Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 25, 2006
Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Web site.
News & Resources
* Organic Labels Demystified for Consumers
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.
* USDA Offers Funds to Offset Energy Costs for EQIP Projects
* Book Advises Farmer Cooperation to Increase Market Power
* New Guide to Ranchland Conservation Available
* Hispanic Scientist Returns to Roots to Help Protect Farm Workers
* Solar Livestock Watering Systems Proving Themselves for Montana Ranchers
* Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
* Maine Agricultural Development Grant Program
* Wisconsin Targeted Runoff Management Grants
* Midwest Small Farm Conference
* Eighth National Black Land Loss Summit
* Smart Energy Management for Farmers
News & Resources
Organic Labels Demystified for Consumers
More and more consumers are seeking organic products, and the Organic Trade Association has issued a press release that will help shoppers become more informed about organic labels. There are three distinct types of organic label specified by the National Organic Program in the United States. Products may be labeled "100 percent organic," "organic" if 95 percent of the ingredients have been organically produced, or "made with organic" if they contain more than 70 percent organic ingredients by weight, excluding water and salt. Products with less than 70 percent organic ingredients may list those ingredients individually but don't qualify to use the USDA organic label or seal.
USDA Offers Funds to Offset Energy Costs for EQIP Projects
USDA has announced that it will offer $40 million for one-time payment adjustments that will allow eligible Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) participants to complete conservation practices that have been delayed because of recent increases in energy prices. This assistance is part of USDA's effort to mitigate the impact of high energy costs on agricultural producers, and will apply to participants who signed EQIP contracts in 2004 or earlier. The payment adjustment will apply to practices that have been most affected by recent cost increases due to rising energy costs. This assistance is part of USDA's effort to mitigate the impact of high energy costs on agricultural producers.
Book Advises Farmer Cooperation to Increase Market Power
A new book written by a University of Minnesota economics professor advises farmers to increase their market power by working together. In a food market controlled by retailers, where farmers are usually price takers instead of price makers, Richard A. Levins says that farmers can change their situation by organizing themselves to bargain for higher prices. His book, Market Power for Farmers - What it is, How to get it, How to use it, is distributed by the Institute for Rural America. The book offers examples of Cooperatives Working Together and Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing to show how cooperative arrangements have benefited farmers by giving them more market power.
New Guide to Ranchland Conservation Available
A partnership between American Farmland Trust and Coleman Natural Foods has resulted in the publication of a new guide to tools and resources that can help farmers and ranchers conserve their land, augment productivity, and implement holistic land stewardship practices. The guide is aimed at agricultural landowners of the Rocky Mountain region - Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Titled Rocky Mountain Agricultural Landowners: Guide to Conservation and Sustainability (PDF / 936 kb), the guide includes sections on farm and ranch land protection, conservation and stewardship programs, sustainable ranchland management practices, and other resources.
Hispanic Scientist Returns to Roots to Help Protect Farm Workers
A recent feature article in The Seattle Times profiles Gloria Coronado, an epidemiologist with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and her work with Latino farmworkers in eastern Washington. Coronado, a Mexican barber’s daughter who was raised in eastern Washington, is using her expertise to help document the impact of pesticides on the state’s farmworkers and to educate workers and their families about pesticides and how to protect themselves. Coronado also seeks to mentor other Hispanic scholars, including some who, like her, grew up in eastern Washington’s agricultural communities.
Solar Livestock Watering Systems Proving Themselves for Montana Ranchers
Eastern Montana ranchers who have installed solar electric systems to power their remote livestock watering facilities are pleased with the results, reports The Prairie Star. The solar systems are more reliable than old windmills, and are rugged enough to withstand extreme weather conditions. The article interviews a system installer from Billings, Montana, who describes some of the different systems ranchers are using, and their costs. He points out that ranchers are often able to offset the cost of solar pumping systems with funding from federal conservation programs.
Related ATTRA Publication: Solar-Powered Livestock Watering Systems
> More Breaking News
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Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the availability of up to $4.15 million for projects that manage and control the spread of invasive species (plants, animals, and insects) affecting grazing land. Applications will be accepted from all 50 States, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Basin Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). Projects associated with western grazing lands will receive priority consideration. The grants, which require a 1:1 match, will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. Projects can be up to three years in length.
Proposals are due April 3, 2006.
Maine Agricultural Development Grant Program
The Maine Department of Agriculture is requesting proposals for providing grants for market research, market promotion or new technology demonstrations of Maine agricultural products. The Agricultural Development Grant program is a competitive grant program, solicited twice a year, and given to projects that will help a number of businesses, rather than support individual businesses.
Proposals are due March 16, 2006.
Wisconsin Targeted Runoff Management Grants
Grant applications are available for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Targeted Runoff Management (TRM) program. These grants are provided to control polluted runoff from both urban and agricultural sites. The grants are targeted at high-priority resource problems. Projects funded by TRM grants are site-specific and serve areas generally smaller in size than a subwatershed. The grant period is 2 years, with a possible 1-year extension. The maximum cost-share rate available to TRM grant recipients is 70 percent of eligible costs, with the total of state funding not to exceed $150,000. TRM grants can also fund the construction of agricultural and urban Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Proposals are due April 17, 2006.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Midwest Small Farm Conference
February 11, 2006
Livestock and produce farmers wishing to differentiate their products for niche markets will have a chance to learn about different strategies at this "Carving Your Niche" event sponsored by Sustainable Earth and Purdue Cooperative Extension of Montgomery County. There will be an emphasis on organic, natural or transitional production and marketing.
Eighth National Black Land Loss Summit
February 17-19, 2006
Bricks, North Carolina
This summit, focusing on "The Value of Land in a Post-Katrina America," is hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Tillery, North Carolina, and the National Black Farmers and Agriculturalist Association. The summit continues an ongoing dialogue toward 'self-determination,' beginning with land ownership, and will address the importance of ethnically based and culturally relevant locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Smart Energy Management for Farmers
March 23, 2006
North Coast, California
This workshop is part of a program that is working to provide California farmers with a comprehensive set of resources to decrease fossil fuel use through energy conservation and renewable energy applications. The workshop includes a farm tour and presentations on energy efficiency, renewable energy incentives, and energy management on the farm.
> More Events
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