nonprofit Center for Community Self-Help says that financing remains a major barrier to the growth of the sustainable farm movement. The finding was based on a survey of 400 organic farmers in North Carolina, examining credit needs and barriers for small and sustainable farms. While the survey found that lender bias was rare, obtaining funding was still deemed a barrier to sustainable farm growth. The full report, Funding
the New Harvest, is available online.
Sheep Producers to Vote on Lamb Checkoff
The American Lamb Board has announced a referendum on the American Lamb Checkoff Program. Sheep producers, feeders and first handlers will decide whether to continue the Lamb Promotion, Research, and Information Order during a four-week voting period beginning January 31, 2005. The program collects assessment fees on all lambs sold for slaughter, and is designed to expand market share of American Lamb. The referendum was scheduled following three years of program operation.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site's Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/news/.
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Kentucky Agri-tourism Competitive Awards Program
Kentucky has developed an agri-tourism competitive award program utilizing state Agricultural Development Funds. In 2005, a total of $1 million will be available for funding in two separate rounds. Any producer engaging in an on-farm Agri-tourism Business, or any Regional Agri-tourism Organization engaging in marketing and promotion for Agri-tourism Businesses in multiple counties is eligible to apply for funds. Agri-tourism is defined as any economic activity that occurs on a farm for the enjoyment or education of the public to promote agricultural products, services, or experiences, which generate additional farm income. A 50 percent funding match is required. The deadline for applications for the first round of funding is February 1, 2005.
Scientific Cooperation Research Program
The Scientific Cooperation Research Program (SCRP) funds long-term and short-term international collaborative research and exchanges that address concerns for food security, environmental stewardship, and agricultural trade. Successful proposals focus on the mutual strategic goals of USDA and its worldwide partners. SCRP projects promote the enhancement of agricultural producers’ economic opportunities, protection from agricultural pests and diseases, food safety, nutrition and health, rural quality of life, and the environment. The 2005 cycle of the annual competitive Scientific Cooperation Research Program welcomes proposals for joint international activities of mutual benefit in food security, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, marketing, and trade. Proposals are due March 15, 2005.
Integrated Pest Management Section 406 Program
The IPM Section 406 Program seeks to solve critical agricultural issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The Program is designed to fund the development of new Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches or the improvement of existing IPM systems. The program areas included in the IPM Section 406 Program are Crops at Risk; Risk Avoidance and Mitigation; and Methyl Bromide Transitions. Projects funded within these program areas will cover a broad range of new methodologies, technologies, systems and strategies for implementing integrated crop and pest management programs. All applicants should consider: (1) the evolving science and technology; (2) information identifying IPM practices (e.g., crop profiles and strategic plans); (3) risk mitigation; and (4) the pest management needs of producers. Projects should focus on enhancing grower knowledge and adoption of appropriate IPM practices through extension outreach and demonstrations relevant to “real-world” systems. Proposals are due March 7, 2005.
additional funding opportunities, visit: http://attra.ncat.org/funding/.
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January 22, 2005
This conference is designed to assist individuals who are direct marketing agricultural products or who would like to explore the possibility.
No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference
January 24-25, 2005
"Simplify the Chaos" is the theme of what is billed as the largest no-till conference
in North America. A range of speakers and social events will be featured.
URL: http://www.notill.org/WC05/winter_conf_main page.htm
Texas Conference on Organic Production Systems
January 26-28, 2005
South Padre Island, Texas
Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association presents an event that is Texas’ best effort to increase the use of sustainable and organic agricultural production practices by everyone from the small market farmer to the rancher with thousands of acres. Track One will be for the farmer with the larger farm or ranch with Track Two speaking to the small landowner or market farmer.
events at: http://attra.ncat.org/calendar/.
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site of the ATTRA project created and managed by the National
Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and funded under a grant
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Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT
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