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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 17, 2010

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.

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News & Resources
* Livestock Breed Conservation List Released
* Survey Shows US Sheep and Goat Inventories Down
* Ag Law Center Posts New Reading Rooms
* New York Farming Guide Revised
* Montana State Extension Offers New Grain Marketing Publications
* Dairy Decision Support Tool Available


Funding Opportunities
* Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Grant
* University of Minnesota's Theodora and Arnold Johnson Undergraduate
    Research Program Award
* Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant


Coming Events
* Planning Your Organic Farm for Profit Webinar
* Farm Water Toolbox Forums
* Profitable Meat Goat Conference



News & Resources

Livestock Breed Conservation List Released
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) has released its 21st annual Conservation Priority List. The list is an assessment of endangered breed populations for domestic livestock and poultry breeds throughout the United States. For 2010 there are 186 breeds of livestock and poultry on the Conservation Priority List. Thirty-three mammalian breeds are listed as critically endangered and 30 poultry breeds.

Survey Shows US Sheep and Goat Inventories Down
The Annual Sheep & Goat Inventory (PDF/365KB) was recently released by USDA-NASS. National inventories for both species declined over the past year. U.S. sheep and lamb inventory totaled 5.63 million head on January 1st, down 2 percent from 2009. Wool production was 6 percent less than in 2008. The U.S. goat inventory totaled 3.04 million head on January 1st, and was 1 percent lower than in 2009. Non-dairy goats decreased slightly, while milk goats increased 6 percent. Angora goats were down 19 percent.

Ag Law Center Posts New Reading Rooms
The National Agricultural Law Center has posted two new online reading rooms. The new Forestry reading room is dedicated to the legal issues confronting the forestry industry. Issues such as carbon sequestration, the Endangered Species Act, global warming, renewable energy, public lands, agri-tourism, taxation, and many more interact in various ways that affect forest owners. The reading room provides information on many legal aspects of the forestry industry including an overview article, major federal and state statutes and regulations, links to important government and private websites, and access to forms and state websites on forestry as well as scholarly works concerning the various forestry topics. The new Agricultural Leases Reading Room deals with the issues that face farmers when they lease their lands or are leasing additional farmlands. The room contains a comprehensive case law index on the area, with cases involving leasing disputes to requirements under federal grazing permits.

New York Farming Guide Revised
The NY Beginning Farmer Project and Cornell Small Farms Program have completed the annual revision of the popular Guide to Farming in NY: What Every Agricultural Entrepreneur Needs to Know. If you work with farmers in any capacity, this guide will prove a useful resource. The Guide consists of 33 fact sheets covering finding land, food processing regulations, farm vehicle safety, financing, farm taxes, and everything in between. As always, the Guide is available for free download, as a complete document or by individual fact sheet, from the Cornell Small Farms website.

Montana State Extension Offers New Grain Marketing Publications
Two new publications on grain marketing are now available from Montana State University Extension publications. Both publications are free. "The Futures Hedge (Short Hedge)" publication introduces readers to using futures at national commodity exchanges. Advantages and disadvantages of using futures is discussed in this publication. Readers are also offered scenarios in which this grain marketing option would be a valuable tool. "Grain Contracts with Local Elevators," the second publication, is designed to help Montana grain producers understand the most basic elements of grain marketing.

Dairy Decision Support Tool Available
Several decisions are made daily on a dairy farm – some involve cow and labor management, others address crop and business concerns, and there are a host of others in between. Unfortunately, dairy producers do not always have enough information to make the best decisions for current circumstances. The Dairy Expansion Decision Support System – a decision support system designed to explore dairy farm production and expansion scenarios and simulate specific metrics of their performance – provides critical information dairy producers need to actively manage risk on their dairies. The versatility of the program’s structure offers potential use in several other areas including providing a tool for risk management in times of great uncertainty, particularly during periods of dairy expansion; accounting for future herd growth when considering livestock housing needs; and matching the proper facility design with specific user-defined goals in mind.

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Funding Opportunities

Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Grant
The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute is requesting applications for community engagement grants to fund innovative community-university partnerships related to food, nutrition and health. Projects should include participatory action research, or other creative strategies for addressing community-identified problems by bringing together academic and community partners.
Proposals are due May 3, 2010.

University of Minnesota's Theodora and Arnold Johnson Undergraduate Research Program Award
The University of Minnesota's Theodora and Arnold Johnson Undergraduate Research Program is designed to provide students with an internship opportunity to work with a faculty member on a research topic pertaining to sustainable agriculture. A maximum award of $3,000 is available for each research project accepted. At least two awards will be made each year.
Proposals are due April 2, 2010.

Minnesota Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) 2010 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program – Second Call for Proposals. Competitive grants for up to $25,000 are awarded to individuals or groups for on-farm sustainable agriculture research or demonstration projects in Minnesota. The purpose of the Grant Program is to fund practices that promote environmental stewardship and conservation of resources as well as improve profitability and quality of life on farms and in rural areas.
Proposals are due March 29, 2010.

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Planning Your Organic Farm for Profit Webinar
March 23, 2010
Planning to grow only what you plan to sell eliminates wasted time and effort, and tracking income and expenses will show you your profit centers. In this workshop, Richard Wiswall will provide a step by step guide to achieve a healthy bottom line, assessing markets and developing a production plan, a roadmap of how to grow what you plan to sell.


Farm Water Toolbox Forums
March 23 & 25, 2010
Winters & Merced, California

These forums will cover:
  • State Water Policy: Implications for Sacramento Valley Growers
  • Water Supply Outlook and the CA Water Plan, Emerging Water Legislation
  • Regional Issues: Groundwater, Irrigated Lands, Regulation
  • Beyond Irrigation Tech: Soil and Crop Management for Water Efficiency
  • Drought Proofing, Cover Crops, Mulch, Minimum Tillage
  • Irrigation Management and Technology
  • Water Management Tour
  • Funding and Support Resources for Water Management Innovation

Profitable Meat Goat Conference
March 26-27, 2010
Indianapolis, Indiana

There is a shortage of goat meat in the U.S. and market prices for slaughter goats are climbing. Why is the average producer struggling to make a profit? Get answers at The Profitable Meat Goats Conference.


> More Events

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Digital versions of recent Weekly Harvest and ATTRAnews newsletters are available online. ATTRAnews is the newsletter of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.


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