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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 9, 2013

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Land Rental Resources Available
  • Research Brief Reports Pastured Dairy Heifers Grow Well
  • FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules
  • New Cost-of-Production Studies Released
  • Researchers Quantify Urban Agriculture with Google Earth
  • Study Looks at Managing Habitat to Improve Bumblebee Pollination

Funding Opportunities

  • Lakewinds Organic Field Fund
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: NIFA Fellowships Grant Program
  • New York Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Dairy Farm and Dairy Processing Wastes Program

Coming Events

  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
  • TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat

News & Resources

Land Rental Resources Available
The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee has recently developed a series of land rent publications and forms that will aid landowners and tenants with determining a land rent value. The publication series includes fixed and flexible cash rental arrangements, crop share arrangements, and pasture rental. Each publication has an associated rental contract form. The publications are free to the public.
Related ATTRA Publication: Finding Land to Farm: Six Ways to Secure Farmland

Research Brief Reports Pastured Dairy Heifers Grow Well
A research brief from the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems reports that heifers raised on pasture in the ongoing Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial performed as well as or better than heifers raised in confinement. In this study, not only did heifers on managed pastures match the weights and age at first calving of their confined counterparts, but they also outperformed confinement heifers in terms of average daily gain during the pasture season and milk production in their first lactation.
Related ATTRA Publication: Raising Dairy Heifers on Pasture

FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. The rules are available for public comment for the next 120 days. The first rule would require makers of food to be sold in the United States to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require food makers to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The second proposed rule sets forth enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms.

New Cost-of-Production Studies Released
New studies showing production costs for grass-fed beef, alfalfa hay, corn silage, rice, prunes, raspberries, and avocados (conventional and organic) are now available from the University of California Cooperative Extension. Each analysis is based upon hypothetical farm operations using practices common in the region. All the cost-of-production studies are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication: Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming

Researchers Quantify Urban Agriculture with Google Earth
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a methodology that they used to quantify the urban agriculture in Chicago, reports Farmers' Advance. Researchers uploaded lists of community gardens into Google Earth, then developed a set of reference images to determine which gardens were actually producing food. They used Google Earth images to locate other food production sites in the city, including residential gardens. The final estimate was 4,648 urban agriculture sites with a production area of 264,181 square meters.

Study Looks at Managing Habitat to Improve Bumblebee Pollination
A study from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley suggests that increasing the number of species-rich flowering patches in suburban and urban gardens, farms, and restored habitats could provide pathways for bees to forage and improve pollination services over larger areas. Researchers found that bees will move longer distances to find patches of flowers that are rich in species; it's not floral density that determines how far a bumblebee will fly, but floral diversity.
Related ATTRA Publication: Farmscaping to Enhance Biological Control

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund
The goal of Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund is to support local farmers and farming associations that are working on the development and sustainability of organics through research and development, organic certification, transitioning farms from conventional to organic, creating new farms, and land trusts for organic farms. Lakewinds' Organic Field Fund is open to all farmers and farming associations, but preference will be given for farmers and farming organizations located in Minnesota, northern Iowa, and western Wisconsin.
Application deadline is February 8, 2013.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: NIFA Fellowships Grant Program
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Fellowships from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture focus on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in food and agricultural sciences. The program targets talented, highly motivated doctoral candidates and postdoctoral trainees that demonstrate remarkable promise and the potential to become gifted education, extension, and research professionals. NIFA anticipates that $6 million will be available through the program this year. Applications can be submitted by eligible mentor institutions, or a student may apply on his or her own behalf.
A letter of intent must be submitted by January 17, 2013.

New York Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Dairy Farm and Dairy Processing Wastes Program
Approximately $23.6 million in New York State Renewable Portfolio Standard funds and $5 million in funds provided by the New York Power Authority are available to support the installation and operation of Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Systems using dairy farm wastes and/or dairy product processing wastes in New York State. Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis; up to $2 million is available per site, depending on project size.
Applications are due by January 31, 2013.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 21-23, 2013
La Crosse, Wisconsin

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference offers more than 70 workshops, inspiring keynote speakers, and a trade show. This farmer-focused conference is celebrated as the foremost educational and networking event in the organic farming community. The conference includes MOSES Organic University, a day of in-depth pre-conference courses.

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
February 15-16, 2013
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This annual conference offers an opportunity for producers and researchers from around the Southwest to share their experiences and expertise. Workshop topics will include vegetable, herb, fruit, nut, and livestock production; insect and disease management; and pollination.

TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat
February 16, 2013
New York, New York

Glynwood Institute for Sustainable Food and Farming presents an event with speakers sharing their insights and expertise on food and farming. Time is planned for attendees to meet each other and look for new synergies and new ideas to help bolster the sustainable food movement.

>> More Events

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Digital versions of recent and archived Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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