Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Agriculture News Briefs - January 12, 2005
sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the
Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable
Agriculture Information Service Web site.
* UK Research Finds Organic Milk Has More Omega 3 and Antioxidants
* Minnesota Farmers Push for Policies that Pass the '96 Percent Test'
* Tomales Bay Foods Showcases Local Agriculture
* Poll Shows Iowa Farmers Not Encouraging Kids to Farm
* Wisconsin Dairy Represents Threat to Mid-Size Farms
* California Certifies First Organic Restaurant
* Organic Valley Launches Organic Transition Fund
* Food Quality Protection Act Funds for a Sustainable Agriculture Program
* Extensionist Scholarships Available for Food Alliance Midwest Meeting
* Organic Community – Diversity from Soil to Plate
* Grassroots Biodiesel Conference
* Montana Organic Association Annual Conference
News & Resources
UK Research Finds Organic Milk Has More Omega 3 and Antioxidants
Organic milk has higher levels of Vitamin E, antioxidants and omega 3 essential fatty acids, according to new research released at the Soil Association’s annual conference, held in conjunction with the University of Newcastle’s Quality Low Impact Food (QLIF) Congress in Newcastle. Organically reared cows, which eat high levels of fresh grass, clover pasture and grass clover silage, produced milk which is on average 50% higher in Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), 75% higher in beta carotene (which our bodies convert to Vitamin A) and two to three times higher in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine than non-organic milk. The data supports the higher antioxidant levels reported by an Italian Research Council Study. In addition, the research team found higher levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, confirming earlier research into raised omega 3 levels by the University of Aberdeen2 and the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research3. The results will be presented at the QLIF Congress today by Jacob Holm, a senior biochemist at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
Minnesota Farmers Push for Policies that Pass the '96 Percent Test'
Farm groups, allies and key legislators recently announced support for legislation aimed at helping beginning dairy farmers, strengthening the anti-corporate farm law, devoting more resources to innovative livestock production, and defending the powers of local government. “Ninety-six percent of dairy farmers in Minnesota are under 200 cows. We need to address the needs of these producers,” said Doug Peterson, President of Minnesota Farmers Union. “Our proposals pass this 96 percent test and all legislative proposals for dairy farmers should as well.”
Tomales Bay Foods Showcases Local Agriculture
The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran a feature on Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station, home to a number of sustainable agriculture and resource conservation operations. The linchpin of the operation is Cowgirl Creamery, an organic cheese producer, but their building also houses a deli, organic food store, and offices for Tomales Bay Watershed Council, Marin Organic Association, and the Marin Resource Conservation District. The article profiles some of the sustainable agriculture activities that these groups conduct in the area.
Poll Shows Iowa Farmers Not Encouraging Kids to Farm
A recent survey conducted by Iowa State University Extensionand a corresponding real-time poll conducted by KCCI-TV News Channel 8 both showed that Iowa farmers would not encourage their children to follow in their footsteps as a career choice. Iowa Ag Connection reports that farmers surveyed cited concerns such as high start-up costs, high risks, low profits, and uncertainty. Many also said that a beginning farmer and spouse would be required to work off-farm to maintain a decent standard of living.
Wisconsin Dairy Represents Threat to Mid-Size Farms
Wisconsin dairy farmer Bernard Deitelhoff works a second job delivering rural bulk mail in order to keep his farm in business. A feature article originally published in The Chicago-Tribune and distributed by Knight-Ridder Tribune reports that Deitelhoff is trying to avoid the fate of many Wisconsin dairies, as well as mid-size farms across the nation. Between 1997 and 2002, almost a third of the state’s dairy farms went out of business. Wisconsin is losing its mid-sized dairies because they can’t compete with rock-bottom milk prices generated by huge dairies in Western states such as California and Idaho. While one dairy industry analyst believes Wisconsin also must embrace large-scale dairies in order to compete, some farmers and state officials would rather see Wisconsin define its current dairy industry through quality products and niche marketing.
California Certifies First Organic Restaurant
Ukiah Brewing Co. in Ukiah, California, has become only the second restaurant in the nation to receive organic certification, according to an AP article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. (The first was Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C.) In addition to using certified organic ingredients, the restaurant must follow dozens of other rules, including rules for which cleaning products and pest control products to use. Given the complexities of certification – the process also includes completing a 160-page application and paying a $1,600 fee – other restaurants that support local, organic agriculture have chosen to develop relationships built on trust rather than the federal imprimatur. Customers, however, like the quality of food offered by both types of establishments. Currently, food service represents just 2 percent of organic produce sold.
more news and resources, visit the National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Service Web site: Breaking News section: http://attra.ncat.org/management/geninfo.html.
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Organic Valley Launches Organic Transition Fund
Organic Valley Family of Farms, the nation's largest independent farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative, recently announced the Transition to Organic Fund, a financial assistance program for dairy farmers who are making the transition to organic. Organic Valley's Transition to Organic Fund will offset the costs of transitioning for dairy farmers who become members of the Organic Valley cooperative. For further information about the Organic Valley's Transition to Organic Fund, farmers are encouraged to call the Producer Hotline at Organic Valley, tel. (888) 809-9297.
Food Quality Protection Act Funds for a Sustainable Agriculture Program
EPA Region 9 is requesting proposals for one large grant to help implement the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and support transition efforts by growers to more environmentally-sound pest management practices. Special emphasis will be on sustainable agriculture programs that address a diverse array of commodities and have a proven track record of grower participation and adoption of sustainable pest management practices. Successful applicants will also have an applied research and extension component to their program. The EPA Region 9 Agriculture Program anticipates having up to $200,000 in 2005 to award. EPA is only soliciting proposals from qualified applicants located in the state of California. Applications are due by March 4, 2005.
Extensionist Scholarships Available for Food Alliance Midwest Meeting Travel scholarships are available for Extension educators interested in attending the Food Alliance Midwest’s fourth Annual Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005. The meeting will be held in the Twin Cities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scholarships will reimburse Extension educators for up to 200 miles of travel to attend the meeting, and will cover registration costs. The scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For additional funding opportunities, visit http://attra.ncat.org/management/financl.html.
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Organic Community – Diversity from Soil to Plate
January 28-30, 2005
Syracuse, New York
Northeast Organic Farming Association-NY announces its 24th Annual Organic Farming & Gardening Conference. Over 50 workshops for beginning and experienced farmers & gardeners, and special educational program for children and teens are included, as well as pre-conference Growers’ Schools on Seed Saving, Business Skills, and Organic Certification. Conference Registration information: (607) 652-NOFA or email@example.com
Grassroots Biodiesel Conference
January 28-29, 2005
Pittsboro, North Carolina
The Biofuels Educational Program at Central Carolina Community College in conjunction with Piedmont Biofuels Cooperative is hosting a biodiesel conference. The two-day event focuses on Biodiesel education, Biodiesel consumers' issues, and support for local biofuels endeavors. This event will help network consumers, small producers, educators, and activists from across America.
Montana Organic Association Annual Conference
February 4-7, 2005
MOA’s 2nd Annual Conference brings together organic producers from all fields of agriculture, from ranchers to vegetable farmers and wheat growers to orchardists. The conference provides a valuable opportunity for producers to meet with vendors; for researchers to share their latest findings; for farmers to share information; and for all of us to celebrate our unique, diverse organic community. For futher information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406-887-2869.
More events at http://attra.ncat.org/cgi-bin/event/calendar.cgi.
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