Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 30, 2008
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
* Draft Sustainable Agriculture Standard to be Introduced
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* Schafer Sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture
* Iowa Group Addressing Small Processing Plant Issues
* Study Shows Local Food Growing in New York
* Minnesota Launches Living on the Land Series
* Lawsuit Challenges GMO Sugar Beet
* Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
* Kentucky Horticulture Advertising Cost Share Program
* Wisconsin Agricultural Development and Diversification Grant Program
* Pollinating Our Future: Urban Agriculture Conference
* Georgia Organics Annual Conference & Trade Show
* New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
News & Resources
Draft Sustainable Agriculture Standard to be Introduced
An effort to develop a sustainable agriculture ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard was launched in October. The "Sustainable Agriculture Practice Standard for Food, Fiber and Biofuel Crop Producers and Agricultural Product Handlers and Processors" (SCS-001: Draft Standard for Trial Use) will be introduced February 4 in a teleconference. The Leonardo Academy, an ANSI-accredited Standards Development Organization, is assembling a balanced, multi-stakeholder group to participate in this transparent, consensus-building standard setting process. A Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting is set for February 29, in Arlington, Virginia. Registration information for both events and support documentation on the standard development process are available online.
Schafer Sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture
Ed Schafer was sworn in as the 29th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on January 28, 2008. Schafer served as North Dakota's governor from 1992 to 2000. He also has extensive private sector experience as both an entrepreneur and a business executive. As governor, he made diversifying and expanding North Dakota's economy, reducing the cost of government and advancing agriculture his top priorities. Schafer encouraged the growth of value-added agricultural industries such as pasta and corn sweetener manufacturing. In 2000 he co-founded and co-chaired the Governors Biotechnology Partnership to increase public understanding and support for the benefits of agricultural biotechnology.
Iowa Group Addressing Small Processing Plant Issues
A team of researchers, entrepreneurs, regulators and producer groups hopes to change the Iowa landscape for small, independent meat processors. The team, which has been meeting over the past 18 months, hopes to help small Iowa meat processors begin, upgrade or expand their businesses. The team is called the Small Meat Processors Working Group, supported by the Value Chain Partnerships project that is coordinated by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Leopold Center Associate Director Rich Pirog said this team addresses important challenges to making local and regional foods more available in Iowa. As part of a related marketing project funded by the Leopold Center, workshops for small meat processors will be offered again in 2008. The workshops will focus on marketing and business planning skills. They are scheduled April 21 in Spirit Lake, May 15 in Ames, and June 11 in Cedar Falls. For more information or to participate in the working group, contact Thiboumery at (515) 294-2882, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Shows Local Food Growing in New York
Duncan Hilchey of Cornell's Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI) studies agriculture and food system indicators to set a comparative baseline for the North Country Regional Foods Initiative to use to evaluate anticipated growth of the local foods sector in northern New York. New York Ag Connection reports in 2002, the direct-to-consumer share of the total regional food expenditure of $936 million was almost $3.4 million -- that is only one-third of 1 percent of the total, showing room for growth. In 2002, 11 percent of northern New York farms sold directly to consumers, up from almost 7 percent in 1992, increasing direct-to-consumer farm sales to more than $3 million, up from $1.3 million. "North Country agricultural producers also have growing opportunities for increasing direct wholesaling, such as selling to restaurants, resorts and colleges," Hilchey notes. "It is great to see innovative programs helping to make the links between the producers and buyers."
Minnesota Launches Living on the Land Series
The Living on the Land Workshop Series is being launched as a pilot course by the University of Minnesota Extension. This 8-week course arms landowners with basic agricultural information to enable them to become good stewards of their land. The course will begin with goal setting and will then cover soil, plant, and water basics. Benefits for attending include forage and soil sampling testing, numerous handouts and publications, an educational farm tour and dinner, a site visit consultation from a University of Minnesota Extension Educator in your area, as well as the tools to help you succeed with your goals and dreams on your country acreage.
Lawsuit Challenges GMO Sugar Beet
The Center for Food Safety and others have filed a lawsuit challenging USDA's deregulation of a genetically modified sugar beet developed by Monsanto, reports a Reuters news story on Planet Ark. The glyphosate-resistant sugar beet is expected to be grown commercially in the U.S. for the first time this year. The plaintiffs say environmental effects of the deregulation have not been adequately considered. They say there is concern about cross-contamination of sugar beet, table beet, and chard crops with the genetically modified crop, as well as danger of developing herbicide-resistant weeds. The lawsuit is similar to one that resulted last year in a judge halting planting of genetically modified alfalfa.
> More Breaking News
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Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Act authorizes the Secretary of Interior to provide direct technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in restoring, enhancing, and managing fish and wildlife habitats on their own lands. It is a goal of the program to secure at least 50 percent of project costs from non-Service sources, but this goal applies to the national program as a whole, and does not have to be achieved on a project-by-project basis. Funding above $25,000 for an individual project must be approved at the Washington Office level. If you are interested in pursuing a project under the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program you must contact your local coordinator. A listing of coordinators by state is available online.
Proposals are due September 30, 2008.
Kentucky Horticulture Advertising Cost Share Program
Successful applicants may receive a 50 percent cash match of up to $2,000 per calendar year if they follow all the guidelines for promoting and advertising Kentucky Proud products. The selling of Kentucky-grown horticultural products must be the main focus of the advertising and promotional efforts. Participants may submit a budget and get the items and amounts pre-approved. Monies will be set aside for your project and you will know what reimbursement you will receive when all the required paperwork is received. Participants can also submit the reimbursement form with all required attachments on projects not pre-approved. If these items are found to meet program criteria and funds are available, then a reimbursement will be issued.
Proposals are due January 6, 2009.
Wisconsin Agricultural Development and Diversification Grant Program
The Agricultural Development and Diversification Grant Program invites proposals for projects that are likely to stimulate Wisconsin's agricultural economy through the development and exploration of new value-added products, new markets, or new technologies in agriculture. ADD grants are awarded competitively each year. Currently, the program has $380,000 to award to projects with a maximum grant amount of $50,000.
Proposals are due March 15, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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Pollinating Our Future: Urban Agriculture Conference
February 28 - March 1, 2008
This conference invites everybody interested in urban agriculture to participate by sharing needs, experiences, questions, and project ideas. This conference will address the barriers to urban agriculture, by involving a wide range of often disconnected stakeholders: urban producers, researchers, urban planners, developers, community organizations, and urban activists to address the most important and controversial issues of poverty alleviation, environmental and waste management, local economic, social and community development and global warming. Urban agricultural experts from around North America will join us in forums, workshops, exhibitions, presentations, videos and networking. The conference includes a Small Plot Intensive Farming Workshop, Upper Midwest Food Policy Council Training, a Composting/Vermiculture Workshop, and main conference sessions.
Georgia Organics Annual Conference & Trade Show
February 28 - March 1, 2008
Gather the tools, skills, and connections needed to take your food and farms into a future where farm, family, and community values merge with sustainable innovation, and thriving family farms connect with consumers at school, at work, at play. The conference includes a pre-conference field day on heritage livestock, an urban farm tour, educational sessions, a children's program, and more.
New Mexico Organic Farming Conference
February 29 - March 1, 2008
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Southwest's premier conference on organic agriculture includes workshop tracks for crops, livestock, marketing/certification, and farm support. Demonstrations and a keynote speaker are also included in the agenda.
> More Events
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