Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 24, 2007
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.
News & Resources
* Alliance Calls for Farm Bill Changes
Share The Harvest: Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues who might be interested in the latest sustainable agriculture news, funding opportunities, and events.
* Report Measures Success of Farmland Easements
* Reports Identify Lessons Learned for Five Dairy Manure Digesters
* Article Identifies Organic Programs for Aspiring Farmers
* Report Considers Wildlife Benefits of Conservation Security Program
* Organic Transition Hotline Introduced in Midwest
* Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
* Strategic Agricultural Initiative/Food Quality Protection Act Grant Program, EPA Region 9
* Center for Invasive Plant Management Seed Money Grants
* National Farm to Cafeteria and Food Policy Conference
* Organic Growers School
* Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference
News & Resources
Alliance Calls for Farm Bill Changes
A broad alliance of family farm, rural, conservation, sustainable and organic agriculture, anti-hunger, nutrition, faith-based, public health and other groups say the next farm bill should advance a new generation of farm and food policies designed to address some of the nation's most pressing social, economic, environmental and public health challenges. They detailed their recommendations in the report, Seeking Balance in U.S. Farm and Food Policy, released January 22. The report outlines innovations that supporters say would make real progress toward creating opportunities for young and beginning farmers, expanding new agricultural markets and value-added enterprises, helping more farmers move to organic production to meet increasing demand, reducing hunger and soaring rates of obesity; encouraging local food production and access to healthy food choices, promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in rural communities; providing incentives for more environmentally friendly farming systems; fostering cooperative conservation partnerships; and providing increased support for socially disadvantaged farmers and farmworkers. Developed under the auspices of the Farm and Food Policy Project, the report has been endorsed by more than 350 organizations across the country, and is available online.
Report Measures Success of Farmland Easements
American Farmland Trust has issued the fourth in a series of reports on agricultural easement programs across the nation. Measuring Success in Protecting Farmland with Easements attempts to determine if agricultural easements preserve farmland from urban influences, by applying five measurements of effective farmland protection to the experiences of 46 local agriculture easement programs. Measures used included numerical achievements, land market impacts, local agricultural economies, influence on urban growth, and long-term preservation. The complete report is available online in PDF.
Related ATTRA Publication: Conservation Easements
Reports Identify Lessons Learned for Five Dairy Manure Digesters
Anaerobic digesters are gaining popularity across the country as a way to convert manure to methane, which can fuel an electrical generator. The technology provides a way to dispose of manure and avoid associated odors while generating usable energy. Now, dairy farmers considering the technology can benefit from a series of new reports from the California Energy Commission (CEC), which evaluate five dairy digester systems and provide useful information on lessons learned with those systems, challenges, and benefits. The five reports can be downloaded from the CEC website.
Article Identifies Organic Programs for Aspiring Farmers
Interested in a career in farming, but not sure where to turn for help getting started? Check out the February/March 2007 issue of Mother Earth News. The article "Cultivating New Farmers," by Jean English identifies organic programs and resources for those looking to learn skills for a career in organic farming. The list includes academic programs; apprenticeships, volunteer and paid farm jobs; publications; and more.
Report Considers Wildlife Benefits of Conservation Security Program
The National Wildlife Federation, the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Izaak Walton League of America have released a report analyzing the wildlife benefits of the farm bill's Conservation Security Program (CSP). The report, Hidden Treasures: The Conservation Security Program and Wildlife (PDF / 652K), finds that: 1) the CSP provides substantial wildlife benefits, 2) wildlife benefits vary considerably from state to state, and 3) with some changes in the next farm bill and in USDA's implementation of the program the CSP could provide even greater wildlife benefits. The report's analysis of data provided by USDA finds that roughly one-half of CSP payments in contracts signed by farmers during the 2006 CSP sign-up either support direct wildlife habitat benefits or pesticide use reduction practices that will likely benefit some wildlife.
Organic Transition Hotline Introduced in Midwest
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has introduced a new toll-free Farmer Transition Hotline for Midwest producers interested in making the transition to organic production. The number 888-551-4769 (GROW) will be staffed by long-time organic farmer, trainer and organic inspector, Harriet Behar, who says, "I'm a sounding board for people's ideas, and I can show callers that the organic certification process is not as overwhelming as they thought. I'm also here to help farmers understand the organic regulations and get through the paperwork."
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Certification Process
> More Breaking News
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Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
CSREES announces the availability of grant funds and requests applications for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program (CFPCGP) for fiscal year 2007 to support: (1) the development of Community Food Projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make such projects self-sustaining; (2) projects that provide Training and Technical Assistance on a nationwide or regional basis to entities interested in developing new Community Food Projects or assisting current grantees; and (3) Planning Projects to assess the food security needs and plan long-term solutions to help ensure food security in communities. CSREES anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2007 will be approximately $4,600,000. A two-step process for applying for a CFPCGP grant is required in FY 2007. Eligible applicants must submit a 750-word Letter of Intent. Applicants of acceptable Letters of Intent will be invited to submit a full application.
Proposals are due February 13, 2007.
Agricultural Initiative/Food Quality Protection Act Grant Program,
EPA Region 9
EPA Region 9 is soliciting proposals to carry out the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), and to support efforts by the agricultural community to "transition" away from high-risk pesticides to lower risk pesticides and sustainable practices in food production. The program supports grants for education, extension and demonstration projects for FQPA transition and reduced risk practices for pest management in agriculture. In 2007, EPA Region 9 anticipates awarding approximately $400,000 in grants to eligible applicants, in 4 to 6 grants ranging in size from approximately $50,000 to a maximum of $100,000. Region 9 serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations.
Proposals are due March 19, 2007.
Center for Invasive Plant Management Seed Money Grants
The Center for Invasive Plant Management (CIPM) is accepting proposals for Seed Money grants. The goal of CIPM's Seed Money grants program is to support the collection and analysis of ecological data to better understand the prevention, introduction, spread, management, and ecology of invasive plants. Applicants must be employees of a university, government agency, or nonprofit organization. Up to 10 awards will be made in 2007. The maximum amount of the award is $5,000.
Proposals are due March 5, 2007.
> More Funding Opportunities
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National Farm to Cafeteria and Food Policy Conference
March 16-19, 2007
This third national conference is titled "From Cafeterias to Capitol Hill: Growing Healthy Kids, Farms, and Communities." Join hundreds of farm to cafeteria and food policy enthusiasts to share experiences, and get the latest, up-to-date info on institutional purchasing-on both the organizing and policy perspectives. A major focus of the conference will be issues related to the Farm Bill, including farm to cafeteria and beyond.
Organic Growers School
March 10, 2007
Flat Rock, North Carolina
The 14th annual Organic Growers Spring School seeks to provide down-to-earth and affordable information on all aspects of sustainable living, from raising healthy food with environmentally friendly methods, to using renewable energy, cooking wholesome meals, and creating native landscaping. Network with fellow producers and enjoy over 70 exciting classes, hands-on workshops, a children's program, a seed exchange, and a trade show with informational and educational booths. The classes cover a range of topics, from beginning gardening, medicinal herbs, and permaculture, to pest management, livestock production, and marketing.
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference
March 3-4, 2007
"Landscapes of Well-Being: Renewing People, Place, and Spirit" is the theme for this conference that offers keynote speakers Sally Fallon and Mark Shepard, over 40 individual workshops focused on growing and eating sustainably produced food, kids' conference, and networking opportunities.
> More Events
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