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ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - March 23, 2011

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • USDA Sets New Standards for Reducing Foodborne Pathogens in Chickens and Turkeys
  • New Jersey Assembly Passes Raw Milk Bill
  • Mexico Permits GM Corn Pilot Project
  • California Department Initiates Air Monitoring of Pesticides
  • Analysis of EPA Data Shows Factory Farms Emit Pollutants on Industrial Scale
  • Oregon to Raise Biodiesel Fuel Requirement in April

Funding Opportunities

  • Four-Season Island Agriculture Fund
  • Idaho 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant
  • North Carolina Farm Energy Efficiency Project

Coming Events

  • Growing Your Own N: Improving Legume Cover Crop Management
  • Organic Beekeeping: Principles and Practices
  • Intro to Integrated Pest Management for the Organic Orchard

News & Resources

USDA Sets New Standards for Reducing Foodborne Pathogens in Chickens and Turkeys
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced implementation of revised and new performance standards aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. The improved standards will become effective in July 2011.

New Jersey Assembly Passes Raw Milk Bill
The New Jersey Assembly passed Assembly bill A743, which would legalize the sale of raw milk at New Jersey farms. The legislation lays out specific standards for the raw milk producers to follow and mandates testing every other month by a state-approved independent lab. The nonpasteurized milk could be sold only at the farms where it is produced, not retail stores.

Mexico Permits GM Corn Pilot Project
Mexico has approved its first pilot project to grow genetically modified (GM) corn on one hectare (2.5 acres) of land in the northern Tamaulipas state, according to a Common Dreams.org news story. The story reports that some fear Mexico could one day lose the wealth of native varieties it still produces, including red and blue, to the tough breeds of GM corn, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers.
Related ATTRA publication: Transgenic Crops

California Department Initiates Air Monitoring of Pesticides
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has launched an air monitoring network in three agricultural communities to expand its knowledge of the potential health risks of long-term exposure to pesticides. DPR will monitor for 34 pesticides, including six fumigants and 11 organophosphates. Data collected by the network will be released annually beginning in 2012.

Analysis of EPA Data Shows Factory Farms Emit Pollutants on Industrial Scale
Recently released EPA data shows that factory farms emit hazardous air pollutants on an industrial scale, yet have escaped regulation under the Clean Air Act and pollution reporting laws. The industry-funded EPA study monitored ammonia, particulates, and hydrogen sulfide from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) across the country.

Oregon to Raise Biodiesel Fuel Requirement in April
Beginning April 1, 2011, the amount of biodiesel blended in Oregon's diesel fuel will increase from two percent to five percent. Oregon's renewable fuel standard, passed in 2007 and amended in 2009 by the Oregon Legislature, requires a five percent biodiesel blend to be sold once in-state production capacity reaches 15 million gallons. Oregon's production capacity increased last year, triggering the new requirement.
Related ATTRA Publication: Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality

>> More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

Four-Season Island Agriculture Fund
This small-grant program supports sustainable agriculture projects in Maine's 15 unbridged year-round island communities. Made possible by a generous grant from the 1772 Foundation, the fund seeks to support farming/gardening projects that contribute towards increasing the amount of locally produced food, and/or raising awareness about island-based agricultural efforts and heritage.
Applications are due April 22, 2011.

Idaho 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is seeking proposals from eligible non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities, for-profit organizations, and universities for projects that aim to enhance the production and competitiveness of Idaho specialty crops. Matching funds are highly encouraged, but not required.
Applications must be post marked no later than April 30, 2011.

North Carolina Farm Energy Efficiency Project
The Farm Energy Efficiency Project includes an energy assessment program and an energy implementation cost-share program for farmers or production farming operations anywhere in North Carolina. The cost-share provides funds for both energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy installations. A total of $800,000 in funding is available, and assistance is offered to eligible projects on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.
All project work must be completed by December 31, 2011.

>> More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

Growing Your Own N: Improving Legume Cover Crop Management
April 19, 2011
Clayton, North Carolina

Attendees at this free evening workshop, sponsored by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, will learn how to manage legume cover crops to maximize fertility. The workshop will discuss inoculation, cover crop types and varieties, how they perform on different soil types, how cost compares with other fertility sources, and how to tell you are getting the most out of your cover crop.

Organic Beekeeping: Principles and Practices
April 29-30, 2011
Chestnut Hill, New York

This workshop at The Pfeiffer Center covers topics suitable for all beekeepers, from novice to expert, with a focus on intermediate and advanced techniques. The first session demonstrates hive construction and the basics of handling bees. The rest of the workshop presents topics not ordinarily covered in lectures and articles, including: swarming as an expression of the bees' vitality; working with swarms and making splits; the importance of wax production; and acid treatments for Varroa mites. Weather permitting, techniques for handling bees will be demonstrated.

Intro to Integrated Pest Management for the Organic Orchard
April 30, 2011
Duluth, Minnesota

University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) has developed a series of workshops for orchard owners offered through their Sustainable Agriculture Program and Continuing Education. This workshop starts with an introduction to IPM and organic management techniques to address pest and disease threats to apple trees. At the Heritage Orchard the group will meet some bugs and see how weather and pest monitoring data is collected and how it can be used to increase fruit quality.

>> More Events

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National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) logo and link to home page The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service - ATTRA - was developed and is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). The project is funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

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© 2011 NCAT

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