Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 12, 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
* Farm Internship Curriculum from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)
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* SARE’s 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference Highlights Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture
* Soybean Field Guide Available
* Resources Available to Help Small Meat Processors
* Pasture-Raised Meats Gain Converts
* Leopold Center Awards 2008 Grants
* Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program
* Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 7
* Oregon Challenge Cost Share Program
* Swine School
* Field Day: Farm-to-School and Direct Marketing
* Eat Local! 2008
News & Resources
Farm Internship Curriculum from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)
ATTRA - the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - is making available a free, online version of a Western SARE curriculum for interns designed to be used by individual farmers during the course of the workweek. Ideally, a farmer will use the In-Field Curriculum when he or she is demonstrating a new task to interns. A companion Handbook was authored by Maud Powell and developed and tested by Oregon farmers and interns. It details successful methods of recruitment, hiring, negotiating with, training, and managing interns.
SARE’s 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference Highlights Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education's (SARE) 20th anniversary New American Farm Conference, March 25-27, in Kansas City, Missouri, will feature two decades of groundbreaking research and innovations in sustainable agriculture. The conference will educate participants about how sustainable farming is rapidly changing the face of American agriculture. Through tours, poster and breakout sessions and workshops, conference attendees will gather new insights, experience innovative production and marketing techniques and learn about groundbreaking advances. The conference is open to farmers, ranchers, teachers, researchers, students, advocates or simply curious consumers.
Soybean Field Guide Available
Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Association have worked together to develop a comprehensive soybean resource titled "The Soybean Disease & Pest Management Field Guide." The field guide is a pocket-size spiral-bound 51-page booklet that contains the latest science-based recommendations. That includes planting tips to increase yield, including the most profitable plant population for today's seed varieties, row spacing recommendations and planting date recommendations. Wallaces Farmer reports the guide also includes a section on identifying soybean diseases that limit yield. The insect identification section includes images that will enable the user to easily identify insects that damage the crop, as well as beneficial insects that help keep other insects under control.
Related ATTRA Publication: Organic Soybean Production
Resources Available to Help Small Meat Processors
Extension faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed Web-based resources to assist small meat and poultry processors with Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation. The resources have been developed in three areas: validation of critical limits, development of HACCP plans and evaluation of raw-product temperature deviations. Meatingplace.com reports the group has also developed an interactive, Web-based predictive tool for evaluating the safety of raw meat or poultry held for a time at abusive temperatures. The University of Wisconsin Center for Meat Process Validation site also includes Model HACCP Plans, Supporting Documentation for Validating Critical Limits, Monitoring Guidance, and Corrective Action Guidance.
Pasture-Raised Meats Gain Converts
A proliferation of pasture-raised meat sources is inducing even some vegetarians to opt for grass-fed and humanely raised meats, according to the North Bay Bohemian. Niman ranch is one of the better-known operations offering a variety of pasture-raised beef and pork, but other producers are also offering sustainably raised meats that find a ready market among chefs and shoppers. A sidebar article describes a new twist on the CSA— a meat-buying club that provides members with a supply of beef, pork and lamb each month. The service includes meat sauces and recipes prepared by regional chefs, to help buyers learn to cook unusual cuts.
Meanwhile, local beef is also carving a market niche in Kentucky, says a story on Kentucky Ag Connection. Consumers are interested in local meats, and farmers who finish animals themselves are avoiding the transportation costs and energy involved in the conventional system that finishes animals out of state and ships them back for sale.
Related ATTRA Publication: Beef Marketing Alternatives
Leopold Center Awards 2008 Grants
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University has awarded grants for 20 new projects covering a wide range of activities that support emerging markets for local foods and renewable energy, and encourage a transition to alternative systems that protect the environment while using fewer outside inputs. These projects will receive $380,805 for their first year of work. The Center also is renewing 15 grants totaling more than $330,000 for multi-year projects already in progress. The 2008 grants include 13 new projects in the Center's Marketing and Food Systems Initiative, which will create tools and resources to help farmers enter emerging markets for local foods and renewable fuels, as well as document the impacts of those activities on regional economies to encourage rural development. Another set of projects targets new farmers in immigrant and ethnic communities as well as farm families who want to bring children and others into their operations. Six new grants are part of the Center's Ecological Systems Initiative that focuses on innovative ways to use diversified farming systems in Iowa. A full list of projects is avaiable online.
> More Breaking News
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Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program
USDA will accept $220.9 million in loan and grant applications within USDA's Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. Loan guarantees and grants are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible applicants may seek loan guarantees to cover up to 50 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $10 million. Grants are available for up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements and $500,000 for renewable energy systems. USDA will issue one grant solicitation for two separate competitions in FY 2008. For the first competitive window, grant-only applications must be submitted no later than April 15, 2008. For the second competitive window, grant-only applications must be submitted no earlier than April 16, 2008, and no later than June 16, 2008. Applications for loan guarantees, as well as those for loan/grant combinations must be completed and submitted to the appropriate USDA Rural Development State Office no later than June 16, 2008.
Proposals are due June 16, 2008.
Strategic Agricultural Initiative, EPA Region 7
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is soliciting proposals to support efforts by the agricultural community to "transition" away from high-risk pesticides to the use of less and reduced-risk pesticides, alternative methods of agricultural pest control, and sustainable practices in food production. The Strategic Agricultural Initiative program supports grants for education, extension, demonstration, and implementation of reduced risk practices for pest management. Implementation of all projects must occur within one or more of the four states of EPA Region 7: Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
Proposals are due May 16, 2008.
Oregon Challenge Cost Share Program
The Challenge Cost Share (CCS) program funds the following kinds of activities: research, monitoring and inventory of resources; implementation of habitat improvement projects, protection or documentation of cultural resources; providing for enhanced recreational experiences; development and implementation of species conservation and recovery plans; environmental education; conservation projects for native plant communities and eradication of noxious and other weeds. In 2008, the Oregon program will be managed to implement a variety of important projects that include resource inventory, monitoring and research, conservation planning and implementation, environmental education, habitat and plant community restoration, cultural site protection, recreation and Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) management.
Proposals are due August 31, 2008.
> More Funding Opportunities
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April 18-19, 2008
Pocantico Hills, New York
This one-and-a-half-day workshop is hosted by Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and The Animal Welfare Institute. Topics to be covered are Outdoor Management Techniques, Swine Behavior, Meat Quality, Feeds & Feeding, Herd Health, Breeding and more. Speakers include a Niman Ranch pig specialist, producers, and a researcher on sylvo-pastoral opportunities with pigs.
Field Day: Farm-to-School and Direct Marketing
April 17, 2008
Ricky and Claudia Crow will share their two decades of experience growing vegetables for direct marketing, as well as their recent foray into farm-to-school, at this free field day sponsored by Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in cooperation with USDA Risk Management Agency. The Crows will showcase their hoop house tomatoes, plasticulture crops, farm to school crops, and wash line facilities.
Eat Local! 2008
April 5, 2008
Kansas City Food Circle's 10th Annual Exhibition of Farmers offers consumers an opportunity to connect with local farmers who produce organic vegetables, free-range meats, eggs and dairy for direct sale to consumers, either on the farm or through a community-supported agriculture membership. Many will have products available at the event. In addition to meeting local farmers, attendees can hear speakers and receive a free 2008 Directory of Local Organic and Free Range Food Producers.
> More Events
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