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Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 18, 2009

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
* Corn and Climate Report Released
* USDA to Offer Energy Audit Grants
* Audio of OEFFA Conference Sessions Offered for Sale
* Illinois Dept of Ag Creates a Community Garden
* National Organic Standards Board Seeking Member Nominations
* Dairy Farmers Discuss Conventional vs. Organic

Funding Opportunities
* Farmers' Market Promotion Program
* Operation Green Plant
* Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Grant

Coming Events
* Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers SE Regional Meeting
* Draft Horse Workshop
* Organic Beekeeping

News & Resources

Corn and Climate Report Released
The Great Plains Institute has released The Corn and Climate Report, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Iowa State University, and the North Central Bioeconomy Consortium. The report is a collection of essays transcribed from presentations given by climatologists at the 2008 ISU Biobased Industry Outlook Conference's Corn and Climate Post Conference Workshop. These essays combine basic climate science that underscores the reality of human-caused global warming with practical advice that farmers can use to help mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for a cap and trade system, and adapt to the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. Both a 24-page Executive Summary (PDF / 16.8M) and the full report are available online.
Related ATTRA Publication:   Agriculture, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration

USDA To Offer Energy Audit Grants
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the department is accepting funding applications from eligible entities for grants to conduct energy audits under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). "For the first time ever, USDA will make grant funding available this year through the Rural Energy for America Program to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses obtain audits to identify ways to improve energy efficiency," Vilsack said.

Audio of OEFFA Conference Sessions Offered for Sale
Audio recordings of conference sessions at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 30th Anniversary Conference, The Changing Climate of Agriculture, are available for sale online as a complete set of conference CDs, or as MP3 files of individual sessions. Individual sessions may be purchased online, at prices from $5 - $10 depending on audio format and length of presentation. Sessions available include livestock, crop, system and policy topics.

Illinois Department of Ag Creates a Community Garden
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is announcing the inaugural year of the Illinois State Fairgrounds Community Garden. The garden was created to give residents a space to grow fresh produce, herbs, or other flowers and plants, in a friendly and safe environment. Illinois Ag Connection reports individuals, organizations and other groups will be able to lease one or two plots, depending upon availability. The garden plots are 12' x 12' and cost $10 each, with the money collected going straight back into the garden. "We decided this would be a great opportunity for the Illinois Department of Agriculture to not only offer up a great location for garden plots, but also to help create a sense of community where growers can learn from each other," said Agriculture Director Tom Jennings.

National Organic Standards Board Seeking Member Nominations
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a 15-member board that is responsible for developing and recommending to the Secretary of Agriculture a proposed National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The NOSB also advises the Secretary on all other aspects of the National Organic Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting nominations to fill five (5) upcoming vacancies on the NOSB. The positions to be filled are: organic producer (2 positions), retailer (1 position), organic handler (1 position), and an environmentalist (1 position). The Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a person to each position to serve a 5-year term of office that will commence on January 24, 2010, and run until January 24, 2015.

Dairy Farmers Discuss Conventional vs. Organic
Reporter Christopher Peake interviewed two dairy farmers, one conventional, one organic, asking them their positions on milk. Peake asked the same questions of both farmers, covering topics such as what the cows are fed and how they deal with animal health care. Peake's interview and the farmers' responses were featured in Seacoastonline.com.

> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Farmers' Market Promotion Program
The Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grants are targeted to help improve and expand domestic farmers' markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Approximately $5 million is allocated for FMPP for Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, and the maximum amount awarded for any one proposal cannot exceed $75,000. Entities eligible to apply include agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, local governments, nonprofit corporations, public health corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers market authorities and Tribal governments.
Proposals are due April 27, 2009.

Operation Green Plant
America the Beautiful Fund's Operation Green Plant receives donations of surplus seeds from seed companies and distributes them free to more than 20,000 community action committees, hunger relief projects, community gardens and environmental projects. The program has become an avenue for low-income individuals and communities to provide food for themselves, instill community pride and rehabilitate and beautify otherwise derelict property. Applicants write a letter describing their project, complete an application form, and pay shipping and handling fees.

Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Grant
The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative is a national effort begun in 1991 to help landowners improve the ecological and productive condition of the nation's private grazing lands, the economic condition of farmers and ranchers, and the social well being of rural communities. This request is for educational and on-farm demonstration projects. Activities may include: setting up demonstration projects on farms, coordinating the activities of grazing networks, conducting grazing workshops, conferences, pasture walks, and grazing schools, and developing and distributing publications and newsletters to inform producers and the public of the benefits and techniques of a Managed Grazing System.
April 10, 2009

> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers Southeast Regional Meeting
April 15, 2009
Wrens, Georgia

This regional meeting includes a variety of presentations on cut flower production and marketing, as well as a tour of Shady Creek Growers. An optional tour is also offered the following day, visiting the UGA Trial Gardens, greenhouses and the State Botanical Garden.

Draft Horse Workshop
April 21-24, 2009
Brattleboro, Vermont

Fair Winds Farm presents a Level 1 draft horse workshop that develops a solid foundation of knowledge and experience. Workshops focus on building your skills & confidence in harnessing, hitching, driving & horse management. Single and team driving from the ground, a forecart, and wagon are covered, as well as horse management including the basics of safety, handling, foot care, feeding and horse health.

Organic Beekeeping: Principles and Practices
April 24-25, 2009
Chestnut Ridge, New York

The Pfeiffer Center presents a workshop that covers topics suitable for all beekeepers, from novice to expert, with a focus on intermediate and advanced techniques. An optional Friday afternoon session for beginners demonstrates hive construction and the basics of handling bees. The rest of the workshop presents a balanced view of natural beekeeping topics not ordinarily covered in lectures and articles.

> More Events

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